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 Friday, 17 June 2016

Cameroon’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has announced it will deactivate all unregistered SIMs from 30 June 2016, in accordance with Law No. 2010/13 of 21 December 2010 and amendments made via Decree No. 2015/3759 of 03 September 2015. In a press release, the ministry noted that: all operators had been ordered to commence suspension of unidentified SIMs as of 10 June; all operators will have to use a system to detect the MRZ code on identity cards produced by their subscribers; and operators must deploy teams nationally to ensure the registration is implemented.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 17 June 2016 07:21:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Norwegian-backed cellco Telenor Pakistan has confirmed that it has signed up more than five million 3G subscribers, cementing its leadership in the nascent sector. The cellco made the announcement during an event unveiling three new low price 3G-compatible devices, also noting that its 3G network now comprises more than 5,100 sites many of them in areas that lacked ‘even basic landline or mobile telephony services.’ According to the most recent data from sector regulator the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Telenor had 4.696 million 3G subscribers at end-July 2015, well ahead of its nearest rival Mobilink, which had 3.957 million at that date, whilst Zong and Ufone claimed 3.095 million and 2.613 million respectively.

The three new handsets are ‘Lite 3G’, ‘Smart Mini’ and ‘Smart Pro’, the first of which is a dual SIM feature phone with video calling and video streaming functions, and costs PKR3,690 (USD35.13). The Smart Mini and Smart Pro devices, meanwhile, are smartphones with 3.5-inch/4.0-inch displays and high speed processors with price tags of PKR5,490 and PKR6,990. Each of the new phones also comes pre-loaded with PKR600 of credit and 3GB of data. Commenting on the new devices, chief marketing officer Irfan Wahab Khan said: ‘Telenor Pakistan aims to bring 3G phones within the affordability range of people belonging to low and middle income groups…Capturing more than 32% of Pakistan’s entire 3G broadband landscape is yet another testament to our commitment toward facilitating 3G uptake by providing best-in-class and affordable internet services to all.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 14:04:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indian-owned Airtel Malawi, the largest cellco in the country by market share, registered 3.5 million subscribers in August 2015, according to local news site Nyasa Times. ‘Airtel believes customers deserve all the credit for making this attainment happen,’ commented Public Relations and Corporate Affairs Manager Edith Tsilizani. Meanwhile, in a statement the operator promises Airtel will ‘substantially increase its investment in corporate social responsibility activities,’ adding: ’Subscribers should also expect more people-centred innovative solutions, services and products’.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Airtel Malawi became the country’s second mobile operator in 1999, launching a GSM network in October that year, before launching 3G services in September 2010. It competes with rival cellco Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), while a third company, Cellcom Limited, was awarded a public telecommunication services licence by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in May 2011 but has since failed to launch services.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 14:03:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iranian mobile operator MTN Irancell has revealed the latest details of its 3G and 4G network rollouts. The firm says its 3G network now covers 35.8% of the population in 427 cities and towns and 56 main roads across all 31 provinces, while its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network reaches 11.6% of the population with coverage in 82 cities. Irancell has constructed 4,250 3G base stations and 1,750 4G sites, and is claiming 12.5 million 3G subscribers and around one million 4G users. MTN Irancell launched 3G services at the start of September 2014 while 4G services were added two months later.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 13:58:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Mozambique has reportedly abandoned its plan to force the country’s mobile operators to register all SIM card users. Authorities have tried in vain for almost five years to ensure that all mobile subscribers have their details registered, but a number of deadlines have come and gone with few visible results. The three active cellcos, mCel, Vodacom and Movitel, are thought to have registered the details of only around half of the country’s twelve million mobile users by the end of 2014. A report from news agency APA now suggests that the Ministry of Transport and Communications is giving up on the scheme, with Minister Manuela Rebelo said to have labelled the task as ‘hopeless’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Mobile | SIM
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 13:56:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telekom Slovenije announced that its LTE mobile network, launched in March 2013, now handles more than 40% of its mobile data traffic (which increased in volume by over 40% in H1 2015). LTE devices on the network increased by around 5% every month in H1. The multi-band LTE network now covers more than 86% of the population, and coverage is expected to exceed 92% by the end of 2015.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 13:47:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Communications Authority of Kenya has published its statistical report for the three months ended 31 March 2015, in which it reveals that the total number of mobile subscriptions rose to 34.79 million from 33.63 million the previous quarter and 31.83 million at end-March 2014. Safaricom accounted for the lion’s share of total wireless customers (67.1%, 23.35 million), followed by Airtel Kenya with a market share of 20.2% (7.02 million) and Telkom Kenya (Orange), which reported 3.77 million wireless users at end-March 2015 to give it a share of 10.8%. The market’s only mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Finserve Africa (Equitel), had signed up a total of 665,661 customers by 31 March 2015, representing 1.9% of the total wireless sector. Finserve Africa, a subsidiary of regional bank Equity Group, was awarded one of three MVNO licences by the regulator in April 2014, and says its mobile service aims to make banking more accessible and affordable by enabling customers to apply for loans, transfer money, pay bills and carry out cross-border transactions using their wireless handsets. Mobile data subscriptions rose from 13.26 million to 18.68 million over the twelve-month period, with Safaricom accounting for 12.15 million of the total, followed by Airtel with 3.45 million, Orange with 2.42 million and newcomer Finserve Africa (Equitel) with 665,661.

As at 31 March 2015 the Communications Authority of Kenya reported 87,838 fibre-optic broadband subscribers (up from 69,377 twelve months previously), 16,148 terrestrial wireless data customers (16,540), 14,685 xDSL connections (12,547) and 836 satellite broadband users (700). Wananchi Telecom remains the fixed broadband market leader, accounting for 46.8% of all customers at end-March 2015, followed by Liquid Telecom (15.3%), Telkom Kenya (10.1%), Access Kenya (9.6%) and Safaricom (6.9%). Kenya ended the period under review with a total of 202,905 fixed telephony lines in service (down from 206,129 a year earlier), including 91,373 fixed terrestrial connections and 111,532 fixed-wireless lines.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015 13:46:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 01 September 2015

Wi-Fi networks will carry nearly 60% of smartphone and data tablet traffic by 2019, Juniper Research has predicted.

The research firm estimates that smartphone and data traffic over Wi-Fi will grow from under 30,000 petabytes this year to over 115,000 petabytes by 2019.

Mobile operators are increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offload to address patchy coverage and alleviate the strain being placed on mobile networks due to voracious demand for data.

"Juniper Research said Wi-Fi offload also has the potential to help create new services such as voice over Wi-Fi, and to increase uptake of existing 3G and 4G services."

But Wi-Fi offload also creates challenges for operators in the form of ensuring ROI as well as effective deployment.

“Operators need to deploy their own Wi-Fi zones in problematic areas or partner with Wi-Fi hotspot operators and aggregators such as iPass and Boingo,” Juniper Research’s Nitin Bhas commented.

Juniper Research expects overall mobile data traffic from mobile devices to surpass 197,000 petabytes by 2019. This year, global smartphone data consumption is set to be nearly twice the amount generated from tablets.

Source: pctech magazine.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 09:50:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Senegal’s Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes (ARTP) has published its market development report for the three months ended 30 June 2015, noting that the total number of active mobile users in the country exceeded 14.819 million at that date, up 0.82% (119,817) quarter-on-quarter, and 462,998 higher than the 14.356 million at end-June 2014. Of the total, an overwhelming 14.718 million are pre-paid users, with just 100,466 on contract service plans – broadly unchanged q-o-q. According to the watchdog’s calculations, cellular penetration reached 109.7% at end-June, down slightly from 111.5% a year before.

Orange Senegal continues to hold a dominant position in the mobile sector, with a 56.8% slice of the pie at end-June, although it lost some ground in the three months under review, with its share declining 0.05% despite increasing its base by a net 61,312 users to nearly 8.418 million. Orange’s loss was Millicom International Cellular-owned Tigo’s gain: the Luxembourg-based cellco’s local unit boosted its base to 3.469 million at the end of the second quarter, increasing its market share by 0.07 of a percentage point to 23.41% in the process. Meanwhile, number three operator – Expresso Telecom – closed out the second quarter with 2.932 million subscribers, a net gain of just 20,484, and saw its share of the pie slip marginally from 19.81% to 19.79% in the process.

Further, the ARTP’s report highlighted that monthly outgoing voice traffic reached 4.871 billion minutes in Q2 2015, up 4.73% when compared to 4.656 billion minutes of voice traffic in the prior quarter. However, SMS traffic is following a downward trend; the total number of text messages sent stood at 131 million in June 2015, down from 140 million (June 2014), 132 million (September 2014), 148 million (December 2014) and 131 million (March 2015).

Turning to the fixed line market, ARTP reported that the country was home to 102,623 broadband (ADSL) connections at 30 June 2015, up from 102,410 three months earlier but still below the 105,738 figure reported in June 2014. Incumbent PTO Sonatel is the monopoly provider of fixed broadband services and also controls 100% of the dial-up market, which numbered 18,283 users at the same date. In terms of voice telephony, there were a total of 305,843 main lines in service at end-June, down 0.4% q-o-q, of which Sonatel controlled a 93.6% market share and Expresso, 6.4%. The Sudatel-owned second national operator (SNO) is struggling to make headway in a market dominated by its Orange-backed rival. The SNO had a fixed telephony market share of 11.0% in June 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 09:42:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nigeria ended June 2015 with a total of 148.775 million active fixed and mobile telephone subscribers, up from 143.934 million three months earlier and 139.143 million at the start of the year, according to the latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). GSM mobile operators accounted for 98.5%, or 146.486 million, of the country’s total telephony user base at the end of the second quarter of 2015 (up from 136.772 million users six months earlier), followed by CDMA mobile networks with 1.4%, or 2.106 million customers (down from 2.188 million at 31 December 2014). Fixed line and CDMA fixed-wireless operators claimed just 0.1%, or 182,643, of the total telephony base, down from 183,290 at the end of 2014.

According to the NCC, the largest mobile operator by subscribers remains South Africa-based MTN by some margin, with around 62.813 million users on its GSM network at mid-2015, up 2.7% quarter-on-quarter and accounting for 42.3% of Nigeria’s total GSM and CDMA wireless subscriber base. Its nearest rival Globacom had roughly half that figure (31.256 million subscribers) at the same date, followed by Indian-owned Airtel Nigeria with 29.564 million and Etisalat Nigeria with roughly 22.852 million wireless customers at 30 June 2015. The country’s two remaining active CDMA mobile network operators Visafone and Multi-links had 2.095 million and 10,788 users, respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 09:20:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnamese military-backed telecoms group Viettel has announced that its new mobile venture in Burundi, which launched 2G and 3G services in May this year under the brand name Lumitel, has hit the one million subscriber landmark in its first four months of operations. The newcomer’s rise has been meteoric: in an interview in June this year, Le Dang Dung, the company’s deputy managing director, disclosed that the cellco had signed up an impressive 600,000 subscribers in its first month of service. Lumitel aims to become the largest telecom operator in Burundi, with 1,000 base stations supporting 95% population coverage. In addition, the newcomer seeks to deploy 5,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure, ahead of its planned entry into the country’s fixed line telecoms sector.

Legally registered as Viettel Burundi SA, the company is headquartered in Bujumbura and has already deployed 800 base stations across the country as it taps into the local population’s need for telecoms access – despite the presence of competition from Econet (leo), Africa Cellulaire (TEMPO), Onatel Mobile and Smart Mobile.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in January 2014 Viettel Global announced the establishment of a new cellular unit, Viettel Burundi, which was created after Viettel added another VND6.2 trillion (USD291.1 million) to finance capital for new projects. The following month the government reportedly charged Viettel BIF16 billion (USD10.47 million) for a Burundian network operating licence, well below the original asking price of closer to BIF60 billion, paving the way for the launch of the country’s sixth cellular service.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 09:18:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Guinea-Bissau’s telecoms industry watchdog Autoridade Reguladora Nacional das Tecnologias de Informacao e Comunicacao (ARN) has given domestic mobile operators MTN Guinea-Bissau and Orange Bissau until 15 August to resolve the technical problems currently blighting their services. ARN called high ranking officials from the two cellcos to a meeting to set out its position that it will not accept the high levels of dropped calls users are facing, or the fact that at times consumers find it impossible to place a call on either network. The chairman of the regulatory authority, Djibril Mane, confirmed that the meeting was called in the wake of a review earlier this year into mobile service quality and the need for the two companies to provide nationwide coverage. Both MTN and Orange have been advised on the improvements they could make, Mane said, noting a positive response from both firms. ‘As you know, ARN has the power granted to it by the law. It is not only a regulatory and supervisory authority, but also promotes activities to develop the sector in Guinea-Bissau,’ the chairman said.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the mobile market in the tiny African nation of Guinea-Bissau is home to three operators – MTN Guinea-Bissau (Areeba), formerly Spacetel Guinea-Bissau, a wholly owned subsidiary of South Africa’s MTN Group; Orange Bissau, which is 90%-owned by Sonatel of Seegal, itself a 42.33% subsidiary of Orange Group; and Guinetel, the 100% owned mobile arm of national fixed line operator Companhia de Telecomunicacoes da Guine-Bissau (Guine Telecom) – which between them counted a total of 1.171 million subscribers at end-March 2015, a cellular penetration of 67.0%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 07:43:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has released its latest statistical bulletin covering the month to 13 April 2015 (MIS Report 97 – 15 March-13 April 2015). At that date the country was home to more than 22.719 million GSM mobile users – up from 22.850 million three months earlier – split between privately owned Ncell (12.271 million) and government-backed Nepal Telecom (NT – 10.477 million). In addition, NT claimed 1.232 million CDMA-based mobile users, up from 1.170 million at mid-December 2014 pushing overall cellular penetration up to 90.4% at that date. In the fixed broadband sector, meanwhile, NT had 135,721 ADSL subscribers by 15 December, up slightly from 135,064 three months earlier, with bigger gains being made in the cable modem sector (up from 47,182 to 67,058) and in the WiMAX market (from 11,102 to 12,409), though a small improvement in other broadband connection types, such as wireless modems and fibre, was registered (from 46,701 to 47,379) following a roughly 20,000 cut in user numbers in the prior three-month period. Fixed voice telephony lines stood at 843,462 at 13 April, a teledensity of 3.18%, broken down as 667,974 (PTSN) and 175,488 (CDMA) lines.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 07:40:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 18 June 2015

Nigerian mobile network operator Globacom has revealed that its mobile subscriber base is approaching the 30 million mark, local newspaper Vanguard cites the company’s national sales coordinator for North West operations, Samuel Edoho, as saying. Globacom’s wireless customers have grown from 28.22 million at the end of December 2014 and 23.42 million at 31 March 2014, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Edoho attributed the growth in subscriber numbers to the firm’s continued investment in its network infrastructure and the launch of innovative customer-orientated services. ‘We are still very aggressive, we will keep the spirit high and assure Nigerians who have no confidence in the market of our determination to offer them best experience ever across all network,’ he added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 07:45:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cellular penetration in Myanmar has surpassed 50%, with the number of mobile subscribers passing the 28.1 million mark by the end of March 2015, the Myanmar Times cites Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) permanent secretary U Khin Maung Thet as saying. State-backed incumbent Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) represented the lion’s share with 18.4 million users, compared to the 6.4 million and 3.3 million claimed by its Norwegian and Qatari-backed rivals, Telenor and Ooredoo, respectively. Cellular penetration was 54.6% at that date, compared to 32.9% twelve months earlier according to the official.

The announcement follows on the heels of parliament’s suspension of a planned 5% tax on mobile services. The levy was due to be implemented on 1 June this year, when a one-year exemption on the fee was due to expire, but parliamentary opposition has seen the tax pushed back another year. MPs argued that the tax should be postponed until coverage and service quality are improved, and suggested that the charge should be introduced at a lower rate, of 1%-2% and gradually increased to 5%. One official, U Tin Maung Win was quoted as saying: ‘People are now using MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo SIM cards, but these do not work in rural and remote areas, and they cannot provide a sufficient service to customers. I want them to collect tax, but only if they can provide an adequate service.’ For their part, MCIT and finance ministry officials pointed out that the tax would help fund the requested improvements, garnering around MMK84 billion (USD78.38 million) per year for government coffers – not accounting for any increases in subscriber numbers or spending. Further, it was noted that other nations collect indirect taxes on mobile services of 6%-20%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 07:33:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Viettel Cameroon, which operates under the brand Nexttel, claims that it has already signed up around two million customers since its launch in September last year, writes Business in Cameroon. Nexttel, which is majority-owned by Vietnamese telecoms firm Viettel Group, was awarded its mobile licence in December 2012, fighting off rival bids from the likes of Maroc Telecom and Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel after pledging to invest nearly XAF200 billion (USD334 million) in the rollout of a mobile network that would cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory from launch, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. After encountering a number of setbacks, the cellco eventually went on to launch commercial 2G and the country’s first UMTS services on 18 September 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 07:27:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 19 May 2015
The number of Cuban mobile telephony users exceeded the three million mark in April, according to figures provided to local newspaper Juventud Rebelde by the island’s state-owned monopoly operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA). Recent subscriber growth has been driven by the launch of the company’s mobile e-mail service in March 2014, as well as the extension of the recharge validity period for pre-paid mobile lines to 330 days. In addition, Cubans have been able to own up to three pre-paid mobile telephony lines since 5 February 2015, in a further move aimed at relaxing the conditions for using telecoms services in the country. ETECSA, which aims to sign up 800,000 new customers in each year up to 2018, has steadily increased the number of base stations across the island from 350 in 2010 to just over 600 today, and will continue to invest in expanding coverage and improving service quality. ETECSA also revealed that the number of locations where Cuban citizens can access the internet, so-called ‘salas de navegacion’, has increased to 261 in 144 municipalities.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 07:53:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Armenian fixed and mobile operator ArmenTel, which trades under the Beeline banner of its Russian parent Vimpelcom, says its cellular subscriber base climbed by 11.9% last year to over 770,000, up from 688,000 at end-2013. Presenting the telco’s financial and operational achievements in 2014, CEO Andrei Pyatakhin said turnover derived from mobile internet services increased by USD900,000 in FY 2014, to USD6 million, although operating revenue from fixed telephony services declined 6% from USD81 million to USD76 million over the twelve-month period. Mr Pyatakhin attributed the decline in fixed line revenue to the global trend of declining demand for fixed telephone services, as people switch to mobile / over-the-top (OTT) applications allowing free communication, such as Viber or Skype.

ArmenTel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vimpelcom, invested USD14 million in the development of its services in FY 2014, USD3 million more than was invested in FY 2013, Pyatakhin said. ‘Thanks to the investment, a high speed fibre-optic internet service based on [fibre-to-the-building] FTTB technology was launched, digitisation was continued in provinces, the number of mobile basic stations was increased and an IPTV service was offered in Armenia,’ he said. Moreover, Pyatakhin noted that CAPEX totalled USD6 million in the fourth quarter alone, while ArmenTel also paid taxes to the government exceeding AMD14 billion (USD29.2 million). In the press conference, Pyatakhin said that 2014 was marked by the implementation of a new client-based strategy to improve customer loyalty.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 08:13:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has released its latest update on telecoms services in the city-state for the month of December 2014, showing that fixed line household penetration stood at 101.3% at the end of last year, up from 96.8% in November, as total fixed line subscriptions climbed 14,800 to 1.995 million. Of these, some 1.247 million are residential connections (up 16,600) and 747,900 are corporate lines (down 1,900). According to the IDA’s figures, fixed (population) teledensity stood at 36.5% at the start of this year, up 0.3 of a percentage point from November.

In the Singapore mobile market, the total number of mobile subscriptions (2G+3G+4G) reached 8.093 million at end-December, down marginally from 8.108 million the previous month, of which only 89,800 are now 2G/GSM connections. By contrast, the uptake of Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G services continues apace, reaching nearly 3.182 million last year, predominantly post-paid (2.924 million) subscriptions, while 3G accounts for 4.608 million of the total – a figure down from 5.211 million in July 2014 due to the rise of 4G.

Turning to the fixed broadband segment, the IDA reported a total of 1.451 million connections at end-2014, of which 103,400 are corporate wired accounts. Of the total, xDSL accounts for 236,300 users (Nov-14: 243,200), cable for 503,800 (510,600), with fibre supplanting more ‘traditional’ broadband platforms, accounting for 708,000 lines by 31 December, up from 692,000 in November; other platforms accounted for just 2,600 lines. The residential wired broadband penetration rate stood at 106.0% at the end of the period under review, according to the IDA’s data.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015 08:11:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Senegal’s telecoms industry watchdog, l’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes (ARTP), has published its quarterly report on the development of fixed and mobile telecoms services in the country for the period October-December 2014. According to its findings, the total number of fixed telephone lines in service continued a downward trend in the three-month period under review, to a total of 311,945 lines at end-2014, compared to 317,653 main lines in service at 30 September 2014. ARTP attributed the fall mainly to an ongoing decline in residential connections (down 6,000 to 241,153 lines) and fewer public phone booths, which resulted in an annual decline of 9.2%, taking fixed teledensity to 2.31% at the year end. The watchdog also noted that the volume of fixed telephony calls fell to an estimated 22.50 million monthly call minutes in October-December, down from 23.94 million minutes in July-September. Incumbent PTO Sonatel (Orange) commanded the lion’s share of the market at that date, with 91.1% of all lines in service, while second national operator Expresso saw its share of the pie fall 0.38% quarter-on-quarter to account for the remainder.

In the mobile segment, ARTP said the country was home to more than 14.379 million mobile connections at the end of 2014, an increase of 0.19% when compared to the third quarter, with the growth by and large attributable to Orange, which saw its user base climb 1.61% q-o-q to 8.097 million. Second-placed Tigo Senegal reported a decline in users in the fourth quarter to 3.377 million from 3.471 million, while number three player Expresso closed out 2014 with 2.904 million mobile lines, down from 2.912 million at end-September. ARTP reported that the total volume of mobile calls in the quarter reached around 44.4 million minutes – down 3.2% from 3Q14 – while the total volume of SMS traffic was estimated at 407.55 million texts sent during the quarter, a 14.3% decrease y-o-y. Based on the regulator’s findings, cellular penetration stood at 106.45% at the year end, down 0.21 percentage points from September, of which 99.35% were pre-paid lines.

Turning finally to the internet sector, ARTP said there were a total of 6.858 million fixed and mobile (i.e. GPRS/3G) connections at the end of 2014, up 60.5% from 2.294 million in December 2013, but noted that in the fourth quarter of last year growth stalled to just 2.7% as the market appeared to reach saturation level. Mobile internet accounted for 93.9%, or 6.441 million, connections at the year end, while ADSL took just 1.5% (103,362) and dial-up an even smaller share – 17,754 users. Although it does not provide a breakdown by technology, ARTP said that Orange controlled 65.08% of the internet market at 31 December, ahead of Tigo (23.79%) and Expresso (11.12%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 09:19:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 05 February 2015

Worldwide tablet shipments recorded a year-over-year decline for the first time since the market's inception in 2010. Overall shipments for tablets and 2-in-1 devices reached 76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14) for -3.2% growth, according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Although the fourth quarter witnessed a decline in the global market, shipments for the full year 2014 increased 4.4%, totaling 229.6 million units.

"The tablet market is still very top heavy in the sense that it relies mostly on Apple and Samsung to carry the market forward each year," said Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. "Although Apple expanded its iPad lineup by keeping around older models and offering a lower entry price point of $249, it still wasn't enough to spur iPad sales given the excitement around the launch of the new iPhones. Meanwhile, Samsung's struggles continued as low-cost vendors are quickly proving that mid- to high-priced Android tablets simply aren't cut out for today's tablet market."

Apple's lead over other vendors has yet to be truly challenged as it shipped 21.4 million tablets, accounting for over a quarter of the market with 28.1% volume share. Despite Samsung's woes, it managed to hold on to the second place with 11 million units shipped. Lenovo (4.8%), ASUS (4%), and Amazon (2.3%) rounded out the top 5 although only Lenovo managed to grow annually when compared to Q4 2013. Lenovo maintained its tight grip on the Asia/Pacific market thanks to its massive scale in the PC business and the success of its low-cost tablet offerings.

Source: IDC.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 11:08:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Monaco Telecom has launched an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in the Principality under the ‘4G+’ banner, adding 800MHz frequencies to its existing 2600MHz network to deliver peak (theoretical) speeds of 223Mbps using carrier aggregation (CA) technology. The Xavier Niel-controlled operator says that at launch the service is available in the port area of Port Hercule, and that it will cover the whole of the Principality with 4G+ services this year. Although it stopped short of providing a date when this will happen, Monaco Telecom says that its nearly 35,000-strong user base will be able to benefit from LTE-A automatically – i.e. they will not be charged an additional fee to sign up and can access it via packages that start from EUR34 (USD38.1) per month for two hours of voice calls and 1GB of data. The cellular arm is selling four smartphones initially that support LTE-A, namely: Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Note and Note Edge and the Huawei Mate 7.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:40:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vodafone Malta has announced that its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile data network now offers coverage to 70% of the country’s population, 14 months after its commercial launch in November 2013. Vodafone is so far the only Maltese cellular operator to have implemented LTE technology, with rivals GO and Melita still to reveal their 4G rollout plans. Vodafone accounted for around 46% of Malta’s 560,000 mobile users at the end of September 2014, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, while GO took 39% and Melita had a 15% share.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:35:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telkom Kenya (operating under the Orange brand) has expanded its 3G network to a further 14 urban areas across the country, as it seeks to grow its data services business. Following the rollout of 3G services to Eldoret and Nakuru last year, the firm has now launched its 3G network in Isiolo, Othaya, Keruguya, Kenol, Mwingi, Loitokitok, Namanga, Mai Mahiu, Gilgil, Bomet, Eldama Ravine, Siaya, Webuye and Kilgoris. Orange has also revealed that its data business grew by 50% in the fourth quarter of 2014, driven by the provision of high speed broadband to 35 county governments and through the improvement of its network across the country. ‘Part of our KES2.5 billion (USD27.3 million) investment last year was dedicated to the rolling out of 3G network across the country, and the transformation of our operations to enhance service delivery,’ commented Orange Kenya CEO Vincent Lobry. He added that the business is strengthening its national broadband reach with the laying of transport cables across the country. By the end of Q1 2015 an additional 27 urban areas will be connected to the Orange 3G network.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Africa | Mobile
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:34:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun (Dhiraagu), the Maldives’ incumbent telecoms operator, has expanded its 4G LTE service to the island of Fuvahmulah (Gn) and Addu City, the country’s second largest city. In addition to these two new locations, coverage of the firm’s 1800MHz network is also available in Male’ City, Villingili, Hulhumale’, Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Villingilli (GA), Thinadhoo, Kulhudhufushi (Hdh), Naifaru (Lh). Dhiraagu’s LTE network supports maximum downstream speeds of 100Mbps, with customers experiencing average data rates of between 15Mbps and 20Mbps.

At the official 4G unveiling ceremony in Fuvahmulah, Dhiraagu’s managing director and CEO Ismail Waheed said: ‘We continue to make constant investments nationally to ensure our customers can take full advantage of the latest services on their smart devices. One of our key objectives is to give the fastest and reliable internet connectivity in the country to enhance both quality of life and economic growth of the country and the current investments on the enhancement of our mobile network is a testament to this.’ Dhiraagu currently provides 4G LTE coverage to 50% of the population, while its 3G network reaches 95% of Maldivians.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:33:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Movistar Argentina has activated a total of 50 LTE-4G base stations in the centre of Buenos Aires, reports local daily Clarin. Company sources said the network is already operational and that they accelerated the deployment to improve the service and decongest 3G networks. They also announced that 200,000 customers who already have 4G-enabled devices will shortly be sent the new chips that are needed to use the service.

Movistar is the first Argentine operator to launch 4G services and is expected to be followed shortly by the operators Personal and Claro. Movistar last week revealed that it had sold 100,000 4G-enabled since announcing the service in December and that the company had already installed 160 LTE base stations covering several cities in the Buenos Aires province, including Buenos Aires itself, as well as the nearby conurbations of Mar del Plata, Pinamar and Carilo.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 09:30:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 26 January 2015

Elephant Talk Communications has announced that Vodafone Spain’s low-cost MVNO brand, Lowi, has been launched on Elephant Talk's full services mobile platform in Spain, joining other MVNOs such as Lebara, BT and Eroski. The low-cost Lowi brand began providing services on 18 December, offering a single postpay tariff, called “Tu mismo”, which includes 1GB of mobile data and unlimited calls to all Spanish mobile and fixed numbers (EUR 0.19 call set up fee payable) for EUR 6 per month.

Vodafone and Elephant worked together to complete the platform in three months, with Elephant Talk changing the complete core network, the systems architecture and the billing engine, while developing all the functionality required and integrating with third parties for the website and distribution. "In only three months, we were able to deploy a fully redundant installation including new HLR\HSSs, new upgraded IP systems, new GGSNs, new provisioning, a new postpaid billing system and backup systems in two co-location data centres in Barcelona and Madrid,” said Elephant Talk CTO Martin Zuurbier.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Europe | Mobile | MVNO
Monday, 26 January 2015 09:15:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Mobile penetration reached 147% in Jordan at the end of September, compared to 146% three months earlier and 143% at end-March 2014, according to the most recent statistics published by sector regulator the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). The number of mobile users expanded to 11.00 million from 10.69 million in the previous quarter, with pre-paid users increasing from 9.90 million to 10.17 million over that period. Mobile broadband subscriptions meanwhile reached 1.3 million from 1.21 million and 1.13 million in the preceding two quarters. Elsewhere, the TRC notes that there were some 5.6 million Jordanians, or 74% of the population, using internet services in Q3 compared to 5.4 million (73%) in Q2 2014. Broadband subscriptions totaled 344,738 at end-September, including 211,732 ADSL (207,713 in Q2), 125,481 WiMAX (125,909) and 6,000 cable (6,069).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 09:16:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Guatemalan operators Claro, Movistar and Tigo have returned some six million mobile numbers to the government in order to minimise the burden of a new tax approved for the 2015 budget which will cost the operators GTQ5 (USD0.64) per number. El Periodico quotes the president of Guatemala’s Telecommunications Union, Acisclo Valladares, as saying that the numbers to be returned belonged to inactive users whose lines will be deactivated, adding that each of the trio still had sufficient resources to cope with national demand. Each of the three cellcos returned around two million numbers. According to the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SIT), ahead of this move there were 21.474 million registered mobile subscribers in Guatemala, of which 20.474 million were on pre-paid plans, with 70% of these users (14.302 million) topping up less than GTQ10 per month. Valldares warned that those customers that used less than GTQ10 per month might be affected by the deactivation.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014 09:14:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 10 November 2014
GrameenPhone, the Bangladeshi mobile market leader, last week announced reaching the milestone of 50 million network users, and declared that its number of internet users alone will match this figure within the next five years. GrameenPhone CEO Vivek Sood said that the company has maintained an annual average investment budget of USD154 million over the past few years to upgrade and expand its network, adding that the level of investment will be significantly increased. Internet speeds of its existing 3G data plans are being doubled at no added cost as part of a new promotion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 10 November 2014 15:41:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cuba’s state-owned monopoly fixed line and wireless operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) attracted 300,000 new wireless customers in the first nine months of the year. According to local newspaper Granma, around 40,000 of that total were signed up in August and September, while the telecoms operator has recently carried out work to modernise and expand its mobile network to cope with increasing demand for cellular services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, ETECSA had a wireless customer base of 1.996 million at the end of 2013, up from 1.681 million twelve months earlier. On 3 March 2014 the company introduced a mobile e-mail service known as

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 10 November 2014 15:40:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 June 2014

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is preparing for the arrival of competition in the wireless sector, drafting in help from its sister company in Panama, and former Digicel executives, Tribune 242 writes. Phil Bentley the chief executive of parent company Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) said that the Bahamian unit was the second largest contributor to the group’s annual income in the year to end-March 2014, adding that CWC was ‘cognisant’ of the threat posed by cellular liberalisation. The official confirmed that ex Digicel executive Niall Merry, now CWC’s chief commercial officer, has been called in to assist BTC with its preparations, helping assess what his former employer may attempt if it is successful in securing the second mobile licence. BTC is also to draw on the expertise of CWC’s Panama subsidiary, which has experience as an incumbent battling new market entrants. Speaking to shareholders and analysts in a conference call on CWC’s annual results, Bentley explained: ‘We’ve had the team in, and certainly Niall [Merry] has been helping in war gaming what we think Digicel might do if they come in. We’ve had the Panama team helping us, because they’ve gone through pretty intensive new entrance strategies in how to fight those off.’

CWC highlighted the fact that it likely to have an advantage over newcomers in its broadband network, adding that the telco will explore converged offerings: ‘It’s all part of this fixed-mobile convergence play, so we’ll be able to move to that Wi-Fi offload for products that a mobile-only entrant will be unable to support.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 16 June 2014 07:47:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Group has earmarked investment of over USD3 billion for the upgrade and expansion of its Nigerian business over the next three years, in a bid to improve the quality of its services amid rapid subscriber growth, Business Day reports. The Nigerian market is South Africa-based MTN’s largest by revenues and subscribers, but the company has been penalised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to meet minimum standards of service quality, while it also faces attacks on its infrastructure in the north by militant Islamist group Boko Haram. MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa acknowledged that the firm has challenges with quality of service driven by the ‘high demand’ in Nigeria, adding that the company will ‘continue to invest at this rate in the medium term, and make sure the overall quality of service is acceptable’. At 31 March 2014 MTN Nigeria’s subscriber total stood at 57.2 million, up 12% from 51.3 million twelve months earlier and making it the market leader by some margin. The cellco expects its customer base to exceed 60 million by the end of the year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 16 June 2014 07:34:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 12 June 2014
The Ministry of Communications in Cote d’Ivoire is calling for the three smallest operators in the country’s cellular market to merge to create a more effective competitor to the trio of dominant players, MTN, Orange and Moov. Communications Minister Bruno Nabagne Kone is recommending that Comium, Green Network and Cafe Mobile unite to create a fourth player with 1.13 million subscribers and a 6% share of the overall market, Agence Ecofin reports. MTN and Orange currently claim around 36% of the market each, while Etisalat subsidiary Moov has the remaining 22%, with the country being home to 19.39 million subscribers in total at the end of 2013, according to figures from the regulator, Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 07:43:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
According to national telecoms regulator Agence de Regulation et de Controle des Telecom (ARCT), Burundi’s overall mobile base stood at 2.53 million at end-2013, up 13% from 2.24 million a year earlier. Reuters reports the watchdog as saying that the gains were largely the result of network expansion projects undertaken by most operators in the east African nation, noting that ‘Some companies which were just covering the capital Bujumbura are now present in a large part of the country’. The ARCT went on to point out that an increase in competition has resulted in a reduction in call prices and handset costs, further driving uptake; Burundi had only 270,000 mobile phones users in 2007. In its report, the regulator confirmed that U-Com Burundi (leo) – a unit of Egypt’s Orascom – dominates the domestic mobile market with 64% of all users. The remainder is shared between Econet Wireless Burundi, Smart Telecom (Lacell SU), Africell (TEMPO) and state-backed Onamob. The government has also recently issued a licence to a sixth player, Vietnam’s Vietel Telecom, for USD10 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 12 June 2014 07:40:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 01 May 2014
According to the latest data published by Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel, the country was home to a total of 273.58 million mobile phone subscriptions at 31 March 2014, up a net 860,210 connections on the previous month and compared to the 370,020 new connections added in the month of February. Mobile market leader Telefonica (Vivo) increased its slice of the pie in the month of March, from 28.62% to 28.68%, while second-placed TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) saw its market share rise from 27.00% to 27.02%. However, number three player – America Movil (AM)-owned Claro (Brasil) reported a drop in market share to 25.13% from 25.28% in February. Finally, fourth-placed Oi SA closed out the period with an 18.49% share, down from 18.47%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:27:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Group, a leading emerging market mobile operator, reported a ‘satisfactory performance’ in the first quarter of 2014, with subscriber growth of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter pushing the group’s total to 210.065 million in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East by the start of April. Data revenues as a proportion of total revenue continue to bolster the carrier’s performance, it said, increasing 43.3% year-on-year and contributing 17.0% of total revenue, while the encouraging progress of its ‘Mobile Money’ service saw total registered users top 16.6 million at the end of the period under review. The operator’s MTN South Africa unit ‘continued to focus on regaining relevance in the pre-paid segment and maintaining its post-paid market share’, despite which, the subsidiary’s subscriber base dipped a net 824,768 to 24.875 million customers at 31 March, marginally below the 24.950 million recorded at end-March 2013. MTN said the fall is mainly due to the disconnection of 973,064 subscribers who had been showing activity but not generating revenue as per its 90-day ‘active user’ definition. Data subscribers increased to 14.5 million by 1Q14, largely due to competitive data packages and the launch of the cellco’s low-cost ‘Steppa’ smartphone. Blended ARPU decreased by 11.3% to ZAR100.47 (USD9.50) per month. Further, MTN South Africa says it remains committed to seeking a permanent resolution to the recent mobile termination rate (MTR) glide path and asymmetry regulations announced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), which came into effect on 1 April for a period of six months.

Meanwhile, the group’s MTN Nigeria unit delivered a satisfactory performance during the three months under review, and increased its subscriber base despite the one-month ban on the sale of SIMs imposed by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for three of the four GSM operators active in the market. MTN Nigeria had a total of 57.2224 million subscribers at 31 March, up 0.8% from 56.766 million three months earlier and 51.295 million at the end of 1Q13. In its filing, MTN Group said that: ‘Encouragingly we have seen strong subscriber growth post the lifting of the ban’. MTN’s Nigerian unit has also worked hard to improve its network quality and capacity, with 483 2G and 597 3G sites added during the January-March quarter. Partly as a result, MTN Nigeria reported strong growth in 3G enabled devices on the network, which increased to 7.1 million in the quarter.

The group’s ‘Large opco cluster’, which includes operations in Iran, Ghana, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda and Sudan, ended March with a total of 95.540 million users, up 2.2% q-o-q and up from 89.318 million subscribers at 31 March 2013. Finally, the ‘Small opco cluster’ (comprising units in Yemen, Afghanistan, Benin, Congo [Republic], Zambia, Guinea (Conakry), Rwanda, Cyprus, Liberia, Botswana, Guinea-Bissau, Swaziland and South Sudan) registered 32.426 million connections, up from 31.882 million at the start of the year and 29.825 million at end-March 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 01 May 2014 14:19:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Mobile subscribers in Papua New Guinea could soon be required to register their SIM cards due to what has been described as abuse of telecommunication services, according to Islands Business. Charles Punaha, chief executive of the local telecoms regulator the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA) was cited as saying: ‘When we opened up the market in 2007, there was no control measure in place. You can just walk down the road and buy a SIM card without (producing) any identification … Unfortunately as we all know, that has resulted in us not having some records of what particular numbers are allocated to individuals or to companies. And related to that, we have seen abuse – people abusing the services when they are sending defamatory messages to other people.’

It is understood that proposed regulations which would require the registration of new SIM cards have been sent to the State Solicitor for approval, with the regulator hoping to have a certificate of necessity allowing it to submit the plans to the cabinet by the end of this month. Commenting on the plans, Mr Punaha added: ‘We are going to make it mandatory that if you want to buy a SIM card, you must have some form of identification … We are in discussions with one of the operators who want to take it further and do a full biometrics. So when you go to buy a SIM card, you’ll have your photograph and fingerprint taken as well.’ Further, the executive noted that three months after the regulation is approved the NICTA will look to impose a requirement that all places where SIM cards are sold would be required to have the machines to register customer ID details and bio data. Meanwhile, it has also been said that customers will be required to re-register their details after 18 months, and if they fail to do so their SIM cards could be cancelled.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:52:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Smart Telecom, which is owned by Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), the Kenyan-based infrastructure and industrial development arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), has announced the launch of a mobile network operating subsidiary in Tanzania. The launch coincides with the introduction of a sister company, also called Smart Telecom, in neighbouring Uganda, which was revealed last month. AKFED is also launching the new Smart Telecom brand in Burundi, and has earmarked investment of USD300 million across the three East African markets, offering mobile voice and internet services, with the stated aim to bring ‘improved service, value and coverage’ to all three countries. TeleGeography notes that AKFED’s telecoms investment partner, the Cypriot-based, Russian-owned Timeturns Holdings, is the backer of existing Tanzanian CDMA operator Benson Informatics (BOL), holding a full national mobile licence, while the Ugandan branch of Smart Telecom acquired its licences via start-up Sure Telecom (Uganda), which was previously solely owned by Timeturns. Similarly, the launch of Smart Telecom (Burundi) has been achieved via the AKFED/Timeturns partnership, with a relaunch of Timeturn’s existing mobile subsidiary Lacell (Smart Mobile).

Smart Tanzania has marketed its introductory services with a banner saying ‘pay TZS79 (USD0.0484) for every on-net call’. Its standard call rates are advertised on its website as ‘on-net TZS2.8 per second / off-net TZS4.1 per second’, while it offers choices of daily, weekly and monthly service bundles including voice, SMS and data – including a month’s unlimited mobile internet usage for TZS20,000 (USD12.24). The website also promises mobile money services will be made available on the Smart Tanzania network.

The Tanzanian wireless market is already home to five full fledged cellular mobile operators: Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Zantel and Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL), while TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Smile Communications operates 4G TD-LTE wireless broadband services in the country, alongside CDMA fixed-wireless voice/data network operators BOL (see above) and Sasatel, and there are four other licensees – MyCell, EGOTEL, 4G Mobile and Telesis – holding technology-neutral network operating concessions via which they intend to provide wireless data-focused services (based on CDMA, W-CDMA, mobile WiMAX and LTE, respectively). Another mobile licensee, Rural Netco, has deployed UMTS-900 infrastructure for wholesale-only services, GlobalComms adds.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:49:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Zambia’s minister of communications and transport, Yamfwa Mukanga, has reconfirmed that the state plans to offer a fourth mobile operator licence following the implementation of the digital migration project, which is expected to conclude next year, AllAfrica reports. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the award of a new mobile concession was put on hold in August 2013, despite reports of interest from five companies in January that year, with South Africa-based Vodacom named as one of the interested parties. In the latest statement on the matter, Mr Mukanga was cited as saying that the eventual licensing of a new operator is seen as a means of boosting competition, noting: ‘The government is concerned with the high cost of communication … We are therefore very hopeful that the fourth mobile operator will come with many advantages including reduced cost of making phone calls and other services.’ While the licence itself is not expected to be awarded until next year – the country’s digital TV migration project is expected to be completed by 2015, in line with a Southern African Development Community (SADC) deadline – it is understood that the government will begin receiving and evaluating bids this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:37:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Egypt (TE) expects to sign up around five million mobile subscribers in its first year of offering wireless services, Daily News Egypt reports, citing Mohamed Kamel, the telco’s general manager for investor relations and international reporting.

In addition, the report notes that a conference at which the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) will formally announce plans to award a unified telecoms licence to the fixed line incumbent – as well as to mobile operators Vodafone, Etisalat and MobiNil – will take place on 2 April. The conference had been expected to take place last week, but was postponed in line with a delay to the National Telecoms Regulatory Authority’s (NTRA’s) board of directors meeting which was made due to ‘urgent circumstances’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:34:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 27 March 2014

According to data published by the Autorita per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom), the number of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) subscribers in Italy reached 5.24 million at the end of 2013, up from 4.50 million a year earlier. The sector continues to be dominated by Poste Mobile, which claimed a 54.2% share of the spoils at year-end, albeit down from 55.2% on an annualised basis. According to Agcom statistics, this gives Poste Mobile a 2.8% share of the overall mobile market.

As at 31 December 2013, the top five MVNOs in terms of user numbers were: Poste Mobile (2.84 million); broadband operator FastWeb (15.6% or 817,440); major retail chain Co-Op Italia (9.3% or 487,320); Erg Petroli (6.8% or 356,320); and Daily Telecom (4.8% or 251,520).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 15:03:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Smart Telecom, backed by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), has launched commercial services in Uganda, becoming the nation’s seventh wireless provider. The newcomer aims to differentiate itself from its entrenched rivals by offering cheaper calls, providing better customer services and by supporting local communities. AKFED chose the ‘Smart’ brand through its ‘Give us a name’ campaign, which saw citizens across eastern Africa offer suggestions and vote on a moniker for the cellco. Smart now claims to be the cheapest provider in the market, charging customers on a per-call basis rather than per-minute or per-second billing. Commenting on the decision, Smart Telecom East Africa’s CEO Abdellatif Bouziani explained: ‘Like we asked East Africans to give us a name, we also asked them what they wanted from us, and they said they wanted to make calls without being under pressure of time.’ In a bid to tie-up its image, Smart has linked its numbering code ‘074’ to its prices, charging customers UGX74 (USD0.029) for each call. Although the cellco’s network is currently limited to Kampala, Smart plans to expand coverage into rural areas. Smart also plans to use a base in Uganda to launch operations in Tanzania and Burundi.

AKFED, which also holds a majority stake in Roshan, Afghanistan’s largest cellco by subscribers, acquired its licences through the acquisition of Sure Telecom. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database Cypriot-backed Sure Telecom received its concessions in July 2007 and planned to offset expectations of low profitability in the crowded mobile segment by investing in fixed line networks. More than a year behind schedule, Sure launched a trial GSM network in December 2012, but failed to make an impression on the market. Smart Telecom will share the market with MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda, which represent a combined total of 77.3% of the sector, whilst Uganda Telecommunications Ltd (UTL),Orange Uganda, Smile Communications, i-Tel and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) K2 make up the remainder. Despite the number of operators, however, there is plenty of room for growth with population penetration of only 56% at the end of 2013 and high levels of multiple SIM ownership.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 14:57:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of pre-paid mobile telephony customers of state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has exceeded the two million mark, Cubasi reports. ETECSA’s central director of mobile services, Hilda Arias, is also cited as saying at a press conference that around 1,900 customers have used the island’s ‘’ e-mail service in the seven days since it was launched over the mobile telephony network on 3 March 2014. The service costs CUC1 (USD1) per MB.

TeleGeography notes that the government has recently made a number of moves to increase the availability of telecoms services to Cubans; in early 2013 the calling-party-pays (CPP) system was introduced for mobile phone users, while in November the state enabled individuals to market ETECSA’s products and services from their own home, and since 21 January 2014 family and friends abroad have been able to pay for fixed telephony bills via the internet. Meanwhile, in a step towards broadening availability of the internet, in June last year the government began offering access to the World Wide Web at 118 outlets around the island. Until then, the internet was only available at select state institutions and to tourists at around 200 hotels. This year, ETECSA is also planning to enable balance transfers between pre-paid customers and eliminate the minimum top-up of CUC5.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 27 March 2014 14:52:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 06 March 2014

None of the four Kenyan mobile networks met their Quality of Service (QoS) requirements in the 2012/13 financial year, according to a report released by CCK today. Overall, performance by the four mobile operators shows a general downward trend with none of the operators having achieved the minimum Key Performance Indicators (KPI) compliance target of 80%.

Telkom Kenya Limited had the highest QoS score of 62.5%, while the three other operators - Airtel Kenya Limited, Essar Kenya Limited and Safaricom Kenya Limited - each managed 50% out of the set minimum score of 80%. 

The QoS assessment framework is based on eight (8) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a well-defined assessment methodology that were adopted in 2008/09 after an elaborate and exhaustive consultative process. The eight KPIs are completed calls rate, call set up success rate, dropped calls, blocked calls, speech quality, handover success rate, call set up time and signal strength.  Of the eight KPIs, five were enhanced during the period under review and this may have contributed to the outcome.

All the operators met the KPI targets in respect to Signal Strength (RX Level), Call set up time, Handover Success Rate and Call drop rate in the current assessment period.

The KPIs that have not been met by any of the operators in the current assessment period included call block rate, completed calls and call set up success rate (CSSR).

Read the full report.

Source: CCK Mobile.

Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:44:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 21 February 2014

Telenor Sweden and infrastructure sharing partner Tele2 have jointly announced that in 2014-2016 the coverage of their mobile networks will be increased to around 90% of Sweden’s territory, up from roughly 70% today, via their joint venture Net4Mobility. The project, involving deployment of new base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country, will result in the joint 2G/4G mobile network offering services in many additional rural and remote locations to Tele2 and Telenor customers, especially in northern Sweden. Lars-Ake Norling, CEO of Telenor Sweden, said in a press release that a special effort is being made to significantly raise coverage in northern Sweden, including Vasternorrland, Vasterbotten, Jamtland and Norrbotten County, increasing the number of BTS in these regions by over 140%, while in the rest of the country, the number of BTS will be increased by around 40%. Thomas Ekman, CEO of Tele2 Sweden, added: ‘We were the first in Sweden with a nationwide 4G mobile network [having announced 99% population coverage in Q1 2013 via a combination of frequency bands], and focused primarily on building coverage and capacity where people live and work. With today’s focus, we take the next step for a mobile network providing access and call coverage no matter where our customers are located.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 21 February 2014 15:56:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco’s telecoms regulator, the Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT), has published a new set of rules governing the identification of mobile subscribers, effective 1 April 2014. According to a press release from the watchdog, access to 2G/3G mobile services will be subject to prior and full customer identification, with the country’s mobile operators Maroc Telecom, Medi Telecom (Meditel) and Inwi (Wana) required to verify a user’s identity (name, surname, CNI number and signature) prior to activating a line; further, the sale of pre-activated SIM cards will be prohibited after 1 April 2014. Existing customers will also be required to confirm their identity in due course. ANRT confirmed that mobile operators have a period of one year (until 1 April 2015) to ensure that all of their subscribers are registered.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 21 February 2014 15:54:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French mobile market grew by 1.2 million Sim cards in the fourth quarter of 2013 and by 3.6 million in the year to reach 76.6 million at the end of December, according to telecom regulator ARCEP. The penetration rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the quarter to 117.1 percent. Excluding M2M penetration grew by 1.3 points to 106.6 percent.

Postpaid customers increased by 1.1 million in the quarter to reach 54.2 million, M2M grew by 400,000 accounts to 6.9 million, prepaid lines dropped by 266,000 in the quarter and by 14.3 percent over the year to 15.5 million. In continental France and Corsica (Metropole) there were 74 million Sim cards in service at the end of December, with MNOs adding 1 million in the quarter to reach 65.9 million, and MNOs adding 200,000 to take the tally to 8.1 million.

The MNO market share inched up to 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter from 10.8 percent in the third. This indicator has been stable for the last 2 years, despite the market entry of Free Mobile. The proportion of accounts without a contract tie-in period (no-commitment) rose by 3 points in the quarter to reach nearly 44 percent.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 21 February 2014 15:47:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Canada has completed its auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz band, awarding 97 licences to eight companies for a total CAD 5.27 billion. The government said the results of the 22-day auction mean there will be at least four operators able to offer services in every region. Operators will also be able to expand LTE services to rural areas. 
The big winners of the auction were the existing mobile operators. Bell acquired 31 licences for CAD 566 million total, Telus bought 30 licences for CAD 1.143 billion and Rogers Communications took 22 licences for CAD 3.292 billion. Videotron also acquired seven licences for CAD 233 million, MTS acquired one licence for CAD 9 million, and SaskTel bought one block for CAD 8 million, focusing on their home regions.

Newcomer Bragg took four lots of spectrum for CAD 20 million, and Feenix took one for CAD 0.3 million. Two participants, TBayTel and Novus, did not acquire any spectrum, and one licence went unsold.

Bidders have until 05 March to pay 20 percent of the spectrum fees, with the remainder due by 02 April. The next major auction in Canada will be the 2,500 MHz band, scheduled to begin in April 2015.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Americas | LTE | Mobile | Spectrum
Friday, 21 February 2014 10:59:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Indian mobile phone market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone bought airwaves worth about $3 billion each in a hotly contested auction that raised nearly $10 billion, far exceeding the government's target.

No.1 Bharti and second-ranked Vodafone said they had won airwaves in the premium 900 megahertz band that was available in three key cities -- Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries, a new entrant in telecoms that is seen as a threat to the incumbents, bought airwaves in another band in 14 locations the government said, estimated to have cost it $1.7 billion.

The market leaders' heavy spending on airwaves underscores the fierce competition and their bet on mobile data in the world's second biggest mobile phone market behind China.

No.3 mobile operator Idea Cellular said it spent $1.7 billion on new airwaves including in 900 band in the capital city Delhi.

After India removed technology restrictions, the 900 and 1800 spectrum bands sold in the auction can be used to offer 3G and 4G services, respectively. Currently carriers offer voice services on these bands, but Bharti, Vodafone and Idea said on Thursday they could use these to rollout mobile data services.

Telenor's Indian unit, Reliance Communications and Aircel also won airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in some zones. Companies have the right to use the airwaves won in the auction for 20 years.

Source: Reuters.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014 09:30:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 13 February 2014

EE and Three have confirmed they are working together on bringing better 4G connectivity to rural areas.

The mobile operators have long had a partnership after one part of the EE joint venture, T-Mobile, signed a network-sharing deal with Three in 2007, enabling shared infrastructure and customers to roam on to each other’s networks.

This network share has continued following the T-Mobile and Orange merger to create EE back in 2010.

This latest agreement will not be on such a grand scale, with no sharing of spectrum or antennae, and will not include investment in addition to the companies' pre-existing 4G budgets.

However, it will enable them to share the costs of backhaul and civil engineering for 4G sites in the most rural 20% of the UK where the return on investment is likely to be much lower.

When it comes to the switch on of 4G services, it will be up to each individual company when they do it and which equipment they use – EE deploys Huawei networking gear, while Three has a deal with Samsung.

A spokeswoman from EE said: “The new framework increases cost efficiencies as we continue our roll out of 4G to cover more than 90% of the UK population by the end of the year. This is part of our £1.5bn three-year investment to significantly differentiate the EE network in terms of the people we connect and the experience they receive.”

We contacted Three for a statement but it had not returned our request at the time of publication.

EE was the first to market with 4G services after Ofcom allowed it to repurpose its existing spectrum allocation in 2012 to use it for the faster data offerings. Three, however, was the last of the major mobile operators to begin its roll-out and only started offering 4G in December 2013.


Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:27:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 05 February 2014

Bouygues Telecom and SFR have reached an agreement on sharing network infrastructure. The French mobile operators first announced in July 2013 talks on the matter and have now struck a deal. The shared infrastructure will target 57 percent of the population, those living outside the 32 biggest cities in France, providing them with better indoor and outdoor coverage and higher quality of service.

SFR and Bouygues will set up a joint venture company to run the shared infrastructure. The agreement covers the radio sites and equipment for 2G, 3G and 4G services. Each operator will continue run its own commercial and pricing strategy, as well as its own core network and frequencies. The aim is to complete the network integration by the end of 2017.
French telecom regulator Arcep said it welcomed the agreement as a way to improve services to customers. Along with the competition regulator, it will examine the SFR-Bouygues deal in the coming weeks.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:28:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 31 January 2014

UK-Qatari joint venture Vodafone Qatar, part of the Vodafone Group, narrowed its net losses by 39% to QAR53.2 million (USD14.6 million) in its fiscal third quarter ended December 2013, compared to QAR87.1 million in the same period of 2012, driven by a 27% year-on-year increase in its mobile customer base to 1.27 million, according to Reuters calculations based on nine-month figures reported by the operator. Revenue for the nine-month period April-December 2013 grew by 31% year-on-year to QAR1.43 billion, while monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) climbed by 3.6% to QAR125. Nine-month net loss narrowed by 34% to QAR213 million, down from QAR325 million in the year-ago period.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 31 January 2014 15:53:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia’s mobile subscriber base has shrunk by around 10% in two years, in the wake of a widespread immigrant crackdown. CommsMEA reports that a number of stricter rules, including a reduction in quotas for pilgrims, and a more stringent pursuit of illegal workers, alongside tightened regulations on phone registration, have seen the number of mobile subscriptions in the Kingdom shrink to 51.0 million at the end of September 2013, down from 56.1 million reported in 3Q11.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2013 the CITC increased the penalty for companies and shops illegally distributing mobile SIM cards to SAR25 million from the SAR5 million previously charged for the felony, with the notion that the fine could be doubled if there was a recurrence of the offence. CITC spokesman Sultan Al-Malik said that individuals purchasing such SIM cards would be guilty of identity theft. Under the royal decree, local municipalities will be given the authority to impose the penalties on companies and shops, while expatriates accused of violating the ban will be referred to the police, the Labour Office and the Passport Department.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 31 January 2014 15:48:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telenor Group today announced that it has signed an agreement with the Union Government of Myanmar for a nationwide telecommunications license. The license includes spectrum in the 900MHz and 2.1GHz bands and is valid for 15 years.  Telenor aims to provide accessible and affordable mobile communications to people across Myanmar, and will launch services within eight months after the license is awarded.

"The people of Myanmar are ready for world-class mobile services and Telenor is ready to deliver it," said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO of Telenor Group.
"A major milestone has been passed with the signing of the nationwide telecommunications license agreement with the Myanmar government. This is the start of an exciting journey in Myanmar`s development, which Telenor will support through the delivery of world-class mobile services, responsible business practices and high standards that we live by in all of our markets," added Baksaas.
With a population of around 60 million, of which less than 10 percent have access to mobile services, Myanmar represents a strong business opportunity for Telenor in Asia. Telenor Group will build on its global and regional experience to establish Telenor Myanmar as a successful mass market operator.
There was record interest for the license award process in Myanmar with more than 91 companies expressing interest to participate. Following announcement on June 27 last year of the successful applicants, Telenor entered into consultation with the authorities to finalise details of the policy framework.
"The license is a product of an extensive consultation process with the Government of Myanmar and international organisations. It now represents an acceptable framework that we believe will go a long way to provide the necessary long-term predictability that Telenor requires when it formally starts operations in Myanmar," said Sigve Brekke, Executive Vice President of Telenor Group and Head of Telenor`s Operations in Asia.

To secure a rapid roll-out, Telenor has already appointed a management team and has initiated ongoing recruitment of employees on all levels. Currently, the company has a workforce of 150, and is expected to hire 1,000 full-time employees by the end of 2014.
"We are fully focused on a rapid roll-out of our network and establishing an extensive distribution system to make services easily available to the population. By offering high-quality products and excellent customer experience, we aim to create loyalty and trust with our customers in Myanmar," said Petter Furberg, CEO of Telenor Myanmar.
Telenor will build a state-of-the-art mobile network using HSPA and LTE-ready technologies, and plans to provide network coverage for 90% of the population in Myanmar within five years. Voice and data services over 2G and 3G will be commercially launched as Telenor`s initial offering, ensuring that consumers get excellent voice quality and high-speed data connectivity.
Telenor targets EBITDA break-even in Myanmar within three years after the license award. The total peak funding, defined as the license fee plus accumulated losses until operating cash flow break-even is expected to be around USD 1 billion. The license fee is USD 500 million.

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Friday, 31 January 2014 15:39:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 22 January 2014

China Mobile ended December 2013 with 767.21 million mobile subscribers as it added 3.91 million new customers in the month. The total base includes 191.62 million 3G subscribers. China Unicom, meanwhile, reported 2.40 million net adds for December, bringing its customer base to 280.98 million, including 122.60 million 3G subscribers. China Unicom also added 45,000 fixed-line broadband customers to end the year with 64.65 million broadband customers, while the fixed-line local access base fell by 420,000 to 87.64 million.

China Telecom's net adds slowed during December to 110,000. The company attributed the slowdown to China Mobile's launch of LTE services and increased marketing. China Telecom said it planned to strengthen its marketing to drive its subscriber growth upon the launch of its own LTE services in the first quarter of this year. The company ended December 2013 with 185.58 million mobile subscribers, including 103.11 million 3G subscribers. China Telecom's broadband base rose by 670,000 to 100.10 million while the fixed local access customer base fell by 710,000 to 155.80 million.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 10:50:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 06 January 2014

Spanish cableco Grupo Corporativo ONO has confirmed that more than one million people have now signed up for its mobile voice services, which it offers as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) over the infrastructure owned by Telefonica Espana (Movistar).

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, ONO launched full mobile voice services as a virtual operator in September 2009, though it is arguably within the last twelve months that it has seen success; in announcing this latest subscriber milestone, the cableco confirmed that in the last twelve months it had added more than 600,000 mobile voice accesses. Meanwhile, as previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2013 ONO renewed its MVNO contract with Movistar, with it claiming at that date that the updated deal between the two companies will last for two and a half years; financial details were not disclosed, however.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 January 2014 11:13:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Ministry of Communications and Informatisation (MoCI) in Belarus has published its latest market data for the three months ended 30 September 2013, showing that the total number of mobile phones registered in the country topped 10.94 million at that date. According to the MoCI cellular penetration reached 115.6% at that date, as the number of SIM cards in circulation eclipsed the number of people in the country by close to half a million. In addition, the ministry reports that domestic mobile network operators have rolled out cellular services to 99.8% of the population and 98.4% of the territory of the Republic of Belarus, while the number of base transceiver stations (BTS) now stands at 16,200 – including 5,200 UMTS-enabled BTS. The MoCI says that in the first nine months of this year, mobile subscribers sent more than 1.14 billion short text messages (SMS), or an average of 11.5 million SMS-messages each month, while multimedia messages (MMS) topped 6.3 million in 9M13.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:00:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

T-Mobile Puerto Rico has announced on its website that it has completed a secondary stage of 4G LTE mobile network expansion, raising its LTE population coverage to 60%. The project, which took three months, encompassed additional municipalities and expansion of the existing 4G footprint and capacity in densely populated urban areas. Additional municipalities receiving LTE services via the second-phase expansion included: Trujillo Alto, Toa Baja, Toa Alta, Rio Grande, Canovanas, Aguas Buenas, Hormigueros and Juana Diaz, while coverage was extended or strengthened in locations such as: the Coliseo (Colosseum) de Puerto Rico, Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan), Plaza las Americas, Hato Rey, Universidad (University) Politecnica, Universidad del Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart), UPR Rio Piedras, Mayaguez Mall, Encantada, Minillas, La Guancha and locations around the city of Ponce.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 31 October 2013 08:58:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Zain Group added 3 million new active customers over the past twelve months to serve 44.4 million as of 30 June, reflecting a 7 percent growth rate. For the first six months of 2013, the Middle East mobile operator's revenues reached USD 2.12 billion, EBITDA totaled USD 935 million, and the EBITDA margin was 43.3 percent. Net income reached USD 397 million or USD 0.10 per share.
 The group said adverse currency effects predominantly in Sudan cost the company the equivalent of USD 347 million in revenues, USD 150 million in EBITDA and USD 80 million in net profit for the six-month period. Group data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) saw healthy 19 percent growth, with data now 13 percent of all Zain's revenues.
Mobile number portability was introduced in its home market Kuwait on 15 June and initial indications showed positive net additions for Zain. Year-on-year customer growth in Kuwait was 11 percent, reaching 2.4 million lines at the end of June. After the launch of nationwide LTE there, data represents 28 percent of revenues.
Zain Bahrain's customer base grew by 36 percent while in Iraq, the customer base was up 8 percent to 13.9 million as operations expanded the network to North Iraq. It said Jordan's operations maintained customer and value leadership through dynamic marketing campaigns while 4G roll-out and aggressive marketing campaigns in Saudi contributed to12 percent customer growth to reach 8.3 million and revenue growth of 12 percent. In South Sudan, the customer base grew by 27 percent while revenues grew by 36 percent in USD terms.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013 08:05:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 24 July 2013
PalauCel, the mobile branding of Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) and the country’s first and only nationwide mobile telephone network operator, says it has successfully upgraded its service coverage in the area of Malakal by relocating and upgrading the cellular antenna there. In a press release, PNCC said that the new site at Malakal Old Road Station was fully operational from 28 June, providing an expanded cellular service coverage throughout the area and reaching new locations such as Sam’s Tours, PTC Quarry, PPUC, Franco’s, Icebox Park, Marine Law, and the Marine Resources Office. To date, PalauCel has deployed a nationwide mobile telephone network comprising 21 cell sites providing coverage from Angaur to Kayangel, including four in the Rock Islands. Further, PNCC says that customers with Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptops can also access more than 100 PNCC Wi-Fi hotspots with prepaid internet cards or a PalauNet dial-up ID. PNCC Wi-Fi hotspots are located in Koror, Airai, Melekeok, Peleliu, Angaur and Ngeremlengui.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:12:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cell C, South Africa’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, has confirmed that majority shareholder Oger Telecom has earmarked an equity investment of USD350 million into the company. Further, Nedbank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa have concluded a long-term financing package worth an additional ZAR2.2 billion (USD222.8 million) to Cell C. The company said that the funding will enable it to accelerate its network infrastructure rollout, and provide more competitive products and services to subscribers.

In an interview with TechCentral, CEO Alan Knott-Craig commented: ‘Our traffic has doubled in the past twelve to 15 months. A lot of capacity has already gone in, but we need a lot more, and a lot more coverage’. Cell C’s customer base has grown by more than two million in the past year he added, to 11.5 million by mid-2013. ‘Unless we build sufficient market share, we can’t achieve the scale to make the company completely sustainable,’ he assessed.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:09:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Haiti’s telecoms regulator Conseil National des Telecommunications (Conatel) has announced the launch of a tender for a licence to operate a 3G/4G mobile network in the 1900MHz spectrum band, previously operated by Haitel. No further details regarding the auction have been released.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, authorities in Haiti announced in April 2013 that the struggling wireless operator Haitel has officially gone into receivership with debts of around USD80 million. The government took control of Haitel with the company under real threat of bankruptcy, with employees not being paid and some services having already been suspended. The General Tax Directorate (DGI) in Haiti said around 40% of that sum represented unpaid taxes, while the company was also thought to have not paid its employees for up to five months. Haitel’s CDMA mobile network had been shut down in April 2013, although at the time the government’s outlook was that the operator’s financial difficulties could be overcome and a service could be restarted.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:08:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Following the formation of a new board at the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago (TATT), the regulator’s chairman Selby Wilson has updated progress on plans for issuing a third mobile licence to introduce more competition to incumbent operators Digicel and TSTT. As quoted by the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, Wilson said that the authority had been working on prerequisite changes to its spectrum plan and had completed consultations on the third licence proposals, adding that ‘the document for the third mobile provider is near completion’. The chairman continued that the Request For Proposal (RFP) for prospective licence applicants should be placed in approximately two months, while indicating that ‘meaningful bids’ could be received by the first quarter of next year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:07:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Africell Holding, itself owned by Lebanon’s Lintel Holding, has announced that its three active mobile subsidiaries – Africell Gambia, Africell Sierra Leone and Africell Republique Democratique du Congo – had notched up a consolidated subscriber base of around 5.37 million by 30 June 2013, up from three million at the end of 2012. The bulk of the growth has been driven by Kinshasa-based Africell RDC, which launched commercially in November 2012, and has already secured 2.40 million customers, more than each of its longer-established sister companies; at end-June the Gambian unit claimed 1.07 million customers, while the Sierra Leone operation accounted for 1.90 million users. Going forward, Africell expects to grow its user base to around seven million by end-2013 and ten million by 31 December 2014. Africell Holding also noted that it is ‘actively looking to expand into a minimum of two new markets within the next two years’, although it declined to outline any potential targets.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013 07:55:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 15 July 2013
The number of mobile phone customers in Botswana reached 3.08 million at the end of December 2012, an increase of 5.5% from 2.92 million at the start of the year, according to a report by Mmegi Online, which cites statistics from the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA). Botswana is home to three mobile network operators, namely: Mascom Wireless, a subsidiary of the South African-based MTN Group; France Telecom-owned Orange Botswana (formerly known as Vista Cellular); and BTC Mobile (beMobile), the wireless arm of fixed line incumbent Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC). Meanwhile, total fixed lines in service, provided by BTC, totalled around 160,500 last year, according to the report.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 15 July 2013 08:05:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Irish Independent writes that mobile operator 3 Ireland, which is in the throes of completing an EUR800 million (USD1.04 billion) buyout of rival cellco O2 Ireland from Telefonica of Spain, is preparing to launch a gloves-off price war in the Republic. The Irish operator’s Hong Kong-based parent Hutchison Whampoa is using the buyout plan – dubbed Project Ozone, and currently subject to regulatory clearance – as the platform to launch a challenge to market leader Vodafone. The paper claims that 3 Ireland boss Robert Finnegan is planning to make the Hutch-owned unit ‘the biggest player in the Irish market’. Vodafone Ireland had a 41.3% share of the domestic wireless segment at end-March 2013, compared to 38.4% share for an enlarged 3 Ireland-O2 Ireland, and the latter intends to invest heavily in advanced (4G) technologies and target the lucrative business segment in a bid to trump its rival.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 15 July 2013 07:30:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to data published by the Brazilian telecoms regulator Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel), the country was home to nearly 266 million ‘active’ mobile connections at 31 May 2013, a net increase of 974,290 new lines from the previous month and a significant increase on the 500,000 or so new lines connected in April. According to the watchdog the cellular penetration rate in the country topped 134.4% by end-May, up from 133.8% in April. Of the total, some 211.5 million connections (79.65%) were pre-paid and the remainder on post-paid contracts, while Anatel also reported a shift in the mix of 2G and 3G users – with the trend moving towards the latter. By 31 May the number of GSM handsets stood at 183.7 million, a roughly 69% share, while 3G W-CDMA users had increased to 66.9 million, or 25.2% of the market. In the same period machine-to-machine (M2M) connections had increased to 7.54 million (or 2.84% of the market), data terminals (3G modems) accounted for 2.66% of the market (7.1 million) and CDMA-based phones had slipped to just 81,722 – just 0.03% of the overall market. Finally, Anatel reported that the number of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) accesses doubled to 105,250, compared to 48,459 at end-April, to account for 0.04% of the Brazilian mobile market.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 15 July 2013 07:27:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 July 2013

Wireless code to help Canadians make informed choices and contribute to a dynamic marketplace.

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a wireless code that will make it easier for Canadians to understand their contracts and sets out their basic rights. The code will apply to new contracts for cellphones and other personal mobile devices starting on December 2, 2013.

The wireless code addresses the main frustrations that Canadians shared with the CRTC, which included the length of wireless contracts, cancellation fees, roaming charges and other industry practices. Among other things, individual and small business consumers will be able to:

  • terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term
  • cap extra data charges at $50/month and international data roaming charges at $100/month to prevent bill shock
  • have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
  • return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
  • accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
  • receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

The wireless code will apply to all service providers in Canada. In particular, the code will apply in full to postpaid services (where customers pay a monthly bill after using their services), and where applicable to pre-paid wireless services.

Source: CRTC.

Tuesday, 02 July 2013 07:22:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 05 June 2013

Ethiopia is set to ink deals with Chinese vendors ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies within the next few weeks with a view to expanding the country’s mobile infrastructure, a move which in turn the state hopes will help boost subscriber numbers to 40 million, according to Reuters. Speaking with regards to the development, Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister and minister of communications and technology, said: ‘We are now poised to start the expansion. We are almost on the final stage on dealing with … ZTE and Huawei … In a few weeks we will conclude the agreement and we will start the expansion.’ The politician did not, however, reveal a value for the deals with the two vendors, but is understood to have confirmed that ZTE and Huawei will finance the expansion project.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 08:59:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 23 May 2013
Russia and CIS mobile operator MTS reported that its consolidated subscribers base grew by 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year and by 6.23 percent year-on-year to 96.36 million at the end of March. In Russia, the total grew by 0.14 percent quarter-on-quarter and by 2.81 percent year-on-year to 71.33 million, and in Ukraine, the number of customers was up by 1.66 percent from the end of December and 8.69 percent higher year-on-year at 20.76 million. In Armenia, the total dropped by 0.83 percent from the previous quarter, but was up by 6.72 percent from a year earlier to 2.38 million at the end of March. The subscriber base totaled 1.89 million in Turkmenistan, up by 31.25 percent from three months earlier, and the total was 5.24 million customers in Belarus, up by 0.19 percent from end-2012 and up by 0.19 percent year-on-year.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:11:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has announced the outcomes from the digital dividend spectrum auction, which concluded this morning.
All three bidders—Optus Mobile, Telstra and TPG Internet—secured spectrum in the auction, resulting in total revenues of nearly $2 billion.
Four companies initially applied to participate in the auction. However, Vodafone Hutchison Australia withdrew before the auction, which started on 23 April 2013.
Following is a table of the auction results:


Spectrum secured

Total price

700 MHz band*

2.5 GHz band*

Optus Mobile

2×10 MHz
(20 MHz in total)

2×20 MHz
(40 MHz in total)

$ 649,134,167


2×20 MHz
(40 MHz in total)

2×40 MHz
(80 MHz in total)

$ 1,302,019,234

TPG Internet


2×10 MHz
(20 MHz in total)


Total spectrum sold

2×30 MHz
(60 MHz in total)

2×70 MHz
(140 MHz in total)

$ 1,964,653,401

Total spectrum unsold

2×15 MHz
(30 MHz in total)




*Under the allocation limits, a single bidder could not acquire more than 2×25 MHz (50 MHz in total) in the 700 MHz band and more than 2×40 MHz (80 MHz in total) in the 2.5 GHz band.

‘The auction process itself ran smoothly and resulted in the allocation of spectrum to the companies that valued it the most,’ said the ACMA’s Chairman, Chris Chapman.

Demand in Clock Round 1 of the auction led to three unsold lots in the 700 MHz band. In the 2.5 GHz band, demand exceeded supply in the first round but reached equilibrium at the end of Clock Round 3, at which point the clock rounds closed. This level of demand during the clock rounds meant prices payable by bidders are only marginally above reserve prices.

‘The auction tested the market and the auction’s conclusion is another important step toward realising Australia’s digital dividend,’ said Mr Chapman.

‘This decades-long process of spectrum reform has already transformed the television industry, delivering greater diversity and better technical quality of television services to viewers. It will be complete when the new licences in the 700 MHz band become operational at the beginning of 2015.’

‘By making spectrum previously required for analog television transmissions available to meet rising demand for high-speed wireless broadband, the digital dividend auction will well position the Australian telecommunications industry to deliver fast, ubiquitous and symmetrical mobile broadband connectivity to consumers and industry,’ Mr Chapman said.

Attached is the aggregate demand in each clock round (Figure 2) and the frequency assignments in each band for each successful bidder (Figure 3).

For further information about the digital dividend auction, please see the backgrounder.

For more information, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Source: ACMA.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:52:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, 23 May 2013 12:48:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 09 May 2013

MTN connects over 195 million customers in 22 countries, but its home operation of South Africa experienced a 1.9% decline to 24.950 million subscribers from 25.421 million in Q4 2012.
Despite the fall in absolute numbers, MTN managed to maintain market share in South Africa, according to MTN Group President and CEO – Sifiso Dabengwa.
MTN South Africa: Average price per minute (PPM) declined 5.5% compared to the same period a year earlier affecting revenue growth capability. Blended ARPU declined a huge 8.1% to R110.62 as a result of promotional activities and a decline in effective tariffs.
MTN claims that towards the end of the quarter, there had been some signs of improvement in both subscriber and revenue trends. Data revenue is a key focus area for MTN, and active data subscribers stood at 13.3 million, data revenue, including MTN Business and mobile data, increased approximately 15.7 percent Year-on-Year.
MTN Nigeria: Net Additions went up by 3.9 Mn, and increase of 8.1 percent QoQ. Market share rebounded to 49.7 percent. Data subscribers reached 22.8 Mn and Data revenue went up by 63.5 percent YoY.
Network roll-out progressed rapidly too, with 450 new 2G sites during the quarter compared to 211 in the same period last year, and 259 new co-located 3G sites, bringing the total number of 3G sites to 3,508.
MTN in other countries:
MTN Ghana: Subscribers went up by 2.5% QoQ, adding 290,000 subscribers. Data subscribers reached 4.1 million and data revenue increased 67.3% YoY.
MTN Irancell: Subscribers went up by 2.6% QoQ. Data subscribers remained stable at 10.1 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 58.6% YoY.
MTN Cameroon: Subscribers went up by by 2.6% QoQ, adding 192,000 subscribers in the period. Data subscribers reached 600,000 at the end of the quarter and data
revenue increased 42.9%  YoY.
MTN Ivory Coast: Subscribers went up by 5.8% QoQ, adding 354,000 subscribers, while data subscribers reached 900,000 at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 41.1% YoY.
MTN Uganda: Subscribers went up by 3.2% QoQ adding 248,000 subscribers. Data subscribers reached 1.2 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 53.6% in YoY.
MTN Syria: Business faces challenging security and other issues. There were net disconnections of 364,000, a 6% decrease QoQ, with both revenue and margins coming under pressure. This is expected to continue unfortunately, according to MTN.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:41:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 06 May 2013

The Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has published its latest observatory of Macedonia’s telecoms markets for the period ended 31 December 2012, showing that the total number of main lines in service (PSTN and ISDN) reached 408,318 at that date, up from 407,896 three months earlier, but down 3.25% on the 422,053 lines reported at end-2011. Meanwhile the number of residential fixed line subscribers dropped by 3.44% in the year under review to 364,598 and business lines dipped 1.70% to 43,720. The total number of internet connections was 312,272, compared to 302,257 at end-September 2012 and 282,370 at the start of the year. The total number of TV subscribers reached 278,140, compared to 251,584 at the start of the year, of which 66,541 were IPTV subscribers (+65.82%).

In the mobile segment, the AEC reported a total of 2.235 million active mobile subscribers, down 2.80% from 2.299 million in September 2012, but higher than the 2.213 million figure reported at end-2011. Of these, the number of mobile broadband (2G/3G) users stood at 505,596, up 35.44% from 373,288 a year earlier; 2G narrowband users topped 260,926 (+64.73%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:29:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MIC Tanzania (Tigo), a 100% owned subsidiary of Luxembourg’s Millicom International Cellular (MIC), has extended its GSM network with the switching on of a new cell site in Kakola Kahama in the north western region of the country. In a statement, Tigo public relations officer Elias Bandeke said that the latest service expansion forms part of ongoing efforts to improve its coverage, and will soon see launches in Mwanza, Tabora, Mara and Kagara. Tigo Tanzania recently switched on a new tower in the remote area of Kasulu-Kigoma, he added.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Tigo Tanzania had a total of 6.043 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2012, including an estimated 70,000 3G users, giving it a market share of 22.8%. The other layers in the market are Vodacom Tanzania, Airtel (formerly Zain), Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel) and the mobile arm of national PTO Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL).

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE | Mobile
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:26:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Macau’s Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT), the territory’s total mobile subscriber base shrank marginally to 1.551 million at the end of March 2013, down by a net 2,000 users in a month. Nearly all subscribers are now 3G customers, with just 0.3% using 2G-only services. Macau’s active fixed voice lines also decreased in March 2013, by 500 in a month to 160,637, while the number of fixed broadband internet subscribers rose by 650 to 145,993.

Source: TeleGeography.

Broadband | LTE | Mobile
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:25:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has published its findings from the ‘Study of the Assessment of the Level of Competition in Nigerian Telecommunications Industry’, which it began in June 2012. The regulator has determined that MTN Nigeria is a dominant player in the mobile voice segment, with a market share of approximately 44%. As such, the South African-owned operator is required to adhere to obligations concerning: accounting separation; the introduction of equal rates for on-net and off-net tariffs (which will then be subject to periodic review); and submission of details on specific aspects of its operations as the need arises. Meanwhile, MTN and Globacom have both been designated as dominant operators in the wholesale leased lines and transmission capacity sub-segment of the upstream market. The pair are required to adhere to obligations of accounting separation, and must submit details on specific aspects of their operations as the need arises. They are also required to introduce a price cap for wholesale services and a price floor for retail services, as determined by the NCC. As the fixed voice market is in decline, the regulator did not identify a dominant operator in this segment, while the mobile data market was declared effectively competitive. The fixed data market and downstream segment, meanwhile, were identified as nascent markets in which no operators are considered dominant. The regulator’s determinations will take effect from 1 May 2013 and will remain valid and binding for the services specified in relevant market segments until further review by the NCC.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:24:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 April 2013
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has announced that the total number of subscribers in Ghana reached 26.33 million at the end of February 2013, a growth of 1.1% over the previous month. Mobile market leader MTN Ghana maintained its dominant position at that date, as its subscriber database reached 11.94 million, corresponding to 45.30% of the wireless sector. Meanwhile, number two operator Vodafone had signed up 5.55 million users by 1 March, an increase of 130,000 month-on-month, and a 21.09% market share. Millicom Ghana Company Limited (Tigo) reported a total of 3.71 million subscribers for a market share of 14.10%, and Airtel had 3.34 million connections (12.69%). Glo, the last to launch its commercial services in April 2012, and Expresso also increased their market shares to 6.13% and 0.62% respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:34:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Myanmar authorities will begin selling low-cost Sim cards from 24 April. Some 350,000 Sim cards will be allocated monthly across Myanmar and sold by regional governments, not by Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), Eleven Media reports citing MPT chief engineer mobile Htay Win. The CDMA 800 MHz Sim cards will be sold for MMK 1,500 each, and customers have to use at least MMK 2,500 per month to keep the account active. If customers do not recharge within fifteen days of running the balance down to zero, the service may be terminated. The fees for outgoing calls remains the same at MMK 50 per minute. MPT has been selling CDMA Sim cards for MMK 500,000 in recent years.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:26:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 25 March 2013

­Two thirds of Hungary's smartphone owners state that applications constitute an organic part of their smartphone according to the research carried out by Magyar Telekom among smartphone and internet users.

As partially known already from earlier researches, 38% of Hungarian internet users aged 14-69 have smartphones, equaling about 1.7 million people. 80% of them also use smartphones to access the internet. The current research underlines that 80% of Hungarian internet users realize that smartphones are differentiated from traditional phones by running an operation system, and 70% are also right about seeing the difference in the availability of applications.

1.3 million users state that they already downloaded applications, on average 16 - the most popular apps are music players, followed by calendars, email and community apps, and naturally games. Top ten apps include weather, photo and video recorder and player, as well as map and navigation apps. The research outlines that smartphone owners mostly look up information about applications in the AppStore or on the internet - however many enquire with friends and acquaintances. Women and those aged 14-18 are less active in checking individual applications.

Majority of those paying for applications only purchased 1-2 apps, 25% of them bought 3-5 apps and 6% of them purchased more than 10 apps. iPhone owners are clearly on top of the statistics, men and those with higher education background, as well as the more affluent are somewhat more active in this domain. Smartphone owners using apps on their phones clearly found prefer payment methods where against paying a smaller amount the given app can be tested and further payment is only needed for further functions.

Mobile phone applications are also ever more popular among small and medium entrepreneurs: shop owners, those working in catering trade and real estate agencies start to realize possibilities inherent in this new communication channel.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, 25 March 2013 09:20:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 22 February 2013
  • Five winning bidders to deliver future mobile competition in the UK
  • 4G services from a range of operators expected within six months
  • Research measuring 4G speeds to be conducted at the end of 2013

Ofcom has today announced the winners of the 4G mobile spectrum auction.

After more than 50 rounds of bidding, Everything Everywhere Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group plc), Telefónica UK Ltd and Vodafone Ltd have all won spectrum. This is suitable for rolling out new superfast mobile broadband services to consumers and to small and large businesses across the UK1.

The auction has achieved Ofcom’s purpose of promoting strong competition in the 4G mobile market. This is expected to lead to faster mobile broadband speeds, lower prices, greater innovation, new investment and better coverage. Almost the whole UK population will be able to receive 4G mobile services by the end of 2017 at the latest.

A total of 250 MHz of spectrum was auctioned in two separate bands – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. This is equivalent to two-thirds of the radio frequencies currently used by wireless devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops.

The lower-frequency 800 MHz band is part of the ‘digital dividend’ freed up when analogue terrestrial TV was switched off, and is ideal for widespread mobile coverage. The higher-frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed for faster speeds. The availability of the two will allow 4G networks to achieve widespread coverage as well as offering capacity to cope with significant demand in urban centres.

Ed Richards, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “This is a positive outcome for competition in the UK, which will lead to faster and more widespread mobile broadband, and substantial benefits for consumers and businesses across the country. We are confident that the UK will be among the most competitive markets in the world for 4G services.

“4G coverage will extend far beyond that of existing 3G services, covering 98% of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which is good news for parts of the country currently underserved by mobile broadband.

“We also want consumers to be well informed about 4G, so we will be conducting research at the end of this year to show who is deploying services, in which areas and at what speeds. This will help consumers and businesses to choose their most suitable provider.”

Widespread 4G coverage

Ofcom has attached a coverage obligation to one of the 800 MHz lots of spectrum. The winner of this lot is Telefónica UK Ltd. This operator is obliged to provide a mobile broadband service for indoor reception to at least 98% of the UK population (expected to cover at least 99% when outdoors) and at least 95% of the population of each of the UK nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – by the end of 2017 at the latest.

Source: Ofcom.

Europe | LTE | Mobile
Friday, 22 February 2013 08:28:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 18 February 2013

Global mobile data traffic is forecast to increase by 66 percent CAGR or 13-fold by 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes (1 quintillion bytes) per month, or 134 exabytes a year, according to Cisco. The company expects 46 percent of all cellular traffic to be off-loaded from fixed or Wi-Fi by 2017 (9.6 exabytes a month), compared with 33 percent (428 petabytes a month) in 2012. LTE is likely to support nearly 10 percent of all mobile connections by 2017.
Continued strong growth in mobile internet connections through both personal devices and M2M applications will exceed the UN’s world population estimated of 7.6 billion in 2017. Cisco explains that 134 exabytes is the equivalent of 3 trillion video clips, or one clip daily from each person on Earth over one year.

Mobile data is being driven by an increase in mobile users (5.2 bln by 2017 vs 4.3 bln in 2012), rise in mobile connections (10 bln, including 1.7 bln M2M by 2017 vs 7 bln in total in 2012), faster mobile speeds (3.9 Mbps vs 0.5Mbps), and more mobile video, expected to account for 66 percent of all mobile data traffic by 2017, versus 51 percent in 2012. Cisco expects M2M traffic, including car GPS, asset tracking, medical applications, etc, to account for 5 percent of global mobile data traffic in 2017.

The MEA region is expected to 77 percent CAGR mobile data growth between 2012-2017, Asia-Pacific 76 percent, Latin America 67 percent, Central and Eastern Europe 66 percent, North America 56 percent and Western Europe 50 percent.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, 18 February 2013 11:19:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the latest figures from the Communications Authority of Maldives, the island nation ended December 2012 with a total of 560,547 mobile subscribers, the majority of which (87.3%, or 489,084) were pre-paid customers. The regulator said that fixed broadband subscribers reached 18,059 at the end of 2012, while mobile broadband customers totalled 69,641. The number of fixed telephony lines (including payphones) stood at 24,153.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 18 February 2013 11:13:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 30 January 2013

According to data from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), the country’s wireless subscriber base at the end of 2012 was just under 5.7 million, up from 4.7 million just six months previously. MTN remains the market leader with a market share of 60.3%, followed by Millicom-owned Tigo with 32.8%. New entrant Airtel, which launched in June 2012 and is backed by India’s Bharti Airtel, grew its subscriber base from 144,044 in July to 391,072 by the end of the year. MTN and Tigo’s networks each reach more than 98% of the population, whereas Airtel’s population coverage currently stands at 15%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 08:49:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel reports that the country was home to a total of 261.78 million mobile connections at the end of 2012, up 8.07% (or 19.5 million new lines), from the 242.20 million reported at the end of 2011. Cellular penetration increased to 132.78 mobile lines per 100 of population over the same period, it added. Of the total, 80.53% of lines (210.82 million) were pre-paid, down from 81.8% a year earlier, while GSM continued to be the most popular access platform, accounting for 74.8% of connections, compared to 82.4% in 2011.

In terms of mobile market share, Anatel said that Vivo (owned by Spain’s Telefonica) controlled 29.08% of the segment at end-2012, ahead of TIM Brasil (26.87%), America Movil-backed Telecom Americas (Claro) with 24.95%, Oi SA in fourth with 18.81%, CTBC or Agar Telecom (0.18%), regional operator Sercomtel (0.03%) and fledgling MVNO Porto Seguro (with 8,300 accesses). For the first time NII Holdings’ Nextel Brasil unit was also ranked, having launched 3G data plans without fanfare at the end of the fourth quarter.

Alongside Anatel’s mobile market update, Brazil’s Telebrasil association released its estimate of the broadband market, reporting a total of 86 million high speed internet accesses (fixed and mobile) at end-December, up 45% year-on-year – with the strongest growth coming from mobile broadband (up 60% y-o-y). The association said that around 27 million new mobile connections were activated last year, lifting the total to 52.5 million 3G cellular accesses and 13.5 million via data terminals (including modems and M2M connections).

Finally, Brazil’s incumbent cellcos continued to roll out their 3G coverage last year, collectively reaching 3,285 municipalities, or 88% of the population, at the year’s end, up 24% (or 635 new municipalities) compared to end-2011. The deployments helped boost the total cities covered figure beyond the government’s own target dramatically; the state had set a goal of 928 cities covered with 3G networks by April 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 08:41:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 24 January 2013

Macedonia’s industry regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has published its latest observatory of the country’s telecoms markets for the period ended 30 September 2012. At that date the watchdog counted a total of 2.299 million active mobile subscribers, up 1.9% from 2.257 million in September 2011. Of these, the number of mobile broadband (2G/3G) users stood at 446,288, up 15.9% from 384,988 a year earlier; 2G narrowband users topped 172,787 (+63.8%). The Macedonian regulator also said that mobile phone users generated voice traffic of over 1.020 billion minutes in Q3 2012, up 17.3% y-o-y and 3.7% higher than in Q2 2012.

The total number of main lines in service (PSTN and ISDN) reached 407.896 at end-September 2012, down 1.4% year-on-year, of which business lines accounted for 43,615 (-0.02%). Meanwhile the number of residential fixed line subscribers dropped by 1.5% in the year under review to 364,281. The total number of internet connections was 302,257, compared to 271,773 at end-September 2011. IPTV subscriptions stood at 58,385, up 64.9% on an annualised basis.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:07:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China’s wireless market expanded to 1.11 billion users by the end of 2012, including 233.4 million 3G subscribers according to data released by the nation’s three mobile providers, increasing from 975.7 million total and 127.5 million 3G customers at end-December 2011. China Mobile recorded 710.3 million active wireless users at the end of December 2012, of which 87.9 million were 3G users, up by 9.3% and 71.7% year-on-year respectively. China Unicom meanwhile, claimed a total of 239.3 million users (+19.6%) including 76.5 million 3G customers (+91.0%) whilst China Telecom had 69.1 million 3G customers (+90.3%) out of its 160.6 million-strong customer base (+27.0%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:02:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Zambia government announced that five firms, including South Africa-based Vodacom, have expressed interest in the country's fourth mobile licence. Communication, transport, works and supply Minister Chris Yaluma said no decision had been made yet regarding the successful bidder and that other interested companies can still bid, ITweb reported. Zambia's telecommunication market is currently dominated by Airtel and MTN, which together have over 8.5 million subscribers. The government still needs to revoke regulations that have been blocking the introduction of a fourth mobile service provider. Yaluma said once the paperwork is done, a tender would be launched for the interested companies. He said the country could see the setting up of the fourth mobile company before the end of 2013.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:56:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of telephone subscribers in India fell to 921.47 in November, down by 13.70 million from October, according to figures from the Telecom Regularity Authority of India (Trai). The overall teledensity slipped to 75.55 from 76.75 a month earlier. The mobile subscriber base fell to 890.60 million from 904.23 million in the previous month, down by 1.51 percent, due to large scale disconnections of inactive subscribers by some operators. Private operators hold 88.19 percent of the mobile market share (based on subscriber base) whereas state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL hold a 11.81 percent share of the market. Meanwhile, the fixed-line subscriber base declined from 30.95 million in October to 30.87 million in November. BSNL and MTNL hold a share of 79.66 percent of the fixed-line market and private operators have a 20.34 percent share. Furthermore, the broadband subscriber base increased to 14.88 million from 14.81 million a month earlier. The top five ISPs in terms of market share (based on subscriber base) are BSNL with 9.79 million broadband customers, Bharti Airtel with 1.39 million subscribers, MTNL with 1.08 million, Hathway with 370,00, and You Broadband with 290,000 broadband customers.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 24 January 2013 09:53:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Bulgaria's telecoms regulator on Friday granted the country's fourth GSM mobile phone licence to local satellite operator Bulsatcom.

Bulsatcom will now compete with three other groups - M-Tel, controlled by Telekom Austria ; Globul, the Bulgarian unit of Greek OTE and Vivacom.

"Bulsatcom won a 10-year licence to use the frequencies in the 1800 Mhz range for 19 million levs ($12.96 million) and we already received a confirmation that the amount was paid," a spokeswoman for the regulator told Reuters.

Bulsatcom, which said its GSM services would be available for customers by the end of the year, said it would not seek a big market share at this stage.

Mobile phone market penetration in Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member, for 2011 was 147 percent. ($1 = 1.4656 Bulgarian levs) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: Reuters.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013 13:20:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Telecommunications operator K2 Telecom has launched its operations in Uganda, the Daily Monitor reported. K2 Telecom is already positioning itself as the choice of the masses, the paper said, although the existing players seem to think that its entry is ill-timed and unnecessary.  K2 telecom is the seventh player in the telecommunication industry after Airtel, MTN, Warid, UTL, Smiles Telecom, and Orange Uganda.

The network has a national coverage. However, Warid Telecom chief commercial officer Shailendra Naidu said everything had already been done by the existing service providers, and there was nothing a new player could add. MTN said there could be as many service providers as possible because Uganda is a liberalised economy. MTN general manager for corporate service and chief legal counsel, Anthony Katamba, said whoever was able to offer quality services, would carry the day.

Currently, there about 15 million telecommunication subscribers. The first industry player was Celtel, now Airtel, before MTN, UTL and others ventured into the market. K2 Telecom's calling code is 0730.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:40:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 08 January 2013
Lanka Business Online reports that Mobitel Sri Lanka is expanding its number of base stations from 1,800 to 3,500 in a move that will result in 100% population coverage. This year the company marks its 20th anniversary since launching an AMPS network in 1993. On 31 December 2012 Mobitel revealed that it had launched LTE services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Mobitel is the wireless arm of fixed line telco Sri Lanka Telecom, and claimed a 23.3% share of the Sri Lankan mobile market at the end of September 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 08 January 2013 09:04:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India ended November with 663.77 million GSM customers, as operators jointly shed 9.02 million subscribers in the month, according to figures from the industry association Coai. Bharti Airtel lost 2.80 million subscribers in November to bring its total to 183.61 million, and the company had a market share of 27.66 percent. Vodafone India shed 2.38 million customers and ended the month with 150.76 million subscribers. Vodafone's market share stood at 22.71 percent. Idea Cellular shed 1.56 million subscribers to bring its total to 114.14 million and the operator had a market share of 17.20 percent. Meanwhile, BSNL maintained its customer base at 97.17 million and its market share totalled 14.64 percent. Aircel ended the month with a total subscriber base of 65.32 million and a market share of 9.84 percent, as the company lost 1.46 million customers. Uninor shed 437,915 subscribers to end November with 40.60 million subscribers and a market share of 6.12 percent. Videocon shed 379,787 subscribers to bring its customer base to 4.01 million and its market share stood at 0.60 percent, while MTNL lost 741 subscribers to end the month with 5.12 million subscribers. MTNL had a market share of 0.77 percent. Loop Mobile maintained its customer base at 3 million with 0.46 market share.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 08 January 2013 08:57:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 20 December 2012

French watchdog the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has announced a new maximum termination rate for voice calls in French overseas territories. The rate, which is effective from 1 January 2013, has been set at EUR0.01 (USD0.01) per minute and applies to operators in the Antilles-Guyane region (incorporating Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana) as well as Reunion and Mayotte.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:44:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon's ministry of posts and telecommunications has chosen Vietnam's Viettel as the winner of the country's third mobile operator's licence. The new operator, expected to provide 2G and 3G services, will cover 81 percent of the country when it begins operations, the minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, said in a statement. Currently, Cameroon has some 11 million subscribers, representing a population penetration of around 50 percent. The existing operators are South Africa's MTN and France Telecom's Orange Cameroon. Three other operators - India's Bharti Airtel, Maroc Telecom and Korea Telecom - were also in the running for the licence.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Africa | Mobile | Operators
Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:33:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chinese CDMA-based wireless provider China Telecom has introduced pre-paid vouchers for 3G services, offering customers a cheap, flexible alternative to its existing data plans, China Daily reports. The vouchers are available in denominations of 60MB, 150MB or 300MB, the smallest of which costs CNY10 (USD1.59). A spokesperson for the operator noted that data use per subscriber in October 2012 was 130% higher than twelve months earlier, adding: ‘Data traffic management is a very important task for telecom carriers, especially when they enter the mobile internet age.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that whilst China Telecom has the fewest 3G subscribers of the three cellcos – with 59.72 million at the end of September 2012, compared to 66.86 million and 75.60 million held by China Unicom and China Mobile respectively at that date – it has the greatest level of 3G penetration in its customer base, with more than a third of its users on 3G plans in mid-2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Mobile | Tariffs
Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:26:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The popularity of mobile money services in the African nation of Tanzania exploded between 2010 and 2012, according to figures from the Bank of Tanzania published in East Africa Business Week. The bank reports that monthly transactions have increased from 1.9 million in 2010 to 48 million in September this year, in turn driving the total value of mobile transactions up to TZS1.7 trillion (USD668.3 million) from TZS1.8 billion. The banks’ governor Benno Ndulu told delegates at the opening of a financial institutions’ conference in Arusha that millions of Tanzanians without bank accounts are benefiting from mobile money services to make payments, send remittances and store funds for short periods conveniently and at low cost.

Last month TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Vodacom Tanzania has signed up 4.4 million users to its mobile money service M-PESA, representing around 48% of its total subscriber base in the country. The service, which allows users with a recognised ID card to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily through a mobile device, is seeing sustained, strong growth. In February this year Vodacom confirmed that the number of M-PESA users stood at 2.7 million users – or 23.4% of the base. The cellco’s CEO Rene Meza says: ‘about TZS35 billion is transacted daily through M-PESA and attributed this to the fact that the service is safe and reliable and is available throughout the country.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:24:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ARCEP and the Committee for industry, energy and technologies, CGIET (Conseil général de l'industrie, de l'énergie et des technologies) have released the findings of the 10th annual survey on the use of information and communication technologies (fixed and mobile calling, internet and microcomputers) in France. This survey was conducted in June 2012 through face-to-face interviews with a sample of 2,206 people who are representative of the French population, 12 years of age and over.

What follows are some of the survey's main findings.

More and more people equipped with wireline and mobile phones, computers and internet access.

- Seventy eight percent of the population now have both a landline telephone in the home and their own mobile phone (+4 points compared to last year): telephony equipment levels stand at 89% for fixed (+1 point) and 85% for mobile (+3 points);

- four out of five people have a computer at home - most of which are laptops (70%) and 97% of which are connected to the internet;

- portable devices are increasingly popular: 64% of the population ages 12 and up own a laptop computer, a mobile phone or a tablet (+11 points);

- most people (55%) still access the internet using a landline connection at home, but this is followed closely by the use of a Wi-Fi connection at home (49%, +7 points). We are also seeing a swift increase in the use of mobile devices - i.e. tablets and phones - to access the web at home, either via Wi-Fi (23%, +10 points) or a mobile network (20%, +6 points). Ultimately, consumers are using a variety of connection modes, with 45% of them employing two or more to access the internet when at home.

Growing adoption of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) one of the main reasons for increased traffic:

- Twenty nine percent of the population surf the web using a smartphone, which marks an 8-point increase over the year before. And usage has skyrocketed over the past two years: accessing e-mail and downloading paid applications rose by a further 7 points, after having increased by 8 points in 2011 (adopted by 23% and 21% of users, respectively);

- twenty percent of individuals use a laptop computer or a tablet to connect to the internet when away from home;

- smartphone owners are twice as likely to use the mobile internet: 79% of them use their phone to surf the web, compared to only 29% of mobile phone owners as a whole. Sixty five percent use their smartphone to send e-mail, 63% to download applications and 24% to watch TV. These are nevertheless the same percentages as in 2011.

Source: ARCEP.

Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:19:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 14 December 2012

Vodacom Tanzania has announced that the number of people signed up to its mobile money service M-PESA has passed the 4.4 million mark, representing around 48% of its total subscriber base in the country. The service, which allows users with a recognised ID card to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily through a mobile device, is seeing strong growth. In February this year Vodacom confirmed that the number of M-PESA users stood at 2.7 million users – or 23.4% of the base. The cellco’s CEO Rene Meza says: ‘about TZS35 billion (USD22 million) is transacted daily through M-PESA and attributed this to the fact that the service is safe and reliable and is available throughout the country.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 14 December 2012 11:05:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Irish telecoms regulator has completed its auction of radio spectrum and raised EUR481.7 million (US$613 million) from the mobile networks, with commitments to pay up to EUR372.95 million (US$474.7 million) by 2030 when the licenses expire.

The auction awarded spectrum rights in the former GSM-only bands (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) and in the 800 MHz band (the so-called 'Digital Dividend') which became available on 24 October last following the switch-off of analogue broadcasting.

The spectrum is being provided in a technology-neutral manner.

This auction saw the release of 140 MHz of paired spectrum, more than doubling the 64.8 MHz of paired spectrum currently assigned in these bands.

Frequency Band

License Period

Hutchison 3G


Telefonica O2





2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz



2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz



2 x 5Mhz

2 x5 Mhz

2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz


2x 5Mhz

2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz



2 x 10Mhz

2 x 10Mhz


2 x 15Mhz


2 x 20Mhz

2 x 15Mhz

2 x 15Mhz

2 x 25Mhz

Upfront Payment





Total Spectrum Usage






EUR854.64 million


Announcing the results of the auction, ComReg Chairperson, Alex Chisholm said: "The assignment of these spectrum rights by ComReg has been one of the most significant pieces of work undertaken by ComReg. It is a vital step that promotes competition and allows the next generation of advanced mobile services to be made available to Irish consumers and businesses from next year."

License holders must attain and maintain a minimum coverage of 70% of the population and to attain this coverage obligation within 3 years, while they may use spectrum rights in multiple bands to achieve the coverage targets, at least 50% of the coverage requirement (i.e. 35% of the population) must be met using spectrum rights in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and/or 1800 MHz bands.

Source: Cellular News.

Europe | LTE | Mobile
Tuesday, 20 November 2012 13:33:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 16 November 2012
The government has garnered just Rs 9,407 crore, less than a quarter of what it expected, as the much hyped second generation (2G) airwaves auctions evoked a tepid response from mobile phone companies, exacerbating concerns about the Centre's ability to meet its fiscal deficit target

Norway's Telenor and Videocon, which had lost pan-India permits when the Supreme Court quashed all permits issued by former telecoms minister A Raja, won back their licences in six circles each, and will shell out Rs 2,222 crore and Rs 4,018 crore respectively. Telenor emerged as the largest bidder in the auctions.

Source: The Economic Times.

Friday, 16 November 2012 13:36:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 15 November 2012
The mobile base in Bangladesh grew to 98.47 million in September from 95.53 million in August. Grameenphone led the market with 40.95 million customers, versus 39.80 million a month earlier, followed by Banglalink with 26.78 million subscribers, up from 25.74 million in August, according to figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Robi Axiata grew its subscriber base to 20.80 million from 20.14 million and Airtel Bangladesh ended September with 6.89 million customers, compared with 6.78 million a month earlier. However, Citycell's subscriber base was flat at 1.68 million while Teletalk ended the month with 1.37 million customers, same as a month earlier.

Source: Telecompaper.

Thursday, 15 November 2012 13:48:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 08 November 2012

GrameenPhone, the Bangladesh unit of Norway’s Telenor Group, has reported that it signed up 9.8 million GPRS/EDGE mobile internet users by the end of September 2012, up by around one million in three months, and up from 3.4 million just twelve months earlier – a year-on-year net increase of 6.4 million. The figures raised the proportion of its total user base accessing the web by 14 percentage points year-on-year to 24% in the same period. GrameenPhone has recently promoted internet usage on its GSM network with a special discount for first-time customers, plus specific targeting of user segments such as its ‘Internet Utshob’ campaign aimed at the youth market, as well as government partnerships including the distribution of wireless modems in schools across the country.

Total GSM customers reached 41.0 million at 30 September 2012, up from 39.3 million reported the previous quarter and 35.2 million in Q3 2011, helping drive revenue for the first nine months of the year up by 4.7% to BDT69.3 billion (USD835 million) and Q3 revenue up by 0.4% to BDT22.9 billion. EBITDA margin remained at 53% in 9M 2012, the same level as the corresponding period of 2011, although the margin dropped in 3Q12 to 52%, down from 58% in 2011’s third quarter. The cellco invested CAPEX of BDT10.4 billion in the first three quarters of 2012, with Q3 CAPEX reaching BDT2.9 billion, down from BDT4.5 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 08 November 2012 14:38:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 29 October 2012

According to data published by the regulator, the Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP), the total number of mobile phones in Senegal exceeded 10.712 million at the end of June 2012, thanks to net additions of 828,31 in the second quarter. Mobile market leader Orange Senegal added a net 424,572 new subscribers in the April-June quarter of 2012 for a total of 6.741 million, handing it a market share of 62.9%. Second-placed Tigo Senegal reported net gains of 156,758 for a total of 2.640 million from 2.483 million at 31 March 2012 (or 24.7% of the market), while third player Sudatel Telecom (Expresso) increased its users by 242,501 to 1.330 million (12.4% share). The net gains from the incumbents pushed cellular penetration in the country to 88.01%, according the ARTP estimates, far eclipsing fixed line teledensity which stood at 2.82%, or 343,012 main lines in service, down from 346,406 at 31 December 2011. The total number of internet subscriptions (fixed and mobile) was 528,358 at end-June 2012, up 186,655 on the start of the year, of which 18.1% (95,412) were on an ADSL connection, and 375,556 were for mobile (3G) accounts. The popularity of mobile broadband internet in Senegal is growing quickly: the total was just 53,678 in June 2011, equivalent to 28.5% of the overall market, but had ballooned to account for 71.1% of the segment twelve months later.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 29 October 2012 10:45:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Papua New Guinea’s National Information and Communications Technology Authority (NITCA) has published a retail service determination related to retail mobile service prices. The watchdog has confirmed that it will restrict the extent to which market leader Digicel PNG can discriminate in the pricing for pre-paid mobile voice calls made by customers on its network and to customers on other networks. Under the determination, NICTA has revealed that Digicel will be not be allowed to charge off-net calls at prices more than 40% higher than on-net calls, although it said that there would be two exemptions to this. The two cases in which Digicel may exceed are: where the cellco has a cost justification that has been accepted by NICTA; and/or if it is running a promotion which has been cleared for price-setting purposes by the regulator. In announcing the pricing restrictions, NICTA noted that a number of Digicel’s tariffs do not conform to the new regulation, and as such it said that the operator will be required to revise a number of its tariffs.

Commenting on the decision, Papua New Guinea’s minister for communications and information technology Jimmy Miringtoro noted: ‘I am confident that this determination is in the best interests of consumers in PNG. I am also confident that Digicel, Telikom and bemobile will continue to innovate on service and price packaging for the benefit of their customers as part of the competitive process.’

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 29 October 2012 10:41:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bolivian president Evo Morales has announced that Entel Movil, the wireless arm of the country’s former monopoly domestic and international long-distance (DLD and ILD) service provider Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel), has achieved coverage of all of the country’s municipalities. According to local press source La Razon, at the launch of the network in Puerto Siles the politician revealed that Entel now offers services in the capitals of all 339 municipalities, up from 198 at January 2010 and 337 at the beginning of this year. It has been reported that Entel Movil has now deployed more than 1,500 base stations across the country.

Looking ahead, Mr Morales was also cited as saying that the launch of a new satellite – Tupac Katari – which is due to launch in late 2013, will improve communications in Bolivia further, and having achieved 100% coverage for mobile voice services, it is understood that the government now hopes to reach similar coverage levels for internet access. In line with such aims President Morales has reportedly called for an acceleration of the deployment of 4G technologies.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 29 October 2012 10:39:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

European pre-pay mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile has launched its low-cost wireless services in Portugal, according to a report by PrepaidMVNO. ‘Launching into the Portuguese market is a milestone. It cements our coverage of the European population and puts us on track to reach our goal of being in 25 countries by 2013,’ commented Lycamobile Group chairman and founder Subaskaran Allirajah, adding: ‘Our EUR150 million [USD193 million] investment over the past decade has enabled us to move fast. We are very excited about bringing this proposition to Portugal residents and their friends and family overseas.’ Lycamobile was established in 2006, and since then has launched in 15 markets, namely: the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal and Ireland.

Source: Telegeography.

Europe | Mobile | MVNO
Monday, 29 October 2012 10:38:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Hong Kong's mobile user base grew to 15.81 million in July from 15.79 million in March, according to figures from the Office of the Communications Authority (Ofca). Of the total, 8.39 million were prepaid users and the number of postpaid users stood at 7.42 million. The number of 3G/4G customers grew to 8.72 million for the month from 8.54 million in the previous month. Furthermore, 1.27 million mobile users connected through an MVNO. The total number of SMS sent dropped to 460.83 million, or 34 per subscribers, versus 490.21 million, or 37 per subscriber, a month earlier. Mobile data usage grew to 659.2 MB per customer in July from 642.8 MB per customer in June.

Source: Telecompaper.

Mobile | MVNO | Traffic
Monday, 29 October 2012 10:28:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 01 October 2012

Azeri mobile operator Bakcell has announced that it is fully prepared to introduce mobile number portability (MNP), which enables a subscriber to retain their phone number if they switch service provider. The cellco said it plans to launch the service as soon as it receives the go-ahead from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). ‘We are ready to start today but this is a service that all operators must launch together so we are forced to wait for the other operators,’ said Bakcell CEO Richard Shearer, adding: ‘We have invested significant time and money into the development of MNP and in meeting compliance issues with the MCIT. Our systems are technically ready and have passed internal acceptance tests. Bakcell is sure that MNP will increase competition in Azerbaijan’s mobile communication market and is very committed to the introduction of MNP.’ Bakcell is Azerbaijan’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The cellco had a market share of 30.2% at the end of June 2012, compared to market leader Azercell’s 47.2% share, but ahead of Azerfon with 22.6%.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 01 October 2012 13:35:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Solomon Star newspaper, Solomon Telekom Company has rolled out 13 new base transceiver stations (BTS), as part of its ongoing project to boost its mobile presence across the sovereign state. The rollout was overseen by Irish wireless network solutions provider Altobridge. A Telekom spokesperson commented: ‘Following the completed [deployment] of the 13 towers another nine new sites are in progress in terms of civil works and installation. By the end of this year there will be 50 new towers built in various communities and another 50 for next year’.

Telekom’s network currently covers 47 locations across the Oceanic state, which consists of nearly 1,000 islands. 3G connectivity is currently offered in the towns of Honiara and Auki (both situated in the Malaita province), although Telekom’s website claims that ‘other locations [are] soon to follow suit’. In late-November 2011 Solomon Telekom’s sole wireless rival Bemobile launched a 3G dongle in Honiara, marking its subscribers’ first taste of 3G connectivity.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 01 October 2012 13:31:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Glo Ghana, which became the country’s fifth mobile network operator after launching commercially in April 2012, has reportedly confirmed that it has surpassed two million subscribers. According to AllAfrica, the cellco claims that it now accounts for more than 8% of Ghana’s mobile voice accesses. In revealing the milestone the report cited a statement by Glo Ghana as saying of its progress in the market: ‘In keeping with our innovative tradition, we also rolled out the most modern telecommunications network and introduced into the market abundant, superior and attractive value offerings in all ten regions of the country from day one. This accounted for our instant success in Ghana.’

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in mid-April 2012 the National Communications Authority (NCA) was understood to have threatened to revoke Glo’s concession if it failed to specify a commercial switch-on date by the end of the month. It also handed the operator a USD200,000 fine for its delayed launch, after a number of hold-ups in the launch of commercial services. Subsequently, on 27 April Glo confirmed it had gone live, offering coverage to around 85% of Ghana’s population, with 1,400 base stations in 974 cities and 10,000 villages. It is targeting 2,300 base stations in service by the end of 2012, which would make it the largest network in Ghana in terms of coverage. The NCA meanwhile confirmed in mid-June 2012 that Glo had paid the USD200,000 fine that had been imposed two months earlier.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, 01 October 2012 12:59:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Brazil’s national telecoms watchdog Anatel yesterday ordered three incumbent mobile operators to stop selling new cellphone plans in certain states, in response to a rising tide of customer complaints over poor service quality, including dropped calls and patchy coverage. The regulator has announced that, in each of the country’s 26 states and the federal district Brasilia, the cellco with the worst service record will be barred from selling new mobile plans. The edict came into effect on Monday, it said, and will remain in place until such time as the carrier concerned presents investment plans designed to rectify the problem. ‘A growing client base needs to be accompanied by more investments,’ Anatel head Joao Batista de Resende told reporters, adding that it has been tracking a rising tide of customer service complaints for more than a year.

Following the ruling, Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil unit has been barred from selling plans in 19 states; Oi SA has been prohibited from signing up new users in five; and Telecom Americas (Claro) has been served a desist order in three states. Only Vivo, the Brazilian asset of Telefonica of Spain, will not face immediate sanctions, but it has 30 days to present plans or face a similar fate. As reported by CommsUpdate yesterday, Brazil’s consumer protection agency Procon ordered the country’s four largest mobile operators to stop selling any more new mobile SIMs in the southern Rio Grande do Sul state capital Porto Alegre, amid concerns over poor service quality. It is understood that any carrier that flouts Anatel’s order will face a fine of BRL200,000 (USD99,000) per day.

The cellcos have reacted strongly to the measures, with TIM Brasil remarking on the ‘extreme measure’ which is feels is ‘disproportional’ and ‘anti-competitive’. Oi SA meanwhile, slated what it termed Anatel’s ‘out-of-date’ decision, noting its own plan to up CAPEX to BRL6 billion in 2012, compared to BRL5 billion last year ad BRL3 billion in 2010.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:53:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has published data on the number of mobile phone subscribers in the country. As at the end of June 2012, Rwanda was home to 4,759,130 wireless subscribers, up from 4,453,711 three months previously. The regulator had previously projected that the number will increase to more than six million by the end of the year, although at the current growth rate this appears unlikely. The country’s newest operator, Airtel, added 55,000 customers in May and a further 55,000 in June, outstripping its rivals MTN (46,000 net additions in June) and Tigo (38,800 net additions in June).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:44:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has announced that it has rebranded the Costa Rican arm of its Central American cableco, Amnet, under its Tigo banner. According to local news source AM Costa Rica, Amnet Costa Rica has adopted the Tigo name used by MIC’s operations throughout Latin America and Africa and more recently taken by MIC’s Amnet subsidiaries in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that MIC took over Amnet in October 2008 for USD510 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:43:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), the United Arab Emirates’ second national telecoms operator, has announced it generated revenue of AED2.45 billion (USD666.8 million) in the three months ended 30 June 2012, an increase of 12.9% from AED2.17 billion in the year-ago quarter. Growth was primarily driven by a 14.0% year-on-year rise in mobile revenue to AED1.9 billion, of which mobile data accounted for AED278 million, an increase of 84.8% from AED151 million in Q2 2011. Du said that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 36.6% year-on-year to AED941 million in the second quarter of 2012, while net profit before royalty increased 57.1% to AED651 million, compared to AED414 million in Q2 2011. CAPEX totalled AED444 million in the three month period.

A total of 196,300 mobile customers were added during the second quarter of 2012 (including 36,300 post-paid users), bringing Du’s total wireless subscriber base to 5.732 million at the end of the reporting period, 7.8% of which were contract customers (up from 6.8% in the year-ago quarter). Fixed line customers meanwhile increased to 546,600, up 10.6% compared to the end of June 2011. Revenue generated by Du’s fixed business, including fixed telephony, TV and broadband, rose 11.4% year-on-year to AED410 million in 2Q12.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:41:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 1 percent annually to reach 362 million units in the second quarter of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Growth was led by the smartphone segment, which rose 32 percent annually to 146 million units. However, this was the slowest growth rate in almost three years. Samsung led the total market, shipping an estimated 93.0 million phones for a 25.7 percent market share, while also taking the lead in smartphones, with a 34.6 percent share or 50.5 million phones sold. Nokia was in second in the overall market, with its share down to 23.1 percent from 24.7 percent a year earlier. Apple came third in the overall market, with a share of 7.2 percent, and ranked second in smartphones, with 17.8 percent of the market. Nokia's smartphone share more than halved to 7.0 percent from 15.1 a year ago. ZTE and LG completed the top five in the overall market, with market shares of respectively 4.6 percent and 3.6 percent, both down from a year earlier.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 12:30:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Hungarian telecoms operator Magyar Telekom (MTel) yesterday announced a decision to implement a gradual increase in some of its tariffs from September, citing ‘unfavourable economic and market processes’ as the reason. Budapest Business Journal reports that the tariff changes are deemed ‘unavoidable’ by the incumbent, due to the lack of economic recovery in the central European nation, as well as higher than expected inflation and the adverse impact of ‘certain economic policy measures of the past period’. Further, the operator says it will not be passing on a new tax on voice calls and SMS to its customers: the government tax, introduced from July, is expected to cost MTel up to HUF8 billion (USD33.8 million) in 1H12 and HUF20 billion per annum from 2013.

In a statement, the telco said that the tariff changes ‘will match the varying characteristics of mobile and fixed line as well as post-paid and pre-paid tariff packages and will retain the benefits and discounts favoured by customers’. It added that ‘For post-paid mobile packages the change in monthly tariff will be mitigated by unchanged minute and text message rates and conditions; while for pre-paid mobile packages, there is no monthly charge but minute charges will change. For enterprise customers, there will be no change to either the monthly fee for tariff packages included in dedicated framework contracts, nor the national minute and text message rates’.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:50:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azeri mobile operator Bakcell has chosen to deploy PT’s SEGway Number Portability Solution for its network in Baku, in line with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MCIT’s) requirement for service providers to make mobile number portability (MNP) available to subscribers this year. SEGway’s carrier-grade IP backbone provides a platform for seamless growth and the addition of revenue-generating features as networks evolve to next generation. ‘We faced an enormous challenge of selecting a vendor, testing, and turning up MNP within a very short window of time, and without impact to our network,’ commented Jordan Rashev, Bakcell’s head of Network Management Centre, adding: ‘We were confident that PT would deliver the quality we are accustomed to and meet our deadline. We are extremely pleased with their product and service.’

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:32:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, has called for expressions of interest for the country’s third mobile operator licence, which includes frequencies for the operation of a 3G network. Cameroon Tribune reports that applicants must not already be active in Cameroon and must have equity of at least USD200 million as of 31 December 2011, among other requirements. A shortlist of applications will be drawn up by 20 July 2012, according to a source at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The winning bidder will join two established companies in the mobile market – South Africa-based MTN Cameroon and France’s Orange Cameroon – which between them claimed around 11.37 million wireless customers at the end of March 2012, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. At the same date, penetration of cellular services stood at around 50% of the population.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:26:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Bangladesh ended May with 92.12 million mobile subscribers, up from 90.64 million in April. Grameenphone led with 38.41 million, up from 37.75 million a month earlier, followed by Banglalink with 25.25 million customers, up from 25.00 million, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Robi Axiata raised its subscriber base to 18.73 million from 18.24 million and Airtel Bangladesh ended May with 6.67 million subscribers, versus 6.54 million in April. Citycell saw its subscriber base slip to 1.71 million from 1.80 million and Teletalk ended May with 1.34 million customers, up from 1.30 million in the previous month.

Source: Telecompaper.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012 12:11:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 04 July 2012

Cambodian wireless operator Smart Mobile has announced that it signed up its three millionth customer in May 2012, five months after crossing the two million subscriber mark at the start of the year. The cellco said that by the end of May, its mobile customer base had increased to 3.24 million, placing it second in the market in terms of users behind Vietnamese-owned Metfone, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. ‘It is another milestone we have achieved and we are very happy to see this growth,’ said Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Mobile, adding: ‘Considering that Smart Mobile is still a comparably young player in this market, launched commercially in February 2009, it is a massive endorsement to us by our subscribers to have reached the number two position within only three years and three months since the commercial launch… We are highly committed to keep investing into the network to cater the constantly growing demand but also to further innovate by introducing new products and services.’ The press release adds that Smart Mobile’s GSM/GPRS/EDGE network currently covers around 87% of the population and is present in all 24 provinces, while coverage of the cellco’s HSPA+ mobile broadband network, which was commercially launched in August 2011, has grown from 14 provinces at the start of 2012 to parts of all 24 provinces six months later.

Smart Mobile (owned by Latelz, a subsidiary of Cyprus-based and Russian-owned Timeturns Holdings) became Cambodia’s eighth mobile operator when it launched commercial GSM services in Phnom Penh and Siem Riep in early 2009. At the start of 2011 Smart Mobile merged its operations with Applifone, the local unit of Swedish telecoms group TeliaSonera, under the Smart Mobile brand. TeliaSonera’s 75.5%-owned unit TeliaSonera Asia Holding owns 25% of the new company, and Latelz the remaining 75%.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 04 July 2012 16:08:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Ireland’s national telecoms regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has released its ‘Quarterly Report on the Irish telecommunications market’, covering the period January-March 2012. According to its findings, total quarterly electronic communications revenues fell 2.7% quarter-on-quarter to EUR930.3 million (USD1.17 billion), largely the result of a fall in mobile sector revenues. Total voice traffic declined 1.1% over the same period to around 4.34 billion minutes, with fixed voice traffic reporting a 1.8% q-o-q fall and mobile voice traffic, down 0.7%.

ComReg said that overall broadband subscriptions (including mobile internet) in the Republic rose slightly (0.1%) to 1.666 million, although when including dial-up users, the country total decreased 0.1% in January-March 2012, to 1.687 million. Fixed broadband users totalled 1.083 million at that date (+1.2%), mobile broadband (HSDPA) reached 583,031, down from 593,438 and dial-up accounts fell by 4,000 to 20,654. The watchdog reported that ADSL connections declined by 0.3 of a percentage point in 1Q12 to 726,814, cable modem users rose 6.1% to 275,499, fixed wireless access users slipped 2.6% to 69,566, and other broadband increased 8% to 11,519. As at 31 March 2012 the fixed broadband per capita penetration rate reached 23.6%, with the total broadband per capita penetration rate (including mobile broadband) was 36.3%.

ComReg also notes that consumers are increasingly opting for faster broadband connections, with 19.1% of all broadband subscriptions now in the >10Mbps category compared to 10.7% at end-March 2011. The highest proportion of customers in the >10Mbps category are using cable broadband, it said. Finally, the watchdog estimates that approximately 79% of TV homes in Ireland received a digital TV service by May 2012. Approximately 7% of Irish TV homes had an Irish DTT service at the same date.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:37:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zain Sudan, a unit of Kuwaiti telecoms firm Zain Group, aims to sign up an additional one million mobile subscribers in 2012 to boost its total customer base to 14 million by year-end, Reuters cites the company’s chief executive Elfatih Erwa as saying. The company is targeting growth outside of the capital Khartoum, but Erwa said that earnings gains will be offset by weaker operating margins due to higher taxes and a growing economic crisis. In December 2011 the Sudanese government introduced a new tax on telecoms operators to make up for the loss of oil revenue from newly independent South Sudan. Sales and services taxes for telecoms firms were increased from 20% to 30%, while a tax on profits was hiked from 15% to 30%; Erwa said that Zain has added the sales tax to its tariffs, but fierce competition meant it could not offset the profit tax increase with further price rises. Last year Zain Sudan began dividing its operations into two units after the South seceded in July 2011, but has yet to agree a licence fee with the newly independent country.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:34:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Airtel Zambia is reportedly aiming to have deployed some 200 new mobile towers in rural areas of the country before the end of the year, with a view to enhancing coverage in underserved areas. According to AllAfrica, Airtel managing director Fayaz King noted that the infrastructure rollout forms part of a partnership with Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), with the duo working on a universal access project that will see Airtel Zambia construct more than 350 shareable base stations in rural areas nationwide. It is understood that 171 towers have already been built and are now up and running, with constituencies that have benefited including Chiengi, Senga Hill, Lufwanyama, Kabompo East, and Chifunabuli.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:11:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to online news portal Agence Ecofin, regional mobile operator Africell is poised to launch commercial services in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), almost two years after receiving rights and spectrum to offer wireless services there. Africell, a subsidiary of Lebanese firm Lintel Holding, already operates mobile networks in Sierra Leone and the Gambia, and has now been authorised to launch in DRC by Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and New Information Technologies and Communication, Tryphon Kin-Kiey, on 18 June. Speaking at Africell’s launch ceremony, Kin-Kiey advised the newcomer to ‘innovate’ by deploying its network infrastructure over a wider footprint than those of its rivals, and by rolling out base transceiver stations (BTS) in less profitable areas, rather than concentrating on major centres and provincial capitals.

The news agency notes however, that the cellco’s commercial launch is not actually expected to take place until next month, with a three-tiered rollout mooted by the firm. The first stage will encompass Kinshasa and the provinces of Bandundu, Bas-Congo and Katanga, followed by a second phase rollout in the provinces of Kasai Occidental and Kasai Oriental; the third and final batch of deployments will take in the Eastern Province, Ecuador, and north and south Kiwu.

Agence Ecofin’s report describes Africell as the DRC’s ‘sixth mobile operator’, although it remains unclear when a fifth mobile operator actually inaugurated commercial services in the country. Airtel DRC, Vodacom DRC, Tigo DRC and Congo Chine Telecom (CCT) are widely acknowledged as the country’s four established mobile operators, but over the years as many as 16 companies have been granted wireless licences, only to come unstuck due to myriad legal and financial issues, muddying the waters somewhat.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October 2010 Africell launched a tender process to identify a vendor to roll out a mobile network using 2×9MHz of bandwidth in the 1800MHz band as well as 2×4MHz of 900MHz band spectrum; a provisional launch date of April 2012 was later suggested.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:34:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malawian mobile operators have criticised an increase in corporate tax on the wireless sector to 33% from the standard rate of 30%, calling the move unfair and unjustified, The Business Times cites senior officials at Airtel Malawi and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) as saying. The tax rise on the sector was announced by Finance Minister Ken Lipenga earlier this month in his 2012/13 budget statement to parliament. Describing the tax as ‘punitive’, Airtel Malawi’s managing director Saulos Chilima said: ‘It is unfortunate that we [mobile operators] have been singled out [for the tax rise]. There is an element of discrimination here which is of concern to us as a company.’ He added that cellular operators, under the initiative of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), will meet Lipenga to discuss the matter and ask the government to review the tax. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the country’s other operational cellco, TNM, called the tax on the mobile sector unjustified. ‘Our capital investment is huge and this increase will have an impact on some investments that may have gone into the network. The impact may not be apparent now but certainly in the near future, this will be felt,’ Wilma Chalulu commented. Malawi has one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in Africa, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The rate stood at around 24% of the population at the end of March 2012, less than half the average wireless penetration for the region (65%).

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 13:33:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 22 June 2012

France’s telecoms industry regulator Arcep has published its findings on the mobile communications market in France and its overseas territories for the period ended 31 March 2012, showing strong growth since the arrival of Iliad’s Free Mobile start-up in January. The watchdog reported that the total number of mobile service customers in metropolitan France and the overseas territories stood at 69.5 million, thanks to net additions of close to 900,000 SIMs in the quarter, a cellular penetration of 106.5% of the national population. Net growth in Q1 2012 far outstripped the average for the preceding five years (of 300,000 SIMs) it said, as Free Mobile made an instant impact on the mainland. Arcep added that in January-March the total number of gross sales (7.8 million) and account cancellations (6.9 million) both reached ‘exceptionally high levels’ in the past quarter.

Arcep said that the total number of mobile customers in mainland France stood at 66.8 million at the end of March 2012, up 6.1% on the same time in 2011, of which roughly three quarters (74%) were on monthly subscriptions. The increase in the number of flat rate plans was much stronger in the first quarter of 2012 it said – rising by 1.6 million in January-March, compared to 900,000 in 4Q11. Metropolitan France mobile network operators (MNOs) Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange France and SFR collectively reported a total 59.4 million mobile subscribers, up 940,000 quarter-on quarter. Meanwhile, the number of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) customers decreased by around 90,000 to 7.5 million by the end of March 2012 – equivalent to 11.15% of the market, down from 11.43% three months earlier. The use of mobile number portability (MNP) also leapt during the first quarter of the year, with 2.6 million numbers being ported, compared to one million in Q4 2011.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:12:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In an attempt to counter the increasing roaming charges for Canadian mobile-phone users, Roam Mobility Inc is offering consumers a better alternative.
According to a report by Globe and Mail, the Vancouver-based upstart, marketing itself as a rogue mobile company, is aggressively ramping up its rollout of cellphones, SIM cards and other devices to entice Canadians looking for cheaper alternatives to high roaming rates the major wireless companies charge when customers travel to the United States with their smartphones in tow.
Roam Mobility’s chief executive officer Emir Aboulhosn, said that they will not tell users to switch from Rogers, Telus and Bell – they’re just asking users to stop using them when they cross the border. Roam estimates that Canadians spend $800-million a year on international roaming fees, with roughly $450-million spent on U.S. roaming alone.
As per the report, Roam Mobility launched its service in January, competing with the major carriers by offering Canadian travellers unlimited talk and text plans from $3 a day, including free calls to Canada. Its data rates start as low as 2 cents a megabyte.
With the summer travel season just around the corner, Roam is in expansion mode. It will announce a new partnership with Allegiant Air to sell its products during flights starting June 1. Allegiant is a U.S. airline that services border airports such as Niagara Falls, N.Y., and offers discounted fares to popular U.S. destinations.
Roam’s products are already available at a number of Canadian and U.S. airports and at major land border duty-free shops. They will also be sold at Future Shop starting next month. Its product line includes a cellphone for talk and text; SIM cards that can be used in a consumer’s own unlocked phone; and personal “hotspot” devices that provide a high-speed data connection for up to five wireless devices (like smartphones, tablet computers or laptops) at the same time.
The report reveals that Roam has already attracted close to 20,000 customers and is on track to hit the 100,000-subscriber mark in the second quarter of 2013. Even though the vast majority of its customers are people who travel to the U.S. in short spurts, Aboulhosn says Roam can afford to be aggressive with its pricing because its capital expenditures and overhead costs are relatively low.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:05:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Saudi Arabian telco Etihad Etisalat, which trades as Mobily, has awarded India-based software vendor Xius a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) management contract. With the Saudi government preparing to offer its first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences, network owners such as Mobily need to be ready to host resellers. Mobily has therefore contracted Xius to deploy its Mobile Services Platform infrastructure and framework. Mobily is the second largest cellular operator in Saudi Arabia, with 21.3 million subscribers and 37% of the overall wireless market at the end of 2011, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:56:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom South Africa has announced the launch of its Freedom 99 prepaid tariff, offering calls to all networks at ZAR 0.99 per minute. Marketing head Enzo Scarcella said Freedom 99 customers who recharge by ZAR 12 or more can talk for free every night with Nightshift. This provides 60 minutes of talktime every day for seven days to call Vodacom customers between midnight and 05:00 hrs. Vodacom's Freedom 99 will be available from 20 May.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:54:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, has entered into a partnership with Axis Bank, enabling customers to carry out basic transactions such as transfer money as well as deposit and withdraw cash via Airtel Money.
As per reports, Bharti Airtel chief executive, India and South Asia, Sanjay Kapoor said that following the recent pan-India launch of Airtel money, they are today excited to collaborate with Axis Bank to further strengthen their m-commerce proposition for customers.
He added that the services will first be offered in Delhi and Mumbai on the sending side, and Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh on the receiving side. Thereafter, these services may be extended to other remittance corridors in the country.
Kapoor also said that according to estimates, nearly 43 per cent of the country’s population does not have bank accounts-the ‘Airtel money Super Account powered by Axis Bank’ acts as a no-frills bank account that comes with remittance capabilities.
Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma said that their alliance with Airtel will help the bank to reach out to excluded segments of their population, both in rural and urban centres, with reasonably priced banking and financial services.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:50:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Half of Korea's mobile users now own a smartphone. Some 26.72 million mobile users out of a total of 52.55 million, had a smartphone as of 1 May, the Korea Herald reports citing figures fromthe Korea Communications Commission. SK Telecom has the most smartphone subscribers at 13.3 million, followed by KT with 8.8 million, and LG Uplus with 4.62 million smartphone subscribers.

Source: Telecom Paper.


Friday, 22 June 2012 14:45:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) has finally stopped selling its contentious fixed-wireless and mobile products, The Times of Swaziland reports. In March 2012 the SPTC reportedly made an offer to withdraw its ‘ONE’ mobile phone and fixed-wireless ‘Fixedfone’ services from the market, in a bid to end its bitter ongoing dispute with the country’s sole mobile operator, MTN Swaziland. The offer was made on the eve of a hearing at the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva which sought to put an end to the feud. The paper reports that the SPTC has already connected around 50,000 fixed-wireless customers, 14,000 mobile customers and around 10,000 users of mobile internet dongles. The uptake is regarded as a significant achievement for the SPTC, which has claimed just 44,000 wireline subscriptions for every year since 2006. Amon Dlamini the SPTC’s acting managing director told the newspaper that the company stopped the sale and promotion of these products about a month ago to smooth the ongoing negotiations with MTN. However, Dlamini has claimed that all existing subscribers will remain connected to its networks, a move which is sure to anger MTN.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MTN Swaziland has long maintained that the SPTC’s dual offerings are in breach of the joint venture (JV) agreement signed between the two parties in 1997, which prohibited telecoms SPTC – which operates in the incongruous dual role of national telecoms regulator and fixed line incumbent – from offering services that directly competed with it. After finding its repeated attempts at launching a rival mobile network under the ‘ONE’ brand blocked by MTN in 2010/11, the SPTC promptly changed tack and launched fixed-wireless services under the Fixedfone brand in August 2011, offering limited mobility within each one of twelve designated zones: Big-Bend, Hlathikulu, Lavumisa, Luve, Mankayane, Manzini, Mbabane, Nhlangano, Pigg’s Peak, Simunye, Siphofaneni and Siteki. However, despite the considerable physical bulk of the Fixedfone handsets, it was reported that customers were driving them around in their cars and using them in different geographical regions to make use of the service’s cut-price calling tariffs; SPTC dismissed these occurrences as ‘anomalies’, claiming that the process of locking the Fixedfones to their designated zones was ongoing.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:03:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Around 53 percent of mobile internet users in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria have engaged in mobile banking and payment activities. In Kenya, over 96 percent of mobile internet users have engaged in a financial activity via their mobile, according to a report by mobile research specialists On Device Research. The report also found that using mobile phones for financial activities is also popular in rural areas, with almost equal penetration compared to urban usage in some countries. Sending airtime credits is the most popular mobile finance activity, with 28 percent transferring credit. Airtime can be used as a form of currency to pay for goods and services.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:08:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has urged all mobile operators to implement fair information and service practices after some customers were surprised by large bills for international roaming, reports The Bangkok Post. The NBTC introduced its 'mobile passport', a handbook it advises mobile users to read before they go abroad. Commissioner Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said the measures are meant to stop so-called 'bill shock'. To raise public awareness of bill shock, the NBTC has teamed up with the Consular Affairs Department, Thai Airways International and Airports of Thailand to launch a data-roaming campaign to inform mobile users about how to surf the internet safely while travelling.

Leesathapornwongsa said more than 100 customers have been hit by surprisingly large bills on international roaming services over the past two years, with costs totalling THB 4 million. Complaints from AIS customers numbered 55 cases, with the highest bill THB 270,000. DTAC had 34 complaints, with the highest bill at THB 120,000, while True Move recorded 28 complaints with the highest bill at THB 294,900.

The NBTC suggested international roaming users select tariff plans that fit their usage and select an operator before they go abroad. Mobile users can choose VoIP services, cheap alternative systems or buy local Sim cards abroad. Leesathapornwongsa said the NBTC wants clearer information for customers from operators about what they charge for services locally and abroad and greater protection for consumers from hefty data charges.

The NBTC prohibits operators from automatically activating international roaming for customers without their permission. AIS vice-president for international roaming Weerachai Patcharopartwong said it uses a centralised control system so customers do not have to worry about roaming costs. A warning message is issued when customers' data roaming usage exceeds their package limits. For unlimited data roaming users, the company will automatically skip roaming services not included in their plan. AIS will make roaming-limit services automatic this month to reduce the problem of bill shock. They are currently optional and require customers to sign up ahead of time, said Patcharopartwong.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A new study by Nielsen into the usage and popularity of dual SIM handsets and multi-SIM cards has thrown up some interesting facts. The survey reveals that 71 million subscribers use Multiple SIM cards across India.
Moreover, among 14 percent of Multi-SIM card users who plan to buy a new handset, 75 percent intend to choose a dual SIM card handset. The study found that overall, 13 percent of unique active mobile subscribers use Multiple SIM cards. The reach peaks in towns with a population of five to ten lakh, where 21 percent of the populace use multi-SIMs. The corresponding figure in a town class with 40 lakh plus population is just 11 percent.
Nielsen found that Multiple SIM card users tend to be younger – largely students, newly employed and working professionals. Consumers between the age-group of 18-25 years dominated the Multi-SIM usage at 45 percent, primarily driven by a desire for optimizing tariffs and taking advantage of better and cheaper deals offered by operators.
A key observation is that for most Multi-SIM card users, there hasn’t been a significant increase in their monthly mobile expense despite maintaining two separate connections. For every 2 out of 5 multi-SIM users, expenses have remained consistent. Only 12 percent users have reported a substantial rise in costs.
The Nielsen study also found that 61 percent of handsets used by multi-SIM owners are dual SIM. Nokia leads the pack with a 30 percent market share while Samsung is a distant second with 16 percent. In fact, the popularity of dual SIM handsets is set to surge as among 14 percent of Multi-SIM card users who plan to purchase a new handset, 75 percent intend to choose a dual SIM handset.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:49:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Canada’s wireless industry generated $43 billion for the Canadian economy in 2010 as per a report released by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), which quantifies the economic impact of Canada’s wireless sector in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), investment and employment.

The report determined that the wireless communications services industry directly contributed $18 billion to Canada’s GDP and provided an additional $15.66 billion of economic flow through to contributing suppliers in the supply chain. The sector also generated a consumer surplus – the additional benefit or satisfaction that consumers receive from wireless services, above and beyond what they pay for the services – of $9.31 billion.

CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord said that, Canada’s wireless industry has once again demonstrated its critical importance to the country’s economy and prosperity. The industry remains committed to ensuring that Canadians are provided with the most advanced and reliable wireless networks available.

The report also examines the extraordinary investments made by the industry. In 2010, the industry deployed $2.5 billion in capital expenditures, which represented more than 14 percent of aggregate Canadian mobile operators’ revenues. This level of capital intensity was greater than the average for North America, which was 13.3 percent in 2010.

The report also revealed that the wireless industry supported more than 260,000 jobs in 2010. The wireless sector continues to offer high value employment, with an average salary level of more than $64,000, compared to the Canadian average salary of just over $44,000.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:40:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 04 May 2012

Brazil ended March 2012 with more than 250.8 million active mobile telephony lines, of which 52 million were 3G, representing growth of 10.11 percent from 47.2 million 3G handsets in February 2012. The mobile phone penetration rate rose to 128 percent. Of the total mobile phones in the country, 205.2 million were prepaid (81.83%) and 45.6 million postpaid (18.17%). The absolute number of new additions (3.2 million) is the largest recorded for the month of March in the last thirteen years and represents an increase of 1.30 percent compared with February 2012, according to statement from the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel). Maranhao remains the only Brazilian state with less than one mobile phone per capita density (84.4). Vivo is still the market leader with 74.78 million subscribers (29.81% market share), followed by TIM with 67.2 million subscribers (26.80%), and Claro in third position with 61.59 million subscribers (24.56%). Oi appears in fourth place with 46.69 million active subscribers (18.53%) and was the only one to see its market share shrink in comparison with the previous month. In percentage terms, Claro was the operator with the highest growth.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 04 May 2012 08:40:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 30 April 2012

In the second half of 2011, the number of mobile subscriptions continued to grow, although much slower than during the first half of the year. Instead, the number of pay-monthly data transmission subscriptions in the mobile network and unexpectedly, the number of text and multimedia messages sent continued to grow clearly. As many as 40% of mobile subscriptions had a pay-monthly data transmission service.

Broadband subscriptions gained popularity in fixed and mobile networks

The number of fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase in the second half-year by more than 30,000, even though the number of pay-monthly mobile data transmission subscriptions grew by about 570,000 during the same time period. It seems that mobile data transmission subscriptions and agreements are used more and more as a complementary data transmission subscription alongside fixed broadband subscriptions.

A record number of text and multimedia messages were sent. After a moderate increase at the beginning of the year, the number of text and multimedia messages sent accelerated by 10% from July to December. The figures contain the messages sent by both consumers and companies. There is no evidence that the strong popularity of data transmission services would put an end to the use of the more traditional mobile services.

Source: FICORA.

Monday, 30 April 2012 09:50:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 05 April 2012

MTN Liberia (formerly Lonestar Communications) has announced the signing of its one-millionth mobile customer, based on the audited reports of its parent group MTN’s full year 2011 results. Monrovia-based newspaper The New Dawn also notes that the MTN Group highlighted the Liberian operator as one of its strongest growth performers. South Africa-registered MTN had a total of 164 million customers in 22 countries at the end of December 2011, of which MTN Liberia had over one million. The cellco’s milestone comes at the end of more than ten years of activity in a country that it striving to overcome the devastating impact of civil war.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 05 April 2012 08:51:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 30 March 2012
New entrants to Costa Rica’s wireless market, Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica (subsidiaries of Mexico’s America Movil and Spain’s Telefonica respectively) have appealed to the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAE) to extend their network rollout deadline, following further difficulties in acquiring permissions to erect infrastructure. The cellcos require permission from municipalities to build towers, though the process has been slowed by the fact that most areas have no regulations in place regarding the construction of telecoms infrastructure. Under the licences issued to Claro and Movistar in January last year, the pair are obliged to roll out networks in three stages within five years, with the first phase due to be completed by mid-July. The two cellcos launched services over GSM and W-CDMA networks in late November 2011

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 30 March 2012 10:48:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DoCoMo, has announced that its customer base passed the 60 million milestone on 11 March. The figure includes customers on 2G, 3G and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. After launching its first cellular services towards the end of 1979, it took DoCoMo until February 1993 to sign its first one million customers. Four years later it had reached ten million subscribers, and by April 2000 it had signed up 30 million users. It then reached 50 million in November 2005, but as the market has become more saturated growth has slowed, and it has taken over six years to reach the latest milestone. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, DoCoMo commands a 47.5% share of the Japanese mobile market, with KDDI, Softbank and eAccess also competing for users.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 30 March 2012 10:37:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian fixed and mobile operator reported strong subscriber gains in both mobile and fixed broadband users, helping drive full year operating revenues up to USD190 million from USD184 million in FY2010. EBITDA reached USD73 million in the period under review, down from USD78 million in 2010, although the EBITDA margin improved to 40.7% in 4Q11, compared to 36.4% in 4Q10. The telco closed out last year with a total of 765,000 mobile customers, up from 672,000 a year earlier, helping to generate net operating revenue of USD82 million, compared to USD74 million previously. Fourth-quarter blended monthly ARPU of USD7.6 however, was lower than the USD10 reported in 4Q10, although ArmenTel reports solid take-up of higher spending mobile broadband subscribers, which stood at 24,000 by the year end, from 7,000 at end-2010.

The operator, which offers services under the Beeline banner, had 134000 fixed broadband customers as at 31 December 2011, up from 115,000 in the third quarter and 68,000 at end-2010. Fixed line (net) revenue reached USD108 million last year – marginally down (by USD2 million) year-on-year – although within this, broadband revenue increased to USD19.2 million, from USD9.8 million in full-year 2010. Monthly fixed broadband ARPU was USD14.8 in 4Q11, down from USD17.1 a year earlier.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 30 March 2012 10:35:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 28 February 2012

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2011 (4Q2011) there were around 16.8 million active mobile stations associated with post-paid, pre-paid and hybrid tariff plans, 1.0 percent higher than in the previous quarter.

Of the stations reported, around 13.42 million mobile stations (79.9 percent) were actually used in the last month of the quarter, 0.5 percent less than in the same period last year. It is the first time since the indicator is collected that the weight of active mobile stations, of all mobile stations, falls below 80 percent.

The number of active mobile stations and user devices in actual use during the 4Q2011 reached around 12.3 million, 0.6 percent higher than in the 3Q2011, not including cards/modems used exclusively for broadband Internet access.

In December 2011, the penetration mobile service was reported at 157.9 per 100 inhabitants.

If only mobile stations with actual use were considered, the penetration rate in Portugal would be 126.1 percent.

At the end of December 2011, there were around 11.2 million users in Portugal eligible to use broadband services.

The number of active users who actually used services which are characteristic of 3rd generation (i.e. video-telephony, broadband data transmission, mobile TV) totalled around 4.2 million, a 4.4 percent increase compared with the previous quarter.

Of all the users of broadband services, which registered traffic in the last reporting month, 27.3 percent are users of the mobile broadband Internet access service using cards/modems. The number of such users continues to decline (less 0.9 percent than the previous quarter) - between the 4Q2010 and 4Q2011, the number decreased by -11.3 percent.

The number of conversation minutes originating on mobile networks totalled this quarter 5.4 million, in line with the previous quarter. The value reported for this period is usually lower compared to the previous quarter. However, the value observed for the 4Q2011 was below the lower limit of the forecast range resulting from the historic trend and seasonal adjustment.

During the 4Q2011, 2.2 billion calls were made, 2 percent less than in the previous quarter. The number of calls received on the mobile network was around 2.2 billion, a value which represents a decrease of 2 percent over the previous quarter and a 3.2 percent decrease compared to 4Q2010.

The number of text messages rose to around 7.1 million, 5.7 percent higher than the previous quarter and an annual growth of 5 percent.

On average, the number of users of the text message service represents around 66 percent of the total mobile stations in actual use, excluding Internet access cards.

Consult the statistical report:

Serviços Móveis - 4º trimestre de 2011

Source: ANACOM.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:20:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 24 February 2012

UAE’s leading telecom providers Etisalat and du have managed to rope in 187, 000 new GSM subscribers to their clientele by December 2011. UAE’s telecommunication authority (TRA) announced that the telecom providers fetched fairly well in the GSM sector in 2011 than in 2010. Now the total number of GSM users has hit a subscription of 11, 727 in December itself. According to reports, the business expansion strategies of Etisalat and du, in mobile phone and other telecommunication services, played a key role in achieving the targeted figure of subscriptions in UAE. As per TRA, a total of 10.355 million GSM subscribers in UAE are in the pre-pay category and rest of the users fall under the monthly billing arena. Telecom operator du stated that it is expecting to overtake Etisalat in terms of number of mobile phone users in the near future. UAE has one of the biggest segment of mobile phone users when it comes to GSM subscription. According to reports, the boost in GSM subscription has helped UAE in sustaining its status as a country with highest GSM penetration ratio. By 2010 end, the mobile phone penetration ratio in the UAE was around 134 per cent for a population of 8.2 million.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 24 February 2012 09:23:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s largest cellco by subscribers, Advanced Info Service (AIS), announced that it reached 1.2 million 3G 900MHz network subscribers by the end of December 2011, after launching the commercial HSPA-based service in July. AIS’s closest rival operator DTAC claimed this month that its 850MHz HSPA service had attracted 1.1 million subscribers, following a full commercial network launch in August.

AIS’s 3G announcement came alongside its financial results for the year and fourth quarter, in which it reported that twelve-month revenues excluding interconnection rose 12% to THB97.9 billion (USD3.2 billion), driven by mobile internet growth, as non-voice turnover climbed 31% in comparison to an 8% increase in voice revenue. Annual EBITDA reached THB56.6 billion, up by 10%, and net profit jumped 21% to THB26.6 billion. CAPEX was raised by 18% in 2011, as the company expanded 3G and 2G coverage and capacity, and AIS claimed a total of 33.5 million subscribers at the end of December, up by 2.3 million in twelve months.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 24 February 2012 09:17:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 07 February 2012

Morocco’s Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT) reports that the country had 36.554 million mobile subscribers at the end of December 2011, an increase of 404,000 in the fourth quarter and up from 31.982 million twelve months earlier. According to the regulator’s calculations this gives the country a cellular penetration of 113.6%. The ANRT claimed that Maroc Telecom held onto a 46.9% share of subscribers at the end of 2011, down from 52.8% a year previously, while Medi Telecom (Meditel) had 32.9% (down from 33.7%) and Wana (Inwi) accounted for 20.2% (up from 13.5%). In the 3G mobile internet sector, data-only subscriptions reached 1.499 million at the end of December 2011, a growth rate of 6.83% over the previous quarter, while the number of mobile voice-plus-data subscriptions reached 1.091 million, up by 17.83% quarter-on-quarter. Total 3G mobile broadband subscribers stood at 2.591 million as of 31 December 2011, representing an 11.2% growth rate in the fourth quarter, and 89.58% on an annual basis. At the end of the year, the mobile broadband market shares were: Maroc Telecom 42.53%, Meditel 34.99% and Wana 22.48%.

The watchdog also reported that mobile voice traffic leapt up by 65.6% in 2011, to 23.315 billion minutes, reflecting price reductions. In contrast, in the fixed line sector, voice traffic was down by 9.4% in the year to 5.487 billion minutes. In terms of subscribers, too, the fixed line market shrunk slightly in 2011, with 3.566 million lines in service at the end of December, down from 3.749 million year-on-year. 61% (2.295 million) of the total connections were based on limited mobility CDMA technology, a large majority of which are provided by Wana. This was the first time since 2006 that the total fixed line subscriber market had declined. In terms of overall market share in the fixed line (including limited mobility) sector, Wana accounted for 64.59% of customers at end-2011, Maroc Telecom claimed 34.79% and Meditel 0.62%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 14:55:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 02 February 2012

Ecuadorian regulator Supertel reports that the country’s mobile operators reached 15.8 million telephony subscribers between them at the end of 2011, compared to 15 million a year earlier. Market shares were only fractionally changed from a year ago: Claro, the local subsidiary of America Movil, claimed around 70% of the total, with Telefonica unit Movistar Ecuador serving around 28% of users and state-backed CNT bringing up the rear with a 2% share.

Growth of the total market is being affected by the implementation of compulsory pre-paid mobile user registration; Ecuadorian SIM card owners were given nine months from 5 July 2011 to register their details on a national database or have their services limited from 5 April 2012 to incoming calls or messages only. In July 2012 all remaining unregistered SIMs will be disconnected.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 02 February 2012 10:58:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 27 January 2012

The government of Equatorial Guinea has launched a telecoms operator called Gecomsa (Guinea Ecuatorial Comunicaciones Sociedad Anonima). Equatorial Guinea is currently served by two telecoms operators – Getesa and Hits. Gecomsa will provide mobile voice and internet services across Equatorial Guinea. Gecomsa is a joint venture between the government of Equatorial Guinea, which owns a 51 pe­rcent stake in the company, and the government of China with the remaining 49 percent.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 27 January 2012 09:30:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 20 January 2012

China is on track to surpass 1 billion mobile connections before the end of the current quarter, fuelled by growth in 3G which will soon account for a quarter of the country's connections. According to Wireless Intelligence, China ended 2011 with 973.7 million connections, up about 16 percent year-on-year. The number of 3G connections surpassed 200 million in Q4 and accounted for 22 percent of the total. Market penetration is estimated at 72 percent, up almost 10 percent from a year ago. ­3G is now accounting for almost 80 percent of new connections in the country and 3G net additions in Q4 are estimated at 26.8 million out of a total 34.2 million. China Mobile remains the country's market leader, with an estimated 648.7 million connections in Q4, giving it a 67 percent market share. However, 3G connections account for just 8 percent of China Mobile's total base. 3G accounted for 20 percent of the total at second-placed Unicom, while third-placed China Telecom had 26 percent of its base migrated to 3G.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Mobile
Friday, 20 January 2012 11:33:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 19 January 2012

According to the Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel, the country was home to more than 242.2 million mobile SIMs at the end of December 2011, a cellular penetration of 123.97%. Net additions for the year reached 39.3 million, it said, including 6.1 million in December alone. At the year end, Anatel reported that 191.2 million connections were for pre-paid users, equivalent to 81.8% of the total base, with the remainder (44 million, or 18.2%) on monthly contracts. Telefonica-Vivo closed out the year in top spot, with 29.54% of the market (71.55 million users), ahead of TIM Brasil with 26.46% (64.08 million), which leapfrogged Claro Brazil (24.93%, or 60.38 million) in the process. Fourth place was taken by Telemar Norte Leste (Oi) which secured 45.48 million subscribers, equivalent to 18.78% of the market, and regional operator CTBC Cellular (Algar Telecom) had a total of 653,905 subscribers, or 0.07% of the sector. Anatel also noted that 3G devices (including handsets and dongles) topped 41.1 million at 31 December 2011, up 99.3% year-on-year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 19 January 2012 14:33:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Hungarian telecoms watchdog the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) says the total number of mobile subscriptions in the country reached 11.642 million at 31 December 2011, although net additions only inched up marginally by 47,000 in the last month of the year. Excluding ‘inactive’ accounts, the NMHH said active mobile subscriptions (i.e. where a call was made within the past three months) topped 11.10 million at the same date – with December net additions standing at 112.000. T-Mobile Hungary’s market share based on active users stood at 45.40% by the year end, up from 45.38% in November, Telenor’s fell to 31.98% from 32.03% and Vodafone’s rose to 22.63% from 22.59%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 19 January 2012 08:25:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 January 2012

MTN Swaziland has launched a new campaign titled ‘airtime for education’ for its prepaid subscribers enabling them to win one of the seven school fee packages. According to reports, users will need to recharge with a minimum of US$ 1.23 daily to be able to win the price worth US$ 185.

As per sources, Ambrose Dlamini, CEO, MTN has said that through this promotion they aim to offer consumers relevant rewards and better engage with them. He added that MTN is a happy brand and they are determined to fully explore this trait. They want their customers to interact more with the brand and derive a satisfactory level of fun and excitement for being MTN customers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:40:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Free has gone for low prices, which it says are 2.5 times cheaper than the lowest priced offer at its rivals. Unlimited calls, SMS and MMS, including calls to 40 other countries, costs EUR 20 per month and also includes 3GB of data use. Existing broadband subscribers pay only EUR 16 per month for the same plan. No subscription contract is required, unless the customer opts for a handset such as the iPhone. A basic offer of 60 minutes and 60 SMS per month is also available for EUR 2, or free for existing Free customers. Free has said the prices are valid for only the first 3 million mobile customers (it already has almost 5 million broadband subscribers). This may mean the price will go up slightly later to drive ARPU growth.

Free is known for its simple business model, aimed at quickly building market share: a triple play costs EUR 30 per month, the hardware (Freebox) and software are largely developed in house and it is continually adding new services. This saves on most marketing costs. The model is similar to that of HKBN in Hong Kong (see our commentary 'City Telecom sets the good example for FTTH operators'): low prices, innovative services and a shift away from marketing to sales spending. HKBN does this through its call centre, which has as many employees as the rest of the company combined (1,500 each). The call centre actively upsells services, pro-actively targeting customers in order to sell more services per subscriber and increase ARPU.

The question is whether Iliad can reproduce this model on the mobile market. A low price is an important part of the strategy, and the company has clearly succeeded in that - there could very possibly be a flood of customers now that it has started taking on subscribers. It is also a fitting strategy for a newcomer, which has no 'burden' of legacy revenues such as voice/SMS to worry about losing, nor an existing mobile organisation or (GSM, UMTS) network to maintain. At Free, innovation is driven by its own development team and CPE. In addition there is an active external community developing apps for the Free platform. While Free is unlikely to take on developing its own handsets, the move into mobile may stimulate both its internal and external developers to step up the creation of new services and apps.

What remains is a newcomer that can credit itself with starting a price war. In this sense it's an interesting case study for the Netherlands, where there is a good chance a new fourth operator will also soon emerge. Dutch consumers can hope that Tele2 Netherlands and Ziggo4 (Ziggo/UPC) take Free Mobile's example close to heart. Even for the existing operators, Free Mobile is an operator to keep a close eye on in the coming quarters. 

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:37:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Free Mobile has announced the prices of its new service, staying true to its promise of simple tariffs and to halve consumer bills. The company started signing up new customers on the morning of 10 January, effectively launching France's fourth mobile network. For customers new to Free, the unlimited package costs EUR 19.99 a month with no contract tie-in period, for unlimited calls in France, overseas French territories and 40 international destinations in Europe and the US. The subscription also includes unlimited SMS/MMS and internet with VoIP, Wi-Fi and 3G/3G+ up to 3 GB a month. The operator states that at this price point it is 2.5 times chea­per than the best price of any competitor. Free Mobile has also introduced a EUR 2 a month, no tie-in period contract for 60 minutes of calls and 60 SMS a month. Extra SMS cost EUR 0.05, compared to EUR 0.10 at Orange France and SFR, and EUR 0.09 at Bouygues Telecom. Free Mobile also revealed advantageous pricing for sister company Free's internet customers. The unlimited mobile plan costs EUR 15.99 rather than EUR 19.99 and the 60 min/60 SMS plan is free instead of EUR 2. These prices are reserved to the first 3 million customers. Free Mobile said it offers a range of the best mobile phones on the market and choice will continue to grow with BlackBerry handsets and services still to come. The iPhone 4S will start shipping on 27 January. The 16 GB version will cost EUR 1 for the first month, then EUR 19.99 a month over 36 months. The 8 GB model will cost EUR 1 plus EUR 15 a month over three years. Free Mobile will start taking iPhone 4S orders on 20 January.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:35:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Haiti’s new national full-service telecoms operator Natcom, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel and the Haitian government, has announced that it signed up 500,000 mobile customers after two months of its commercial cellular network launch on 7 September 2011. Viettel also revealed on its website that the number of Natcom’s sales agents and customer service outlets reached 4,000 as of November 2011, doubling the amount at launch. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, between the launch of trial services in July 2011 and its official launch two months later, Natcom attracted 140,000 2G mobile subscribers and ‘thousands’ of 3G internet subscribers, deputy director Tran Sy Tien was quoted as saying, and the company claims to have reached its target of 500,000 users by the end of 2011 early, although it is not yet known if it achieved a goal of 20,000 3G connections amongst this total. Natcom’s Vietnamese parent has invested in the rollout of approximately 1,000 2G and 3G mobile base stations as well as deploying 3,000km of fibre-optic cable, and by end-2012 is aiming for two million mobile subscribers. Haiti’s mobile market is currently led by Digicel, which competes with another GSM provider, the country’s second-largest operator, Voila.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:33:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Data published by the national regulator the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) shows that the mountain Kingdom was home to 14.75 million mobile subscribers at mid-November 2011, after net additions of 2.14 million new connections in the preceding month. At that date overall teledensity (fixed and mobile) stood at 55.41%, according to the NTA’s latest Management Information System report, as fixed lines reached 844,816 (including 228,305 WiLL lines).

Nepal Telecom (NT) added a net 130,000 mobile subscribers in the month to mid-November to boost its total to 7.18 million (including 857,981 CDMA users), while fellow GSM provider Ncell reported close to 6.69 million connections, having added a net 350,000 users in the month under review. Meanwhile, the country’s smaller players fared less well in terms of subscriber growth. United Telecom Limited reached reached 588,307 customers from 585,170 previously, Nepal Satellite Telecom upped its total from 97,280 to 98,985 and Smart Telecom had 193,064 users, up from 179,136 at mid-October.

At the same date the NTA said the total number of internet subscribers stood at 3.75 million, up from 3.59 million a month earlier, with the overwhelming majority (almost 3.44 million) arising from GPRS mobile internet connections. The number of ADSL connections topped 76,740 for NT, with cable modem and other (wireless, fibre-optic) reaching 16,898 and 30,397 respectively.

In a separate development, Nepalese newspaper MyRepublica writes that last Friday the Bills Committee of the cabinet endorsed the amendment to Telecommunication Regulations, raising the licence renewal period for all operators and ISPs to ten years. Until now, service providers have been required to renew their licences every five years. The decision came despite recommendations from both the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) that the government not effect any changes to local telecoms rules, particularly as they were investigating cases of possible anomalies concerning previous licence awards. The Bills Committee seemingly has disregarded this advice and even moved to endorse a provision that could pave the way for the introduction of a Unified Licensing Policy – a proposal still being pushed by the NTA even though the government rejected such a call four years ago.

Finally, the CIAA is also being called upon to carry out a study on the contentious allocation of frequencies for 2G and 3G mobile services, and to look into an ongoing issue of a possible ‘scam’ surrounding voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) telephony in Nepal. The Himalayan News Service reports that a sub-committee of the CIAA is being advised to bring former and current NTA board members into the spotlight of the investigation, and has also hinted it take action against government ministers. The sub-committee — formed on January 13, 2011 — has raised the issue of frequency allocation, 3G frequency distribution without charge, royalty disputes and different standards for different rural telecom service providers in its report.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:32:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Brazil finished 2011 with more than 242.2 million mobile phone lines, after adding 39.3 million new subscribers last year. The country's mobile penetration reached 123.87 percent at the end of 2011, according to figures from market regulator Anatel. New additions were the highest in the past twelve years and totaled 6.1 million in December alone. Of the total base, 191.2 million were prepaid (81.81%) and 44 million postpaid (18.19%). Vivo finished in first place with 29.54 percent or 71.55 million subscribers. TIM Brasil surpassed rival Claro to take second place with 26.46 percent or 64.08 million customers. Claro Brasil ended the year with 24.93 percent or 60.38 million subscribers­. Oi was in fourth position with 18.78 percent or 45.48 million subscribers, and regional operator CTBC closed the year with 653,905 subscribers, accounting for 0.07 percent. 3G handsets (phones and mobile devices) totalled more than 41.1 million in Brazil last year, which means an increase of 99.31 percent compared to 2010.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 10:01:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 January 2012

Some 71% of India’s total mobile subscription base is active.

TRAI, the regulator, reports that India had 884.37 million mobile subscriptions in November 2011, up by 2.97 million in the month. Rural areas accounted for 71.7% of these net additions to reach rural penetration of 36.05%, while urban penetration reached 159.92%. Of the 884.37 million mobile subscriptions, around 71.8% or 635.39 million were active (not accounting for the CDMA subscriber base of BSNL) on the basis of the peak Visitor Location Register (VLR) in November 2011.

A number of operators have said that they will start disconnecting customers who have not used their mobile phones for more than 60 days (see India: 20 November 2011: Vodafone to Disconnect Inactive Subscribers). This is the timeline the Indian authorities use to calculate operators’ numbering requirements. As a result, operators’ mobile customer bases will appear to shrink, although both ARPU and MoU levels will be boosted as a result of these calculations. The table below provides an estimate of how monthly ARPU could be lifted by a revision of Vodafone India’s customer base.

Source: IHS.

Monday, 16 January 2012 15:08:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile subscribers in Belarus totaled 10.7 million in Belarus on 1 January, accordi­ng to Belarusian Statistics. Mobile penetration is at 113 percent, from 108.6 percent the year before. The country has 14,600 base stations across the country and 4,100 UMTS base stations.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, 16 January 2012 15:07:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 13 January 2012

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will begin enforcing the registration of new and existing mobile phone users on 1 March this year, according to local daily New Vision. Customers of wireless services will be given one year to register their SIM with their mobile provider, backed-up with a national identity document such as a passport or driver’s licence. Owners of multiple SIMs will need to have all of their lines registered, and those without the required documents will be able to have a family member register on their behalf. SIMs unregistered by the 1 March 2013 cut-off point will be deactivated.

 The registration drive aims to reduce phone-based crime, and follows similar projects throughout East Africa in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of September 2011 Uganda was home to some 16.1 million wireless customers, representing 47.4% of the population.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 13 January 2012 13:46:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Africa’s leading telecommunication provider, MTN, has launched a promotion for new prepaid subscribers by offering them free airtime. According to reports, the operator will offer customers purchasing the MTN Pay As You Go starter kit, free airtime worth US$ 14.2 for an entire year, on every recharge of US$ 7.13 or more.  Apart from this, the operator also offers the users various benefits such as ten free daily call-backs, five free text messages for every fifteen messages sent along with thirty free SMS every month.

As per sources, the operator says that the US$ 14.2 free airtime is spread across the year, enabling users to receive US$ 1.2 each month. However, in order to receive the monthly airtime, the users need to have a minimum recharge of US$ 7.13 every month. Further, the offer is considered to be valid for a year from purchase of the starter kit, and any customer migrating out of this price plan within the 12 months will lose this benefit.

The promotion is said to be valid from 1 December 2011 to 20 May 2012.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:56:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Comcel, a leading mobile phone operator in Colombia, has reportedly announced the launch of the new HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access) technology in the main cities of the country, in an attempt to provide users access to high speed internet on their mobile phones.

According to reports, the new technology will enable users to browse mobile internet at speeds up to four times faster, between 1 and 1.2 megabytes per second. Further, Juan Carlos, President, Comcel has reportedly said that the service will initially be offered in Bogota, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla and Pereira.

Further, as per sources, mobile operator Tigo’s internet services are currently limited to USB modems, but the operator has hinted at plans to make this service available to users on their mobile phones in the near future. 

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:37:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

With the increase in saturation of mobile services in urban markets across the world, mobile operators have shifted their focus to towards the relatively untapped rural markets for better business opportunities and a chance at increasing revenues.

According to reports, industry analysts predict Nigeria the largest mobile market in the continent, to be home to over 90 million subscribers by this year end. Further, improvements in broadband connectivity along with the emergence of new generation smartphones are expected to drive mobile data growth in the economy.

In most rural economies, the lack of adequate infrastructure has been a grave cause of concern for mobile operators as it reduces their profits and drives up costs for customers. Currently, industry reports suggest that a fully functioning network grid could help operators cut their mobile tariffs by 50 percent, which is higher than those being offered in developed countries.

Changes have been observed in the investment environment as well. With operators offering discounted services to low income users in order to expand their reach, the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) has witnessed a decline. Bharti Airtel, which had acquired Africa’s Zain, slashed its prices by significant amounts in a bid to increase its market share, which increased the pressure across the industry. Further, sources reveal that Etisalat (Saudi Arabia) and Globacom have also been increasingly gaining customers, giving strong competition to market leader MTN.

The next big thing in the economy is being considered to be mobile banking services. With a large portion of the population being unbanked but gaining access to mobile devices, more and more consumers are using their phone to transfer money and pay for goods, in a more convenient and secure manner.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:29:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iran has reportedly received a third mobile phone operator by the name of Ritel to offer users in the country with mobile services. Prior to this, Iran played host to two mobile phone operators, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI) and South African-owned MTN Irancell.

According to reports, the government had awarded a third licence to Tamin Telecom in October 2009, however the operator is not yet operational, but has however revealed plans to cover 60 percent of the population with its 2G network and 40 percent with its 3G network by 2014.

Sources claim that there have been speculations regarding whether the licence awarded to Ritel is a new licence or the one issued to Tamin Telecom. Details regarding Ritel’s coverage area or the ownership structure are yet to be disclosed.

Source: Wireless Federation

3G | Mobile
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:15:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Claro has activated its first mobile lines in Costa Rica. Claro has also opened its first mobile shops at six local shopping centres located in Heredia, Alajuela, Escazu and Tres Rios (La Union), Inside Costa Rica reports, citing Ricardo Taylor, head of Claro's operations in Costa Rica. Claro's network currently covers the Greater Metropolitan Area, and will be gradually expanded across the country.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:11:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Despite having slightly over 600,000 inhabitants, Montenegro has decided to call a tender for a fourth mobile telephony operator. The tender was announced by Montenegro's Agency for Electronic Communications which said it expects Arab, Chinese, Austrian and British companies to participate in the tender. Bids can be submitted until 15 December. Offers will be evaluated based on the financial bid (70 points), the technical solution and plan for network implementation (20 points), and the contribution to market competition (10 points). Spectrum in the 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands is available with the licence.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:39:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 07 November 2011

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has threatened to fine the country’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria – if they fail to improve the quality of their services by the end of November, local newspaper This Day reports. Following an independent monitoring exercise carried out by the NCC across the country, the regulator determined that the trio failed to measure up to key performance indicators, including call setup success rate and call completion rate.

The NCC has subsequently given the three GSM operators a 30-day deadline, effective 1 November 2011, to improve their service quality. If they fail to do so, the cellcos face a fine of NGN5 million (USD31,000) and an additional penalty of NGN500,000 per day if the provision of poor quality services persists. In addition, any of the three operators that fail to meet the targets from 30 November 2011 will be barred from the further sale of SIM cards or addition of any new subscribers to its network.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, 07 November 2011 08:43:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 21 October 2011

Industry sources claim that owing to rapid technology upgradation and the increase in the number of smartphone users, British consumers are likely to spend as much as $30.5 billion by 2021 on purchases through their mobile handsets. As per reports, the mobile purchases currently account for $1.8 billion, with almost $417 million comprising of mobile sales from the food and groceries category.

Sources claim that mobile commerce is expected to grow by 55 percent over the next five years. Innovations such as Near Field Communications (NFC) and faster mobile data transmission play an important role in the success of mobile commerce, by offering users a more secure and convenient way to pay for goods and services.  In order to better provide mobile payment services to their customers, network operators O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone joined forces to offer users a single system of paying for goods and services via mobile phones.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, 21 October 2011 13:04:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

US mobile operators have agreed new guidelines to send customers free alerts before and after they exceed their monthly limits on voice, data and texts. Customers will also get alerts on roaming charges when they travel abroad. The alerts will apply automatically unless subscribers opt out. The measures were agreed by the industry group CTIA and the FCC, as part of the CTIA 'Consumer Code for Wireless Service'. Operators will need to provide two out of the four alerts by 17 October 2012 and all four by 17 April 2013. As a result of the agreement, the FCC has agreed to suspend its regulatory proposal for making the alerts mandatory.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 21 October 2011 13:01:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 17 October 2011

­For the first time, the semi-annual survey conducted by the USA wireless industry trade association, the CTIA shows the number of wireless subscriber connections (327.6 million) has surpassed the population (315.5 million) in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands), putting wireless penetration rate in the USA at 103.9 percent.

The survey -- which tracks US wireless trends including subscribership, usage, revenue and investment from January 2011 to June 2011 -- also showed a 111% increase in wireless data traffic.

From June 2010-June 2011, the annual capital investment increased by 28 percent to $27.5 billion. Since 2001, wireless companies have reported a cumulative total investment of $223 billion. These figures do not include the billions CTIA members paid to the U.S. government for spectrum.

Wireless annual service revenue was $164.6 billion in the 12 months ending June 2011, up 6 percent from the same period in 2010.

"Clearly, we're using wireless more every day, and the consensus of experts is that demand will continue to skyrocket by more than 50 times within the next five years. These are the reasons why our members need more spectrum," said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA. "By making underutilized or unused spectrum available for auction, carriers will continue to invest billions of dollars in their infrastructure, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in benefit to our economy and create up to a half a million new jobs while ensuring the U.S. maintains its position as the world's wireless leader."

The January 2011-June 2011 wireless survey results are:

  • Wireless subscriber connections: 327.6 million; mid-year 2010: 300.5 million (9% increase).
  • Wireless network data traffic: 341.2 billion megabytes; mid-year 2010: 161.5 billion megabytes (111% increase).
  • Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice and data service): $47.23; mid-year 2010: $47.47 (less than 1 percent decrease).
  • Number of active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 95.8 million; mid-year 2010: 61.2 million (57% increase).
  • Number of active data-capable devices: 278.3 million; mid-year 2010: 264.5 million (5% increase).
  • Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 15.2 million; mid-year 2010: 12.9 million (17% increase).
  • Minutes of Use (MOU): 1.148 trillion; mid-year 2010: 1.138 trillion (1 % increase).
  • SMS sent and received: 1.138 trillion; mid-year 2010: 982.9 billion (16 % increase).
  • MMS sent and received: 28.2 billion; mid-year 2010: 32.1 billion.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, 17 October 2011 08:00:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 26 July 2011

­South Korea could gain a fourth mobile network operator, if an application by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Businesses (Kbiz) is accepted by the regulator.

The consortium operating the WiBro based mobile network will be formed by Kbiz and 900 of its SME members. An investment by a technology partner, probably Samsung is also expected.

"We decided to enter the mobile phone industry because we figured this could be a new growth engine for small and midsized IT companies," a Kbiz official told the JoongAng Daily. "The initial funding for investment will be less than 100 billion won ($94.3 million)." Kbiz said it will succeed in the mobile phone industry by offering subscription plans 20 to 30 percent cheaper than existing plans.

Although previous attempts to set up a fourth network were rejected, the government is putting pressure on the incumbent networks to lower their prices to help control inflation in the country. The offer of a new entrant on a promise of lowering prices may sway the regulator's opinion about granting the license.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 26 July 2011 10:01:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 14 July 2011

­A meeting of Government Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to work on cutting mobile roaming rates between their countries.

The GCC Ministers decided to adhere to the Ministerial resolution made at a meeting three years ago, which stated that the GCC countries will move the implementation of proposals from a working group for a 30% cut in roaming rates.

In a statement, the GCC Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities said that they will inform the operators immediately after the meeting to implement the resolution. The GCC is a political and economic union of the Arab states constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Source: Cellular News


Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:47:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 28 June 2011

­In a new report, Fitch Ratings says that although overall mobile service revenue growth in Europe remains under pressure (-1.4% in the 12 months to March 2011), there are significant regional differences.

In northern Europe, mobile service revenue growth turned positive in 2010 and the 12 months to March 2011, led by a strong performance in the UK and Germany. In these two countries, revenue growth from non-voice services has more than offset voice revenue declines.

In southern Europe, the trend in service revenue declines is getting worse at -5.4% in the 12 months to March 2011. The economic weakness in southern Europe is dampening demand for mobile data services and exacerbating the decline in voice revenue from regulatory and competitive pressures.

Fitch expects voice revenue in southern Europe will remain under pressure, as effective voice pricing, especially in Spain, is higher than in northern Europe. Downward pressure is expected to continue as mobile termination rates, which are higher in southern Europe, are forced down towards northern European levels by regulation. Over the medium term, mobile data might not provide as large a boost to mobile revenue growth as some operators expect. There is a risk that mobile data might be partly used as a substitute for voice and SMS services. Fitch believes that the risk will increase over time as voice over IP becomes more of a threat with technology improvements and instant messaging and social networks could start to replace SMS more widely, not just in the youth segment.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 14:13:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mexican regulator Comision Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Cofetel) has reduced the interconnection rate charged by Telmex to rival operators to MXN 3.951 from MXN 11.55. Cofetel has also changed the legal nature of long distance service that Telmex provides to other competitors in rural areas with no investment from other fixed telephony competitors.

Cofetel has also cut the interconnection rate for this service by 94 percent to 4.53 peso cents per minute, from 75 peso cents. America Movil believes that such decisions are "arbitrary", "clearly unexplainable and deprive [its subsidiary Telmex] of its corresponding rights and assets. Telmex plans to carry out all the relevant legal defense actions. Additionally, related to the fixed-mobile interconnection rates that have been reduced, Telmex will apply the interconnection rates as established by Cofetel, until the legal proceedings of mobile service companies are not definitely resolved.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 13:15:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 09 June 2011

Angola’s vice minister for telecommunications, Aristides Safeca, has said that almost two million people in the country are accessing the internet on their mobile phones, reports AllAfrica. Safeca, speaking on the sidelines of the Angolan Forum on Telecommunications and Information Technologies, said that many of the mobile internet users – representing nearly 20% of the approximately ten million cellular phone customers in Angola – had eschewed available fixed line network services, and that the government is working towards improving the quality of service for fixed internet users.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 09 June 2011 16:38:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority (PTA) says that it has ordered the blocking of 3.5 million SIM cards that had not been  re-registered by their users with the mobile networks.

To cope with the order, the operators are being allowed to block accounts in batches of up to 875,000 SIM cards per week until they have blocked all the accounts that had not complied with an order to re-verify their ownership details with the networks.

Although identity is needed to buy a SIM card, the regulator ordered a re-verification process for all accounts after it said too many had wrong details or information that was out of date.The blocked SIM cards will however be able to make a call to a single number, 789 to verify the users details with the mobile networks and get their service restored.The 789 system is an automated real time verification system where a customer has to verify his details through NADRA's database by answering mandatory secret questions i.e. mother's name and place of birth so as to re-activate the SIM.

Users have one week from being blocked to re-verify their details, after which the SIM card will be completely disabled.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 09 June 2011 16:28:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana says that around 85% of SIM cards in the country have now been registered with their respective network service provider. However, it went on the say that 2.5 million SIM cards were barred from making calls from the weekend and that those involved have until July to register them before their lines are completely disconnected.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 13 April 2011 08:08:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 01 March 2011
Mobile operator Digicel saw its revenues increase by 32 percent year-on-year to USD 580 million in the third quarter ended 31 December 2010. EBITDA was up 32 year-on-year reaching a record USD 240 million. At end-December 2010, Digicel reached 11.5 million customers across the 30 worldwide markets where it currently operates. Digicel provides mobile communication services across the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. Digicel saw growth in all of its major markets, including El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago, and data revenues have doubled year on year, the company said.
Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, 01 March 2011 14:15:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 11 February 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, 11 February 2011 11:42:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

State-owned broadband provider Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT) has confirmed that it has launched Libya’s third mobile phone network, under the brand name LibyaPhone Mobile. Although no precise rollout details have been confirmed by the operator, it claims that its network has capacity for around 100,000 customers during the first phase of its operations. Further, LibyaPhone Mobile has pledged to extend coverage to areas under-served by fellow state-owned cellcos Libyana and Al Madar Telecomm Company. LTT claims that LibyaPhone Mobile will offer both 2G and 3G connectivity.

Although speculation regarding the launch of a third mobile phone operator in Libya has been rife for some time, in July 2010 it was confirmed that UAE’s Etisalat and Turkcell of Turkey had both been overlooked for a new LYD1 billion (USD825 million) concession. The General Telecommunication Authority (GTA) had previously launched an international tender for a combined fixed and mobile licence in February 2009, although its final decision was severely delayed, and no clear reasons were given for the lack of progress, merely that the international telcos were ‘unsuitable’.

According to TeleGeography, state-owned Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT) is the country's dominant ISP and also acts as a moderator for the internet sector. The operator launched a commercial WiMAX network – operating in the 2.5GHz band – under the ‘LibyaMax’ banner in February 2009. Services have subsequently been expanded to over 25 locations, predominantly along the coast, covering around 65% of the population.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 11 February 2011 11:14:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 02 February 2011

According to figures published by Ghana’s telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA), fixed and mobile penetration in the country reached 75.4% at the end of last year, up from around 71% at the start of 2010. The watchdog’s figures show that the primary driver of growth is mobile usage: the cellular penetration rate stood at 74.2% at the same date, with more than 17.436 million registered SIM cards. Mobile growth in the second half of last year came despite a compulsory SIM registration scheme, which entered into effect on 1 July, and which was expected to dampen growth for the year, compared with 2009. The scheme is also expected to have pruned out a number of inactive and/or unregistered mobile users.

At the end of last year the NCA’s figures show that MTN Ghana led the mobile segment with 8.721 million SIMs, ahead of Tigo with 3.999 million (although TeleGeography estimates that around 400,000 of these are inactive), and third-placed Vodafone (Ghana) with 2.722 million. Of the three other licensed cellcos, Airtel, which has recently been rebranded from Zain, had 1.754 million subscribers, Expresso (formerly Kasapa) had 239,815 and Glo Mobile is yet to launch operations. Meanwhile, the two companies offering landline or fixed network services noted a significant drop in customers last year. Vodafone (formerly Ghana Telecom) reported 267,033 main lines in service at the end of 2010, down from around 284,000 at the start of the year, while Airtel had 10,864 lines, up around 8,000 year-on-year.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 02 February 2011 15:52:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 14 January 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, 14 January 2011 10:15:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 13 January 2011

According to Armenia’s Minister of Transport and Communication, Manuk Vardanyan, the country was home to more than 2.77 million mobile users at the end of 2010, a cellular penetration rate of 86%. Cellular services are provided by the country’s three incumbent operators – ArmenTel, K-Telecom (VivaCell-MTS) and Orange Armenia – and have been bolstered in recent years by the introduction of 3G, he said. The minister added that 4G is currently being introduced throughout the country, and TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that only last month, VivaCell-MTS launched its LTE network on a ‘test-commercial basis’. It plans a full commercial launch in February this year starting in Yerevan before expanding coverage to Armenia’s other regions. VivaCell-MTS paid AMD990 million (USD2.7 million) for a 4G concession in November 2010. Meanwhile, fellow operator Armentel is said to be in discussions with the Public Services Regulatory Commission of Armenia as it seeks to secure a 4G concession.

In a related story, Orange Armenia has revealed that its mobile subscriber base reached 500,000 at the end of last year. ‘The year of 2010 was important for the company, which launched full-fledged operations throughout Armenia,’ said Orange Armenia CEO Bruno Duthoit. ‘This year marked a lot of innovations, new offers, extension of the coverage, construction of the customer base and investments,’ he added. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the cellco, which is owned by France Telecom, had 45,000 mobile broadband customers at the end of September 2010, and its 3G network provided access to 93% of the population. In December 2010 it upgraded its national network with High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and high definition (HD) voice services, employing the services of Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to carry out the modernisation of the core and access network which will enable Orange to provide high quality voice calls and data speeds of up to 14.4Mbps in main cities.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:58:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Due to low penetration rates, an expanding economy, deploying 3G networks, and declining smartphone prices, mobile data revenue is expected to triple over the next five years in Peru, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

The mobile market will be the main source of revenue growth and Peru's principal revenue generator throughout the forecast period. Pyramid expects mobile revenue to expand at a CAGR of 6.6 percent over the next five years, going from generating $2.2 billion in 2010 to $3.1 billion by 2015, indicates Juliana Gomez, Analyst at Pyramid Research. "Mobile data, driven by 3G deployments and higher adoption of enhanced data services, will experience a revenue increase from $355 million in 2010 to $1.07 billion in 2015," she adds.

Over the forecast period Telefonica will remain the market leader; however, the merger of America Movil-Claro and Telmex Peru this year will intensify competition. "Telmex will complement its multiplay packages with mobile services, and both companies will invest to grow their data business, particularly mobile Internet," says Gomez. In addition, America Movil's Claro continues to expand its 3G network and has gained market share by leveraging data services.

The Peruvian market has shifted to GSM as a result of Telefonica's decision to migrate from CDMA to GSM and Claro's adoption of this standard in 2006. "After launching a 3G network (UMTS/HSPA) in 2008 Claro continues the expansion of its 3G network throughout the country to further support mobile Internet services. Movistar and Nextel have followed suit launching 3G networks," she says. Pyramid expects 3G technologies and 4G technologies to represent 54 percent and 7 percent, respectively, of total mobile subscribers in 2015.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:45:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Egyptian ministry of telecoms has said the number of mobile subscribers in the country rose 23.6% to 65.5 million in October 2010, compared to the same period last year, Zawya Dow Jones has reported. Subscribers for Vodafone Egypt reached 29.4 million for the period, while subscribers for MobiNil reached 28.6 million and Etisalat Misr reached 7.5 million subscribers, the ministry said.


Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:41:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell Communications, a consortium comprising Asiacell Iraq (30%), Qatar Telecom (Qtel, 30%) and investment group Merchant Bridge (40%), has signed network expansion agreements with Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Ericsson, as it looks to expand its service footprint in the country. According to the cellco’s chief technical and IT officer, Patson Anius, the supply contracts will allow the operator to introduce ‘advanced services’ tailored to the domestic market. ‘Next year, we will be further expanding our network coverage to include small villages and residential communities in remote areas. We look forward to breaking our own GSM deployment record in Iraq next year,’ he said.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that Asiacell is one of three cellcos licensed to provide national mobile services, having been awarded its concession in August 2007 at a cost of USD1.25 billion. In 2009 it deployed 1,490 base transceiver stations (BTSs) on its network, thanks to the build-out of 950 new communication towers, and improved the service capabilities of 450 other cell sites. At the end of September 2010 Asiacell had 7.917 million mobile subscribers, placing it second in the market with a share of 34.8%. It competes with Zain Iraq, Korek Telecom and SanaTel.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:20:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vietnam saw the number of new phone subscribers rise by 35 percent year-on-year in 2010 to 44.5 million. The total number of fixed and mobile subscribers in Vietnam rose to 170 million, Viet Nam News writes citing figures from the General Statistic Office. The total number of subscribers included 16.4 million fixed telephones, a rise of 5.1 percent on 2009, and 154 million mobile subscribers, an increase of 39.8 percent. VNPT had 88.9 million subscribers at end-December, up 25.3 percent, which includes 11.7 million fixed-line customers and 77.2 million mobile subscribers. Furthermore, there were 3.77 million internet subscribers in Vietnam, up 27.4 percent. Of the total, VNPT had 2.62 million internet subscribers, up 21.8 percent.
Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:08:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Solomon Islands has confirmed previously rumoured plans to offer the country's third mobile license, just a few months after the country's second network, B-Mobile launched its services.Communications Commissioner, Nick Williams, made the announcement in Honiara this morning, noting that the licence will include an option to offer 3G services.

Mr Williams says he hopes to be able to award the licence by March next year and to see the operator begin its service within 6 months.The incumbent operator had blocked the launch of the country's second mobile network, B-Mobile for nearly ten months after its license was originally granted.

When the second license was tendered in 2009, Digicel applied for a license, but was rebuffed. Digicel had actually been granted a license in 2006, but Solomon Telekom successfully sued to block the network launch pending a review of its monopoly status.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:52:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Osiptel, the Peruvian telecoms regulator, has warned that as many as a million mobile users face being cut off, having failed to register their details with their mobile network operators. In September this year Osiptel said registration of pre-paid mobile subscriptions would be made mandatory and the process would have to be completed by the beginning of March 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 14:38:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French telecoms regulator Arcep has recommended that mobile phone contracts be shortened from the 24-month tie-ins commonly offered, to allow end users to shop around for better deals. In a public consultation document setting down 30 key recommendations to improve transparency and make the market more competitive, Arcep is calling on cellcos to be required to offer contracts of either twelve or six months. Two-year contracts, the legal maximum length allowed in the country since 2008, currently offer the most competitive tariff plans, it noted. However, Arcep is concerned that under existing rules customers are locked into long-term deals often to the detriment of competition and often in a way that makes it difficult for users to switch provider. In another of its recommendations, Arcep is calling on domestic operators to make it clear how much of their monthly rental fee is set aside to repay the cost of their handset and what proportion is actually set aside for calls and other services. The watchdog is also concerned that offers such as free handset upgrades and other loyalty bonuses, effectively penalise people who wish to keep their existing phone.

Earlier this year, the three main network operators – Orange France, SFR and Bouygues Telecom – signed up to a charter designed to simplify end-user tariffs and allow customers to ‘unlock’ their phones free of charge to use a rival’s SIM card. The proposals currently being put forward by Arcep make no mention of pre-paid tariff plans – some of which include a valid period of as little as four days.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 12:02:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

While mobile and broadband prices continue to fall, the increase in revenues compensated for the price drop, providing 2.5 per cent growth in one year. The large increase in mobile data traffic provided most of the growth, according to the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority's (NPT) ecom statistics for the first half of 2010."This shows change and continued growth in a mature ecom market. Customers' usage patterns are clearly changing from only voice and messages to increased data use, particularly via mobile services," says NPT Director General Willy Jensen.

Decline in SMS messages

For the first time the statistics show a decrease in the number of text messages (SMS) sent. In all, mobile customers sent more than 4.2 billion messages in the first half of 2010, which represents a decrease from 112 to 105 messages per person per month."Even though more than four billion messages is a lot, this means 82 million fewer SMS messages than in the first half of 2009. The decrease represents about NOK 50 million," says Jensen.It is difficult to find any specific reasons for the decline in the number of SMS messages."It is most likely connected with new forms of communication and social media such as Twitter and Facebook," says Jensen.

Fixed telephony drops

The number of fixed-line subscriptions fell by nearly eight per cent the last year. The decline applies to both traditional fixed-line subscriptions (PSTN and ISDN) and VoIP subscriptions. Both calls and revenues are falling."The numbers clearly show that fixed telephony calls are falling more than the number of subscriptions. This means that the fixed-line telephone is used less than before," says Jensen.On average, a residential fixed telephony customer talked 1,500 minutes the first half of 2010, against 1,600 minutes the first half of 2009.

Fibre is increasing

Data traffic over fibre and cable TV continues to increase, and there are now over 230,000 subscribers who have an Internet connection via fibre."The increase in fibre connections largely compensates for the decline in "DSL". Here, the number is now under 1 million. In all, the number of broadband subscribers grew by 5.1 per cent from the first half of 2009," Jensen says.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 11:59:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 11 November 2010

­South Africa based MTN says that it ended September with 134.47 million subscribers across its international markets. This is a 4% increase for the quarter from 129.21 million subscribers recorded at 30 June 2010.

The South and East African region, which contributes 22% to the group's subscriber base, increased its subscribers by 4.9% to 30.1 million for the quarter mainly driven by growth in South Africa. South Africa which contributes 59% to the region's subscribers increased its base by, 3.9% to 17.77 million subscribers for the quarter ended 30 September 2010. This was driven by continued growth in the prepaid segment which added 616,000 subscribers.

Uganda increased its base by 5% to 6.22 million for the quarter as competition continued to intensify. The West and Central African region contributes 46% to the group's subscribers and increased its subscribers by 3.4% to 61.38 million. Nigeria, which contributes 60% to the region's subscribers, recorded a 5.1% increase in its subscriber base to 36.84 million.

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Source: Cellular News
Thursday, 11 November 2010 14:28:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nepalese teleco Ncell/Spice Nepal, majority owned by Nordic telecoms firm TeliaSonera, has launched the country’s first 3G services at the base camp of Mount Everest, reports Reuters. Currently, the service is primarily targeted at the tens of thousands of climbers and trekkers who visit the mountainous region in the Solukhumbu district every year, and who have previously been dependant on expensive satellite phones for their communication needs. However, Ncell said TeliaSonera would spend over USD100 million next year to expand mobile coverage to around 90% of the population. Spice Nepal previously offered services under the Mero Mobile banner, but changed its brand name to Ncell in March this year.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 11 November 2010 14:07:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Solomon Island's National Telecommunications Commissioner Nick Williams has announced that the Oceanic sovereign state plans to offer a third mobile licence before the end of 2010. In a speech given at the Australian Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane, Mr Williams said that the regulator intends to open the market up to a new operator to join Solomon Telekom - which enjoyed a monopoly on the Islands until the passing of the Telecommunications Act 2009 – and bemobile. In December 2009 bemobile was awarded a second licence, and went on to launch its commercial services last month.

During the forum in Brisbane, Williams said from 1 April 2011 there would be a full liberalisation of the telecoms market. He also highlighted the need for fully-fledged internet service provision in the country. Williams noted that there is a clear demand for internet connectivity, but thus far the supply has been poor, in terms of both availability and speed. He suggested: ‘This is a clear opportunity for investors, and we would welcome them’. Williams also claimed that a project is underway to bring a fibre-optic submarine cable connection to the Solomon Islands.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 11 November 2010 14:05:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hungary’s national regulator the National Media and Telecommunications Authority (NMHH) says the country was home to a total of 11.833 million registered mobile SIMs at the end of September. The three incumbent cellcos – T-Mobile, Vodafone and Telenor (formerly Pannon) – collectively added a net 25,000 new users to boost cellular penetration to 118.3%, compared to 118.0% a month earlier and 117.7% at the end of 2009. In terms of ‘active’ users, the NMHH reported a 22,000 monthly net gain to 10.855 million, compared to the 10.840 million reported at 30 June 2010. Of these, T-Mobile boasted a market share of 44.77% up from 44.68% three months earlier, Telenor’s share slipped to 32.68% from 32.89% and Vodafone had 22.55% (22.43%).

In a separate announcement, the NMHH says the country ended August 2010 with 1.299 million digital TV subscribers, or 19,000 more than a month earlier. At that date the number of people connected via either digital cable or IPTV rose to 491,000 from 481,000, while those watching satellite services went up to 808,000 from 798,000. In terms of market share for digital services, UPC retained its top spot with 30.2% (down from 30.4% a month earlier), Magyar Telekom boosted its share from 24.8% to 25.0% and DIGI increased its share from 24.4% to 24.7%.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:35:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Minister of Communications in Fiji has extended for a second time the deadline for registration of all telephones in the country. Fiji Times Online says the new deadline date for registration is set at 8 November 2010. It is understood that any service provider failing to cancel a telephone line (fixed or mobile) which has not been registered under the government’s Compulsory Registration of Customers for Telephone Services Decree (June 2010), could be found guilty and fined FJD200,000 (USD109,507).

Telecom Fiji Limited (TFL), which to date has achieved a figure of 93% for customer registration, has welcomed the extension and notes a number of practical constraints, such as financing, resources and equipment that have stopped it recording and registering all phone users. Meanwhile Digicel Fiji says it faces logistical challenges to reach some rural and outer areas, and Vodafone Fiji says it needs to register all its subscribers - or around 760,000 users.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:33:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of mobile phone subscribers in Bangladesh reached 65.14 million at the end of September 2010, according to figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), up from 50 million a year earlier. Telenor-backed GSM operator GrameenPhone led the field with 28.65 million subscribers at end-September, up from 26.46 million at the end of the previous quarter, followed by Orascom unit Banglalink with 18.11 million, up from 16.10 million at end-June, while the regulator reported that Axiata Bangladesh (Robi) was in third place with 11.71 million subscribers, although the Malaysian-owned company is likely to disagree with the figure, as it reported 14.55 million subscribers at end-June 2010 (up from 9.37 million in a year). Indian group Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary Warid Telecom Bangladesh (soon to be rebranded as Airtel Bangla) reached 3.58 million active mobile SIMs by the end of September 2010, the BTRC said, up from 3.17 million three months earlier, whilst CDMA operator Citycell's subscriber base slipped to 1.91 million from 1.99 million over the same timeframe, and state-backed Teletalk's total subscriptions grew to 1.18 million from 1.16 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:31:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telkom South Africa has launched the country's fourth mobile operator, under the name 8ta. 8ta has constructed 800 base stations across the country, and plans to construct a further 3,200 over time to improve coverage and connectivity. Whilst 8ta is still growing its network, the operator will have full national coverage, thanks to a roaming agreement with MTN. The HSPA network offers downlink speeds up to 7.2Mbps and can be upgraded to 21Mbps. Telkom said the hardware can also be upgraded to LTE and offers a fully IP architecture from base station to core. 8ta will offer calls to fixed lines at ZAR 0.65 per minute, independent of the time of the call, as well as a flat rate of ZAR 2.50 per minute for calls to over 100 international destinations. The service will offer prepaid customers free talk time to any network every time they receive calls from a mobile phone, equal to 1 free second of airtime for every 3 seconds of call received.
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 07:28:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 12 October 2010

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is reportedly sitting on more than 100 applications for 2G spectrum, the Hindu Business Line reports. With the regulator having held up the allocation of new frequencies over the last two years, it is understood that the highest number of applications in any one circle is for Delhi, where there are 17 outstanding requests, while Bihar places second with a total of nine requests. India’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Bharti Airtel, is effectively at the front of the queue for new spectrum, with the report claiming that it had been the first to request new frequencies in seven of the country’s telecoms circles, with Vodafone heading the line in five circles.

India’s armed forces are expected to release around 10MHz of spectrum in most circles within the next few months, which could allow for up to four or five operators per circle receiving their requested frequencies, with most cellcos having asked for between 1MHz and 2.2MHz; Delhi, however, is likely to only see two operators gain more spectrum, as both of the operators at the front of the queue in those circles are seeking 4.4MHz apiece.

Such allocation, though, will depend on whether the government alters the policy governing allocation of spectrum; at present the DoT offers additional spectrum on a first-come first-served basis. The Ministry of Finance though has said it wants this to change, with it favouring auctions for new frequencies, and until the ongoing debate over the matter is concluded it appears unlikely that any player will gain access to new 2G spectrum.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 14:07:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kazakhstani national operator Kazakhtelecom (KT) has announced that it has covered 70% of the rural Aktobe region with its wireless in the local loop (WiLL) CDMA-450 network. In recent years, KT has sought to overcome Kazakhstan’s vast landmass and diverse geography by using a variety of technologies, including VSAT and CDMA-450 wireless in the local loop (WiLL). The Aktobe region has a population density of just 2.5 people per square kilometre. Almost 50 CDMA 450MHz base stations have reportedly been launched in the region under the project to date. According to TeleGeography ’s GlobalComms Database, KT plans to deploy a total of 900 base transceiver stations (BTSs) by end-2013.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 13:56:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 06 October 2010

­While the number of mobile network operators has grown over the past six years, mobile services continue to be dominated by the largest operators, posing significant long-term challenges to new competitors in their efforts to build market share and sustainable revenue streams, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

The number of mobile network operators (MNOs) per country has continued to increase from an average 4.0 operators per country in 2004 to 4.9 this year, leading to increased competition at the local level and smaller market share for the top players. When analyzing emerging and developed markets separately, one can discern two separate and distinct trends: In developed regions, the number of operators stayed relatively flat, whereas in emerging markets the number of operators per country increased from an average of 4.0 in 2004 to 5.4 today, notes Emily Smith, Research Associate at Pyramid.

"As mobile markets mature, Pyramid Research has found that the market share for the top operators converges toward an equilibrium point that is roughly the same across all global regions," Smith says. "While the average market share has hardly changed in developed regions, in emerging regions the market share for top operators has decreased by 10 percentage points in the past seven years." "Due to consumers' changing appetite for mobile services over the course of the recent global financial crisis, the speed at which the top operators lost share increased, although now that the global economy is moving into a recovery stage, top operators can expect to experience less share shrinkage than in recent years," Smith adds.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 06 October 2010 09:16:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Shipments of mobile handsets in India grew by 6.3% quarter-on-quarter (2Q 2010 over 1Q 2010) to touch an all time high of 38.63 million units in a single quarter, reports IDC. In a significant new development, the study found that Dual and Triple-SIM card slot phones have grown to touch as much as 38.5% of the total India mobile phone shipments, from less than 1% in 2Q 2009 (April-June 2009 quarter).

According to Mr. Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President-Research, IDC India, "In the recent quarters several new players successfully launched their own devices at significantly lower Average Selling Values (ASVs) in the price sensitive India market. Such handsets found ready acceptance amongst first time buyers, especially from small towns and villages."

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 09:13:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 23 September 2010

The United Kingdom’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has revealed that it has called on broadband test company Epitiro to examine the download speeds of the country’s five mobile network operators’ mobile broadband services, ZDNet reports. Ofcom said that it had decided to instigate the research following increasing dissatisfaction of British subscribers related to the actual speeds they receive, as opposed to those that operators advertise.

‘Actual speeds delivered via mobile networks are typically well below the 'up to' speeds which are advertised ... Satisfaction levels with mobile broadband performance also seem significantly below satisfaction with other [broadband] services,’ Ofcom noted in a statement confirming the investigation. Epitiro will field-test mobile data services offered by O2 UK, Orange UK, T-Mobile UK, Vodafone UK and Hutchison 3G UK, measuring details including the availability and retention of networks and download times, with the test beginning this month and running through to January 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 23 September 2010 07:59:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 03 September 2010

Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will disconnect at least 400,000 unregistered pre-paid mobile phone lines today after a deadline for registering SIM card owners’ details passed, the Bahrain Tribune reports. The TRA, along with the country's mobile operators, Batelco, Zain and Viva, had warned users that they must register personal details by midnight on 31 August or have their service cut off. ‘As per the warning of the TRA and with the due consent from Batelco, Zain and Viva, there will be no extension for the registration of the pre-paid mobile lines,’ an official at the Kingdom's watchdog confirmed to the Tribune. The registration programme was undertaken for security reasons, to prevent anonymously-owned phones being used in illegal activities.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 03 September 2010 12:45:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Wireless subscribers in China must provide identification from today to purchase a new number, press agency AFP reports, citing local media. The new regulations also apply to foreigners and those wishing to purchase a pre-paid SIM card, the China Daily and Global Times reported, citing sources at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Those with existing mobile subscriptions will be asked to register with their carriers before 2013, or their subscriptions could be cancelled. Street newspaper stands will be banned from selling SIM cards until the owners are trained on how to register customers, the report added.

The new rules are part of the Chinese government's efforts to prevent spam, pornographic messages and rampant fraud over the country's vast mobile networks, MIIT spokesman Wang Lijian told the China Daily. China had 814 million mobile phone users at the end of July, MIIT officials told the press, with up to 320 million users not yet registered.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 03 September 2010 12:43:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 31 August 2010

­Costa Rica's telecommunications market offers opportunities with its new liberalization, opening the door for competition across all segments and boosting mobile penetration to 136 percent by 2015 with prepaid subscriptions, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Costa Rica is the last country in Latin America to liberalize its telecommunications industry. Now, the regulator in Costa Rica has been quite busy with the liberalization of fixed and mobile services taking place. "Costa Rica is auctioning three mobile licenses over the next few months, and the process is expected to be completed before year end," says Jose Magana, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research. "New regulation includes number portability and infrastructure sharing."

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:51:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­With seven operators, the Vietnamese mobile market is one of the top five most competitive markets in this region. Vietnam's mobile connections grew 58% in 2009 and penetration reached 127%. However, recent operator comments suggests that 50% of these connections are inactive and as much 70% of the connections added in 2009 were multi-SIM users.

On the broadband front, the Vietnamese market has seen growth of over 60% in the past 4 years. A subscriber base of 2.1 million in 2008 gave the nation a household broadband penetration rate of 11.9&. The subscriber base is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.22% from 2004 to 2014 and is forecasted to reach 4.9 million by the end of 2014. While, the household broadband penetration is projected to reach 24.9% by the same period. Consumer broadband revenues are expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.11% from 193 million in 2008 to 449 million in 2014.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:47:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Syrian cabinet has approved plans for the licensing of a third mobile operator to compete with incumbent operators SyriaTel and MTN Syria which were awarded 15-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contracts for the rollout and operation of Syria's first mobile networks back in early 2001. As well as allowing for the entry of a new licensee into the wireless market, the two existing operators will buy out their current BOT agreements and convert to conventional licence agreements. The new licence will be granted after a three-stage process including initial rehabilitation, investment and technical rehabilitation and then finally a financial auction.

CommsUpdate reported UAE telecoms operator Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) first expressed an interest in acquiring Syria’s third wireless licence in April last year, while Kuwait's Zain has also indicated its interest in investing in the country’s mobile market, either through an acquisition of an operator licence, or a stake in an existing operator. In 2009 Zain held talks to buy SyriaTel, but the discussions were suspended for reasons not entirely clear.

Following the news that a licence auction had been approved, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai quoted sources as saying that 'Zain is waiting for Syria's government, which announced the opening of a bid for a third operating telecom ... to issue the terms and conditions required for applying and attaining the license.'

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 13:32:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 30 July 2010

­Mobile phone users under the age of 16 are extremely sophisticated, with deep brand experiences and preferences. This raises significant questions for network operators, handset manufacturers and service providers regarding how best to engage an increasingly important market segment.

You could be forgiven for a sense of déjà vu. After all, rising mobile phone use amongst children is not a new phenomenon. As long ago as 2004 the Guardian was reporting growth in ownership amongst under-10s, and media coverage concerning potential health concerns can be traced back even further. However, our ever-increasing reliance on, and immersion in, mobile phones and the digital services we use them to access, justify revisiting the topic.

Recent data from GfK reinforces just how prevalent mobile ownership amongst under-16s has become (2.5 million 12-15 year olds, almost 9 in 10, now have one). Furthermore, this is the age group cementing the shift in behaviour from passive entertainment, such as television, to more active digital and online activities. As such, it should come as no surprise that the value placed on their mobiles increases accordingly.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Friday, 30 July 2010 15:22:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 15 July 2010

Pakistan’s second largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Telenor Pakistan, said it has completed the deployment of the country’s largest solar-powered network in Universal Service Fund (USF) assisted regions. The operator has revealed that of 50 solar cell sites constructed, 47 are within the USF assisted areas of Mirpur Khas and Bahawalpur, providing telecoms services to approximately 1.63 million people who previously had no access to service at all. The remaining three sites have been deployed in Islamabad and Kyber-Pukhtoonkhwa. The introduction of the eco-friendly technology forms part of Telenor Pakistan’s Green Energy Project, which aims to prevent the emission of on average 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Commenting on the completion of this element of the project, Kalid Shezhad, chief technology officer at Telenor Pakistan, noted: ‘We are delighted to have created the largest solar-powered cell network in the USF-assisted areas of Mirpur Khas and Bahawalpur. With the deployment of solar-powered cell sites our aim is to provide environment-friendly telecommunication services even in the remotest areas of Pakistan. By doing so we are reducing power demands on the national grid and also helping to reduce carbon emissions.’

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:21:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) has announced that mobile phone subscribers will be required to register their details with operators by the end of July or risk having their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards deactivated. Subscribers will now be obliged to give their full names, physical and postal addresses, dates of birth, and alternative means of contact when they purchase a new SIM card. Adults will have to show their identification cards, whilst minors will have to be accompanied by a guardian. The mandatory SIM card registration scheme is expected to record the personal details of some 20 million subscribers by 30 July. CCK Director General Charles Njoroge commented: ‘The process started last year and we have been working together as an industry. So far, between 50% and 60% of the subscribers have been registered’.

Safaricom and Zain have already registered a significant proportion of their customer base, courtesy of their money transfer services, M-Pesa and Zap, which require customers to register before they can access the services. Telkom Kenya said it had details of its data clients, whilst Essar Telecom said that it has the mechanisms in place to gather the needed information. However, the cellcos have all asked for additional time to complete the process. Zain Kenya Chief Executive Rene Meza stressed: ‘The process is complex and will require consumer education before all the subscribers buy the idea, so we might need a little more time’.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:05:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The already extended deadline to register SIM cards in Tanzania has been against extended for a further two weeks following representations from the mobile networks that they are still seeing customers coming into their stores to register their accounts.

Science, Technology and Communication minister Prof Peter Msolla announced the government's decision in Parliament last week just as the 30th June deadline was set to expire.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) had originally set a deadline of the end of last year, then extended it again to the end of June. After the new deadline, of the 15th July, any unregistered SIM card will be locked for up to 90 days unless it is registered. A locked SIM card can not be used to make or receive calls or use sms, but if it is registered within 90 days, it will be unlocked, and can then be used. Any locked SIM card not registered by 30th September 2010 will be permanently deleted.

Source: Cellullar News

Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:02:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ghana yesterday implemented its controversial mobile SIM registration scheme. Under the National Communications Authority (NCA’s) new policy, no one can buy a SIM card without first providing personal details backed by an official national identity document. According to the industry watchdog, the SIM card registration will help curb crime and also help to control an unwanted rise in unsolicited text messages.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 15 July 2010 08:13:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 15 June 2010

­Jordan is the Arab World's most competitive cellular market, according to the Arab Advisors Group. Saudi Arabia came in second, followed by Palestine.

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index results for June 2010 revealed that Jordan tops the score -as the most competitive Arab market- with an 80.7% mark followed by Saudi Arabia (75.3%), Palestine (69.3%), Oman (67.1%), Egypt (65.7%), Morocco (64.9%), Iraq (63.4%), Tunisia (62.7%), Yemen (61.1%), Bahrain (59.9%), Algeria (59.5%), Sudan (59.4%), Mauritania (56.8%), Kuwait (49.8%), Qatar (46.4%), UAE (45.4%), Syria (38.0%), Libya (34.3%), and finally Lebanon (31.2%).

The 2010 index results revealed that eight countries ranked higher than their June 2009 index ranks, these are: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Oman, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar. Meanwhile, a total of eight countries ranked lower compared to June 2009 index, namely: Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Kuwait, UAE, Libya and Lebanon. The remaining three countries of Egypt, Morocco and Syria maintained their June 2009 ranks.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 15 June 2010 13:42:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 04 June 2010

Nigeria-based Globalcom (Glo Mobile) has reportedly been issued with a mobile operator’s licence in Senegal. If confirmed, the concession, the fourth to be awarded in the West African country, will also allow Globacom to land its Glo 1 trans-Atlantic submarine cable in Senegal, with opportunities to extend the infrastructure to Mali. Local newspaper This Day quotes the Nigerian firm’s chairman Mike Adenuga Jr as saying that the licence would enable his company to offer ‘world class telecommunications services’ to the government and people of Senegal.

‘In line with our vision, Glo will continue to play a major role in stimulating a new era of prosperity in the sub-continent and build facilities that will offer Africa advanced telecoms services such as teleconferencing, distance learning, disaster recovery, telemedicine, on-line diagnosis and video conferencing during surgery and research,’ Globacom added in a statement. The Nigerian company also holds operating licences in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic and Cote d'Ivoire, but as reported recently by CommsUpdate, has threatened to exit the Ghanaian market citing sabotage as the reason.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 04 June 2010 09:42:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Bolivian telecoms regulator, La Autoridad de Telecomunicaciones y Transportes (ATT), has said that it expects approximately 90% of the country’s mobile voice subscribers to have registered their mobile phone by 30 May, according to BNamericas. The watchdog, citing ATT technical chief Andres Zambrana, noted that as of 17 May 2010 87% of subscribers had registered their mobile numbers. Initially, having opened the registry database in November 2009, the cut-off date had been set as February 2010, but this was subsequently pushed back in order to allow mobile network operators to implement initiatives designed to focus on ensuring rural users had registered their details. Under the government’s plans, all those subscribers that have not provided their personal details by 1 June will have their service cut off, with the ATT claiming that the move will help curb the use of mobile phones in criminal activity.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 16:09:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 03 May 2010

­Increased competition in New Zealand's mobile market has improved pricing in the local market, but voice call usage still remains low by international standards, concludes the annual report from New Zealand's Commerce Commission. As well as looking at developments in 2009, the report also assesses the progress seen since the 2006 amendments to the Telecommunications Act came into effect.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Monday, 03 May 2010 14:52:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Long anticipated tender for a third mobile network operator license has finally been issued by government of Mozambique. US$25 million has been set as the reserved price for the license, with the last date for submissions due by July 6th 2010. After winning the license, the operator can begin operating within 30 days of the license being granted.

Earlier it was announced by Portugal Telecom that it would bid for a 3rd license, which at the time was expected to be offered around the middle of last year.

Last year, the country had 6.55 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 36%. With a market share of 65%, mCel is the dominant operator followed by Vodacom having 35% of the market share. No progress has been made in the government plans to sell a small stake in Moçambique Celular (mCel) which have been discussed in the past.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 07:12:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 12 March 2010

Telefonica's research and development unit is currently developing a mobile phone that enables users to send SMS, as well as make and receive voice calls in areas without mobile network coverage. Mobile communication is made possible via an application installed on the mobile device. All mobile phone owners using this application form a network in which their phones would serve as signal repeaters, El Mundo reports. The connectivity application would establish direct wireless data connections between two mobile devices that are relatively close to each other. The devices would form a network in which two phones that are 100 meters away from each other could share data and voice calls without requiring coverage.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:46:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paraguay's mobile network operators achieved a 12% year-on-year rise in overall service revenues in 2009 to USD604 million, reports BNamericas quoting figures from the economy ministry. In 2008 mobile firms Claro, Tigo, Personal and Hola billed USD517 million, up 16.6% compared to 2007, according to previous reports.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:36:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazilian mobile operator TIM Brasil plans to extend its 3G mobile network coverage to around 60% of the population by 2012, BNamericas quotes the company’s chief executive Luca Luciani as saying. In an interview, the CEO went on to say he expects the country’s overall telecoms market to expand by more than 5% per annum, in revenue terms, over the three-year period.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, TIM Brasil is controlled by European telecoms operator Telecom Italia and ended 2009 with 41.1 million subscribers, up 12.9% from the end of 2008, and representing a market share of 23.6%. Total net additions in the fourth quarter came to 4.7 million lines, or 20.2% of total market net additions. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was BRL27.0 in 4Q09, a growth of 1.7% when compared to the previous quarter. The cellco’s GSM network covered 94% of the country’s urban population, serving around 2,958 cities, as at 31 December 2009. As for data coverage, TIM provides GPRS technology to 100% of its footprint, while 77% is covered through EDGE technology, it said. In addition, TIM’s 3G coverage included more than 57 cities at the end of 2009 – reaching 30% of the urban population in Brazil.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:30:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Moroccan operator Wana has launched its GSM mobile services under the name Inwi. The third mobile operator said its network covers three-quarters of the population. Wana, which already offers CDMA fixed wireless and mobile voice and internet services under the name Bayn, was awarded the GSM licence in early 2009. The new mobile services include a prepaid offering with per-second billing as well as four postpaid plans with free on-net calls and a range of corporate offers.

Inwi also offers daily and weekly unlimited SMS plans, BlackBerry services, prepaid and postpaid 3G mobile internet using a USB modem, a Windows Live Messenger service, roaming and a wide range of handsets from Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. The company will compete against incumbent Maroc Telecom and Meditel on the GSM market.

Source: TelecomPaper

3G | Mobile
Friday, 12 March 2010 14:28:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Peru's Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC) plans to relaunch the project to attract a fourth mobile operator on the local market, reports El Comercio, citing vice-minister of communications Jorge Cuba. According to the government representative, the Agency for Promotion of Private Investment (ProInversion) and MTC have prepared a redefinition of a mobile licence in the 1900 MHz frequency band, also known as the C-band. The new licence will enable the entry of a fourth mobile operator on the local market, currently served by Claro, Movistar and Nextel. ProInversion plans to appoint an investment bank to find leading operators in Europe and Asia, so as to attract around six bidders for the process. The second option is to launch an open tender, which would allow the participation of any operator, including existing operators Movistar, Claro and Nextel. The government plans to launch the tender in March.
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, 12 March 2010 10:35:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 05 March 2010

Bahrain's third mobile network launched commercial services yesterday as Saudi Telecom Company (STC) subsidiary Viva Bahrain opened its doors to customers. Trade Arabia News Service reports that Viva’s services are available across Bahrain, and include mobile broadband access at speeds of up to 21Mbps, packaged with unlimited downloads, whilst up to five people can enjoy wireless broadband at peak speeds of 7.2Mbps via a single router. For the next three months, Viva is offering free calls and SMS within its Bahraini network and free calls to STC numbers in Saudi Arabia. It is also offering up to 90% discounts on calls made to 18 popular international destinations. Viva’s post-paid handset bundles come with up to 200MB of inclusive data usage per month, whilst its 3G-enabled pre-paid SIM cards are available for BHD2 (USD5.3), with an additional offer of 24% more credit each time the SIM is recharged, the company announced.

STC has invested USD200 million in Bahrain to date and expects to spend ‘several hundred million’ dollars in the next few years. Viva Bahrain CEO Abdulrahman Al Omar commented on the launch: ‘We plan to compete in the Bahraini market by providing innovative services that meet the needs of the market and enrich the level of services, whether voice or data transmission or even high speed broadband.’

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:49:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 March 2010

The oldest mobile operator in Azerbaijan, Bakcell, has announced that for the first time since its formation in 1994 it has achieved network coverage in all regions of the country, reports. Bakcell, which according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database operates across a nationwide GSM platform with GPRS and EDGE evolution, said that it had worked hard to improve its networks in the twelve months ended 31 December 2009, adding that: ‘As a result, coverage in every region of Azerbaijan has more than doubled.’ As reported by CommsUpdate on 15 October 2009 Bakcell has pledged to continue to develop its network in 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:16:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Just over three-quarters (77%) of seniors in the UK have access to a mobile phone, but 49% still feel intimidated and hesitant of new technology, reports a survey carried out by Synovate on behalf of Doro. The survey of 2000 reveals that the use of mobile phones is continuing to grow amongst seniors. Seniors in the UK stated that they use their mobile phone mostly to make calls (73%) and secondly for text messages (37%).

"Many seniors experience difficulties when handling technical products due to problems relating to sight, hearing, poor mobility and indeed limited dexterity. At Doro we believe that seniors will call and use services to a much greater extent as soon as they possess a mobile phone developed with their needs in mind," says Kjell Reidar Mydske Marketing and Sales Director at Doro.

Just as the rest of us, seniors differ from each other - the survey shows great differences between the countries, age groups and social background. There are interesting differences between the 65-74 and 75+ age groups. Nearly 90% of those in the age group 65-74 have a mobile phone, while only two-thirds of those in the age group 75+ have one.

There are also big differences between the countries. The USA are in the front line (65%) when it comes to having a positive attitude to new technology, closely followed by Sweden (62%), Germany (62%) and UK (44%). The French, on the other hand, have a more considered approach to new technology (39%).

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 11:54:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The charitable foundation set up by the wife of the UK's former Prime Minister, Tony Blair has published a report that attempts to understand the nature of women mobile subscribers in low and middle-income countries such as Kenya and India, and highlights the barriers facing women's adoption of mobile technologies. It also shows that, by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.

The report reveals for the first time the extent of the gender gap in mobile usage in many low and middle-income countries. It shows that a woman in a low or middle-income country is 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women, empowering and enabling them to stay better connected with family and friends, improving their safety, and helping them obtain paid work, in line with the third UN Millennium Development Goal on gender equality. The mobile phone as documented in the report is an effective productivity and development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities.

Click here to see full article

The research calls for the mobile industry, development community and policy makers to undertake a number of steps together including, specifically addressing women in segmentation strategies and marketing tactics; creating innovative programmes to increase the uptake of mobile phones amongst women; promoting the mobile phone as a life enhancing, effective development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities; and designating high-profile champions of mobile phones for women.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 11:51:27 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 12 February 2010

The Cyprus Mail reports that a parliamentary plan to enforce identity registration of all pre-paid mobile network users has run into legal and practical problems. Late last year, lawmakers began preparing legislation aimed at curbing illicit usage of anonymously owned phone SIM cards in criminal activity, but the draft bill was met with several objections. The commissioner for the protection of personal data, as well as the state legal service disagreed with the bill as it conflicts with the law on personal data, whilst state-owned fixed and mobile operator Cyta, claimed that it would take ‘15 years’ to register its roughly 500,000 pre-paid mobile subscribers. The proposed law provides for a one-year transitional period to give subscribers a chance to register their details. Meanwhile, the House Communications Committee has asked the personal data commissioner and the legal service to find a way to overcome the perceived problems in introducing the scheme.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 February 2010 11:15:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Taiwanese regulator the National Communications Commission (NCC) has announced plans to implement a 5.87% cut on mobile service rates from 1 April 2010. The regulator, citing ITU figures, revealed that the country’s mobile charges as a percentage of per capita income rank as the 26th highest in the world, and are currently three times higher than Hong Kong. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Taiwan’s mobile industry has flourished despite the apparent high charges, with a cellular penetration rate of 116% at the end of September 2009.

Meanwhile, ADSL charges will also be subject to a similar reduction, with rates being cut by 5.68%, benefiting the country’s 15.47 million ADSL users.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 11:49:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Moov Togo has resumed the provision of wireless services in the country after the suspension of its operations for four months, African news agency Pana Press reports. In August 2009 Atlantique Telecom, which manages Moov’s operations in Togo and five other countries in Africa, failed to renew its operating licence in the West African country.

The concession expired in June 2008, after which the company was given until 10 August 2009 to pay a CFA20 billion (USD44 million) renewal fee. Negotiations between the cellco and regulator broke down close to the deadline and Moov’s network was shut down, leaving around 600,000 subscribers without a mobile service and sparking protests involving over 2,000 people. Under the terms of the new agreement, Moov will pay CFA25.75 billion over a period of twelve years, instead of the CFA20 billion previously required over a ten-year period. The company has reportedly already made a down payment of CFA11.75 billion, and will pay the remainder over the required time-span.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 13 January 2010 10:51:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 11 January 2010

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has introduced a new set of interconnection rates for voice and SMS termination with the hope that retail tariffs will be cut by as much as NGN4 (USD4.98) per minute, local newspaper This Day reports.

From 31 December 2009 interconnection rates for mobile voice termination provided by new entrants (defined by the commission as companies which have been operating for less than four years) irrespective of originating network, will be set at NGN10.12. The rates will fall to NGN9.48 on 31 December 2010, NGN8.84 on 31 December 2011 and NGN8.20 on 31 December 2012 (from which date all termination rates will be symmetric). The NCC hopes the revised interconnection rates will encourage new entrants in the sector to offer services at more affordable rates to subscribers. Operators not defined as new entrants must set a mobile voice termination rate of NGN8.20 from 31 December 2009. Fixed voice termination rates have been set at NGN10.12 from 31 December 2009, NGN9.48 from 31 December 2010, NGN8.84 from 31 December 2011 and NGN8.20 from 31 December 2012. The SMS termination rate of new entrants will start at NGN1.94 from 31 December 2009 and fall gradually to NGN1.02 from 31 December 2012. Other mobile operators will charge NGN1.02 from the start of 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, 11 January 2010 10:29:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 07 January 2010

­The Tunisian telecoms market is to gain additional competition with the entry of France Telecom in early 2010. However, Onda Analytics believes the dynamics of the Tunisian telecoms market could change further, with many parties interested in the 35% stake in Tunisie Télécom held by EIT, a holding company for telecoms investments made by Dubai Holdings. The increasingly competitive environment in Tunisia may prompt EIT to consider listening to offers from operators interested in joining the market. Meanwhile, the other 65% shareholding is owned by the Tunisian government, which this week announced a privatisation drive for 2010.

Click here to see full article

The incumbent, Tunisie Télécom, is likely to suffer most from the entry of France Telecom, given that the new entrant will be present in fixed line, broadband and mobile markets. Tunisie Télécom's mobile market share is forecast to decline from 50% in 2009 to 34% by 2018. Its fixed line business is also set to be put under pressure from France Telecom, with Tunisie Télécom's fixed share to fall from a current monopoly position to 77% of fixed lines by 2018.

Tunisian mobile operators generated total mobile revenues of US$1.6 billion in 2009. As a result of relatively high mobile penetration and with tariffs set to fall with the entry of the third mobile operator, total mobile revenue is forecast to grow modestly over the coming years. Fixed line growth is expected to buck the trend of many markets with a forecast increase in lines of 30% to 2018, from 1.4 million in 2009, driven by the adoption of broadband services.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 07 January 2010 12:25:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Vietnam has extended the deadline for PrePay subscribers to register their account details before unregistered SIM cards are disconnected by the networks. The extension has been agreed to as there are still a significant number of unregistered SIM cards active on the mobile networks.

MobiFone has extended its deadline to 5 January and VinaPhone continues the registration until January 6.According to MobiFone, it had opened 15,000 counters across the country, registering 20 million subscribers. That leaves around one million unregistered yet.

The ministry has decided that individuals will only be allowed to subscribe to three phone numbers from each mobile service provider without registering. Deputy Director of the ministry's information department, Nguyen Xuan Tru, said there are around 100 million mobile subscribers in the country, 90 per cent of them using pre-paid cards.The ministry has ordered the companies to submit the registration data on January 10, 2009.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 07 January 2010 12:12:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will begin the registration process of all GSM-enabled SIM cards in March 2010, the African Press Agency reports. According to Lolia Emakpore, the director of the regulator’s Consumer Affairs Bureau, the process will start simultaneously in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and subscribers will have six months to register their details free of charge or face having their service disconnected. She added that the move will help curb crime perpetrated via mobile phones, such as fraud.

Source: Telegeography

Tuesday, 22 December 2009 16:04:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 21 December 2009

The Evaluation Committee of Solomon Islands Telecommunication has decided to award a mobile network operating licence to bemobile, a company backed by international fund GEMS in partnership with US-based telecoms investor Trilogy International Partners. bemobile, which already provides services in Papua New Guinea, beat a rival application from Digicel Group to break the monopoly of Our Telekom. The new licence requires the launch of services within six months and the provision of coverage to 81% of the population within 21 months. The Evaluation Committee said it hoped there will be other opportunities for Digicel or other interested parties to enter the Solomon Islands market in the future. Trilogy International Partners also operates mobile networks in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and New Zealand.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, 21 December 2009 08:30:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 09 December 2009

­The state-owned telecoms network in Burma/Myanmar is to expand its CDMA network capacity by some 150,000 lines in the two main cities of Yangon and Mandalay this month, reports the Chinese Xhinua news agency.

Significantly, the capacity of the restricted network in the new capital city, Naypyidaw is not being affected. Phone services in the capital are even more tightly regulated than usual for other areas in the military run country.

The number of CDMA phone lines stood 205,500, while that of GSM phones hit 375,800 and auto-phones reached 153,344 in the country in 2008, according to statistics.

The Mobile World analysts estimates that the country had nearly 540,000 subscribers, representing a population penetration level of just 1.2%.

The 3G phones were selling for 2.8 million Kyat (US$ 2150), while a GSM costs about 2.3 million Kyat (US$ 1800). A CDMA costs about 2.1 million Kyat (US$ 1615). The prices put the phones out of reach of ordinary citizens and limits them to the government or favoured business contacts.

Government and military contacts tend to find it easier to get the paperwork to own a mobile phone - but often then rent out those phones to business users.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:28:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

State-run telco Myanma Posts and Telecommunications plans to deploy 150,000 additional CDMA-based limited mobility wireless phone connections in two major cities, Yangon and Mandalay, according to China’s Xinhua news agency. The existing CDMA networks in Yaragon and Mandalay will be expanded by 100,000 and 50,000 lines respectively, using 800MHz equipment, at a cost of around USD500 per new connection. Active CDMA lines in Myanmar numbered 205,000 at the beginning of the year, compared to 375,000 GSM mobile users. Meanwhile, the authorities also say they are aiming to introduce video calling and other 3G applications over a planned W-CDMA mobile network.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:07:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Bulgaria's mobile operators have agreed to reduce the prices of calls after being asked to do so in a meeting with the country's Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
During a meeting which took place on 1 December between Bulgaria's Prime Minster, Vivacom's CEO Bernard Moscheni, Globul's CEO Haris Kotsibos, M-Tel's CEO Andreas Maierhofer and the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC)'s chairperson Veselin Bozhkov, Borissov said that the government did not want to interfere in the free market, but asked mobile operators to lower their call prices for the benefit of ordinary people. He also said that CRC should strictly enforce the European regulatory framework and the European best practice. Vivacom said in a press release that the country's regulator was expected to approve the agreement between the government and the three operators. M-Tel's Maierhofer told Borissov that competition on the Bulgarian mobile phone market was strong, resulting in price decreases of an average of 30 percent per year.
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:03:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 08 December 2009

­The mobile market in Mozambique is in its nascent stage with only two operators catering to the burgeoning demand for mobile services. Large investments are being made in infrastructure development, with the enterprises segment having the maximum growth potential due to the increased number of companies opening sites in the country, especially in remote areas.

The bid for a third operator is expected to be finalized by December 2009, further stimulating the competitive environment from 2010. Submarine cables are being deployed to provide global connectivity as well as improve local and international traffic. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that market earned revenues of $300 million in 2008 and estimates this to increase six-fold by 2015 to reach $1.8 billion.

"Mozambique is a promising country in various sectors," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Analyst Silvia Hirano Venter. "The recent introduction of foreign companies and expatriates with high incomes is boosting the demand for more sophisticated communications services, driving the country to invest in the development of its infrastructure."

Substantial improvements in infrastructure and regulation are expected to take place by 2012 and Frost & Sullivan believes that the market is likely to reach its full potential by 2014.

"Currently, Mozambique has only two operators and five key vendors," Venter says. "There are several opportunities for companies interested in expanding to remote areas. Additionally, there is growth potential for companies that offer optimised solutions for infrastructure as a way to reduce the capital and operational expenses of operators."

However, several factors are hampering market growth, such as an inadequate transportation system, unreliable power supply, natural disasters such as floods and droughts, and the presence of landmines. Companies should effectively address these issues to succeed in this geographic area.

"The current global economic downturn has affected Mozambique indirectly, as the demand for agricultural products and commodities has reduced," explains Venter. "However, such challenges are projected to reduce in intensity over the next few years, even as demand is set to rise."

Only 16.0 percent of the population currently utilizes mobile services to communicate. The network quality is good and the much-anticipated roll out of the submarine fibre optic cables will represent an advance in data traffic and capacity.

"Companies should continue to invest in the extension of the network to rural areas to enable the reduction of prices," concludes Venter. "Despite the challenges, the future looks bright for Mozambique's mobile communications market."

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 08 December 2009 09:58:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Millicom says that it has officially started its mobile operations in Rwanda today. Millicom was awarded its license in December 2008 and will be the third operator in the Rwandan market. The service is launching with approximately 50% coverage of the population, with plans to extend coverage significantly over the next three years.

In addition, the operator has deployed 3G infrastructure in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, and other key urban centres.

Mikael Grahne, President and CEO of Millicom, said "With a population of 10 million, mobile penetration of less than 20%, and a rapidly developing economy, Rwanda is a highly attractive market for Millicom. With our focus on affordability and our strengths in distribution and innovation, we believe we can make mobile voice and value-added services a reality for the mass market in Rwanda."

Source: Cellular News

3G | Mobile
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 09:49:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tigo has launched commercial mobile phone services in Rwanda, reports East African Business Week.
The service will operate using the 072 prefix code. Technical Director Mohamed Dembele said the network currently has 111 base stations, with 26 in the capital Kigali and the rest in the provinces. Currently, Tigo has 53 percent population coverage, and around 30,000 customers have already registered for services. The network is live in 13 out of 30 districts in the country, with coverage expected to increase to 24 districts by next year and the entire country by 2011. Tigo is a brand of Millicom International Cellular (MIC). The company will compete against leading mobile operator MTN Rwanda, and incumbent Rwandatel, which switched to GSM technology a year ago.
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, 25 November 2009 10:24:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Libyan government has announced plans to sell small stakes in the country's two mobile phone networks as part of a wider plan to sell off state owned corporations. The IPOs will offer shares in the government's two mobile telephone operators, al Madar and Libyana, as well as in Iron and Steel Company and National Commercial Bank.

The government also announced details of tax breaks to make trading on the local stock exchange more appealing to investors.

"The trading volume remains small because we are still at the start, but I expect that with new regulations ... the Libyan stock market will become one of the most active in North Africa and the Arab region," Seleem Naas, chairman of Libyan brokerage Sarab Foreign Exchange and Financial Services told the Reuters news agency.

Earlier this year, Etisalat said it had submitted a bid for Libya's third mobile phone license, although nothing further has been heard.

According to figures from the Mobile World, Libyana is the dominant operator with 83% of the market, followed by Al Madar. The country has a population penetration level of 134%.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 10:22:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 November 2009

­The body managing the tender for the Solomon Island's first competitive mobile license tender has announced that it has received three applications. The applicants are Digicel, bemobile and Milestone Developments.The Evaluation Committee has begun reviewing the applications and will be making further announcements in due course as provided in the Request for Applications.

The country currently has just the one telecoms operator, Solomon Telekom (trading as Breeze GSM).Solomon Telekom is estimated by the Mobile World subscriber database to have ended Q1 '09 with just over 35,000 subscribers - representing a population penetration level of just 6%.

Digicel was granted a license in 2006, but Solomon Telekom successfully sued to block the network launch pending a review of its monopoly status.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 15:07:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Millicom International Cellular (MIC), the telecoms group with operations in twelve countries across Africa and Latin America, has posted revenues of USD856.2 million for the third quarter of 2009, a 7% increase year-on-year.

The growth is partly attributable to strong performance at Amnet, the company’s cable and broadband unit, as well as its African subsidiaries. Net income, however, slipped 11.5% to USD142.7 million on the back of higher interest expense and taxes. The results exclude operations in Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka, which Millicom agreed to sell earlier this month. The full divestment of all three subsidiaries is expected to take place by the end of 2009, generating approximately USD565 million in cash for the company.

Chief Financial Officer Francois-Xavier Roger said the company was looking at acquisitions and bidding for new licences in Africa and Latin America. ‘We have nothing well advanced at this stage, but we have a few opportunities that we continue to discuss with third parties,’ he stated.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 21 October 2009 12:20:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 17 September 2009
Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom has acquired a 78 percent stake in Millicom's mobile operator in Laos.
The remaining 22 percent of Millicom Lao is owned by the government of the Laos government. The acquisition price is estimated to reach USD 66 million, based on the enterprise value of Millicom Lao of USD 102 million. The acquisition is scheduled for completion by end-2009. With a population of 6.5 million inhabitants, mobile penetration in Laos currently stands at 23 percent. According to Boris Nemsic, VimpelCom CEO, the operator's entry into Laos is the next logical step in the company's international expansion strategy. Laos provides a complement to VimpelCom's existing operations in Vietnam and Cambodia and fits into the company's strategy of building a solid Southeast Asian cluster, Nemsic said. The VimpelCom Group currently operates in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, as well as Vietnam and Cambodia.
Source: Telecompaper
Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:44:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 27 August 2009

Orascom Telecom has reported that its mobile subscribers in North Korea nearly doubled in Q2Œ09 even though the ARPU dipped. Koryolink, in which Orascom owns a majority stake, ended June with 47,863 subscribers, twice more than what the operator had at April-end, when the total stood at 19,208, said Orascom.

Koryolink runs on a 3G WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) technology and is the only operator in the country open to individual subscribers.

During Q2 2009, the operator posted an ARPU of US$22.80, down from $24.70 in Q1Œ09. While EBITDA stood at $2.5 million.

Source: Wireless News

Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:40:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan’s mobile market according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has reported a penetration level of 58.5% at the end of July. The mobile segment, in July added 1 million mobile suscribers taking the total mobile subscriber base to 95.55 million.

Of the total base, Mobilink led the market with 29.5 million (31%) subscribers while Telenor stood second with 21.3 million (22%) followed by Ufone with 21% market share.
The highest monthly additions were achieved by Mobilink with 414,000 new subscribers followed by Telenor and Warid with 406,000 and 255,000 new subscribers respectively.

Source: Wireless News

Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:36:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Pakistan's Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications has urged the telecoms regulator, the PTA to ensure protection of consumer rights, reports the local Daily Times newspaper.

"Growth of the telecom sector is important, but consumer satisfaction is more important", was the unanimous view of the committee, which met at Parliament House with Senator Muhammad Idrees Khan Safi in chair.

The Committee also said that telecom companies were making windfall profits but paying little attention to improving service quality, especially in the rural and remote areas of the country.

The committee directed the PTA to play its regulatory role effectively to address outstanding issues, especially those related to service quality. It also instructed that the SIM registration and verification process be carried out vigilantly to avoid any misuse.

According to the Mobile World analysts, the country ended Q1 '09 with just over 91 million mobile phone users, which represents a population share of 52 percent.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:31:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Orascom Telecom has confirmed that its North Korean subsidiary, koryolink's subscriber base stood at 47,850 by the end of Q2. In order to capitalize on the subscriber growth momentum, in the second quarter of 2009 koryolink introduced further reduction in connection fees as well as free SMS for the first time. Additionally, the mix of free minutes was revised to satisfy customer requirements.

Over the second-quarter, while minutes of use rose to 199 per month, the ARPU fell to US$22.8, from US$24.7 in Q1. The financial figure is based on the official exchange rate between the North Korean Won (KPW) and US$.

koryolink retail network currently consists of 2 large sales shops strategically located in downtown Pyongyang with 3 additional scratch card sales outlets located within KPTC post office shops. koryolink plans to expand the indirect sales network through the inauguration of 6 more outlets within KPTC shops. A separate after sales service shop is planned for Q3.

Local news media also added that the company is expanding its network. Citing the North's Korean Central Broadcasting Station, the Yonhap News Agency said that fiber-optic cables have been laid in all provinces to "upgrade communication capability and quality" and that mobile communication networks are "being established on a national scale,".

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:27:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco added 128,222 internet subscribers in the second quarter, for 15 percent quarterly growth to 834,463 at the end of June and 47.29 percent growth versus June 2008, according to telecommunications regulator ANRT.

Of the total internet customers, 50.75 percent are on ADSL and 48.7 percent are on 3G mobile networks. ADSL subscribers were static at 488,567 at the end of June, compared to 489,043 at the end of March.

Click here to see full article
Source : Telecompaper
Thursday, 27 August 2009 14:16:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Atlantic Telecom is reported to be facing the suspension of its network in Togo after failing to renew its operating license. The operator's license expired in June 2008, and has been given until 10th August to pay a 20 billion CFA (US$44 million) renewal fee.

Click here to see full article

Estimates from the  Mobile World analysts shows that the operator ended Q1 '09 with around 530,000 subscribers. The dominant telco is the state owned Togo Cellular, with around 1.25 million customers. France Telecom's Orange seems to have an operating license but has not started services yet.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 25 August 2009 09:20:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Japanese mobile operators added 413,700 new customers in July, to reach a combined total of 108.90 million customers, according to figures from the Telecommunications Carrier Association. NTT DoCoMo took the lead in net additions and added 143,600 subscribers to end the month with 55.07 million. Softbank followed with 137,600 new subscribers, bringing its total to 21.09 million. Emobile signed up 76,100 new subscribers bringing its total to 1.75 million customers. KDDI gained 56,600 new customers and ended July with 31.05 million customers, while PHS provider Willcom shed 18,500 customers to finish July with 4.52 million.
Source: Telecompaper
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 08:31:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 06 August 2009

Argentina has reportedly ended the first half of 2009 with 49.2 million mobile lines in service, up 14% year-on-year. In June, the mobile telephony traffic totaled 3.82 billion calls, representing a 30% increase compared to the same period a year ago. Public phones totaled 146,988, an increase of 10.7% in comparison to the same period a year ago.

Source: Wireless Federation

Thursday, 06 August 2009 11:10:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Argentina ended the first half of 2009 with 49.2 million mobile lines in service, up 14% year-on-year, writes BNamericas citing the country’s national statistics bureau Indec. Mobile telephony traffic in June totalled 3.82 billion calls, representing a 30% increase compared to the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, Indec also reports that Argentina’s fixed lines totalled 9.4 million at 30 June 2009, up 1% from a year earlier. Local fixed telephony traffic during the month fell 2.2% to 1.25 billion calls, while domestic long distance traffic rose 11.2% to reach 348 million calls. Public phones totaled 146,988, an increase of 10.7% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Source: Telegeography

Thursday, 06 August 2009 10:27:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 03 August 2009

Azeri mobile operator Azerfon has announced it has installed 20 base station transceivers (BTSs) in Azerbaijan to improve network coverage. The cellco, which provides services under the Nar Mobile banner, has constructed 16 BTSs in the city of Baku, two in the region of Absheron and one each in the cities of Sheki and Gabala. The company stated that at present its wireless network covers 90% of the country’s population and 80% of Azerbaijan’s territory, and provides 1.3 million subscribers with mobile services.


Source: Telegeography

Monday, 03 August 2009 11:04:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Status of the Telecom Market for March 2009 reportedly unveiled that the Tanzanian mobile operators have reportedly added 837,883 subscribers in Q1'09, taking the total mobile subscriber base to 13.885 million.
The report shows that Tigo has added 384,925 new subscribers and ended the quarter with 2.95 million subscribers. The operator stood at the third position among the six mobile operators across the nation.

"Vodacom lead the market with 5,670,122 subscribers as it added 261,683 new subscribers during Q1'09. Vodacom is still leading the market, accounting for 40 per cent of total subscriptions though its share dropped by one per cent compared with what it held in the last quarter of 2008" showed the report.
Zain stood second as it added 42,508 new subscribers during the same period, taking its subscriber base to 4,104,879.
Zantel Mobile lost 27,162 subscribers during the period, decreasing the number of users to 1,030,490.

Source: Wireless Federation

Thursday, 30 July 2009 12:36:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Egyptian market surged through the 50% penetration barrier in Q1 09, finishing the quarter with a rate of 52.7%. In real terms, the total customer base grew to 43.57m. Quarterly net additions stood at 3.01m, making Q1 09 the third successive quarter in which the gain has exceeded 3m. On an annual basis, there was an increase of just under 12.50m - the highest figure ever recorded in the Egyptian market. Proportionate annual growth stood at 40.2%, down from 52.9% for the prior twelve-month period. In fact, this was the second lowest growth rate of the past eight quarters, the lowest being the 39.0% recorded in Q4 08. This may seem to present a somewhat ambiguous prospect for future growth; however, the graph on the right suggests that the decline in proportionate growth may have bottomed out for the time being, and that actual growth should remain above 10m per year for some time to come.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 30 July 2009 12:31:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to data released by Hungarian telecoms regulator the NHH, total country wireless subscribers fell by 23,323 in the month of June to 11.88 million. Pannon’s share of the subscriber market fell slightly from 34.87% to 34.73%, Vodafone’s remained almost unchanged at 21.06% compared with 21.07%, while T-Mobile’s slice of the pie grew to 44.21% up from 44.07%. Active subscriptions, however, increased from 10.63 million in May to 10.64 million in June.

Source: Telegeography

Thursday, 30 July 2009 12:25:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 27 July 2009

­The Iranian mobile market continued to grow in the first quarter of 2009, finishing a whisker short of 50m on 49.97m. This left the penetration rate at 70.5%, up from 49.7% a year earlier. Given the increased penetration, it is unsurprising that the quarterly gain of 3.65m was well below the year-earlier figure of 6.15m. Of course, this was still an impressive uplift, and the Q1 08 gain was, moreover, an all-time market record, but this does indicate a gradual slowdown in growth in the Iranian market. Political instability subsequent to the end of the quarter may well have had a further impact on growth.

Click here to see full article

The remaining three operators in Iran have little market presence. The largest is Rafsanjan Industrial Complex (Taliya), which was up 39.6% annually to 1.70m, while the other two have fewer than 60k between them.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, 27 July 2009 16:09:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Azeri online news source APA writes that the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Azercell Telecom, has suspended interconnection with rival mobile operator Azerfon from today (22 July), due to reported unpaid termination fees. Azercell Telecom claims that Azerfon, which provides wireless services under the Nar Mobile banner, owes AZN11 million (USD13.7 million) as a result of systematic breaches of monthly payment terms from July 2008 of the Interconnection Agreement in place between the two parties. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Azercell was Azerbaijan’s largest cellco by subscribers at 31 March 2009, reporting 3.58 million customers, while Azerfon stood in third place behind Bakcell, with a mobile subscriber base of 1.09 million at the same date.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:19:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Vodafone is reported to have secured a license to operate a mobile network in French Polynesia in a joint venture with Pacific Mobile Telecom. Local radio reports, cited by Radio New Zealand said that the government approved the application, but no date has been set for the network launch.

Click here to see full article

The islands of French Polynesia have a total land area of 4,167 square kilometres (1,622 sq. mi) scattered over 2,500,000 square kilometres (965,255 sq. mi) of ocean. It is made up of several groups of islands, the largest and most populated of which is Tahiti. Total population at the August 2007 census was 259,596 inhabitants, with a GDP per capita of  US$21,565 in 2005.

Source: Cellular News


Wednesday, 22 July 2009 14:47:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Turkey followed Italy and the UK in suffering a quarterly loss to its customer base. The 1.44m decline was the largest ever seen, as well as being the first for seven years. At the end of Q1 09, the total customer base stood at 64.48m, just 3.1% above the Q1 08 total. This was the lowest growth rate ever recorded in the Turkish market and 12.3pp below the year-earlier rate. Penetration fell back below 90% during the quarter, finishing on 89.0%. However, there is every chance that a resurgence in growth will take penetration over 100% once 3G is launched, with reports suggesting that the first W-CDMA networks will be operational very soon.


Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 14:41:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­In Q1 09, the UK mobile market saw its first quarterly net loss of customers for three years. The total customer base contracted by 0.56m to finish the quarter on 75.59m, equivalent to a penetration rate of 123.8%. The proportionate annual growth rate fell to 3.9% from 4.9% a year earlier, and in fact this was the second lowest rate ever seen in the UK market, the lowest being the 3.1% recorded in 2006. This may not be indicative of a long-term decline in growth, however. The Q4 06 figure of 3.1% was followed by eight quarters in which annual growth hovered around 5%, and the Q1 09 rate may prove to be a similar blip.


Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 14:29:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Asia Pacific region now contains the world's two largest mobile markets, China and India and together, these two account for 1.04bn of the world's 4.15bn mobile customers. In fact, Asia is the only region to have more than one 100m market. The positions occupied by the top two markets remain unchanged compared to this time last year, with China still well ahead, with a total of 644.8m customers (not including the SARs of Hong Kong and Macau) which would, if added, push the PRC over the 650m mark. One year ago, China was more than twice the size of the second largest market, India, but the smaller country is rapidly closing the gap. It connected over 130m new customers in the year, to reach a total of 391.6m, compared to just 88.2m in China.


Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Wednesday, 22 July 2009 14:11:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The top mobile markets in East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands are amongst the most liberalised on the continent. The top three markets are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and they all have about 10 million subscribers.

Each of these three markets has been a laboratory for competition. For example, Tanzania has issued seven mobile licences and Uganda has issued six. The number of operators has resulted in increased investment and marketing spend in the top three markets. And in all three countries, this competition has benefited African consumers as the cost of owning and using a mobile phone has fallen.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 13:26:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of registered cellular phones in Brazil reached 159.6 million at the end of last month, up 1.3% on the figure reported in May 2009, thanks to an aggressive marketing push by all major operators, the telecoms regulator Anatel said Monday. Net mobile additions reached 2.1 million in June, down from 2.9 million in May, it said. Vivo Participacoes, the joint venture of Spain’s Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, maintained its number one position in the domestic mobile market with a 29.3% share of subscriptions, ahead of America Movil-backed Telecom Americas (Claro) with 25.4%. Third spot was claimed by TIM Brasil with 23.7%, and in fourth was Telemar Norte Leste (Oi), which increased its market share to 21.2% in June.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 13:14:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 08 July 2009

­The South African cellular market reached a milestone of 50-million connections at the end of 2008 - but only 68% of these represented individual users, reports a study carried out by World Wide Worx, backed by First National Bank (FNB), and Research In Motion (RIM).



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Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 08 July 2009 13:22:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Rwandan mobile operator, Rwandatel says that it missed its subscriber target for the first half of this year by 30%, but said that its market share had risen by 15%. According to company officials, Rwandatel had set a first half subscription target of 600,000 clients but managed only slightly above 420,000 active subscribers on June 30.

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According to figures from the Mobile World, at the end of Q1 '09, the operator had an estimated 260,000 customers, compared to 1.3 million at the only other operator, MTN. Last December, Millicom was granted the country's third mobile license after paying US$60 million for the 15 year license.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 08 July 2009 12:49:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 01 July 2009

Digicel has confirmed it has been awarded a GSM licence in the Pacific island state of Nauru, and will become the country’s first wireless network operator when it launches in August. ‘Digicel's expansion into Nauru further adds to our Pan-Pacific presence as well as achieving the milestone of bringing a GSM network for the first time to Nauru,’ said Digicel Pacific CEO Vanessa Slowey. ‘Nauru can look forward to benefiting from a state-of-the art network, with affordable and accessible telecommunications for everyone.’ Minister for Telecommunications, Sprent Dabwido, said, ‘With no existing mobile operator to serve the 10,000 strong population, Digicel's arrival is a giant step forward for communications in Nauru and will benefit each and every individual in Nauru.’ In addition to offering voice services, Digicel will be launching a GPRS/EDGE-enabled network which will make internet access available to all areas of Nauru for the first time.

Nauru is the sixth market for Digicel in the Pacific, with existing operations in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, and its 32nd market worldwide.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 01 July 2009 12:25:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Etisalat Nigeria has announced reaching the milestone of one million subscribers for its mobile network around seven months after launching in the country. The UAE-owned operator launched commercial GSM services in Nigeria in November 2008 in seven cities, and by the end of the year had just under 400,000 subscribers, boosted by its offer of free network-to-network calls for a six month period.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, 01 July 2009 12:15:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 26 June 2009

The Hungarian mobile market continued to shrink in May, though at a lesser rate than in April. At the end of the month, the three Hungarian mobile operators had a total of 11.912 million subscribers, which is nearly 79,000 lower than in April. The National Communications Authority (NHH) also noted that in May, the number of subscriptions per 100 people dropped to 118.9 from the 119.6 recorded one month before.

At the end of May 2008, the number of subscriptions per 100 people was 114.1, while the highest recorded value until today was 121.8 at the end of December 2008.

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Source: Cellular News.

Friday, 26 June 2009 11:07:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the end of March 2009 global wireless subscribers reached 4.16 billion, an impressive 19% increase from a year earlier and not that far off the pace from what has been experienced over the last five years. However, TeleGeography's GlobalComms Insight forecasts that the average annual growth rate over the next five years will drop to 10%, and the fact that growth from 4Q 2008 to 1Q 2009 was just 4%, is one indicator of that slowdown.

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Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 26 June 2009 11:01:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Vietnamese mobile subscribers are still enjoying lower tariffs as the operators face intense competition among each other, the Ministry of Information and Communications reportedly reveal.The country is experiencing among world’s lowest tariffs, Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop said.

The Vietnamese mobile market, according to Hop, has seen some big changes in past two years. “Through the economic crisis and, earlier, high inflation, the industry’s revenues have continued to grow and the market has been expanding with the entry of many new players”, he added.

The statistics reveal, the country has added 10.4 million new subscribers in 2009, 30% more than it did in the same period in 2008.

Recently the four mobile operators in the country, Vinaphone, MobiFone, Viettel Telecom and EVN Telecom had reduced tariffs by an average of 20%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:05:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan mobile subscriber base has reached 93.138 million in May, from 91.978 million in April, as per the figures from PTA. Mobilink leads the market with a subscriber base of 28.812 million from 28.381 million in April. Telenor Pakistan has extended its second place position to 20.481 million customers, from 20.107 million. Ufone secures third place with 19.853 million subscribers, up from 19.712 million in April. Followed to this Warid with 17.651 million customers and Zong had 6.263 million at the end of May. The subscribers of Istaphone dropped to 75,662 in May from 137,568 in April. Mobile density is reportedly 57.90 %, up from 57.10% in April.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:02:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The Mozambican government is reported to be planning a partial privatization of the state owned mobile network operator Moçambique Celular (mCel) the Mozambican Minister for Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula told the local O País newspaper.

The initial sale will be for just a five percent stake, which will be offered to Mozambicans. Later sales may be opened up to overseas investors, said Zucula.

The government had planned a partial sale last year, although this was cancelled due to "organizational difficulties"

According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the country ended last year with a shade under 5 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 24.3%. mCel is the dominant operator, with a market share of 71% - compared to 29% for rival, Vodacom.

A third mobile licenses is expected to be offered later this year, and Portugal Telecom has already expressed an interest in bidding.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:21:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 12 June 2009

Malawi's Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and the local arm of Zain have clashed over plans to lower phone tariffs in the country. The regulator wants to open the market up to more networks, while Zain blames high taxes and says increased subscribers would lead to lower tariffs.

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The country currently has two mobile networks, Zain and former incumbent, (Telekom Networks Malawi) TNM - while a two more networks have been licensed. Globally Advanced Integrated Networks (Gain) expects to launch its network within the next couple of months, while G-Mobile is still waiting to announce a launch date.

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The Mobile World subscriber database estimates that Malawi ended Q1 '09 with just over 2 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of just 15%. Zain is the market leader with 66.7% of the customer base, with Telecom Networks Malawi (TNM) taking the remainder.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, 12 June 2009 13:57:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan-Caribbean wireless group Digicel has reported its first net profit since its launch in 2001. Digicel, which comprises mobile phone operations in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Pacific and Latin America, recorded a net profit of USD41 million in the twelve months to 31 March 2009, compared to a loss of USD74 million in the previous year. ‘It is an important landmark for us,’ Digicel’s chief executive Colm Delves told The Irish Times. At a pre-tax level, Digicel posted a profit of USD113 million compared with a loss of USD48 million in the previous period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached USD680 million, a 34% increase year-on-year. Revenues rose by 11% to USD1.73 billion, while its subscriber base was up 34% to 9.2 million. The company’s net debt at the end of March was USD2.7 billion.

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Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 12 June 2009 13:44:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe’s mobile market leader Econet Wireless has announced that it has sourced the necessary funding to expand its network capacity to five million subscribers by the end of 2010. At the presentation of the cellco’s 2008/09 fiscal year results, CEO Douglas Mboweni said: ‘We have secured the resources, through our parent company, Econet Wireless Group (EWG), to expand capacity further, from the current 2.5 million [users] expansion programme, to go to five million.’ Under its current plan, geographical network coverage is set to be almost doubled by extending the footprint to many smaller towns and main roads whilst improving coverage in existing urban and resort areas, whilst an upgrade to 3G services is also in the pipeline. Mboweni said Econet’s financial team had travelled around the world raising funds with ‘spectacular success.’

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Econet reported that its GSM subscriber base increased by 84% in a year from 636,000 to 1.2 million at end-February 2009. It says it is currently signing up around 5,000 new customers per day, but expects to be able to increase this rate dramatically over the next few months as it installs more new network equipment.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 June 2009 13:42:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Telecom Argentina operates Argentina's third largest mobile network by customer numbers, with 13.17m connections at the end of Q1 09. On an annual basis it was the fastest growing of the country's four networks with a growth rate of 21.0%, up from 16.9% for the prior twelve months. This is an impressive rate given that penetration in Argentina stood at around 110% at the end of the quarter.

Growth was driven principally by the prepaid sector, which was up 23.2% annually, compared to 13.9% for the prior twelve months. At the end of Q1 09 it had 8.82m customers. Contract growth, by contrast, dropped from 23.1% to 16.8%. This left the percentage of contract customers down 1.2pp at 33.0%, with an actual figure of 4.35m. The disparity in growth was particularly marked in Q1 09: prepaid quarterly net additions stood at 522k, the highest figure for two years, while contract gained just 85k, the lowest figure since Q3 03.

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Source: Cellular News.


Tuesday, 09 June 2009 08:08:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 04 June 2009

Dutch mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Yes Telecom has announced it plans to enter the German wireless market in the summer of 2009. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, there are over 50 mobile resellers in Germany’s wireless market, but only one, freenet, provides serious competition to the facilities-based operators, following its takeover of main MVNO rival debitel in July 2008. At the end of March 2009 freenet boasted a wireless subscriber base of 18.53 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 04 June 2009 12:49:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uruguayan state-owned telecoms operator Antel has announced its mobile unit Ancel has reached 1.5 million subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Ancel is closing the gap between itself and rival cellco America Movil-owned Claro Uruguay, which had 1.459 million wireless subscribers at 31 March 2009. Ancel launched a GSM-1800 network including GPRS in Montevideo April 2004, with an EDGE upgrade initiated in the following October. Ancel first trialled 3G services in September 2005, in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei. 3.5G services were launched in July 2007 in Montevideo and a year later its 3G network was available nationwide. Ancel plans to invest USD81 million in 2009, mainly to expand its GSM and 3G coverage.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 04 June 2009 12:48:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telkom Kenya has announced that its mobile arm Orange Mobile has connected a million customers in its first eight months of operation. The company has invested over KES10 billion (USD134 million) in its network infrastructure and attributes its customer growth to its ‘value driven tariffs’. Dominique Saint-Jean, Telkom Kenya’s CEO, said, ‘The success we are celebrating today is not accidental. It has been hard won, thanks to the unceasing commitment and incredible energy of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, the support from our suppliers, the confidence from our investors and the interest from the media. So I would like to say that today is not about Telkom Kenya – it is about all of you, the people who have played such a valuable role in our shared journey to our first million customers.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 04 June 2009 08:57:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A report from Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) says that the sector was worth BHD303 million (USD804 million) in service revenues in 2008, up by 6.3% from the previous year, with mobile services accounting for 50% of all turnover. Telecoms revenues generated 3.7% of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year, according to the watchdog’s figures. The number of fixed lines in service increased by 8% year-on-year to 220,386 by end-December, mainly due to the growth of fixed-wireless connections, while around 70% of domestic fixed line voice traffic was accounted for by fixed-to-mobile calls.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 04 June 2009 08:32:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 03 June 2009

The total number of mobile phones registered in Brazil reached 154.6 million at the end of last month, up 0.6% on the previous month’s figure, according to preliminary data published by the national regulator Anatel. The rise was attributed to operators increasing their focus on selling pre-paid SIMs, although Anatel noted that the total net additions of 923,000 in April fell short of the 1.3 million new users reported in March this year.

As at 30 April 2009 Vivo Participacoes, an equal joint venture of Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, continued to hold the number one position in the domestic mobile market with a 29.5% share all subscriptions. It is followed by America Movil’s Telecom Americas (Claro) unit, which claimed 25.8% at the same date, ahead of TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) in third with 23.6%. The fourth spot was claimed by Telemar Norte Leste’s Oi with 20.7%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 09:17:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe's smallest mobile network operator, Telecel says that it is planning for a significant expansion of its network coverage. The company says that it has already boosted capacity thanks to upgrading existing base station towers. Telecel Zimbabwe is owned by Egypt's Orascom Telecom.

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The country currently has three mobile network operators. According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, Telecel is estimated to have ended last year with around 232,000 subscribers - representing a market share of around 15%.

South Africa's MTN Group was recently rumoured to be interested in taking a 60% stake in Telecel.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 09:03:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India has passed the 400 million mark for mobile phone subscribers, although growth slowed from the record breaking figures earlier this month. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that a total 11.75 million telephone connections (Wireline and Wireless) were added during April 2009 as compared to 15.87 million connections added in March 2009. The total number of telephone connections reaches 441.47 million at the end of April 2009 as compared to 429.72 million in March 2009.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 08:57:47 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 June 2009

The UAE's two mobile networks, Du and Etisalat are reported to be in talks that could lead to network infrastructure sharing in an effort to cut operating costs.

“Talks are continuing between Du and Etisalat on sharing infrastructure,” Du's CEO, Osman Sultan in a Bloomberg interview. “The current economic situation is pushing” the companies to share infrastructure, he added.

Du has earmarked a CAPEX of US$545 million this year to expand its mobile network.

Earlier this year, Du signed a marketing partnership with Vodafone. The company is 39.5% owned by the UAE Federal Government, 19.75% by Mubadala Development, 19.5% by Emirates Communications & Technology and the remaining stake by public shareholders.

According to figures from the Mobile World subscriber tracker, du ended Q1 '09 with 2.75 million customers, of which just over a million are using its 3G network.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, 02 June 2009 07:29:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AIS is the market leader in Thailand, where penetration looks to have finished Q1 09 at around 95%. The rise in penetration has been accompanied by a decline in growth, with annual growth rates falling in each quarter since Q2 07. Although the full Q1 09 set of results for Thailand is not yet complete, it seems almost certain to be the slowest quarter since Q3 05, when there were net additions of just 0.41m. Both True Move and DTAC saw their lowest gains since that same quarter, with uplifts of 0.25m and 0.26m respectively. AIS only just managed to top these figures with a gain of 0.27m, its lowest result since Q1 06 and the second lowest this century.

Although this is a disappointing result for AIS, the fact that growth has slowed so dramatically for all the major operators in Thailand means that it is unlikely to lose its lead in the foreseeable future, barring any extraordinary developments: at the end of Q1 09, it was 8.6m customers ahead of DTAC with a total of 27.58m. Annual growth stood at 9.9%, down from 19.0% for the prior twelve month period. In real terms, annual net additions fell from just below 4m to 2.49m.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, 02 June 2009 07:27:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Hungarian mobile operators Pannon, T-Mobile and Vodafone have in total lost nearly 120,930 subscribers in April, taking the total subscriber base to 11.99 million, NHH reported. Pannon’s market share rose from 34.70% in March to 34.86% in April, while Vodafone’s market share also grew from 21.15% to 21.17%. Whereas T-Mobile’s market share plunged to 43.97% from 44.15% in March. The active subscriber base dropped to 10.69 million, from 10.80 million in March. Mobile penetration fell from 120.8% in March to 119.6% at end-April.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:26:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Unitel, the Angolian mobile operator, intends to expand its mobile service to 150 districts in 2009, taking the total coverage to 90%. The company said it intends also to improve the quality and to increase the capacity of the existing network.

Deputy General Director, Amilcar Safeca reportedly said that the Unitel plans to expand also its internet services, already available in the provinces of Luanda, Huambo and Huila, in order to reach more provincial capitals.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:24:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan’s mobile subscriber base has reached 91.979 million at the end of April, up from 91.442 million in March, reports Pakisitan Telecommunications Authority. Mobilink emerged as the market leader with a subscriber base of 28.282 million rising from 28.240 million a month earlier. Telenor took the second position as its subscriber base passes 20 million mark, up from 19.985 million. Ufone’s subscriber base which stood at 19.612 million in March rose to 19.713 million. Whereas Warid posted 17.511 million subscribers versus 17.376 million in March. Zong, the China Mobile subsidiary, ended April with 6.129 million subscribers, up from 5.980 million in March. Mobile penetration in the country stood at 57.10% of the population in April, versus 55.90% at 2008 start.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:24:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil has added nearly 923,504 new mobile phones in April, taking the total active mobile lines to 154.5 million, up by 0.6 percent versus the year-earlier period. Of the total active lines, 126.1 million (81.60%) were prepaid and 28.43 million were postpaid. According to Anatel, market regulator, the mobile penetration in the country reached 80.98% at April end, up from 80.56% in March’09 and 66.84% in April’08.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:18:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 22 May 2009

Ancel, the Uruguayan mobile arm of Antel, has posted a subscriber base of 1.5 million. Ancel is reportedly diminishing the gap between itself and rival Claro Uruguay, which had 1.459 million wireless subscribers at 31 March 2009.

Ancel had launched its GSM network offering in Montevideo in April’04 and upgraded EDGE network initiated in October’04. Ancel had first trialled its 3G services in September’05 and had a nationwide coverage by 2008. The operator had launched its 3.5G services first in 2007.

The Uruguayan operator intends to invest USD81 million in 2009 for its GSM and 3G coverage expansion.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:41:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Peru will reach over 22.9 million mobile subscribers mark in June, with a mobile penetration of 79.3 lines per 100 inhabitants. Peru beat the forecast, which said a mobile penetration of 80% in 2011. Presently, the mobile penetration stands at 75.8%, up from 24.6% in 2006. Over the last three years, the number of mobile users has jumped by 223.6% to 21.84 million at end-March. The statistics shows that Peru has 747,235 internet subscribers and it is anticipated that figure will increase to 772,000 by June 2009.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:40:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bharti Airtel, the Indian mobile operator, has crossed the 100Mn subscribers mark in the country. Bharti has become the world’s third largest in-country operator. The operator had 96.64 million subscribers on 31 March of this year, which means that every fourth mobile user of India is Bharti Airtel subscriber. The operator holds a 25% mobile subscriber share and 30% market share in terms of revenue.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:34:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Portugal has ended March with a subscriber base of 5.63 million up from 5.20 million in March'08 and 5.58 million in December'08. The Portuguese mobile operator has added nearly 55,000 new subscribers at the end of Q1'09. 78.7% of the total base was the prepaid segment, generating ARPU of EUR 18.2, down from EUR 21.2 in March 2008 and EUR 18.8 at 31 December 2008.

The postpaid ARPU dropped to EUR 43.3 from EUR 50.9 in the Q1'08. Mobile voice usage reached 2.143 billion minutes in Q1'09, from 2.075 billion minutes in Q3'08.  Vodafone Portugal reported full-year revenues of GBP 1.210 billion, up from GBP 1.040 billion in 2008, while its EBITDA increased to GBP 443 million from GBP 373 million.Adjusted operating profit grew to GBP 283 million from GBP 239 million.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:31:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili remarks, Nigerians will soon enjoy reduced GSM tariff. Akunyili said this was necessary considering the fact all the operators have recouped their investments from the patronage of Nigerians.

Akunyili said the present economic recession is hitting Nigerians hard and assured that by the time discussions are finalized between the GSM operators and her office, Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief and will be able to use the
operation more effectively and confidently.

She declared that there is none among the GSM operators that can deny it has not made double what it invested in the industry in the last six years.

She said that what is remaining is how to go about the whole thing so that it will be beneficial to all just as she also said that issues of drop calls and other network problems will soon be a thing of the past as the operators have assured to improve their services.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:20:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vimpelcom, the Russian and CIS mobile operator, has commercially launched its mobile services in Cambodia under the brand Beeline. The GSM network in Cambodia was launched by its local subsidiary Sotelco. Beeline services will initially be available across the country’s 11 largest provinces, covering around 37% of the total population. By 2009-end, the operator plans network expansion to 2/3rd of nation’s population.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:17:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hong Kong has ended the month of February with 11.49 million mobile subscribers, rising from 10.72 million, reports OFTA. The prepaid subscriber base rose to 5.35 million, up from 4.99 million a year earlier.

Hong Kong had a 2.5G and 3G subscriber base of 3.58 million at February-end, up from 2.99 million in the year-earlier month, and the number of 3G users rose to 2.91 million, from 2.12 million.

The MVNO subscriber base dropped to 769,509 from 776,958 in 2008. Total SMS sent in a time of year reached 400.52 million in February from 308.35 million. The mobile data usage increased to 44.9 MB per 2.5G/3G mobile user in February.

Source: Wireless News.

Friday, 22 May 2009 10:12:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Warid Telecom has gained 2.5 million active subscribers and now stands at 4th position in two years of its Bangladeshi operations. The company recently announced that the firm is ready and well equipped to help Bangladesh implement its digital network, as pledged by the new government, by 2021.

“Digital Bangladesh is an important part of Warid’s business vision. We are slowly inching to mark improvements in all spheres of our operation which would actually contribute towards implementation of the project,” Muneer Farooqui, Warid Telecom’s Chief Executive, reportedly said.

CEO announced a 50% discount on all Warid to Warid voice and non-voice services for two days in regards to anniversary celebration.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009 08:37:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 15 May 2009
  • Total African telecoms market to grow by >USD40 billion by 2013
  • Low service penetration rates will allow for growth beyond five year period

As growth in the global telecoms service markets slows, Africa will be the one region which will see double-digit average annual growth rates over the next five years, according to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Insight. Spurred on primarily by a doubling of its wireless subscriber base, the total African market will grow by well over USD40 billion by 2013. At that point it will still have by far the lowest service penetration rates compared to other regions, indicating the opportunity for continued strong growth over subsequent years. Of course growth will remain in check by under-developed economies and widespread poverty among large sections of the population, a result of which is an ARPU level that will continue to lag way behind the rest of the world. Nonetheless Africa represents a strong business growth opportunity for many service providers.

TeleGeography's newest product - GlobalComms Insight - includes subscriber forecasts for wireless, broadband and fixed line markets in Africa on a country-by-country basis, as well as full analysis of the growth in market value, service penetration rates and ARPU. GlobalComms Insight provides comprehensive market forecasts and forward-looking analysis to help clients track market trends and to identify new opportunities.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 15 May 2009 10:58:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singtel, the South East Asian mobile operator, has posted a subscriber base of 2.98Mn at March’09-end, up from 2.57Mn subscribers at March’08-end.

Aggregate Subscriber Base (in millions)


March 2009 - 7.79Million
Dec 2008 - 7.63Million
March 2008 - 7.14Million

SingTel (domestic)

March 2009 - 2.98Million
Dec 2008 - 2.94Million
March 2008 -  2.57Million


March 2009 - 249.4Million
Dec 2008 -  232.4Million
March 2008 - 185.3Million

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 15 May 2009 10:49:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile penetration in UAE has risen to 193% at the Februaryf09-end, up from 182% in Septemberf09. TRA has disclosed the stats according to which Du enjoyed a greater market share of 28% from 26% six months earlier, while Etisalatfs market share dropped to 72% in February from 74% in September 2008. Etisalatfs mobile subscriber base reached 7.341Mn in Q1Œ09 whereas Du posted a subscriber base of 2.75Mn at Marchf09.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 15 May 2009 10:47:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vip Mobile, the Serbian mobile operator, has posted Q1Œ09 revenues of EUR 15.4 million, up 27.3% from EUR 12.1 million in Q1Œ08. The EBITDA loss nearly halved to EUR 6.8 million versus EUR 13.0 million a year earlier. The operating loss fell to EUR 21.4 million, from a loss of EUR 23.2 million in the Q1Œ08.

The Serbian mobile operatorfs subscriber base rose by 66.5% from a year earlier to 1 million subscribers at end-March. Vip Mobile had a market share of 10.2% at Q1Œ09 end.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 15 May 2009 10:44:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Moroccan telecoms regulator the ANRT has issued a report for the first quarter of 2009, showing that the country’s fixed lines in service reached 3.093 million at the end of March, up from 2.711 million at end-March 2008. The latest total included 1.791 million limited mobility fixed-wireless CDMA lines, up from 1.367 million, accounting for 57.9% of the overall fixed market at end-March 2009, up from 50.5% a year earlier. The vast majority of the limited mobility lines are operated by Wana, which accounted for 58.07% of the overall fixed line market by the end of 1Q 2009, ahead of Maroc Telecom with 41.69% of all lines, and Medi Telecom (Meditel) with 0.24%. In the residential segment, Wana's market share rises to 70.16%, but Maroc Telecom still dominates the lucrative business user market, with 96.57% of the country's 381,000 fixed lines registered to companies.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:13:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Reliance ended Q1 with 72.7m mobile customers. This compares with 61.3m three months earlier and 45.8m at the end of the fiscal year 07/08, gains of 10.3m and 26.9m respectively. The company claims to be “India's largest integrated communications service provider” but the claim has something of a hollow ring when its numbers are set alongside those of Bharti Airtel. Reliance may be integrated, for what that's worth, but it just isn't as big as Bharti, either by revenues or customers. Its customer base of 77m (including Broadband) is less than Bharti's 96.7m, while its revenues - INR61.2bn in this latest quarter – fall well short of Bharti's INR98.2m.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:08:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ofcom, the UK’s telecom regulator has released the following data for the Top 4 Mobile Operators with the following observations:

- Total revenue across the UK’s four largest mobile operators declined by 2% in Q4 2008 compared to the previous quarter, reflecting a 3% fall in revenue from calls and other charges and a 2% fall in messaging revenues. There was an overall year-on-year fall in revenue of 1%.
- Total call volumes across the four operators grew by 2% quarter-on-quarter, driven by a 3% growth in call volumes to UK numbers.
- Outgoing international call volumes increased by 6% compared to Q4 2007 (0.2%) while the number of calls made while roaming abroad increased by 10%. (Direct result of lowered charges forced by EU)

- SMS and MMS volumes grew by 11% in Q4 2008, higher than any other quarter in 2008.
- The number of post-pay subscribers increased by 2% in Q4 2008, with the number of pre-pay subscribers remaining virtually unchanged (up 0.04%). Post-pay subscribers accounted for 48% of total subscribers in Q4 2008, compared to 45% in Q4 2007.
Detailed report here.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:05:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco has gained 700,000 mobile subscribers in Q1, taking its total subscriber base to 23.52 million, as per the figures revealed by ANRT. The market has grown by 3.07% and mobile penetration stood at 75.43% in first quarter ended in March. Maroc Telecom (IAM) experiences a rise in its subscriber base by 1.21% to 14.63 million from 14.46 million three months ago, holds 62.21% market share in March-end. Medi Telecom, which held 35.57% market share, posted a subscriber base of 8.37 million, up 5.56%. Wana Corporate reports a rise of 19.68% to 521,000 from 435,000 subscribers, captures a 2.22% market share.

Considering the overall growth, the number of subscribers in prepaid segment has grown by 3.13% to 22.58million and postpaid segment stood at 938,000, up 1.7%. The prepaid sector accounts for 96.01% of all Moroccan mobile phone subscribers. 3G arena experiences a rise of 26.555 to 339,314 in Q1 and nearly trebled from 87,278 in the same period a year ago. Wana leads the market share in 3G market with 62.49%, followed to this is Maroc Telecom with 19.03 percent and Medi telecom share stands at 18.48%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009 08:43:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 11 May 2009

Cell C, the South African mobile operator, has posted a 14% growth in its revenues for the FY 2008, to ZAR8.6 billion (USD1.03 billion). EBITDA dropped to ZAR813 million for 2008, down from over ZAR1 billion in 2007.

The operator added 1.6 million new subscribers to its kitty in 2008, taking the total subscriber base to 6.4 million.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, 11 May 2009 09:42:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 08 May 2009

Lebanese cellco MTC Touch, managed by Kuwait-based Zain Group, has completed an infrastructure network upgrade project, expanding its network capacity to 1.2 million lines and rolled out 150 new base stations nationwide, reports AME Info. It also upgraded many existing sites across the country. As part of the project MTC Touch upgraded its Intelligent Network platform to host up to a million pre-paid 'magic' customers, and implemented a core network expansion. The company recently announced it had reached one million active customers, and claimed a 57% market share, ahead of sole rival Alfa, currently managed by Egypt’s Orascom Telecom.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 08 May 2009 09:00:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 06 May 2009

Movistar Argentina has introduced a new service dubbed as En Casa (’At Home’). The service allows the subscribers to acquire a mobile phone which is operational only at home, with a specific address defined by the user. The incoming calls are free of charge. The subscribers are charged a monthly fee, which includes airtime for voice calls, SMS or internet traffic.

After the available credit is over, the subscribers can top-up their Movistar en Casa account via Movistar Activa prepay cards or make electronic recharges. The offer is part of the Movistar Community services portfolio, which allows the operator’s mobile subscribers to call or send SMS to Movistar en Casa lines and vice-versa at 50% discounted prices.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 09:34:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Grameenphone, the Bangladeshi mobile operator, experienced a slow growth of 63,000 subscribers in Q1'09, taking the company's total subscriber base to 21.057 million, at March-end. Telenor, the parent company, has blamed the slower growth to rise in price of starter kits imposed last year. The number of subscribers is up by 2 million since Q1'08, showing a 6% growth in quarterly revenues in local currency. While usage and interconnect revenues grew, ARPU dropped by 13% driven by price erosion.

The EBITDA margin grew to 59.3% compared to 47.3% last year mainly due to higher revenue combined with lower subscription acquisition costs. Capex dropped in line with traffic, to NOK 281 million from NOK 433 million a year ago.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 09:30:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile penetration in Uganda is expected to increase from 39.0 percent in 2009 to 70.7 percent by 2014, prompted by the successful liberalization of the sector and increased competition, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Although Uganda is one of the smallest markets in the region, it is also one of the fastest growing markets in Africa and the Middle East, notes Sylwia Boguszewska, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. In the next five years, Pyramid anticipates Uganda will experience the second highest percentage increase in terms of mobile subscriptions among the African countries (after Cameroon). "Mobile penetration rose from just 1.9 percent at year-end 2002 to an estimated 39.0 percent in 2009," she says. "Pyramid expects it will increase further to reach 70.7 percent penetration by 2014, while the number of mobile subscriptions will exceed 27 million," she adds.

The Ugandan telecom sector has gone through a major transformation, notes Boguszewska. "As a result of a successful liberalization process, Uganda now boasts five mobile operators, three of which are well-established: MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom, and Zain Uganda," she explains. "They were joined by Warid Telecom, which entered the market in February 2008, and Orange Uganda, which launched in March 2009," she adds. Anupam is due to enter soon, increasing the number of mobile operators to six.

Increased competition is driving down prices, with new entrant Warid being particularly aggressive to attract subscribers, and MTN's Zone pricing scheme has also shown high adoption. "Last year, the three mobile operators -- MTN Uganda, UTL, and Zain -- commanded 85 percent of mobile market subscribers, while Warid Telecom, despite its late entry in 2008, managed to gain a significant 15 percent market share," Boguszewska says.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 09:02:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Digicel Haiti has announced that it has reached a total of 2.1 million mobile subscribers, three years after launching its GSM network. Digicel quickly became Haiti’s largest mobile provider with an initial investment of USD260 million – the largest ever single private foreign investment in the country. Its launch lowered the cost of mobile services, and drove cellular penetration up from under 7% to over 35% today, and it claims to have a current market share of over 60%. Digicel Group is headquartered in Jamaica and incorporated in Bermuda, and has operations in 31 markets worldwide. Its Caribbean and Central American markets comprise Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos. The company also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barths. Its Digicel Pacific arm comprises operations in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, whilst it has a deal pending to buy an operator in the Cook Islands.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 09:00:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

El Salvador mobile subscriber base has reached 6.9 million at 2008-end, reports Signals Telecom Consulting. According to Signals analyst Elias Vicente, the mobile subscriber base growth has resulted into lowered ARPU and the acquisition of a second and even third line per user.

El Salvador, in coming times intends to serve as a “laboratory market” for the launch of new service bundles and value-added multimedia services.

Fixed and wireless internet and pay-TV services will be the key reasons of growth in the domestic mobile market within the next five years.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, 06 May 2009 08:59:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 04 May 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, 04 May 2009 10:35:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hong Kong’s mobile data usage surged to 147 TB in January or an average 44 MB per 2.5G/3G mobile user, according the statistics available from Ofta. This shows four times and fourteen times the mobile data usage over the same period in 2008 and 2007 respectively. The subscribers of 2.5G/3G mobile phone have grown by 15% to 3.35 million in January on a year-on-year basis. The subscriber base totals to 11.43 million and penetration rate is over 163%. The growth of mobile data usage is attributable to the offer of competitive service packages by mobile network operators and the increasing popularity of smartphones available in the market, Ofta said.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, 04 May 2009 10:33:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 21 April 2009

According to a recent survey it is seen that nearly 52% of the French mobile subscribers own a handset that is capable of connecting to the internet. However, nearly 45% of the mobile phone subscribers had a mobile internet subscription and 20.5% were online with their handset at least once a week. 48% of the total surveyed said that they have upgraded their handsets in past 1 year, 36% of these have chosen 3G and 3G+ multimedia touch screen handsets. The sites which were most visited were operator portals, which accounted for 15.1 percent of visits, followed by search engines (14.2%), practical sites (13.9%), information sites (9.8%), entertainment sites (9.1%), and specialised news sites (8.7%). Nearly 21% of mobile internet subscribers said that they have visited a social networking site in the last six months, led by Facebook with 14.5% of connections. Only 8% of the total made a purchase from a mobile e-commerce site.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009 12:31:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 15 April 2009

­The technology story in the Caribbean & Latin America (CALA) region is simple: most US based technologies are in full retreat, while the international GSM/W-CDMA standards are proliferating. During the quarter, the number of customers connected to AMPS, TDMA and CDMA systems declined by 4.4m overall, bringing the number of disconnections so far this year to 19.9m, or 5.2% of the starting base.

Click here to see full article

CDMA networks experienced the largest drop in absolute terms. It is only two years since Vivo began selling GSM handsets in Brazil, but over that time, the number of CDMA connections has dropped from 64.9m (of which 26.0m were in Brazil) to 41.7m. The disconnection rate appears to be accelerating slightly, the quarterly average increasing from 2.7m per quarter during 2007 to 3.1m per quarter in 08. Brazil, obviously, is not the only market where the technology is in retreat, with similar – or steeper - declines being seen in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Only Venezuela has seen an increase in users over the year but following CANTV’s decision to move to GSM, that is unlikely to be repeated in 09.

GSM has, predictably, been the main beneficiary. The range of low priced handsets available for this technology gives it a material advantage and over the year, it added a further 87m users, which took the regional total GSM base past 400m. GSM, of course, faces a growing “challenge” from its own 3G variant, W-CDMA. This first became available in Q2 07 although the overall base has reached just 5.3m (of which 4.9m were added in 2008).

Source: Cellular News.


Wednesday, 15 April 2009 14:39:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Click here to see full article

"Kenya shows impressive growth rates with significant opportunity," notes Dearbhla McHenry, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "By the end of 2008, Kenya had more than 15.0 million mobile subscribers, with a mobile penetration rate of 39 percent. The subscriber base is expected to rise to 29.28 million, or 66.7 percent penetration, by year-end 2013."

Increased competition is helping to fuel demand for mobile services in Kenya, McHenry says. "Until 2008, the Kenyan mobile market was a duopoly consisting of Safaricom and Zain. That has now changed with the entry of two new players - Econet and Orange. Since their entry, there has been a fierce price war with operators slashing tariffs and introducing new air time promotions, making their services more affordable for the wider population."

Total revenue of Kenya's telecom market is forecast to grow by 42 percent from $1.39 billion in 2008 to $1.98 billion by 2013, with 78 percent of the total revenue to be generated by the mobile sector. "Mobile data will be the telecom sector's fastest-growing revenue stream, increasing in revenue from $62 million in 2008 to $224 million in 2013, partly due to the launch of 3G services but also to the explosive growth of low-tech, low-margin mobile data services, particularly mobile money transfers," says McHenry.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009 11:38:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Iraqi wireless operator Asiacell announced it has expanded its network to cover the regions of Al-Anbar and Diyala. The company’s services are now available to an additional three million potential subscribers, and now cover all of the country’s 18 governorates. Asiacell CEO, Diar Ahmed, said: ‘Today, Asiacell is at the forefront of Iraq’s mobile telecoms sector, having achieved its goal of becoming the first company to effectively bring its services to every Iraqi citizen, wherever they may be.’ Asiacell is Iraq’s second largest cellco by subscribers and was awarded a 15-year national GSM-900/1800 licence in August 2007 at the cost of USD1.25 billion. At the end of 2008 it had a wireless subscriber base of six million, up from 4.2 million a year earlier.

In a separate story, Middle East Business Intelligence has reported that Iraq’s finance ministers plan to enforce a clause requiring operators to float around 25% of their capital on the Baghdad bourse as a condition of the licences they bought in August 2007. The authorities have given the country’s mobile operators until 2010 to fulfill the new agreement. According to the report, the country’s three largest mobile companies, Asiacell, Zain and Korek Telecom, will make a significant difference to the overall capitalisation of the market, which currently stands at just USD2 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009 09:59:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Total contracts awarded within the wireless industry for 2008 reached 550 as activity surged in Q4 according to the latest report from EJL Wireless Research.

"Nokia Siemens Networks secured 56.2% of total contract awards during the December 31, 2008 ended year, beating Huawei (15.5%) and ZTE (14.5%). Chinese OEMs captured 30% of overall contracts while each major base station vendor secured at least one win during the year," says founder and President, Earl Lum.

"Demand remained heavily concentrated in Asia Pacific while surprisingly, Latin America was the second most active region during the year. Chinese OEMs continue to dominate the CDMA2000 segment as they captured 67% of global contracts in 2008. Nokia Siemens Networks led the way with 67% of total WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+ awards, followed by Huawei with 17.1%. Nokia Siemens Networks also led the GSM/GPRS/EDGE category with 65% of overall contracts," says Lum.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 09:03:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 09 March 2009

Bahrain based mo­bile holding firm, Bintel has announced that it has been awarded a 15-year mobile operator license in Gabon - making it the fourth operator in the country. The company is expected to launch its network in the third quarter of 2009.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, 09 March 2009 16:07:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 26 February 2009

The telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Gabon, Artel, has awarded Bintel a 15 -year mobile licence. The incumbent is expected to commence its services in the third quarter of 2009. Bintel estimates its initial investment in 2009 in Gabon to be in excess of USD 50 million. As per the terms of the agreement, the company is licensed to provide the latest voice and data services to customers in Gabon, including high-speed data and video conferencing. The licence acquisition is followed by the appointment of Gilles Villenaut as general manager for its Gabon operations. Gabon has expected mobile penetration rate to reach around 90% and in 2011 it is estimated to reach 120%. At present, Zain holds 58% of the market share, followed by Gabon Telecom with 34% and Moov stands with 8%. Bintel is intending to capture 6-8% of the Gabon Market in the first year and targets 30% share within its first 10 years.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 26 February 2009 13:50:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 20 February 2009

­Japanese operator, DoCoMo is launching a service which offers a local South Korean phone number to its customers roaming into that country - which it says will lower phone call costs by around 60%. Customers will also retain the DoCoMo numbers that they use in Japan.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.
Friday, 20 February 2009 11:58:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 18 February 2009

­Mexico has joined the growing number of countries which are requiring PrePay mobile phone users to register their details with the networks - ostensibly to help in cutting crime. The Senate passed the bill last September, and it became law this week - coming into effect from April.

Network operators have been given one year to register their existing customer base and will have to start collecting proof of identity, including fingerprints for all new sales.

In most countries which have introduced mandatory registration processes, the reported subscriber base has dropped sharply, in some cases by as much as ten percent - largely due to multiple SIM ownerships not being declared.

Source: Cellular News.


Wednesday, 18 February 2009 10:29:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Wana, the Moroccan fixed line incumbent, grabs the third GSM licence in the country. Country telecom regulator ANRT reportedly said that Wana’s bid offered a perfect blend of finacial and technical techniques along with coverage, investment and pricing. Wana will operate as a GSM service provider competing against Maroc Telecom and Meditel.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 12:51:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil finished 2008 counting 122.7 million prepaid cellulars, what represent 81.47% from the 150.6 million cellulars in the country.

Prepaid cellulars started to be sold in Brazil in 1998, by CTBC Celular, and the prepaid cellular stake in the cellular total in Brazil grew quickly until reach 80.8% in 2005. This percentage remained stable in 2006 and 2007, getting back to growth in 2008.


Click here to see full article
Source: Teleco.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 12:22:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­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