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 Thursday, May 01, 2014

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT, including cellco Mobitel) has agreed with the country’s Board of Investment (BoI) a commitment of USD415.44 million to be spent within the next two years on expanding and upgrading broadband, telephony, information technology and converged network infrastructure. According to the partly state-owned telco’s press release, the BoI agreement signing on 23 April 2014 covers ‘the expansion of multi-faceted national ICT infrastructures’, including: internet data centres, voice telephony, enterprise and wholesale services, fixed broadband access including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), IPTV (‘Peo TV’), fibre-optic transmission networks, 4G LTE mobile broadband, international connectivity and Wi-Fi wireless broadband.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:25:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 05, 2013

UK-based Vodafone Group is set to boost investment in the network of its domestic subsidiary by more than 50%, the Financial Times reports, with the operator expected to spend almost GBP1 billion (USD1.52 billion) in 2013 as it prepares to launch LTE commercially. Further, a portion of the increased investment is set to go towards the integration of the fixed line network assets which Vodafone Group acquired following its April 2012 purchase of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW). Commenting on the decision to increase capital expenditures, Vodafone UK chief executive officer Guy Laurence was cited as saying: ‘This investment is further evidence of our commitment to deliver our best ever network. We’re bringing together the best of mobile and fixed communications to help our business customers make their communications work for them.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 9:00:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which aims to enable mobile services in rural areas where there is no commercial business case to deploy these services, has taken a step forward today. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced today that Arqiva, the communications infrastructure and media services company, has won the Government tender to deliver the project.

Up to 60,000 premises and sections of road will be covered using the £150 million funding allocated to the project.

MIP is a vital part of the Government’s policy to reinforce the UK’s position as a leading digital economy. It will help connect rural communities, create local jobs and contribute to the national growth. The project sits alongside other initiatives including the £530 million Rural Broadband project and the £150 million ‘super-connected cities’ programme.

Arqiva will be responsible for a full scale mobile network roll out. The scope includes network planning, site acquisition as well as the deployment of site infrastructure and installation of equipment. It is expected that an announcement will be made on which locations will benefit from improved mobile coverage in the summer.

Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Government, Mobile and Enterprise of Arqiva said: “We’re excited to be working with the Government and Mobile Operators on this important initiative. By investing in mobile infrastructure, the Government can help bridge the social and technological divides created in areas where commercial service is not economical, and we’re proud to be part of this process. MIP perfectly fits within our strategy of creating a range of platforms – cellular, WiFi and small cells – that provide mobile connectivity to all and support a thriving digital economy in the UK.”

Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister said: “Arqiva’s appointment today is great news for rural communities throughout the UK, who stand to benefit enormously from this £150m project to improve mobile phone coverage. Good mobile connectivity is becomingly increasingly important and it is crucial that businesses and individuals are not left struggling with poor and intermittent coverage.”

Source: Arqiva.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:48:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 20, 2012

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a €2 billion support scheme aimed at promoting the development of next generation access (NGA) broadband networks in currently underserved areas of the German region of Bavaria. The Commission found the scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules, in particular because it ensures that support is granted only in areas where no commercial NGA network rollout is foreseen in the near future. This will avoid the crowding out of private investments.

Commission Vice-President Joaquín Almunia, in charge of competition policy, said: "The Bavarian broadband support scheme contributes to the objectives of the EU Digital Agenda while limiting distortions of competition by supporting only networks that are open to all operators on a non-discriminatory basis. This should enable healthy competition on the subsidised networks, allowing local businesses and users to benefit from significantly enhanced broadband services at competitive prices".

In June 2012, Germany notified plans for supporting an NGA broadband scheme providing for download speeds of at least 50 Mbps in commercial and accumulation areas of Bavaria.

The Commission found the scheme to be in line with its guidelines on state aid for broadband (see IP/09/1332 and MEMO/09/396). In particular, no support may be granted in areas where a commercial NGA network roll-out is foreseen in the near future. Moreover, the scheme has a high degree of transparency, as all key information on projects will be systematically posted on a central website. This should allow stakeholders to be continuously informed on any project under the scheme. Also, the German telecommunications regulator (the Bundesnetzagentur) will be consulted on key aspects of projects, such as wholesale access prices and conditions. This will further contribute to compliance with the competition rules. Finally, Germany will conduct a detailed monitoring of all cases supported under the scheme.

Source: European Commission.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 2:55:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 15, 2012

America Movil’s (AM’s) domestic mobile subsidiary, Telcel, has reportedly inaugurated commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, BNamericas reports. Telcel, which is Mexico’s largest cellco by subscribers, is understood to have made its 4G network available to customers in a total of nine cities at launch, with those being: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Queretaro, Puebla, Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Hermosillo and Merida. For now, LTE-based services are restricted to post-paid customers only, although AM CEO Daniel Hajj was cited as saying that pre-paid options will be offered in the future.

Six LTE-compatible handsets are being offered to those customers looking to take up the new service, including the Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, while Telcel has noted that the iPhone 5 will be available from January 2013. Pricing for the 4G service ranges from MXN499 (USD38) per month for a 500MB usage allowance, rising to MXN899 for a 700MB allowance.

Mr Hajj is also cited as saying that approximately 35% of Telcel’s mobile subscriber base currently uses data services, broken down as 20% which access data via its 2G network and 15% which connect via the 3G infrastructure. Having noted that data usage had increased tenfold over the past three years, Telcel has said a similar growth rate is likely in the wake of its 4G launch, with Mr Hajj reportedly saying that the cellco expects between one and three million people to adopt 4G within a year.

Meanwhile, with Telcel reportedly set to invest around USD3.95 billion on network upgrades between 2012 and 2014, at least USD1 billion of which will be spent on 4G equipment, it has said that it aims to expand coverage to 26 cities covering 65% of the population by April 2013.

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:05:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 29, 2012

Telefonica’s Mexican wireless unit has revealed that it has nearly completed the rollout of the first stage of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. In a press release Telefonica Mexico announced that initially its 4G network will be available in three locations, those being: the Polanco area of the capital Mexico City; Zapopan in the state of Jalisco; and the city of San Pedro in Nuevo Leon. The new service is expected to launch sometime this month. In making the announcement, Telefonica Mexico also noted that it expects to spend more than MXN3 billion (USD234 million) on its LTE rollout between now and end-2013.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:36:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Dow Jones Newswires reports that UK-based giant Vodafone Group has announced plans to increase its investment in the Netherlands. The news comes not long after the Dutch network operator, the country’s second largest player by subscribers, experienced a major fire in its Rotterdam network centre in April which damaged its infrastructure and disrupted services for a large number of Vodafone NL users. The UK parent declined to put a figure on the CAPEX, saying only that it will go in improving network reliability and quality. Last year the Dutch unit invested around EUR250 million (USD305 million) in its systems, services and products in the country. The latest investment will also make it easier for the cellco to migrate to fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, it added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:31:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Multimedia Polska has extended its fibre-optic network to pass an additional 1,000 homes in Kutno and hopes to add a further 600 before the end of the month. The cableco said that the expansion work would bring the number of homes connected to its network to nearly 5,000, estimating that it had spent around PLN1 million (USD286,786) on network expansion in the city over the last two years.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:00:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honduras’ ailing state-owned national PTO Hondutel (Empresa Hondurena de Telecomunicaciones) has announced plans to establish a joint venture (JV) to offer a dedicated mobile broadband service in the country. CentralAmericaData writes that the PTO will be the majority shareholder in the new venture, and quotes Hondutel director Romeo Vasquez Velasquez as saying that the new business model will help the firm out of its current financial crisis, made worse by a lack of investment. ‘The only alternative we have is to open [Hondutel’s] doors to any [business or individual] in the country [or abroad] wanting to invest in our mobile broadband service to develop and improve the company’s future income streams. And we are working on it,’ Romero Velasquez said. It is believed that setting up such a venture in Honduras would require investment of around USD500 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:38:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it has supplied Turk Telekom (TT) with a loan worth EUR100 million (USD126.2 million) with a view to expanding the company’s broadband services in the eastern regions of Turkey. The EBRD’s financing will support the carrier’s plans to extend fixed broadband connectivity to all Turkish provinces by 2016. The loan will be used to finance the company’s network expansion in the regions of Adana, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Kayseri, Samsun and Trabzon. The EBRD notes that there are currently ‘considerable discrepancies between the Istanbul area and the eastern regions’.

Mustafa Uysal, TT’s chief financial officer, commented: ‘Turk Telekom believes in the future of the country and that the Turkish economy will be ranked among the world’s top ten economies by 2023. Technology and innovation will be the main instruments to achieve this ambitious vision. Therefore, Turk Telekom, by carrying out its investment programme all throughout Turkey, assumes an important role in shaping Turkey’s future and makes it clear that it will be a leading contributor to and part of that future … We see the EBRD as a partner in this journey rather than just a lending institution and our investment has a value above a monetary contribution. EBRD vision overlaps with TT’s and we hope to continue this partnership in the long term’. Since the start of its involvement in Turkey, the EBRD says that it has committed close to EUR2 billion to various sectors of the country’s economy, mobilising additional investment of over EUR5 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:51:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Movistar Venezuela has expanded its HSPA-based mobile broadband services in the central region of the country with the deployment of six new cell sites costing VEF7.1 million (USD1.7 million), reports BNamericas citing Entorno Inteligente. The spending forms a small fraction (0.33%) of the Telefonica subsidiary’s VEF2.16 billion, or around USD500 million, annual investment budget for projects including doubling its 3G+ capacity. The cellco’s CAPEX in the first quarter of 2012 represented 16% of the total investment figure, and was largely spent on 3G coverage and capacity, to meet data services demand in Venezuela that Movistar corporate communications VP, Douglas Ochoa, said expanded by 400% last year. Movistar Venezuela’s revenues reached USD831 million in Q1 2012, up 23.5% year-on-year, as data turnover climbed 33.4%; non-SMS data accounted for 51% of total data revenues during the quarter.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:39:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 22, 2012

British mobile network operator O2 UK has reportedly begun the deployment of Dual Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) technology, CNET UK claims. Citing an unnamed O2 UK spokesman as confirming the development, the cellco is understood to be rolling out the technology with a view to increasing theoretical downlink speeds to up to 42Mbps. The increased speeds are expected to be available initially in ‘major cities’, and while no details of launch locations have been formally announced, the report speculates that London, Birmingham and Manchester are likely locations for the initial deployment.

In separate but related news, meanwhile, Chinese vendor Huawei has reportedly bagged a five-year managed services deal with O2 UK for the latter’s core network. According to Cellular News, under the terms of the deal between the two companies 56 employees will be transferred from the Telefonica-owned mobile operator to work for Huawei’s managed services business, with the vendor taking responsibility for planning and managing the core transmission, mobile access and core network build in the multi-vendor core network. Commenting on the deal, Huawei UK CEO Victor Zhang was cited as saying: ‘We are very pleased to announce our first major managed services agreement in the UK. Huawei works with Telefonica in a number of markets around the world and today’s agreement means we are extending our relationship to the UK. Today’s announcement is an important first step in building a world-class managed services capability in the UK.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:57:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following an investigation into the status of Uganda’s national backbone infrastructure project prior to the third and fourth stages of the network’s rollout, the chairperson of the ICT Parliamentary Committee, Paula Turyahikayo has said that the government might be forced to re-invest in the project for the backbone to be functional. According to Bikyamasr, the report said that only 43% of the deployed cable was protected from damage, and 122 connection points of the 299 installed were safe. Turyahikayo said that ‘phase one is in such a sorry state…all contractors of this phase must be blacklisted,’ and went on to blame the condition of the network on poor workmanship and the lack of supervision. James Saaka, executive director of the National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U), claimed that the problems with the project were not the fault of the NITA-U, as the body had not been created until 2008, whereas work began in 2006-2007, and as a result ‘the entire first phase…was run without supervision.’

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the difficulties surrounding the backbone first surfaced in 2009, and an investigation was launched in July 2011. The UGX201 billion (USD106 million) project was funded by the Export and Import Bank of China, which recommended Huawei for the installation: it is not known whether Huawei’s involvement was a compulsory part of the loan, but no tender was held. Following the completion of the first phase of deployment in January 2009 – the project already far behind schedule – it emerged that Huawei had installed cable inferior to the preferred type, and only 24 cores, rather than the 96 specified by the Ugandan ICT ministry. To make matters worse, the government claimed that it had been significantly over-charged, comparing its own project to a similar one in Rwanda. Uganda paid USD61 million for the installation of 2,100km of the out-dated cable, whilst Rwanda paid USD38 million for 2,300km of the preferred cable type. Further, the ICT ministry reported that it believed the actual installation had been flawed, as confirmed by the recent investigation, with the majority of the cable deployed less than 15m from the centre of roads and buried less than 1.5m from the surface thereby leaving the infrastructure vulnerable to accidental damage, vandalism and theft. In mid-2011, the government feared that as a result of the shoddy workmanship, it would be left with infrastructure that was less than required, and would require constant repairs that Uganda can ill-afford.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:41:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Middle Eastern carrier-neutral submarine fibre network operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) and optical technology provider Xtera Communications have deployed what they claim to be the Mediterranean Sea’s first commercial 100Gbps repeatered submarine cable system on the GBI network connecting Egypt to Italy. Xtera provided its Nu-Wave Optima platform in a Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) configuration delivering 100G waves on a fibre pair.

Elsewhere this week, GBI and Kuwaiti ISP/data services operator Gulfnet Communications announced the signing of a capacity sale agreement on the GBI undersea network, which offers routes from Europe to the Middle East and on to Asia. Also this week, Iraq’s Investment & Technology Group of Companies (via its ITC Communications division) signed a strategic alliance agreement with Hong Kong-based international carrier PCCW Global, following the Iraqi company winning a 15-year investment licence from Iraq Telecommunication & Post Company (ITPC) to market transmission capacity over the GBI fibre-optic cable connecting all Gulf coast countries. Fadil Mosawi, chairman of the Investment & Technology Group, said: ‘Together with the new GBI fibre cable, the Iraqi people will soon be able to connect to the rest of world with higher internet connection speed and enjoy new services including voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), high definition TV, as well as a host of other business applications such as cloud computing. Video teleconferencing will make doing business with Iraq simpler and more efficient. Healthcare institutions and universities will also benefit from the availability of large bandwidth and higher access speeds.’ ITC Communications was previously licensed as a VSAT operator, providing international connectivity to Iraqis.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 12:28:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China’s ZTE Corporation has announced the signing of a deal with Swedish mobile operator Hi3G Access worth USD74 million to expand its 4G and 3G cellular infrastructure. Under the ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ ZTE says it will deploy several thousand UMTS/LTE TDD/LTE FDD base stations, as well as auxiliary microwave and data transmission equipment over the next three years. ‘We are very glad to ink the deal with Hi3G in Sweden where the two companies launched the world’s first multi-mode LTE network,’ said Huang Zheng, CEO of ZTE Sweden. ZTE’s ‘Uni-Ran’ solutions have been utilised to help Hi3G to integrate three modes and five frequencies into one network, with commercial operations launched at the end of 2011, under the claim of being Europe’s first large-scale LTE-based TDD network. Hi3G Sweden’s CTO Jorgen Askeroth said recently of the deployment: ‘Over the past twelve months, Hi3G Sweden and ZTE went all out to deploy the LTE network in Sweden. ZTE offers professional support and achieved the target commercial launch date of 15 December 2011. As of now, TDD performance is better than expected.’ TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that via a March 2012 contract between the two companies, Hi3G’s existing 2600MHz LTE network (launched in December in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo) is being expanded across southern Sweden using the 800MHz digital dividend frequency band.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 11:58:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ukraine’s largest telecoms group Ukrtelecom has targeted new investments in its fixed broadband network totaling around UAH550 million (USD68 million), quadruple the total CAPEX budget of UAH135.4 million set for 2012, according to the telco’s acting head Igor Kravets, quoted by newspaper Comments.ua. Kravets said that Ukrtelecom hopes to attract a further 400,000 subscribers to its fixed broadband user base, which totaled 1.406 million at the end of March 2012 according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The company plans to issue up to UAH600 million worth of bonds this quarter to help finance an overall investment programme of UAH888 million, around 60% of which is earmarked for broadband development.

For the first three months of 2012, the fixed line, internet and 3G mobile operator posted a net profit of UAH5.4 million, on quarterly net revenues of UAH1.642 billion, but did not provide a direct year-on-year comparison due to a switchover to IFRS reporting standards. Under local accounting standards, the firm had reported a net loss in Q1 2011 of UAH200.2 million (with losses widening that quarter by 5.5 times), and a 2.7% drop in net revenue to UAH1.631 billion. Ukrtelecom’s mobile unit, assets of which were transferred to a new entity, TriMob, at the beginning of this year, is up for sale, although Austrian parent fund Epic is reported to be in elongated discussions with prospective buyers over a suitable price.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 9:47:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2011

According to preliminary data from Lithuania’s Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT), the number of broadband customers in the country stood at 956,000 at the end of the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 12% year-on-year and up 4% quarter-on-quarter. Of that total, 716,000 were fixed high speed internet subscribers (an increase of 2.2% over Q3 2010) and the remaining 240,000 were mobile broadband subscribers (up 8%). Revenues from retail broadband access services grew only 0.05% quarter-on-quarter to LTL91.4 million (USD35.8 million).

The regulator reports that fixed telephony subscriber dropped 3% during the third quarter of 2011 to reach 718,000 at the end of September, while revenue generated by fixed telephony services also declined by 3% during the period to LTL65.7 million. Mobile telephony turnover also fell to LTL239.3 million during 3Q11, down 1.1% compared to the second quarter. The RRT’s preliminary data states that 3G network subscribers totalled 1.077 million at 30 September 2011, accounting for 22% of the overall active mobile customer base. Overall, Lithuania’s telecommunications market generated revenue of LTL598.9 million in Q3 2011, down 1.1% quarter-on-quarter and a drop of 9% year-on-year. Capital expenditure on telecoms infrastructure totalled LTL80.9 million, down 14% over the previous quarter Q2 but up 20% from the year-ago period.

Thursday, November 24, 2011 3:28:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 22, 2011

France Telecom-Orange has announced an agreement with fellow operator SFR to deploy optical fibre technology covering millions of households in less densely-populated areas of mainland France. The fibre-optic deployment agreement drawn up by France Telecom-Orange and SFR covers around 9.8 million homes in agglomerations where ‘both operators have redundant deployment projects’, the statement read. Under the terms of the agreement, SFR will serve 2.3 million of these households and France Telecom-Orange will serve 7.5 million.

A spokeswoman for Orange confirmed the plan, Reuters reports, but declined to confirm whether or not the two carriers would share the investment of nearly EUR5 billion (USD6.8 billion). The fibre investment forms part of France Telecom-Orange’s plan to spend EUR2 billion by 2015 on fibre expansion to reach 60% of French households (target date 2020) – aided by private-operator investment. SFR declined to comment on the release.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:41:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has announced plans to roll out its own independent fibre-optic network, in a bid to secure a larger share of the data market, and reduce its reliance on the voice market. The move will see the operator following in the footsteps of rival Telkom Kenya which signposted its intention to shift strategic focus in 2010; in March 2011 Telkom’s plan started to bear fruit, when it launched fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services in Muthaiga and Parklands, two of Nairobi’s most affluent suburbs. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told Business Daily Africa: ‘This is in support of our strategic direction to be the regional leader in broadband provision; the new direction will give us greater control of the quality of service offered to our customers’. The cellco has now started its search for company to build and maintain the inland network, which is expected to cost in the region of KES1 billion (USD10.22 million).

Whilst the bulk of its broadband coverage is provided by WiMAX connectivity, in February 2010 – alongside rival telcos Jamii Telecom Ltd (JTL) and Wananchi Online – Safaricom activated a fibre-optic link between Nairobi and Mombasa, using infrastructure leased from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). Safaricom signed up for a pair of the fibres in a 20-year lease on the Nairobi-Mombasa line for KES288 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:33:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2011
South Korean communications provider KT will stop investing in its fixed-line telephony services as mobile and internet communications are growing. The company will instead focus on smartphones and other mobile internet devices, the Korea Times reports. Seo Yu-yeol, head of KT's home customers division, said there was "no future" in fixed-line telephony services. "In just over a year, KT added 10 million smartphone customers and I think that's very inspiring. Fixed-line voice services have been KT's bread-and-butter business for a long period and have contributed greatly to the nation's economic development. However, it's clearly a thing of the past," Seo said.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:58:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mississippi-based mobile operator C Spire Wireless (formerly known as Cellular South) has announced that it plans to expand CDMA2000 1xEV-DO mobile broadband coverage to 238 additional cell sites in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee by the end of 2011, as part of its continuing network expansion initiative. The commitment to extending 3G coverage will see services offered to 61 new cities in an estimated USD10 million upgrade. The improvements mean that, going forward, advanced mobile broadband services will be available to approximately 4.7 million consumers and businesses.

Kevin Hankins, chief operating officer for C Spire Wireless, commented: ‘Wireless devices are only as good as the network on which they work, which is why we are aggressively expanding our advanced mobile broadband coverage. We want consumers and businesses to have the best possible wireless experience, whether they are making a phone call, sending a text message, sharing videos and photos, checking the latest scores or making their business mobile’. Hankins claims that the cellco has invested in excess of USD1 billion in network improvements since 2003.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:36:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UK-based Virgin Media has announced that it will launch wireless services in Chile as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the first quarter of 2012. Late last month Virgin received approval to offer services from the telecoms regulator Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel).

Virgin will use the network of Spanish-based Telefonica Moviles Chile, which operates under the Movistar brand. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the UK group is expecting to invest between USD20 million and USD25 million into its Chilean operations, and has its eyes on expansion elsewhere in the region with Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico high on the list of target markets.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:29:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The European Commission has proposed to spend almost €9.2 billion from 2014 to 2020 on pan-European projects to give EU citizens and businesses access to high-speed broadband networks and the services that run on them. The funding, part of the proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), would take the form of both equity and debt instruments and grants. It would complement private investment and public money at local, regional and national level and EU structural or cohesion funds. At least €7 billion would be available for investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure.

The Commission considers that this money could leverage a total of between €50 and 100 billion of public and private investment – i.e. a substantial proportion of the estimated €270 billion of broadband investment needed to meet Digital Agenda targets on broadband. The remaining CEF funding for digital infrastructure would support public interest digital service infrastructure such as electronic health records, electronic identification and electronic procurement. The proposed financial support is complemented by proposed new guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks and services. These guidelines would establish new objectives, priorities, projects of common interest and criteria for identifying further projects of common interest.

Money for broadband infrastructure

In the case of broadband infrastructure, EU funding from the CEF would leverage other private and public money by giving projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. The money would be largely in the form of equity, debt or guarantees. This would then attract capital market financing from investors; the Commission and international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank would absorb part of the risk and improve projects' credit rating.

Projects are likely to be proposed by established telecoms operators as well as new players such as water, sewage, electricity utilities, cooperative investment projects or construction firms. Many projects are likely to involve several of these investors clubbing together. The Commission also expects public authorities to join projects as part of public-private partnerships.

Source: European Commission

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:19:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2011
Algeria has invited bids from operators for the country's first 3G licences. According to the terms of the tender outlined by state telecoms regulator ARPT, bids are due on 7 October and it will announced the winners on 23 October. The winners will be able to launch commercial services by the first quarter of 2012.
 
Further details on the pricing and spectrum available were not released. Algeria counts three mobile operators: Mobilis, owned by incumbent Algerie Telecom; Nedjma, controlled by Qatar Telecom; and Djezzy, started by Orascom Telecom.

Source: Telecom Paper

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:25:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CEO of Jordan Telecom, Nayla Khawam, has announced plans to invest JOD50 million (USD70.3 million) in developing faster 3G and internet services. The statement was delivered in the wake of a pledge last week from rival telco Umniah Telecommunications and Technology Company to launch its own 3G network in 2012.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database 3G services were launched by Jordan Telecom in March 2010 and within twelve months it had 300,000 customers using the service. Jordan’s only other 3G provider, Zain Jordan, claimed 41,000 3G users at the same date.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 9:10:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Slovenia is providing EUR36.8 million (USD50.6 million) of state grants to support five local consortiums in deploying broadband internet networks in 23 municipalities, seenews.com reports.

The consortiums, led by the Mokronog-Trebelno, Sezana, Pivka, Mozirje and Slovenske Konjice municipalities, will invest the funds in internet networks in rural areas where there is no commercial interest for infrastructure deployments, the country’s technology ministry said in a statement on its website.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 01, 2011 2:25:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 11, 2011

The auction for a third mobile network operating licence in Syria will begin in April with a starting bid of EUR90 million (USD122.2 million), according to the Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Mohammad Al-Jallali, as quoted by Syria Report. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of last year the Syrian authorities set 12 April 2011 as date to auction the country’s third mobile licence. At the time Imad Sabouni, the Syrian communications and technology minister, added that to facilitate the process an independent regulator would be set up ahead of the auction.

However, a separate report suggested that the five firms pre-qualified to bid for the licence – Turkcell, France Telecom, Saudi Telecom Company, Etisalat and Qtel – have all reacted strongly to the Syrian government’s call that they provide revenue projections for their prospective businesses there.

In a meeting in Damascus in 4Q10, Syrian telecom officials came under scrutiny concerning ‘sections in the tender where investors see risk, and vagueness about certain clauses.’ In particular, bidders are concerned that the government regulate roaming agreements with the country’s incumbent cellcos MTN Syria and SyriaTel, so the new operator would not face a disadvantage. Objections were also raised concerning the state’s call that bidders submit a business plan with revenue projection – even though the award is being decided through an auction. The licence tender requires the winning bidder to give 25% of its annual mobile revenue to the government, and stipulates that Syria's state telecoms company STE will hold a 20% stake in the new mobile operator.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, February 11, 2011 11:42:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 07, 2011

­The European Commission has approved, under the EU guidelines for state aid to broadband, the use of over EUR1.8 billion public funds for broadband development, particularly in rural or remote areas.

Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia commented: "Smart investments into high and very high speed broadband infrastructures are crucial to create jobs, increase economic performance and to unlock the competitive potential of the EU in the long term. The Commission is committed to help EU countries to accelerate private and public investments in this sector."

In 2010, the Commission adopted a record number of 20 decisions covering aid for broadband development in, among others, Catalonia, Finland and Bavaria authorising the use of over EUR1.8 billion of public funds for broadband development. This will potentially generate up to EUR3.5 billion of investments in the sector. The approved aid in 2010 is more than four times the amount allowed in 2009.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News
Monday, February 07, 2011 11:32:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 14, 2011

­Movitel, which was recently granted the third mobile operator license in Mozambique has announced that it plans to invest up to US$465 million in its network over the next five years. Of the total investment, some US$120 million will be spent in the first year to get the network launched.

Movitel is a consortium made up of Vietnamese company Viettel Telecom (70%) and Mozambique's SPI (30%), a company that is linked to the government.

Although Movitel was not the highest bidder for the license, when it offered US$28 million, the regulator said that it came highest in the technical assessment. The license was granted last November.

According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the country ended June 2010 with around 6.77 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 32.7%. mCel is the dominant operator, with a market share of 65% - compared to 35% for rival, Vodacom.

Plans by the government to sell a small stake in Moçambique Celular (mCel) have been discussed in the past, but no progress has been made so far.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, January 14, 2011 10:15:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Australian Senate on Friday approved legislation that enables the government to roll out a 36 billion Australian dollar ($35 billion) high-speed national broadband network.

The Senate's final two-week session of the year was extended an additional day to vote on the enabling legislation that was opposed by the major opposition party. The legislation was passed 30 votes to 28.It is expected to become law on Monday when it is voted on in the House of Representatives where key Greens party and independent lawmakers have pledged their support.The fiber optic broadband network was a major campaign issue at August elections that returned Prime Minister Julia Gillard's center-left Labor Party with a minority government.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal Party had promised a smaller, slower AU$6 billion network with a range of technologies including optical fiber, wireless and DSL.

Independent lawmakers said their support for Labor's broadband plan was a major reason why they supported Labor to form government. With the support of three independents and a Greens party lawmaker, Labor commands a single seat majority in the 150-seat House of Representatives where parties form government.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 11:33:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thailand's cabinet has approved the investment of THB 20 billion over five years by TOT and CAT Telecom on a nationwide broadband network. The network is expected to cover at least 80 percent of the population by 2015 and at least 95 percent by 2020, The Nation reports. ICT minister Chuti Krairiksh said his ministry's national broadband policy also includes linking up 30,000 schools and 15,000 hospitals to the internet by 2015. Another target will see fibre-optic networks deployed offering speeds of at least 100 Mbps in major economic provinces by 2020. Chuti will meet with TOT and CAT shortly, and the companies will sign an agreement to avoid duplicating fibre-optic services in Bangkok.
 
Source: TelecomPaper


Thursday, November 18, 2010 9:11:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 05, 2010
The European Commission has outlined plans to boost investment in broadband services and work towards the targets in the EU's Digital Agenda adopted earlier this year. The EU targets access to basic broadband for all Europeans by 2013 and universal access to speeds of above 30 Mbps by 2020. The EC said it will work with the European Investment Bank to bring forward broadband finance instruments, with concrete proposals for new instruments to be unveiled by spring 2011.
 
The EIB already lends an average EUR 2 billion each year to broadband projects, including recent beneficiaries such as France's Iliad, the Finnish operator DNA and Portuguese cable operator Zon. The increased EIB involvement is expected to also support more lending for broadband projects form private banks. In addition, a communication adopted by the Commission gives a number of recommendations for EU member states to work on improving broadband access. These include adopting an operational broadband plan with concrete implementing measures including provisions for the necessary funding, encouraging regional and local authorities to better coordinate civial engineering works to support network roll-outs, promoting direct investment in infrastructure by public authorities in line with state aid rules, and stimulating the roll-out of broadband through better use of the EU's structural and rural development funds.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, October 05, 2010 1:49:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 02, 2010

The UK is set to benefit from a new generation of mobile services and improved mobile broadband coverage under new government plans to revolutionise the country's digital infrastructure. Minister for Communications, Ed Vaizey, has launched a programme of measures for radio spectrum modernisation, which will allow mobile operators to deliver the latest technologies to consumers and extend the reach of mobile broadband across the country. The spectrum modernisation programme will be implemented under a Direction to regulator Ofcom, which has been laid in Parliament. This includes requiring Ofcom to co-ordinate a combined auction of 2.6 GHz and 800 MHz spectrum as soon as possible in order that operators can deliver widespread high speed mobile broadband, and requiring Ofcom to carry out a competitive assessment of future 3G and 4G markets, including the potential for new entrants. Their assessment will inform the design of the auction, aimed at enabling delivery of new competitive mobile broadband services for UK consumer and business benefit; liberalising 2G spectrum at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, implementing the EU's revised GSM directive to allow operators to use these frequencies for 3G technologies; making 3G licences indefinite to encourage greater investment in 3G services to reach more consumers across the UK. They will also be made tradable, and requiring Ofcom to apply annual licence fees to reflect the market value of these licences which will be applied after the initial licence term (ends 31 December 2021). The Minister also announced funding for a generous compensation package to support the Programme Making and Special Events users (PMSE) who are moving out of the 800MHz spectrum.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, August 02, 2010 10:35:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Sierra Leone is looking to sell incumbent fixed line operator Sierratel, as officials acknowledge that the firm lacks the financial resources to compete with the country’s mobile providers, Computerworld West Africa reports. Earlier this week the National Commission of Privatisation (NCP) called for expressions of interest for the management of Sierratel – the first step in seeking bids for the operator – stating that it has ‘commenced a business reform programme of Sierratel with the objective of improving the efficiency, productivity, customer service delivery, capacity building and overall financial and operational performance.’ The contract will be awarded via an international bidding process, with prequalified applicants required to pay a non-refundable fee of USD10,000 (SLL38.9 million) for bidding documents.

The state is looking for a telecoms company to take over all business areas of Sierratel, including day-to-day management, operations, maintenance and long term business planning, although the government has not yet disclosed the size of the stake that it wishes to offload. The company has struggled to rebuild its wireline infrastructure after rebel forces destroyed telephone lines and exchanges during the civil war which ended in 2002. According to the NCP, Sierratel is overstaffed and suffers from a lack of capital; in the past the company has been forced to enter into joint venture partnerships to undergo urgent modernisation of its infrastructure. In June 2008 the telco accepted a delivery of Huawei-manufactured equipment worth USD16.5 million, which was paid for with a loan from the Chinese government. The CDMA 1x EV-DO cellular network was launched in April 2009.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, August 02, 2010 8:49:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zambia’s monopoly fixed line operator Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) claims to have spent approximately USD34 million on laying fibre-optic cable across the country, AllAfrica reports. The investment figure was revealed by Transport and Communications Deputy Minister Mubika Mubika in Parliament, who in responding to questions about the telco’s future spending plans noted that it remained unclear whether Libya’s LapGreen Networks, which recently acquired a 75% stake in Zamtel, would continue the current fibre rollout project.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, LapGreen Networks submitted a USD257 million for the majority stake in Zamtel, and it was announced last month that it had beaten out bids from Russian telecoms investment firm Altimo and Unitel of Angola for the majority holding to win the holding. The government meanwhile has retained the remaining 25% stake, although it may sell this at a later stage through an initial public offering on the Lusaka bourse.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:12:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Irish government has confirmed the launch of the Exemplar Network, a high-speed, fibre-optic communications network using patented Irish technology which allows for the high-speed and high-quality transfer of electronic data. The network has been developed to solve the problem of expensive bottlenecks of data as traffic on the internet continues to increase.
 
Phase I of the Exemplar network is now up and running in its test bed facility in Parkwest, Dublin. The government has already invested EUR 5 million in the network, with plans to provide an additional EUR 5 million investment. Over 30 companies and institutions have signed up to use the Exemplar network to test their products and services and conduct research. These include: BT, Imagine, EMC, Celtix Connect, IBM, Smart Telecom, e|Net, Opennet, ESBTelecom and Firecomms. Four of Ireland's universities UCC Tyndall, NUI Galway, UCD and DCU will use the facility, as will Science Foundation Ireland. Phase II involves the construction of an active test ring around the Dublin metropolitan area and will commence in 2011. The final Phase beginning in 2013 will see the Exemplar as nationwide infrastructure. The Exemplar network is being built by Intune Networks, the Dublin-based developer of high-performance laser technology for the telecoms industry. The new fibre-optic network has been welcomed by WiMAX broadband and phone provider Imagine Communications Group. Imagine managing director Brian O'Donohoe said that WiMax and Exemplar could create a partnership to propel Ireland towards new job creation by inward investments and enable entrepreneurs to set up world-class businesses across Ireland.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:58:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UK-based Gateway Communications, which claims to be the largest provider of carrier and business network solutions on the African continent, has further increased its presence in West Africa through the signing of two separate deals in Guinea – an expansion contract with domestic cellco Intercel Guinea (formerly Telecel Guinea) and a new contract with local ISP and Intercel owner Equipements & Techniques Informatiques (ETI). As a result of the latest contract signings Gateway is now working with two major mobile operators and an ISP in Guinea, a country with a mobile penetration of 35.50% as at 31 December 2009, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. At that date the country’s leading mobile operator was MTN Guinea (Areeba) with a market share of 36.49% (1.273 million users), Cellcom Guinea with 22.93% (estimated at 800,000), Societe des Telecoms de Guinee with 20.64% (estimated at 720,000), Orange Guinea with 19.60% (684,000) and niche operator Intercel with 0.34% (estimated at 12,000).

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:53:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 02, 2010

The Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) plans to invest over MXN 1.5 billion to upgrade the country's network infrastructure, local newspaper El Universal reports, citing communications and transport minister Juan Molinar. The measure aims to close the digital gap and boost the development of next-generation broadband network in educational institutions and research centres across Mexico. In line with this strategy, SCT has signed an agreement with the University Corporation for Internet Development (CUDI). Under the terms of the agreement, SCT and CUDI plan to generate a model of network integration, focused on promoting scientific and technological activities involving higher education institutions and research centres across Mexico.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:06:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 15, 2010

India’s Bharti Airtel has announced that it has finalised the acquisition of the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Group, with the deal valued at USD10.7 billion, the Economic Times reports. Under the terms of the deal, first announced in March 2010, Bharti will pay USD8.3 billion upfront, followed by a further cash payment of USD700 million after one year, while it will also take over approximately USD1.7 billion of Zain’s debt. Commenting on the closure of the deal, Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal said: ‘We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti Airtel. The transaction is the largest ever cross-border deal in an emerging market and will result in combined revenues of about USD13 billion.’

Bharti has taken over Zain’s operations in 15 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Kuwaiti company’s subsidiaries in Morocco and Sudan were not included in the sale. Zain has also agreed to licence its name and related trademarks to Bharti in all of the new countries for an interim period; the Airtel brand is expected to be introduced across its news units by October 2010.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:02:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French broadband internet provider and would-be mobile start-up Iliad (Free) has secured a EUR1.4 billion (USD1.7 billion) five-year credit facility from a group of eight European banks to help refinance its debt ahead of its launch of mobile services in the country. Dow Jones Newswires reports the firm as saying that the agreement, along with its existing cash flow, will enable Iliad to fund its medium-term growth strategy. The statement went on to say that the credit line illustrates the company enjoys a healthy position as one a European operators with a very low level of debt.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that the French telecoms regulator Arcep concluded the formal handover of the country’s fourth 3G licence to Iliad’s Free Mobile unit in January this year. The Iliad group subsequently committed to launching its network within two years of the award of the licence, which took place on 18 December 2009. The newcomer has pledged to cover at least 90% of the population with its 3G network within eight years of launch, and its promise to deliver ‘competitive prices’ should spur growth in the mobile internet access segment. Free Mobile has also committed to hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Industry watchers are in broad agreement that Iliad could realistically garner a roughly 5% share of the EUR25 billion (USD36 billion) French mobile market by 2015. The operator has a strong fixed line presence and comprehensive broadband portfolio, and has been actively trying to secure a toehold in the mobile market since it failed in its first application attempt in 2007.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:51:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms 110 operators in 48 countries are currently investing in LTE networks.

80 operators have made firm commitments to deploy LTE networks in 33 countries (compared to 64 network commitments identified two months ago). LTE networks are now being installed or planned for commercial service in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, USA, and Uzbekistan.

GSA anticipates that up to 22 LTE networks will be in service by end 2010, and at least 45 are expected to be in service by end 2012. The first LTE networks entered commercial service in December 2009 in Norway and Sweden.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:28:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Digicel Suriname says that it has expanded its network to cover an additional 4,000 people by boosting coverage at Nieuw Jacobkondre on the Saramacca river and at Antino on the Lawa (near Benzdorp). Up to this moment, Nieuw Jacobkondre had been completely devoid of telecommunication whilst the provisions of another provider at Antino can be considered rather poor.

"The people living in these areas are thrilled that Digicel brings them a piece of development. It is an undisputed fact that telecommunication provisions bring significant development economically and socially for the local communities. Urgent messages can be sent via telephone saving costs and energy. The overall safety will also improve since social control is strengthened through people's ability to have easy access to mobile calls", says Philip van Dalsen.

If all preparations go as planned, the new masts will be made operational this month. In April last, the Digicel mast at Makoe became operational. Makoe is located near Sarakreek.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:07:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 04, 2010

An investment of more than US$60 million has been planned by Vodacom Mozambique over the next two years to expand its network. 43% increase in the number of customers last year to 2.3 million has resulted in the decision for expansion.

100 new transmission towers has been planned to be set up by the network mainly in the centre and north of the country – which is around double its expansion rate last year. Expansion of its own microwave and fibre-optic backhaul is also in consideration to reduce reliance on the national landline operator, which the firm blames for repeated network outages.

The move to improve the network comes as the country’s regulator announced plans to award a third mobile license later this year.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, June 04, 2010 9:32:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A mobile network has been launched by France Telecom’s Orange in the North African country of Tunisia. The venture has been launched in co operation with Investec, a Tunisian subsidiary of the Mabrouk group and Orange holds 49% in the joint venture.

One billion dinars (around EUR500 million) will be invested by Orange Tunisia to set up the network and to launch the operations. Majority of Tunisia’s major cities is already covered by this network and it will be doubled by the end of the year.

According to Didier Lombard, Chairman of France Telecom, Orange is proud to associate itself with Marwan Mabrouk to build Tunisia’s first genuine convergent telecoms operator and together they are committed to a project that will transform the Tunisian telecommunications market, and which in turn will help the country on its way to joining the world’s most competitive economies.

A network of nine shops and 400 distribution outlets will benefit Orange Tunisia. Almost 1,500 people will be hired by the company by the end of this year.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:34:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ictQATAR, Qatar’s telecoms regulator has announced that it has issued the country’s second fixed line network operating licence to Vodafone Qatar, allowing the company to provide fixed access services nationwide, effective 29 April 2010. The UK-backed firm, which broke the mobile telephony monopoly of Qatar Telecom last year, was originally announced as the winner of the second national operator (SNO) licence in September 2008. ictQATAR’s statement added that Vodafone Qatar will be able to provide fixed telephony and data services to consumers, businesses and government in Qatar as well as other services such as leased lines, international connectivity and VSAT services. As the holder of fixed and mobile licences, it will also be able to provide converged services involving both mobile and fixed networks such as fixed/mobile data packages. Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, ictQATAR’s Secretary General, said, ‘The issuing of the second fixed licence concludes the first major phase of liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Qatar. Consumers and businesses have already seen the benefits of competition, and the choices available in mobile markets, and now they can look forward to this in respect to fixed networks and services. I also expect significant competition with converged fixed and mobile services.’

Vodafone Qatar's concession carries certain obligations to provide services to specific areas, namely to offer full service coverage to the Pearl Development (internet services within three months and voice services within twelve months), the West Bay CBD area (within 30 months) and the rest of the State of Qatar (within 48 months). The licence award remains contingent on the company completing necessary changes to its articles of association within the next three months, a company official confirmed. Once the amendment is approved by shareholders, Vodafone Qatar must pay a licence fee of QAR10 million (USD2.75 million).

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:20:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 03, 2010

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti has released over USD6 million in funding to continue a project to build a fibre-optic cable linking major cities to Port Beira in Mozambique via Zimbabwean border town Mutare. Under the goverment's plan, data/voice traffic will be transmitted via existing international undersea cable networks landing at Beira, thereby improving internet access and reducing ICT costs for service providers and users alike. The project is part of an ongoing programme to upgrade and extend Zimbabwe's state-owned incumbent TelOne’s backbone network with new domestic and international fibre-optic links, which has suffered delays due to lack of financing.

TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database says that a special purpose vehicle company, Africom Continental, was formed to spearhead the building of a cable from Harare to Mutare, holding a 50% stake in the project's capital, with the Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe holding 30% and the National Social Security Authority 20%. According to a report in AllAfrica, ministers hope that the fibre-optic rollout should be expanded to link all major cities in Zimbabwe by the end of this year. TelOne also holds a stake in the EASSy east African submarine consortium cable, physical deployment of which was completed earlier this week.

Source: TeleGeography

 

Monday, May 03, 2010 1:55:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 14, 2010
An investment of USD284 million has been expected by the Argentine mobile unit of Spanish telecoms heavyweight Telefonica, Movistar in its networks and services this year. The major portion of the total amount is decided to be kept aside for the expansion of the company’s 3G network infrastructure.

Spanish telecoms giant, Telefonica owns 100% of Movistar Argentina.

According to the company, its UMTS infrastructure currently covers 350 municipalities across the country and serves over 600,000 mobile broadband subscribers, out of a total user base of more than 16 million.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 25, 2010

The government of Venezuela plans to invest USD11.6 million to open 200 new public internet centres across the country during 2010, reports BNamericas. The government says it currently has 668 internet centres, used by approximately three million people and expects there to be at least five million users by the end of the year. The state also announced it has installed 2,000 satellite aerials for internet use in remote areas of the country to date, using Venezuela’s own satellite, Venesat-1. The project stipulates a total deployment of 16,000 satellite aerials.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:09:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Turkcell's 3G network ended 2009 with coverage of 72% of the population. ‘We have established more base stations in the first six months since we launched the 3G technology than all the base stations we established for 2G technology over six years,’ said Ilter Terzioglu, deputy director general at the company. Terzioglu added that his company had sold almost 300,000 3G modems and netbooks/notebooks by year end from a total subscriber base of 35.4 million. As of 31 December 2009 Turkcell had invested USD7.6 billion in its operations, including licences.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:06:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Some MYR2.8 billion (USD842.2 million) of Malaysia’s Universal Service Provision (USP) fund will be spent on a number of National Broadband Initiative (NBI) programmes that are currently being prepared, Bernama reports. As of March 2010 the USP fund totalled MYR4.5 billion, of which MYR1.7 billion has already been earmarked for the construction of 447 telecoms towers, of which two-thirds will be located in Sabah and Sarawak. Under existing legislation all of Malaysia’s licensed telecoms operators, barring Content Applications Service Provider (CASP) licence holders, contributed 6% of their weighted net revenue to the USP fund last year.

As part of its NBI, Malaysia is committed to achieving a broadband penetration level of 50% by the end of 2010. Commenting on the plans for the investment, Tan Sri Khalid Ramli, chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said: ‘We have already set our target for urban, outskirt and rural penetration and this involves various technologies. In terms of rural broadband penetration, both the government and the private sector should assume an important role.’ Khalid also revealed that more details of specific NBI programmes will be announced by the Malaysian prime minister on 24 March 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:03:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 22, 2010

Omani incumbent fixed line operator Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) has announced the launch of its new fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in parts of Muscat, Zawya reports. Omantel partnered with Huawei Technologies for the rollout of the new infrastructure, which provides broadband internet at download speeds of up to 80Mbps and also supports services such as video on demand (VoD) and high definition (HD) television. ‘The introduction of FTTH using the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology from Huawei is a remarkable leap in the application of modern communications technology that can provide a comprehensive variety of entertainment options for both the home and business users through a high speed connection network,’ commented Samy Al Ghassany, Vice President of Integrated Network and Technology at Omantel, adding: ‘Introducing leading edge technology of this nature will help to bring residents together in high speed.’ The telco’s FTTH network is being deployed in the newly developed residential areas of Muscat Hills and The Wave.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, March 22, 2010 11:07:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Semi-autonomous Zanzibar is investing upwards of USD150 million in the next two years on power projects to alleviate power outages, but also including USD75 million on an undersea cable that will incorporate fibre-optic cables that will connect the island to an international undersea telecoms network. Funding for the project, which will be completed in April and will connect the smaller Pemba island to power from Tanga region in mainland Tanzania, is being sourced from the Norwegian government, a spokesman said.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, March 22, 2010 10:34:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The sub-Saharan Africa telecommunications market will be characterized by regulatory developments and continued investment in broadband infrastructure by various submarine and terrestrial cable operators, according to latest research by IDC, making 2010 a defining year for Africa's telecoms sector. The FIFA 2010 World Cup will be a watershed moment for African infrastructure, determining the robustness and relevance of submarine cable systems, terrestrial backhaul networks, metro networks, and more.

Click here to see full article

Research for 2009 showed that Africa's telecoms channel accounted for 3-4% of all mobile/portable units shipped. Governments will continue efforts toward higher penetration among citizens, particularly in rural areas, and are likely to see mobile phones as a way of saving money and communicating with citizens. Currently, African mobile penetration rates average 25-45% of the entire population, but the rate for the adult population, with which governments would be interacting, is roughly 70-80%.

As well, operators and vendors will be looking more closely at social networking, news portals, and other content to grow data revenue, which will entail providing relevant content in local languages. As the availability of low-cost devices is an important factor in the adoption of these offerings, telcos will become an increasingly important channel for notebook, netbook, and smartphone vendors.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, March 22, 2010 10:02:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 12, 2010

Polish regulator UKE announced the launch of the project to support broadband networks construction. On 4 March UKE received information that the Ministry of Interior and Administration approving the project to support construction of broadband internet access networks, as part of the Operational Programme Innovative Economy - POIG). UKE will advise on the investments within the Regional Operational Programme, the Operational Programme Development of Eastern Poland and the objectives 8.3 and 8.4 of POIG concerning digital inclusion and last-mile internet access. In the years 2007-2013 Poland can use about EUR 1 billion for local and regional broadband networks. After 30 months only 2 percent of the amount (EUR 18 million) has been spent. The regulator urged that the financing is used efficiently even though there are no tools to pressure investors to focus on particular regions. Although the regulator does not have decision-making powers (relevant ministries do), it wants to provide advice and assist in implementation of investment projects. The UKE chairman also provided information on the status of operational programmes. Within the Regional Operational Programme six contracts were signed and EUR 16.6 million was spent, which represents 3 percent of available resources (EUR 579 million).

Within the measure 8.3 digital inclusion, 50 contracts were signed on co-financing for approximately EUR 21.5 million, which represents 5.9 percent of available resources (EUR 364 million). Within the measure 8.4 last mile, eleven contracts were signed amounting to EUR 1.4 million, which is 0.7 percent of available resources of EUR 200 million. Within the Operational Programme Development of Eastern Poland no contract has been signed yet and the project is at the stage of feasibility assessment. Total available funds are EUR 300 million. For the Rural Development Programme EUR 59 million shall be allocated. Municipalities and their associations shall be the beneficiaries. The measures are available since December 2009.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, March 12, 2010 2:49:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 15, 2010
The GSM Association expects mobile operators around the world will invest up to USD 72 billion in mobile broadband technologies in 2010. The operator capex data, compiled by Deutsche Bank, cover technologies including HSPA/HSPA+, WCDMA and EVDO/CDMA. Asia Pacific will see the greatest investment in mobile broadband with predicted capital expenditure of up to USD 34 billion. North America follows with up to USD 19 billion, and Europe is expected to invest up to USD 14 billion. Mobile broadband will account for an estimated 52 percent of all operator investment in mobile infrastructure globally. Of all the regions, North America will spend the greatest percentage, 80 percent, of its total mobile capex on mobile broadband.
According to research firm Wireless Intelligence, the growth of HSPA is predicted to increase from an average of around 9 million connections per month at the end of 2009, to almost 13 million per month. Of the total estimated 342 million connections at the end of 2010, Europe will lead the way with 120 million, followed by Asia Pacific with 116 million and North America 58 million. There are currently 200 million HSPA connections worldwide, with more than 1,800 HSPA enabled devices available from more than 150 suppliers. Across 123 countries, there are currently 294 commercially live networks, of which 183 currently deliver peak data rates of above 3.6 Mbps, and 37 commercially live HSPA+ networks, each capable of delivering data speeds up to 21 Mbps.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Monday, February 15, 2010 1:58:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The Afghanistan ministry of communications has officially opened a USD 70 million optical fibre project. Work on the project began in April 2007 and currently is 80 percent completed, with 17 provinces and 68 towns covered. The network is also connected to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran via fibre while Pakistan and Turkmenistan are set to be connected shortly.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:25:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 21, 2009

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that the government will invest EUR 4.5 billion to support the rollout of very high-speed broadband and the development of innovative services as part of a EUR 35 billion bond issue known as the "grand emprunt". Les Echos reports that Sarkozy announced five major priorities, higher education, research, digital, sustainable development and industry. Although details of how the funds will be allocated have yet to be unveiled, the public sector investment in the digital economy will be EUR 500 million more than the EUR 4 billion of funding recently sought by a commission on the digital economy. The president said "It is a matter of doing for very high-speed services what was done for fixed telephony in the 1970s".

The government will provide EUR 2 billion to enable 70 percent of the population to have access to at least 100 Mpbs services within the next 10 years. Private operators are expected to invest twice as much as the State, according to the president. While operators are ready to go it alone in densely populated areas, a national fund for the digital society will be formed to make loans to operators for shared infrastructure deployment. A public-private partnership is expected to be formed to launch a satellite offering very high-speed access within five years to 750,000 rural homes. The government will also invest EUR 2.5 billion in promoting the development of innovative content and new uses through public-private partnerships in intelligent networks, teleworking, telemedicine, health, government, justice and education. Part of the funds will go towards the constuction of large data processing and storage facilities.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 21, 2009 11:09:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 18, 2009

According to Egypt’s Communications Minister, Tarek Kamel, the country is currently preparing a USD1 billion plan aimed at boosting internet penetration fourfold in the next four years, Reuters reports. Commenting on the proposals Mr Kamel said: ‘Most of the investments...will primarily go in local investment in increasing the local capacity.’ It is understood that such local investment will be ploughed in to a combination of wireless and wired services covering both rural and urban areas, and will follow up the country’s investment in international broadband cable systems that is expected to at least double the capacity coming into the country from the current 60Gbps. The minister also noted that the government is targeting a broadband penetration rate of 20% by end-2013, equivalent to enabling access to connections to around four million households.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as at end-2008 Egypt’s broadband penetration stood at just 0.9%, with a total of 696,305 high speed internet subscribers in the country. TE Data, a subsidiary of fixed line monopoly provider Telecom Egypt, dominates the sector, controlling more than half of all broadband subscribers at September 2009, with 479,819.

Source: Telegeography

Friday, December 18, 2009 11:00:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) has officially begun to build a 1,401km backbone, the 'Mataram Kupang Cable System'. The Mataram-Kupang Cable System will be part of the Palapa Ring configuration. The Palapa Ring is a government initiated project which will roll out an optical fibre network consisting of 35,280km of submarine cable and 21,708km of inland cable.
The network will form seven rings and cover 33 provinces and 460 districts in eastern Indonesia. Telkom will start by building a sea link to connect Mataram and Kupang which will have a capacity of 300 Gbps. Telkom has also been rolling out fibre in other parts of the country as part of its Telkom Super Highway plan. Additionally, Telkom will launch a satellite next year, the Telkom 3.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 3:11:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Guido Helbich, the general director of Azeri mobile operator Azerfon, has told a press conference that the company will launch third-generation services by the end of 2009, 1news.az reports. The cellco plans to complete tests of the W-CDMA/HSPA network within the next two weeks, following which commercial services will be made available in Baku, Absheron and the autonomous republic of Nakhchivan, with plans to expand to other regions in the near future. Helbich also revealed that the company has so far invested USD20 million in its 3G network. As reported by CommsUpdate, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) awarded a 3G licence to Azerfon earlier this month for AZN11,000 (USD13,600).

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:02:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 19, 2009

The government of France is looking to inject up to EUR4 billion (USD6 billion) into high-tech infrastructure projects through its national loan programme, with the lion’s share of the funding going towards subsidising the deployment of broadband telecoms networks in smaller cities and rural areas, Reuters quotes unnamed government sources as saying.

It is understood that as a result of the levels of investment being considered (EUR2 billion-EUR3 billion), the government hopes to stimulate the building of fibre-optic broadband networks capable of offering high speed connections at four times those currently offered by existing technology. The proposed national loan programme, which aims to fund strategic investments and boost the development of the wider French economy, is apparently in the early stages of planning within Nicolas Sarkozy's government. The president is expected to decide the final plan in early December.

Source: Telegeography

Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:40:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 21, 2009
Austrian minister for infrastructure Doris Bures has unveiled new initiatives to expand broadband networks and broadband applications in Austria.
 
The initiatives aim to support the deployment of superfast broadband in Austria, partnering with all stakeholders, the telecom industry and the Austrian telecommunications regulator RTR. The Austrian government wants to have nationwide coverage of broadband at up to 25 Mbps by the end of 2013. With the new telecom law, a judicial framework for the broadband expansion has been set and the minister has ordered a feasibility study for fibre-optic cadastre, results of which will be published in 2010. Bures also unveiled a support package of up to EUR 40 million for broadband deployment in rural regions and development of new services and applications. Earlier this year, Telekom Austria announced that will it invest up to EUR 1 billion in deploying fibre, replacing the old ADSL technology. The first pilot projects will start before the end of this year.
 
Source: Telecompaper
Monday, September 21, 2009 8:17:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 04, 2009

The Commerce Commission of New Zealand (ComCom) has released its annual telecoms monitoring report, announcing that over USD882 million was spent on capital investment in 2008. The expenditure was largely accounted for by Telecom New Zealand updating its existing infrastructure to accommodate its strategic transition to an all-IP network, and NZ Communications, New Zealand’s long awaited third mobile operator – having secured 3G spectrum in 2001, rolling out the first stages of its mobile network.

The report also states that broadband subscriptions reached 915,000 by the end of December 2008, with Telecom NZ holding a 57% share of the overall market, a 4% drop since 2007. The mobile sector reported a 16% rise in call minutes over the course of the year, with mobile penetration reaching 111.9% at the end of December 2008, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, May 04, 2009 10:35:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 10, 2009

­The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing US$30 million in Wataniya Palestine, as part of a US$85 million loan, to help build a mobile-phone network in the Palestinian West Bank. Wataniya Palestine is a joint venture of the Palestine Investment Fund and Wataniya Telecom, which is majority-owned by Qatar’s Qtel.

"The network being built by Wataniya Palestine will use the internationally popular GSM standard. It will help address the Palestinian territories telecommunications needs, which are critical for supporting economic growth and integration. Wataniya Palestine’s entry into the sector will improve the current low tele-density, increase competition, and help accelerate market growth.

“IFC’s investment shows a vote of confidence in the economic prospects of the Palestinian territories telecommunications sector, which is an essential element of building the local economy, creating jobs, and offering customers new, high-quality products and services,” said Allan Richardson, Wataniya’s Chief Executive Officer.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:22:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Head of Planning of the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel), Carlos Barahona, says private telecoms operators invested a record USD650 million in their Honduran networks in 2008, up from USD356 million in 2007 and USD133.6 million a year earlier. Speaking to the El Heraldo newspaper, Barahona said that he expects the trend will continue in the medium-term as Tigo, Claro, Digicel and Hondutel’s fledgling mobile arm Honducel fight for new subscribers in a market where cellular penetration reached close to 75% at the end of last year. At that date the incumbents’ combined user base reached 5,823,915 active lines, up from 4.184 million a year earlier.


Click here to see full article
Digicel earmarked a reported USD450 million in its networks and services, including the payment of USD80.1 million for the licence it won in late 2007. Tigo also invested around USD150 million to expand its network, the paper said. In 2009 Digicel is expected to invest between USD150-USD200 million to further improve its reach and service quality, while Tigo has reportedly set aside USD100-USD150 million and Claro USD50-USD100 million.

Source: TeleGeography.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:33:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 15, 2008

Main One Cable Company has revealed that it has secured licences from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Ghana’s National Communications Authority (NCA) allowing it to land its intercontinental undersea fibre-optic cable in the two countries. The company has already begun work on an undersea cable connecting Portugal and southern Africa. The first phase of the project spans 6,900 kilometres from Portugal to Ghana and Nigeria, while the second phase encompasses a 6,000 kilometre extension to Angola and South Africa. Negotiations with other countries along the route for further landing points are said to be ongoing.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, December 15, 2008 11:46:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 28, 2008

Namibia’s largest cellco MTC said it has invested nearly NAD300 million (USD40 million) in its network infrastructure in the year to date, in projects including raising SMS capacity, the deployment of a transmission backbone across several areas of the country and the replacement of central switching equipment with next generation architecture. The company’s fibre-optic transmission network was extended in areas including the capital Windhoek, coastal regions and in the north, ending MTC's long-standing reliance on renting backbone capacity from Telecom Namibia. The fibre project was implemented by Nera and Ericsson at a cost of NAD76 million this year. MTC also upgraded its radio access network and wireless broadband service capabilities, in partnership with Nokia Siemens Network and Motorola, at a cost of NAD88 million. MTC's investments over the last 13 years total NAD1.6 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 28, 2008 1:30:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 14, 2008
There are nearly 16.2 million Home-based businesses (HBBs) in India and these constitute about 8% of the 202.9 million households. Nearly one-eighth of these HBBs are PC penetrated and they are set to spend US$8.4 billion on upgrading their ICT (info-communications technology) infrastructure this year, up a healthy 19% over 2007, according to a recent study by New York-based Access Markets International (AMI) Partners.

AMI-Partners defines HBBs as income-generating entities based in the home, led by individuals who are self-employed; it excludes individuals who work for a larger organization and telecommute, have a formal work-at-home arrangement with their employer or do after-hours work from home.

“For every dollar spent by HBBs in India 67% goes for telecom services and 22% on computing. The high spending on telecom services imply that the HBBs rely on the data and voice services to a large extent to conduct their businesses,” says Dipendra Mitra, Analyst at AMI-Partners.

Although IT comprises a much lesser proportion of the IT/Telecom spending pie, the former is set to rise at a faster rate within HBBs as they strive to reach a technological superiority level commensurate with their nearest brethren - the Very Small Businesses (VSBs or companies with up to 4 employees). “In the long run, the ultimate objective of HBBs is transition to the level of VSBs - as expressed by over one third of HBB owners,” says Mr. Mitra.

An interesting comparison of Very Small Businesses operating from Commercial Space and Home:

  • The number of HBBs outnumber VSBs by a factor of nearly 7:1
  • Both HBBs and VSBs are at the initial stages of PC adoption. Their PC penetration levels are at an embryonic stage indicating a huge opportunity for PC vendors wishing to make a dent into this nascent market
  • HBBs mostly lag behind VSBs in usage of primary technologies indicting that they are still in the First Wave of Technology adoption
  • HBBs are considerably younger than VSBs and thus are quite eager to adopt the latest technologies as they endeavor to transit the Second Wave of Technology adoption
  • Both HBBs and VSBs show significant promise of future growth - 40% to 45% of them have indicated plans of workforce expansion and over four-fifth of them anticipate revenue growth in the next 12 months

The Very Small Businesses operating from commercial space and Home together constitute a highly lucrative market for IT vendors since businesses in both these segments are on the growth path and they aim to increase levels of IT adoption at a rapid pace. Moreover, any vendor targeting the VSB space will also find it convenient to tap the HBB market segment since there is a considerable similarity within both these segments in terms of demographic, psychographic and IT adoption profile.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, July 14, 2008 11:11:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 12, 2008

Bangladesh based Warid Telecom has announced plans to invest around US$250 million over the next twelve months to expand its network coverage. The company, which only launched its service a year ago is already the country's fourth largest operator by subscriber numbers.

"We haven't reached the optimum level in terms of subscriber acquisition," said Warid's CEO, Muneer Farooqui, adding, "Our strategy is to go ahead with best quality network. So, we have no intention to have a huge number of subscribers if we fail to provide them best services only."

Farooqui also called on the government to lower the BDT800 (US$11.80) tax on each SIM card sold - which was only introduced in 2004 - as it was slowing the expansion of mobile services into rural areas. "This tax is tremendously affecting our business," he said.

The operator launched its network with coverage in 28 districts, which has now been expanded to include 61 districts - out of 64 for the country as a whole.

The country already has six operators - and according to figures from the Mobile World, ended last year with just under 34.4 million mobile subscribers - which is still a population penetration level of just 22.6%. Also worth noting is that while the country has six operators, only four of them are of any significant scale, Grameenphone (15m), Banglalink (6m) and Aktel (7m) and finally, Warid Telecom (2.1m). The two remaining long term incumbents, Citycell and Teletalk barely add up to 2 million customers between them.

The country is currently under military controlled emergency law, and it is expected that democratic elections may be held later this year. Brig General (Retd) MA Malek who head the Ministry of Telecommunications is a military appointment.

Vodafone has also been reported to be seeking an investment opportunity in the country - generally thought to be through a buyout of the 30% shareholder in Aktel, textiles group AK Khan for around US$300 million.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, May 12, 2008 2:01:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 09, 2008

According to Armenialiberty.org, Vimpelcom plans to invest USD74 million this year in ArmenTel as part of the ongoing modernisation of the telco’s fixed and mobile networks. An estimated USD90 million was spent during 2007, and senior VimpelCom executives have said that the additional expenditure is aimed partly at reversing ArmenTel’s falling share of the wireless market. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, in June 2005 ArmenTel claimed 100% of the country’s wireless subscribers, but following the launch of MTS-backed VivaCell the company saw its share of the mobile market dwindle to just 24.3% by the end of 2007. Dmitry Pleskonos, a VimpelCom vice-chairman, blamed the drop on the ongoing upgrading of the ArmenTel network, which causes periodical disruptions in phone connection, and VivaCell’s aggressive marketing strategy. ‘We did not react sufficiently to the activity displayed by our business competitors,’ he told a news conference in Yerevan yesterday. Pleskonos and other VimpelCom executives were speaking to journalists as ArmenTel officially renamed its wireless division Beeline, the brand name used by VimpelCom and its other subsidiaries.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 9:11:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Argentine mobile operator Claro, owned by Mexican giant America Movil (AM), expects to invest USD1 billion within the next three years, reports BNamericas, quoting an interview with AM CEO Daniel Hajj in local paper La Nacion. The executive said the investment will be chiefly geared towards the expansion of the 3G network and new platforms. Claro, until last month known as CTI Movil, expects to obtain additional spectrum to achieve its expansion programme in the country, Hajj said. Rival cellco Movistar Argentina, owned by Spain’s Telefonica, was obliged to return 35MHz of spectrum in the 850MHz band as a condition of the merger of its two local units Movicom and Unifon in 2005. Hajj said Movistar should have returned the frequencies by the end of 2007, and called on the government to launch international bidding once the spectrum becomes available. Claro hopes to obtain the additional allocation to increase its penetration in the Buenos Aires area. In the meantime, the cellco expects to deploy 250 additional base stations this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 9:09:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Natrindo Telepon Selular has revealed it plans to spend more than USD500 million deploying its network and expanding coverage in 2008. The cellco began offering revamped services in East Java in February 2008, and hopes to expand to the capital Jakarta by the end of April, before attaining nationwide coverage by the end of the year. The company is now using the brand name Axis as it seeks to distinguish itself from its previous incarnation – under the Lippo moniker – that failed to make any kind of dent in the market.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 9:06:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Cuban News Agency reports that USD250,000 worth of improvements are being made to the fixed line network in the south-central province of Cienfuegos by state-owned incumbent and monopoly telco Cuban Telephone Enterprise (ETECSA). The work includes the digitalisation of exchanges and the installation of new lines to the main medical centres in the province, and to residential zones close to a sugar mill and the oil refinery jointly operated by Cuba and Venezuela. ETECSA spokesman Luis Antuna said that although workers were ‘pushing themselves hard [for the] improvement of local telecommunications,’ the economic, financial and commercial blockade of Cuba by the US means that the cost of the necessary equipment for the project is around 30% higher than it should be.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 9:00:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 04, 2008

Taiwanese 3G mobile operator Vibo Telecom yesterday said that it planned to lower its capital spending by 44% this year to focus on further improving its network coverage with the aim of reaching 98% of the population by the end of 2008. The celco plans to spend TWD2 billion (USD66 million) mainly on adding new 3G base stations and upgrading some existing base stations to the HSDPA 3.5G standard. In 2007, Vibo spent TWD3.6 billion on new equipment. The company currently has 4,500 base stations nationwide, and hopes for another 1,000 to be operational by year end. It has about 600,000 subscribers at present and is planning to have more than one million by the end of this year. Company President Chang Feng-hsiung said that Vibo hopes for revenues of TWD6 billion in 2008, which would be a 43% increase on last year's TWD4.19 billion. The company is also considering a new round of share sales to raise funds for operational expenses.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, April 04, 2008 7:55:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 03, 2008

Entel, Chile's largest telecoms company, has said it plans to invest USD350 million in infrastructure in 2008, a 25% increase on the previous year, with up to 70% of the capital expenditure being channelled into its wireless arm Entel PCS. Felipe Ureta, Entel's corporate finance manager, told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit in Santiago: ‘It will be a year of high investment. Clearly all this investment stems from demand and will satisfy significant requirements of new services that are appearing, both in mobile and fixed line communications.’ The investment plan for this year will be self-financed from company cash flow, he added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, April 03, 2008 9:14:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 31, 2008

Brazilian mobile operator Vivo has announced a tripling of its planned investment for 2008 to BRL6.07 billion (USD3.48 billion), up from BRL1.92 billion in 2007. It is not clear, however, if the proposed capital expenditure for the current year includes the BRL1.3 billion acquisition of rival carrier Telemig. Vivo’s CAPEX is considerably higher than the figures announced by rivals TIM Brasil (BRL3.6 billion) and Telecom Americas’ Claro unit (BRL700 million).

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 31, 2008 3:45:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A novel idea to take voice and data services to the most rural areas could see Vodacom and MTN paid subsidies to do the job. The operators have to promise high-quality services even the poorest people can afford in return for having up to 80% of infrastructure subsidised. But the cost will not hit taxpayers as the cash will come from the Universal Service Fund, to which the operators themselves contribute.

Click here to see full article
The agency rates 27 areas as underserviced. In one, Umzinyathi in KwaZulu-Natal, 64% of the population has no electricity, 94% no landlines and 69% no cellphones.

Click here to see full article
Last year, US$32.5 million sat idle in the Universal Service Fund as the Treasury refused to hand it over until the agency submitted sound business plans. The cash comes from an annual levy of 0.2% on revenue generated by each telecoms company.

Source: Balancing Act.

Monday, March 31, 2008 3:36:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 25, 2008

KARACHI -(Dow Jones)- Foreign investment in Pakistan's telecom sector witnessed a 7.2% growth on year in the first six months of the current financial year that began July 1, government data issued Wednesday showed.

During the July-December period, foreigners invested $1.314 billion in the country's telecom sector compared with $1.225 billion during the same period last year, Islamabad-based Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said in a report.

During the last four years, the telecom sector has attracted over $5 billion as foreign direct investment, the report said.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 4:40:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 13, 2008

A study commissioned by US equipment vendor Cisco and carried out by IDC concluded that Brazil was home to 8.1 million broadband connections at the end of 2007, up from 5.7 million at end-2006 and more than double the 3.752 million figure reported in December 2005. The main broadband players in the country at the end of last year were Brasil Telecom with 1.567 million customers, Telemar's Oi unit (1.518 million), Telefonica Brazil (2.069 million) and Net Servicos (estimated at 1.38 million).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 13, 2008 10:17:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 10, 2008

Taiwan Mobile says it plans to invest in a nationwide next generation network (NGN) to allow it to offer converged IP-based fixed and wireless services. The firm’s total spend on the new infrastructure is expected to exceed TWD20 billion (USD646 million), according to a report from the Taipei Times. Rollouts are expected to begin within the next few months.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:26:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hong Kong-based mobile operator SmarTone has reported that its fiscal first-half net income rose more than threefold to HKD161 million (USD21 million) after customers increased spending on high speed mobile data services. In the six months to end-December 2007 mobile service revenue increased by 10% year-on-year to HKD1.707 billion and EBITDA registered 26% growth to HKD551 million. The 3.5G operator’s data contribution to total turnover climbed to 22.1% compared to 17.1% in the same period of the previous year. Revenue from multimedia services accounted for two-thirds of total data turnover. Blended ARPU in the six months was up 7% at HKD238, while post-paid ARPU rose 11% to HKD283; the post-paid churn rate improved slightly to 2.1% in December 2007. SmarTone’s customer base reached 1.108 million at the end of December, up from 1.077 million at the end of June, following a dip in the total from 1.093 million at end-December 2006. However the company reported that its 3G/3.5G customer base continues to expand and currently accounts for 40% of post-paid users, up from 30% last June. It added that CAPEX in fiscal 2007/08 is likely to increase by 15% year-on-year to HKD450 million as it focuses on enhancements to its GSM/W-CDMA/HSPA network.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:23:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 06, 2008

Syria’s state-owned incumbent fixed line operator the Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) has announced ambitious plans to invest upwards of USD1.5 billion over the next five years to expand its landline network to rural areas, reports online news portal AMEinfo. STE is forecasting revenues of SYP62.5 billion (USD1.25 billion) in 2008, up 13% year-on-year, driven mainly by strong growth from the nation’s two mobile operators – MTN Syria and SyriaTel – both of which currently hand over 50% of their annual turnover to the company by dint of their Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) licences; last year they were required to hand over 40% of their income.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |