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 Friday, February 21, 2014

Vietnamese military-backed telco Viettel Group has been awarded a mobile licence in Burundi, paving the way for the launch of the nation’s sixth commercial cellular network. The firm has reportedly set up a local subsidiary called Viettel Burundi in which it holds a 95% interest. No details have been released on when the new licensee is likely to begin offering services or which technology its network will employ.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel’s overseas expansion strategy is firmly focused on Africa, and the company owns a number of operators and licences across the continent, including: Movitel of Mozambique, Viettel Cameroon and a 65% stake in Tanzanian mobile start-up Epocha & Golden Ocean Tanzania (trading as EGOTEL). Last month Viettel was the only applicant for Burkina Faso’s fourth mobile licence. Meanwhile, Viettel has also expressed an interest in acquiring licences in countries such as Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Swaziland.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 4:00:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 09, 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, May 09, 2013 2:41:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 20, 2012
Moldova’s National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI) has reported that the total number of fixed broadband internet subscribers reached 396,500 at 30 September 2012, an increase of 20.4% from 329,100 at the same date a year earlier. xDSL connections accounted for the majority of fixed broadband connections in Q3 2012 (52.3%, down from 57.8% twelve months previously), followed by FTTx accesses which made up 41.9% of the total (37.5%) and cable subscriptions with 5.5% (4.1%). Fixed line incumbent Moldtelecom remains the market leader in the fixed broadband market, holding a share of 69.1% at the end of September 2012, followed by StarNet (16.9%), Sun Communications (5.6%) and other operators (8.4%). The number of 3G mobile internet customers (using USB modems and data cards) totalled 167,600 at the end of September 2012, an increase of 8.9% year-on-year. Orange Moldova accounted for highest number of mobile broadband customers (80,500) according to ANRCETI, followed by Moldcell with 56,600 and Moldtelecom with 30,400.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:47:49 PM (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, December 20, 2012 3:33:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 14, 2012

Ukraine’s third largest cellco Astelit (life:)) claims that it had 2.3 million mobile internet users on its GPRS/EDGE network at the end of September 2012, or 28% of its overall active mobile subscriber base which reached 8.2 million at that date (up from 7.1 million a year earlier). The number of active smartphones on Astelit’s network increased by 42% year-on-year to 1.07 million at end-September 2012, while overall mobile market leader Kyivstar reported at the same data that it had 2.56 million active smartphone subscribers, less than second-placed GSM operator MTS Ukraine which claimed almost three million smartphones, ProIT reported.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, December 14, 2012 11:06:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 15, 2012

According to the latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the number of fixed and mobile telephone subscribers in the country increased to over 107.36 million at 30 September 2012 from 102.36 million three months earlier and 95.88 million at the end of 2011. GSM mobile operators accounted for 96.54%, or 103.65 million, of Nigeria’s total telephony user base at the end of the third quarter of 2012 (up from 90.56 million users nine months earlier), followed by CDMA mobile networks with 3.02%, or 3.24 million, (down from 4.6 million), while fixed and fixed-wireless operators claimed just 0.44%, or 474,345, of the total, compared to 719,406 users at end-2011. According to the NCC, the largest mobile operator by subscribers remains South Africa-based MTN, with around 45.64 million users on its GSM network at the end of September 2012, up 5.7% quarter-on-quarter and accounting for 42.7% of Nigeria’s total GSM and CDMA wireless subscribers.

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:11:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bharti Airtel has posted revenue for its fiscal second quarter ending 30 September of INR202.7 billion (USD3.7 billion), up by more than 17% year-on-year. The growth in sales comes on the back of an 11% increase in the company’s total consolidated subscriber base to 262.6 million, almost 60 million of which are in Africa. Bharti also revealed that its mobile data revenues in its home market of India soared 77% year-on-year. However, net income for the three months under review plunged 30% to INR7.2 billion as operating costs relating to network investment increased, and losses from the African division widened. The company has now posted declining net income for each of the last eleven quarters.

Commenting on the results, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman & Managing Director of Bharti Airtel, said: ‘Despite a seasonally weak quarter, I am pleased to see that our overall revenue growth has sustained through diversified segments and geographies as well as the continuing healthy demand in data services. I am also happy to note that in India, the much needed market corrections in customer acquisition practices have been put in place by the operators. Our African operations continue to reflect sustained and steady growth on all major parameters of revenues, profitability and cash flow’.

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:09:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hungarian market regulator the National Media and Telecommunications Authority (NMHH) says that the total number of mobile internet subscriptions climbed to 2.852 million at 30 September 2012, up a net 90,000 on the previous month. Of the total, the number of active subscriptions with data transfer in the period reached 2.168 million, up a net 72,000 on August, with users transmitting a total of 2.212 million GB of data in the period under review – down from 2.285 million GB in August. T-Mobile Hungary led the pack in the mobile internet segment with a market share of 46.36% at end-September, ahead of Telenor Hungary with 27.61% and Vodafone Hungary 26.04%.

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:03:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
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, November 15, 2012 1:48:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2012

Pan-African mobile operator MTN Group has reported ‘satisfactory’ results for the three months ended 30 September 2012, underpinned by solid net subscriber gains – up 3.8% year-on-year to 182.7 million – driven in particular by growth in South Africa and Nigeria, two of its biggest markets. In its home market, it reported 4.1% y-o-y growth to 24.498 million, boosted by strong pre-paid user take-up, while in Nigeria it said customer numbers increased by 5.7% (on a net basis) to 45.640 million. In the wake of the strong performance, the Johannesburg-based carrier raised its guidance for net additions in the full year from 21.25 million to 23.70 million. MTN is active in a total of 22 African and Middle Eastern markets.

The group’s MTN Irancell unit continued to deliver a sound operational performance despite an increasingly challenging economic and political environment. The subsidiary expanded its base by 2.8% y-o-y to 39.382 million at end-September, it said, at which date it also had 230,000 WiMAX users. In other markets of note, MTN Ghana increased its subscriber base by 4.8% in the quarter to 11.270 million; MTN Syria added a net 115,000 users (+2.0%) in Q3 despite the ongoing civil unrest, for a total of 6.021 million; MTN in Yemen boosted its total by 5.4% to 4.445 million; and the group’s Zambian operation increased by 10.1% to 3.460 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:50:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Incumbent operator Orange Poland (previously known as Telekomunikacja Polska, TP) has booked a 5.5% year-on-year decline in revenues for Q3 2012 to PLN3.473 billion (USD1.111 billion), attributed to adverse macroeconomic factors and intense price competition in the mobile segment. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were PLN1.323 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 38.1% down by 5.7% and 0.1 percentage points respectively compared to the year-ago period. Net income for the quarter was PLN307 million, dropping 18.6% from PLN377 million a year earlier.

Orange noted that the introduction of unlimited voice and SMS offers in Q2 2012 had led to a decline in mobile ARPU, adding that the ‘price war’ would have a ‘negative impact… on the value of the entire market.’ Blended ARPU fell by PLN2 quarter-on-quarter, with post-paid ARPU falling by PLN3.1 and pre-paid dropping PLN0.9. Mobile subscriptions edged up to 14.758 million from 14.757 million in Q2 2012.

Fixed telephony subscriptions continued to decline, falling by 2.5% q-o-q to 5.195 million, whilst broadband accesses also slumped, with subscriptions falling by 0.3% to 2.338 million compared to the preceding quarter. Triple-play packages continued to see strong growth, noting a 26.5% increase in users to 191,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:32:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Italy’s largest cellco by subscribers, Telecom Italia Mobile, will launch LTE services on 7 November, according to COO Marco Patuano. At launch the company’s 4G network will cover Milan, Turin, Rome and Naples, and coverage is expected to extend to a further 20 cities by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Vodafone Italy is expected to unveil its LTE offering on 30 November, while 3 Italia is planning to inaugurate services by the end of 2012. Wind has yet to announce a launch date, and two weeks ago called on its rivals to pool their resources to help roll out a national wholesale LTE network

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:22:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bangladesh is set to introduce a 3G service through state-run mobile operator Teletalk on 14 October, bdnews24 reported online. A senior official at Teletalk said that the company would publish advertisements in newspapers about its 3G service this month. The initial price for a 3G-enabled SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) will be BDT 1,500 and existing users will get preference.

 Preparations are complete to provide the services to over 300,000 subscribers in the capital initially after the inauguration. According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Teletalk had nearly 1.4 million subscribers in August of whom only 25,000 subscribers were using its internet connection, while the six mobile phone operators had a combined 99.5 million subscribers.

 

Being the state-run operator, Teletalk was given the opportunity to launch 3G experimentally before other operators. It was supposed to launch the service in March for six months but deferred the launch for technical reasons. The recent 3G licence draft guideline says the spectrum will be auctioned next January. Teletalk will have to take the 3G spectrum, spending the same amount of money as others even if it does not take part in the auction, it says. Apart from Bangladesh's private operators Grameenphone, Banglalink, Citycell, Airtel and Robi, foreign companies will also be able to take part in the auction.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Operators | Tariffs
Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:16:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 29, 2012

Lithuania’s fixed line incumbent TEO LT has announced it generated revenue of LTL570.5 million (USD213.6 million) in the first nine months of 2012, an increase of 2.9% from LTL554.3 million in the same period of 2011. Sales were boosted by an 8.2% year-on-year rise in internet sales to LTL128 million, a 21.2% increase in TV services to LTL42 million and a 41.6% year-on-year jump in IT services to LTL47 million, which helped to offset a 3.9% decline in voice telephony services to LTL269 million. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the nine-month period totalled LTL236.2 million, up 3.7% from LTL227.8 million a year earlier, while net profit grew 5.3% year-on-year to LTL123.6 million in 9M12. During the first nine months of 2012 capital investments totalled LTL100 million, the majority of which (LTL83 million) went towards the expansion of TEO’s core and fibre-optic access networks. TEO said revenue for the third quarter of 2012 totalled LTL189.8 million, an increase of 2.9% from LTL184.5 million in the same period a year earlier. EBITDA for the three months ended 30 September 2012 rose 6.7% year-on-year to LTL81.9 million, while net profit for the period grew 11.4% from LTL40.6 million in Q3 2011 to LTL45.3 million twelve months later.

At 30 September 2012 TEO reported a broadband internet subscriber base of 380,824, an increase of 3.7% from 367,396 customers a year earlier; the total includes 156,068 FTTx users, up 19.1% year-on-year thanks to the expansion of TEO’s fibre-optic network. With a presence in over 100 towns and cities, a total of 747,000 homes were covered by the infrastructure at the end of September 2012 (up from 705,000 a year earlier), representing 62% of the country’s households. Television customers increased 10.1% over the twelve-month period to reach 161,921 (including 89,076 IPTV users – up 17.6% year-on-year), while the total number of main telephone lines in service at the end of September 2012 amounted to 615,807, a decrease of 6.8% from 660,767 a year earlier.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 5:09:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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, October 01, 2012 12:59:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 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, August 14, 2012 12:53:39 PM (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, August 14, 2012 12:44:45 PM (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, August 14, 2012 12:43:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UK-based cellco Virgin Mobile is expected to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Poland as part of a move to expand its footprint into Central and Eastern Europe. Having signed an agreement to use the infrastructure of P4, which operates under the Play banner, Virgin expects to launch commercial services by the end of the summer this year, rpkom reports. In a statement from the company, Virgin said that Poland had an ‘attractive and accessible telecommunications market which offers significant potential for MVNO growth.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:33:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The use of mobile number portability (MNP) in Colombia still remains limited, almost a year after its introduction, according to the most recent results published by telecoms regulator the Communication Regulation Commission (CRC). Since introduction in August 2011, a total of 441,163 customers have switched provider and kept their number in a market of more than 45 million wireless subscribers. The greatest concentration of ports was in Q1 2012 when 167,914 people moved operators, with the number dropping to 132,344 in Q2 2012. Telefonica Moviles Colombia, which uses the Movistar brand of its Spanish parent, has suffered the worst from MNP, with net losses of 159,760. Comcel, recently rebranded under the preferred Claro moniker of its parent company America Movil, reaped the greatest reward from the scheme, with net additions of 85,426 from MNP, whilst Tigo was close behind with 65,058 net additions. Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Uff Movil also added 8,866 new customers thanks to MNP.

However, the use of MNP is still fairly marginal and the flow of customers is not representative of the majority of users. Whilst Claro saw the greatest number of customers moving to its network and keeping their numbers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Claro has in fact seen a reduction in its market share since the introduction of MNP, whilst its two main rivals have increased their shares of the market. At June 2011, Claro reigned over the wireless sector with a 67.8% share of segment, compared to 22.0% and 10.2% attributed to Movistar and Tigo respectively. By end-March 2012, Claro had seen its lead eroded somewhat, dropping to 63.1% of the market against 26.0% and 10.9%.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:35:13 PM (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, July 24, 2012 12:26:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Telecel Zimbabwe, the country’s second largest cellular operator, has announced that it passed the milestone of two million active mobile subscribers on its network by the end of June 2012, up from 1.83 million users it reported three months earlier, and an increase of 700,000 from 1.30 million customers recorded at mid-2011.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:39:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Vivo Participacoes, says it has reached its goal of 3G coverage of 85% of the population, well ahead of its target date of April 2016. In a statement, the cellco said it achieved the magic figure last Thursday, at which date its third-generation network served 2,832 municipalities out of a total of 5,566. Launched in 2010, Vivo’s ambitious rollout plan envisaged covering more than four-fifths of Brazil’s people with mobile internet access of up to 10Mbps within six years, in line with the regulator Anatel’s licensing terms – although even then, it said it was confident it could reach that goal by 2012. Local online news site Globo reports that Vivo is in the throes of connecting the last antenna as part of the project, serving the town of Rancho Alegre in Parana state, where 4,000 people live.

Although Vivo has hit its 3G target in terms of population coverage, it is still short of achieving its goals when it comes to towns and cities served. Currently, the cellco’s coverage is in less than half of all Brazil’s municipalities – and is especially weak in those with less than 30,000 inhabitants. Nonetheless, Vivo says it will continue with its aggressive plans for mobile network rollout to meet its coverage obligations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:34:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 04, 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, July 04, 2012 4:08:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

True Corp’s fixed line and broadband division, True Online, says that it will invest around THB8 billion (USD250 million) in the short term in its True Internet broadband operations, with the expenditure going towards projects including expanding high speed infrastructure to serve businesses in provincial areas. Bangkok-based True, which is the broadband market leader in the capital in terms of subscribers, plans to cover 36 provinces by the end of 2012 with high speed fixed network services, and 61 of Thailand’s 77 administrative regions (76 provinces plus Bangkok) by the end of next year, before continuing the rollout nationwide. The expansion plan was announced by Charoen Limkangwanmongkol, chief commercial officer of True Online, and reported by Thai newspaper The Nation. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that True Online’s DOCSIS 3-based HFC cable broadband network passed 1.1 million homes in 20 provinces by February 2012, up from 16 provinces including the Bangkok Metropolitan Area in October 2011, and while the majority of True’s 1.4 million broadband subscribers were on its xDSL networks in Bangkok and other areas as of the end of March 2012, this is changing as the quadruple-play group concentrates on expanding its HFC cable network, which also supports its TrueVisions high-definition pay-TV services.

True Internet expects to grow its internet access revenues by around a third to THB8.5 billion this year, broken down as THB1.5 billion from corporate services and THB7 billion in the consumer segment, with Bangkok expected to contribute 85% of turnover and the provinces 15% over the twelve months. It is also focusing on winning corporate customers in the hotel, hospital, education and real estate sectors, The Nation’s report added. The fixed broadband unit has around 3,000 large corporate clients, or around a third of approximately 9,000 corporations using high speed services nationwide, according to its own reckoning, and it expects the corporate internet market to grow by 12% this year. General manager of True Internet, Vasu Khunvasi, said: ‘We have major competitors, [Triple T Broadband’s] 3BB and [state-owned] TOT, in the upcountry market. However, the upcountry market has high potential, since it is a start-up market. The firm will utilise network infrastructure and one-stop services to expand its customer base upcountry.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 4:03:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rican regulator the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) has announced plans to implement mobile number portability (MNP) by the end of 2012, or early 2013. The watchdog will select a company to manage the service by the end of August and the company will be given three months for infrastructure work, followed by a month of testing. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Sutel originally planned to have MNP available when it ended the monopoly of incumbent operator ICE Celular last year but chose to delay its implementation when the regulator failed to decide how to distribute the costs. MNP is expected to shake up the market further and level the playing field for the market’s two newest entrants, Mexican-backed Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica. Even without MNP, the new players – backed by Latam heavyweights America Movil and Telefonica – have begun eating into ICE’s customer base: in the first three months of 2012 alone, ICE lost more than 400,000 subscribers to the new operators, reducing its market share from 93.1% to 87.8%.

In other Costa Rica news, Sutel has invited interested companies to take part in a preliminary hearing to receive comments prior to the watchdog’s launching of a tender for ‘Monitoring and Managing the National Spectrum’. The regulator is inviting comments on the draft tender until 25 June.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:56:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee has ordered the country’s two largest cellcos by subscribers, Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine, to lower their mobile service tariffs to ‘economically justified’ levels, the committee announced in a statement, reported by Ukrainian News Agency. The two companies have 15 days to report their proposed new tariffs back to the anti-trust agency. The committee stated that in 2012, Kyivstar has ‘increased the cost of SMS text messages by 28%, the cost of MMS by 33% and the subscription fee in certain tariff plans by 25%.’ It added that MTS Ukraine has ‘raised the cost of SMS by 22%, the cost of MMS by 20%, the cost of calls within the MTS network by 50%, and the cost of calls to subscribers of other operators in Ukraine by 20%.’ It said that these increases in retail prices occurred at a faster pace than the growth in the consumer price index for goods and services in Ukraine as a whole, and in the communications sector in particular.

Concurrently, the Antimonopoly Committee is conducting an investigation – launched in February – into whether international roaming tariffs charged by Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine are economically justified. The two cellcos have responded to the committee’s scrutiny by saying that they are taking measures to reduce tariffs for subscriber and inter-operator international roaming services.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:35:48 PM (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, June 27, 2012 3:34:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Senegalese telecoms watchdog the Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP) has published state owned fixed line PTO Societe Nationale des Telecommunications du Senegal (Sonatel’s) new catalogue for interconnection services covering 2011/12. In a website announcement ARTP reports that the new rates were approved on 24 May 2012, in accordance with Decree No.2005-1183 (6 December 2005) on the interconnection made under Article 13 of Law No.2001-15 (27 December 2001) of the Telecommunications Code – as amended by Act No.2011-01 (24 February 2011). Full details can be found at: http://www.sonatel.sn/documents/catalogue_2012.pdf

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:30:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone India and Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL, also known as MTS India) have joined the recent trend of slashing rates for 3G-based services. According to the Times of India, Vodafone, following similar action by Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communication (RCOM), cut the price of its pre-paid data plans by 80% to INR0.02 (USD0.0004) per KB whilst lowering its post-paid packages with the new prices ranging from INR25 per month for 25MB of data to INR1,599 per month for 12GB. An unlikely addition to the 3G tariff war was SSTL. Although the operator maintains that data services are the core of its operations, as one of the providers to have its licences revoked by the Supreme Court earlier this year, its future in India is uncertain. SSTL increased the amount of data on its ‘MBlaze’ packages, offering 750MB of usage for INR198 per month, up from 200MB, whilst its 350MB and 512MB offerings were upped to 1GB and 2GB.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:26:57 PM (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, June 27, 2012 1:34:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 22, 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, June 22, 2012 3:12:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Golan Telecom and HOT Mobile, the wireless unit of Israeli cable operator HOT Telecommunication Systems, have separately announced the commercial launch of mobile services in Israel, reports Haaretz. Both companies are offering services over third-generation networks, having emerged as the two winners of 3G concessions auctioned by Israeli authorities last year. Golan, which was awarded its 3G permit after a number of other would-be players failed to meet the financial obligations of the licence, has struck a deal with existing cellco Cellcom in order to ensure wide network coverage at launch, while HOT Telecommunication Systems, which acquired iDEN wireless trunking operator MIRS Communications in July 2011, is partly utilising Pelephone’s infrastructure. The new network launches come a day after Alon Holdings Blue Square Israel introduced its low-cost mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) YouPhone.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Broadband | MVNO | Operators
Friday, June 22, 2012 3:10:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Jordan, a subsidiary of Jordan Telecom Group, said that its fixed and wireless broadband Internet represents around 55 percent of the kingdom’s total market share.
 
Orange Jordan’s Chief Executive Sami Smeirat told Dow Jones Newswires that they have around 400,000 subscribers in both the wire and wireless broadband.
 
As per the report, Smeirat said Orange, in which France Telecom (FTE) owns a 51 percent stake, has currently over 34 percent market penetration as far as the mobile services are concerned, or around 2.6 million subscribers.
 
Jordan currently has three mobile operators, including Zain Jordan, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, Orange Jordan, and Batelco’s unit Umniah.
 
Orange Jordan saw growth in broadband 3G services boosting the 2011 bottom line in a sector which has seen a fierce turf war among the three operators and is hit by sluggish economic growth.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 3:07:45 PM (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, June 22, 2012 3:05:56 PM (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, June 22, 2012 2:56:43 PM (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, June 22, 2012 2:54:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile data now accounts for a very significant aspect of a consumer’s life. While demand for wireless data services has been on the rise, users are also on the lookout for the most economical option, adding pressure on mobile operators.

In an attempt to meet consumer demand and reduce churn, mobile operators Verizon Wireless and AT&T are preparing to roll out shared-data pricing plans this year, according to a report by BN. As per the report, the revolutionary new service would enable customers to split one internet data plan between their phones, iPads and other wireless devices, providing an economical option for families, small businesses or people with a lot of Web-connected gadgets.
 
As per the report, while such a move could prove to be highly successful for operators, any would lower the amount of money that subscribers pay, while increasing network traffic and the cost of maintaining networks. Thus both operators are hesitant in being the first one to offer the service.
 
However, mobile operators Sprint and T-Mobile are yet to announce any plans for the same. They claim that such a move may make it tougher for families to keep a track of how the data is being used, and may lead to bill shock.

Source: Wireless Federation.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:52:18 PM (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, June 22, 2012 2:50:29 PM (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, June 22, 2012 2:03:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined telecom operators MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and Globacom, a total amount of $10.8 million, over poor quality of telecom services, according to a report by This Day.
 
As per the report, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had informed the Chief Executive Officers of the telecom operators via letters. The penalties imposed on the operators’ amount to $2.29 million for MTN and Etisalat, $1.71 million for Airtel and $1.14 million for Globacom.
 
The letter sent by the Commission said that all the operators are to pay the penalties on or before May 21, 2012 or be liable to payment of additional $15,900 per day for as long as the contravention persists. The penalties were imposed as the operators failed to meet with the minimum standard of quality of service including the key performance indicators (KPIs).
 
According to NCC, it monitored the performance of the operators on the different parameters, in line with the provisions of the regulation, and discovered that operators were in contravention of the provisions.
 
The report reveals that monitoring of the quality of service from the different operators in the month of March 2012, NCC statistics in some crucial parameters showed that Call Set-up Success Rate (CSSR) for all operators was 97.07 percent and the Commission’s target was greater than or equal to 98 percent.
 
Also during the period, Call Completion Rate (CCR) for all operators was 95.78 percent and the commission’s target was greater than or equal 96 percent. Drop Call Rate (DCR) for all operators was 1.33 percent and the commission’s target was less than or equal to 2 percent. The statistics showed that the four operators did not measure up to NCC’s target in certain parameters.

Source: Wireless Federation.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:00:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India, a dominant presence in the global mobile industry, has over 683 million active mobile connections at the end of March 2012, as reported by MediaNama. According to the report Vodafone’s total subscriber base went up by 1.02 million to 150.46 million, while its active connection base increased by 2.46 million to 133.49 million for the month, indicating that while connections did port out, more connections became active during the month for the telco. Idea Cellular, which has reported the highest percentage of active subscribers since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) made reporting such information mandatory, reported the highest increase in active subscribers of 2.49 million, with a total base of 105.34 million, and 93.45 percent of its connection base active.
 
As per the report, Bharti Airtel added 2.50 million connections, taking its connection base to 181.28 million, with 166.28 million of this base active. Airtel has 24.35 percent of the total active connection base. Vodafone added 1.025 million connections, but grew its active connection base by 2.46 million, taking its connection base to 150.46 million, with 133.49 million active. Vodafone has 19.54 percent of the total active connection base.
 
Idea Cellular added 2.01 million connections, taking its base to 112.72 million, with 105.34 million connections active. Idea Cellular has 15.42 percent of the total active connection base. Reliance Communications (RCOM) 1.04 million connections, taking its base to 153.05 million. However, only 65.39 percent of this base is active – just 100.07 million active connections. RCOM has 14.65 percent of the total active connection base. Public owned telco BSNL has a connection base of 98.51 million, with as little as 53.92 percent of its base - 53.11 million – active. It has 7.78 percent of the total active connection base.
 
The report highlights that among the new telcos, Uninor added 1.29 million connections, taking its connection base to 42.43 million, but only 24.25 million (57.17) of this base is active. Uninor, which is targeting 8 percent of India’s mobile base, currently accounts for 3.55 percent of the country’s active connection base.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 10:50:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The appeal hearing regarding a $1.25 billion fine on Djezzy has been postponed until May 27 as reported by Reuters. The appeal hearing on the local mobile phone unit of Russian telecoms firm Vimpelcom had already been postponed once, a week earlier.
 
As per the report, Djezzy chief executive Tamer El Mahdy, who has been convicted in the case and faces jail if the conviction is upheld, was not in court for Sunday’s hearing. A lower court ruled in March that Djezzy and its CEO were guilty of violating foreign exchange regulations. Djezzy’s parent company denied the allegations against it and its chief executive, and lodged an appeal.
 
Reuters reveals that Djezzy has been the subject of a long-running dispute with the Algerian government, during which the firm has been hit by back-tax demands, threatened with nationalisation, and put under criminal investigation. Vimpelcom acquired Djezzy last year when it bought the assets of previous owner, Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom.
 
Under pressure from the Algerian government, Vimpelcom agreed to talks on selling a controlling stake in Djezzy to the Algerian state. However, the decision to impose the $1.25 billion fine soured those talks and prompted Vimpelcom to announce it was going to international arbitration against Algeria.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 10:47:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Jamaica’s lower house has approved amendments to the nation’s telecoms regulation that will give the sector regulator, the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) greater powers. The bill is expected to be considered by the upper house later this week before the governor general gives final approval for the alterations to pass into law. According to local press reports, ICT Minister Phillip Paulwell said that following the implementation of the new legislation, customers could expect to see a ‘massive’ drop in call rates, as the OUR flexes its regulatory muscles. Addressing parliament, Paulwell also suggested that the introduction of number portability (NP) was on the cards, saying: ‘It is full time that I should be able, with a number I have had for 25 years, for example, to take it to another provider and say: this is my number and I want service.’

Once again, the rivalry between the nation’s two remaining cellcos came to the fore, as Digicel – which, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, claimed 82% of mobile subscribers at the end of December 2011 following its controversial takeover of Claro Jamaica – expressed its ‘grave concern’ regarding the overarching powers that the government wishes to invest in the OUR. LIME meanwhile, praised the amendments as a move towards a ‘levelling of the playing field.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 9:50:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator MTN Liberia (formerly Lonestar Communications) has announced that it is investing upwards of USD30 million in the country to continue the expansion and implementation of advanced mobile services for its customers. The cellco, part of South Africa-based MTN Group, says the capital expenditure programme is designed to boost coverage to more villages, towns and cities in the African nation. The carrier claims to have rolled out its network to an additional 20 locations in the last twelve months, increasing its footprint to more than 160 locations, boosting network capacity and improving its ability to offer high quality voice and data services to end users. The latest network expansion saw the region of Grand Kru County connected on 2 April. The cellco’s new Grand Kru cell site has been configured with voice-over-IP over satellite, using Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) technology, it said. The installation of DAMA will give it the ability to expand the site’s capacity in the future with no need to acquire additional satellite bandwidth, and will also increase the speed of EDGE throughout Barclayville and surrounding areas. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database MTN Liberia had just over one million mobile subscribers in 15 Liberian counties at 31 December 2011, a market share of 54.2%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 9:39:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 13, 2012

Cameroon is set to receive a third mobile operator following the launch of a new network backed by local footballer Samuel Eto’o, the Cameroon Tribune reports. Set’Mobile is scheduled to go live on 21 January 2012, the opening day of the Africa Cup of Nations, joining South Africa’s MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun of France in the local wireless market. The network, which is designed to bring cheap mobile voice and data services to the country, was unveiled last month and more than 50,000 SIM cards have already been sold, according to local press.

 Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:44:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Macau government launched a tender to award two new fixed line telephony concessions on 1 January, as the country takes its final step towards full market liberalisation. According to the MacauHub website, sole fixed line incumbent Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM) – which is co-owned by UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and Portuguese incumbent Portugal Telecom (PT) – is also set to have its existing wireline licence renewed following the tender. Although the new concessions are set to change hands in 1H12, the new licensees are not expected to be in a position to inaugurate their networks until 2013 – until which time they will be able to resell services over CTM’s network, and pay the established telco an undetermined fee.

According to majority owner CWC, at the end of 2010 (last available data) CTM had 178,000 fixed line customers, 132,000 broadband clients and 387,000 active mobile subscribers. Elsewhere, the cellco already competes with the likes of China Unicom, Hutchison Whampoa-owned 3 Macau and fellow Hong Kong-based firm SmarTone in the wireless sector. Macau is believed to be home to more than one million mobile subscribers, of which CTM is believed to hold the lion’s share.

Macau is situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to mainland China, approximately 60km southwest of Hong Kong. It was colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, becoming the first European settlement in the Far East in the process, but was handed back on 20 December 1999, and became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, but also includes some manufacturing.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:39:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain has yet to agree on the fee for a mobile licence to operate in the newly independent country of South Sudan, which seceded from the north in July 2011. Zain Sudan’s chief executive Elfatih Erwa told news agency Reuters that the company has spent USD60 million dividing its operations in two, after South Sudan acquired its own international dialling code (+211) upon gaining independence, but the cellco has not yet entered into discussions with the government on a licence fee. ‘The government of South Sudan has not engaged on the licence fee yet,’ noted Erwa, adding: ‘The government said for us not to worry. They will start discussions once they set and enhance the laws and get more experience as a regulator.’ The executive added that Zain Sudan will invest USD280 million in the improvement of its infrastructure in the north in 2012, and plans to spend between USD60 million and USD80 million in the south. ‘Our network is completely separated and we are running both the old numbers and the new numbers so that we don’t deprive our customers of being disconnected until they make a full switch,’ Erwa said. Plans to build a fibre network in the South have been delayed, Erwa noted, due to the regulator not being ready and security issues in certain areas. Zain has approximately 590,000 mobile subscribers in South Sudan, with customers and revenue in the country forecast to grow 20% and 10% respectively in 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 11:33:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2011

Iran has officially introduced a third national mobile phone operator, named Ritel, the Tehran Times reports, without citing any additional information. Ritel was reportedly unveiled in a ceremony held in Tehran on Monday. The brief news item makes no mention of network coverage details or the cellco’s ownership structure.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Iran is home to two active national mobile phone operators, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI) and South African-owned MTN Irancell. In October 2009 the government awarded a third national concession to a consortium headed by Tamin Telecom. The licence was officially handed over to Tamin in April 2010, but at the time of writing – and in spite of its licence terms (which stipulated 2G network coverage of eight main cities and 1,421km of roads within nine months) – Tamin is not yet believed to be operational. It has said it plans to cover 60% of the population with its 2G network and 40% with its 3G network by 2014.

At this stage it is unclear whether Ritel’s operating licence is a brand new concession or the revoked licence previously issued to Tamin Telecom. The latter seems unlikely, as in October 2010, despite its lack of progress, telecoms watchdog the Communication Regulation Agency (CRA) announced that the country would not be offering another 3G licence until Tamin’s exclusivity expires in 2013.

Thursday, November 24, 2011 3:21:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 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, November 07, 2011 8:43:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 06, 2011

­The government of Guinea Bissau has said that it is laying the groundwork for the eventual privatisation of Guiné Telecom.

The Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior made a statement on the plans during a session to launch the restructuring project of Guiné Telecom and its mobile subsidiary, Guinetel. Both are deemed to be technically bankrupt companies. The government has received US$15.6 million in funding from the African Development Bank (ADB) and the Ecobank to refinance the company.

"The two companies will be part of a single package to be negotiated with potential investors according to international rules and practices," said Carlos Gomes Júnior.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 9:10:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 28, 2011

­China is reported to be considering allowing a potential fourth entrant into the country's state-controlled telecoms market, and that the new investor would be predominantly from the private sector.

Although all three telecom's networks have listed subsidiaries, the bulk of their shares are owned by the government, who also shook up the industry a couple of years ago by shuffling around their mobile assets to create three separate networks.

Citing unnamed sourced, the Securities Daily reported that the details are still being worked out - and might still involve one of the state-controlled companies being involved in the new venture.

"Inititally there was only one telecommunications company and then it was divided into several firms. Private capital has already invested in this industry for a long time, and it should be further encouraged," Liu Chunru, the deputy secretary-general of the Electronic Science and Technology Committee at MIIT, told the reporter.

"I know of this plan advising on the development of the telecommunications industry and the opening up of the market. It is beneficial to have a diversified telecommunications market, and although this is just a pilot scheme, at least the MIIT is taking a stand" , Zhu Hongbo, vice president of Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications said.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 2:06:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to make a final decision in around a month on whether or not it will cancel the licences of a number of operators that it is claimed failed to meet eligibility criteria. According to the Business Standard, DoT secretary R Chandrasekhar said of the current timeline for reaching a decision on the matter: ‘We have received clarification from the Corporate Affairs Ministry on [a] date of reckoning for compliance of various conditions, whether it be change in memorandum of association or equity-based … But before taking a final decision, we have to take legal opinion as well. The whole process should take a month or so.’ Having issued notices to a number of operators regarding two specific issues –failure to reach rollout obligations and ineligibility for acquiring a licence – the regulator has said that it has received responses from all companies with regard to the latter issue.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, India’s previous telecoms minister Andimuthu Raja is facing charges regarding the issuing of 122 licences in 2008 without auctioning India’s scarce wireless spectrum, which it has been claimed caused a presumptive loss of more than INR1.76 trillion (USD38.7 billion). In January 2011 India’s Supreme Court issued notices to both the Central Government and eleven private telecoms operators regarding a petition which sought to cancel those 2G spectrum licences it claims were handed to companies either ineligible for such concessions or those that failed to fulfil rollout obligations, after the issue was raised by an independent body, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation. The eleven companies named in the case were: Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB (Swan Telecom), Vodafone Essar, STel, Unitech Wireless (Uninor), Videocon Telecommunications, Idea Cellular (including Spice), Allianz Infratech, Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam Teleservices and Dishnet Wireless (a unit of Aircel).

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:21:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) has fined Turkcell, Turkey’s largest cellco by subscribers, TRY91.94 million (USD58.36 million) for breaching competition rules regarding distribution. Hurriyet notes that Turkcell defended itself on 31 May as part of the competition board’s investigation into its activities.

During the hearing, Turkcell’s chief legal affairs officer Umit Akin reportedly protested that, given its dominant position within the market, Turkcell is now obliged to run its activities in a ‘tough competitive environment’, adding: ‘We do not mention this as an objection, but we say this because others are claiming the opposite’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Turkcell reported 33.1 million subscribers at end-March 2011, equivalent to a 53.6% market share. The firm’s rivals in the Turkish wireless sector are Vodafone Turkey and Avea.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:07:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The total number of mobile phones in Senegal reached 8.34 million at the end of 2010, thanks to net additions of 515,967 in the fourth quarter, according to data published by the regulator, the Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP). Orange Senegal added a net 390,000 new subscribers in the last quarter of 2010 for a total of 5.09 million, handing it a market share of around 61%. Second-placed Tigo Senegal’s base dipped to 2.36 million from 2.42 million (or 28.2% of the market), while third player Sudatel Telecom (Expresso) increased its users to 898,113 (10.8% share). The net gains from the incumbents pushed cellular penetration in the country to 68.55%, far eclipsing fixed line teledensity which stood at 2.81%, or 341,857 main lines in service, up from 278,788 at 31 December 2009. The total number of internet subscriptions was 86,964 at end-2010, up 27,219 on the end of 2009, of which 89.2% were on an ADSL connection.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 2:30:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Iraq hopes to raise around USD2 billion from the auction of the country’s fourth mobile phone operator licence, expected to take place by the end of the year, Gulf Daily News reports, citing Iraq’s communications minister, Mohammed Allawi. Plans for the licence tender received final cabinet approval in May 2010, by which time 15 firms had expressed an interest in entering bids, including US-based Verizon Communications, South Africa's MTN, Turkcell of Turkey and the UAE's Etisalat. The minister has proposed that 40% of the shares in the licence be allocated to a privately-owned operator, while 35% will go to the public and 25% to the Ministry of Communications (MoC).


According to Allawi, Iraq has allocated USD500 million to spend on upgrading outdated and damaged infrastructure after decades of war and economic sanctions. The government also aims to boost fixed line phone penetration and internet reach to 25% within five years. The funds include 37% of last year's unspent budget allocation. Allawi said completing a fibre-optic network to connect Iraq to the rest of the world would be one of the MoC’s main aims for this year.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 5:51:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The Nigerian government has approved the USD 2.5 billion sale of its national telecommunications company to a consortium led by China Unicom, eight months after a confusing auction led to delays. The Nigerian privatization body Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) said in a statement that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the offer from New Generation Telecommunications Consortium, which will pay a bid security of USD 750 million as a pre-condition for the issuance of an offer letter in its bid to acquire Nitel and M-tel. The consortium has 10 days to pay the bid security and 60 days to pay the full bid amount, according to the BPE statement. China Unicom, part of the winning consortium, originally denied taking part in the bid for Nitel in February but later acknowledged that its European subsidiary, China Unicom (Europe) Operations, had expressed interest in a technical partnership and in the possibility of acquiring a 20 percent equity stake if the bid was approved. A Nigerian government committee set up to review the bid process recommended that the deal be approved. The consortium includes Minerva Group, a Dubai-based company that was to provide the financing for the bid.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:26:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 06, 2010
The Ukraine government has started the privatisation of state-owned national operator Ukrtelecom. The government has transferred the management of its 92.79 percent stake in the operator to the National Property Fund for sale. The net profit of Ukrtelecom totaled UAH 47.97 million in the first half of this year, versus a loss of UAH 124.13 million in H1 2009. Revenues rose 3.3 percent year-on-year to UAH 3.40 billion in H1.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 9:23:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­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, October 06, 2010 9:16:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 05, 2010

ITP.net is reporting that the Kingdom of Jordan is on track to implement and enforce competition in the fixed telecoms market before the end of 2011. According to the report, Orange Jordan, the country's sole fixed line provider, looks set to lose its monopoly as the government starts to enforce local loop unbundling (LLU), allowing other operators the chance to offer fixed services. ‘We took a decision on LLU, a decision has been taken by the regulator and now we are going into the application of the LLU. I think you will see actual enforcement by the second half of next year,’ said Marwan Juma, Jordan's minister for ICT. Furthermore, Juma insisted that LLU will be implemented and enforced in a way that will ensure greater competition. ‘What is typical with LLU is that the incumbent will resist as much as possible, that is just standard worldwide, but the regulator has sharp teeth now to ensure that it is being applied fairly and that people have access to infrastructure and we hope that will lower the cost,’ he said.

Juma also confirmed that Jordan will gain a second 3G operator next year, with a third operator likely to follow. Orange Jordan, which launched its 3G network in March, is currently the only 3G provider in the country. The company was awarded the 15-year licence in August 2009 for JOD50 million (USD70 million), with twelve month exclusivity period from the launch of its 3G service.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, October 05, 2010 3:34:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Republic of Congo now has a fourth mobile network operator following reports that Equateur Telecom Congo, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Bintel, has commenced commercial services. According to Cellular News, the cellco will offer services under the ‘Azur Congo’ banner, with coverage initially limited to Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, although it expects to expand to other cities shortly following launch. Commenting on the launch, Stephane Beuvelet, general manager of Azur Congo, said: ‘We have received overwhelming customer response for Azur during the soft launch and trial phase of service, and are pleased to open up full commercial services to all customers in Brazzaville and Point Noire ... In less than nine months since being awarded [its] licence, Azur will be providing full commercial service to customers in record time, through rapid network deployment and including a full commercial infrastructure.’

Azur Congo is also the first of Congo’s cellcos to adopt and implement the new national nine digit numbering scheme, which allows customers to retain their existing numbers with the 01 prefix on the Azur network.

Equateur Telecom Congo was awarded Congo’s fourth mobile concession in December 2009, announcing in March 2010 that it would open pre-registration for its services in July 2010. Those that registered during the promotional period were given the option of choosing their own number, while their accounts were also credited with XAF1,000 (USD1.93) and ten SMS messages. Minister of Telecommunications, Thierry Moungalla, subsequently made the first successful call on the Azur network in July 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:51:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The New Zealand government is seeking feedback on regulatory issues that might arise if Telecom New Zealand was to structurally separate. Telecom New Zealand recently announced that it is considering structural separation of its network and retail businesses in the context of the government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) Initiative and the company was shortlisted along with 13 other parties for the initiative.
 
Structural separation would have implications on: the regulatory regime for copper services; Telecom's operational separation undertakings; and the local service Telecommunications Service Obligations (TSO). The Ministry of Economic Development has released a discussion document and is seeking feedback before 15 October.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, September 23, 2010 7:57:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The number of telephone subscribers in India increased 2.49 percent to 688.38 million in July, from 671.69 million in June, according to data from telecoms regulator Trai. Teledensity reached 58.17 percent versus 56.83 percent in the previous month. The wireless and mobile (GSM, CDMA, fixed wireless phone) subscriber base grew to 652.42 million, up 2.66 percent from 635.51 million in the previous month.
 
Bharti Airtel remained market leader with a market share of 21.34 percent and had 139.2 million customers against 136.6 million in June. It also had the highest net additions, of 2.6 million customers. Airtel was followed by Reliance with 113.3 million subscribers against 110.8 million subscribers in June, and a 17.37 percent market share. Vodafone Essar was third with 17.08 percent market share and 111.46 million customers, versus 109.06 million subscribers in the previous month.
 
Tata Teleservices had 74.85 million subscribers against 72.53 million in June, and BSNL's subscribers grew to 73.78 million from 72.69 million. Idea ended the month with 70.74 million customers against 68.88 million in June, and Aircel rose to 43.29 million from 41.67 million subscribers. Sistema Shyam's (MTS India) subscriber base grew to 5.58 million from 5.1 million in the previous month. Loop Telecom had 2.94 million customers against 2.92 million subscribers, while HFCL Info subscribers grew to 851,887 from 668,325. Videocon saw its subscriber base reach 2.77 million from 1.94 million. The fixed subscriber base declined from 36.18 million to 35.96 million in July, with state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL holding 83.86 percent of the fixed market. The total broadband subscriber base rose 3.39 percent to 9.77 million.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, September 23, 2010 7:30:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 02, 2010

Broadband service provider rankings from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database show only small changes in rankings of the ten largest broadband service providers over the past twelve months. However, they also reveal a growing chasm between the two largest broadband operators and the remaining providers.

Collectively, the ten largest broadband service providers gained 23.3 million subscribers in the twelve months from Q1 2009 to Q1 2010, ending March 2010 with 191 million total subscribers—39% of the world’s 492 million broadband customers. KT of South Korea, the world’s tenth largest broadband ISP, is the only new member of the top ten ranking, having displaced Telecom Italia, which is now the 11th largest broadband ISP globally.

Just two mammoth broadband service providers, China Telecom and China Unicom, accounted for 20% of global broadband subscribers. Both companies gained approximately nine million subscribers over the past year, equivalent to the entire broadband subscriber base of Verizon. "The gap between the top two operators and the world’s remaining broadband service providers will continue to grow rapidly," commented TeleGeography Research Director Tania Harvey. "Aside from the two Chinese companies, all of the top ten broadband ISPs operate in mature markets, with high levels of broadband penetration and rapidly slowing subscriber growth."

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, August 02, 2010 8:46:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The total number of registered SIM cards in Brazil climbed to 185.1 million in June this year, up 1.42 million (or 0.8%) from May, according to data published by the national telecoms regulator Anatel. As at 30 June, Vivo Participacoes – the cellco whose ownership is being contested by its equal joint venture partners Telefonica of Spain and Portugal Telecom (PT) – maintained its leading position with a market share of 30.24%, down slightly from 30.25% in May. America Movil’s local unit Telecom Americas (Claro) was second with 25.33% of the market, down from 25.41% in May, and TIM Brasil was in third place with 24.00%, up from 23.84%. Telemar Norte Leste’s Oi unit recorded a share of 20.08%, down from 20.15% the previous month.

In a related but unconfirmed story, Reuters reports that PT could agree to sell its 50% stake in Vivo to Telefonica ‘within days’ after committing to buy into fourth-placed Oi. Spanish financial El Economista cites unnamed financial sources as saying a deal could take place. PT is understood to have signed a pre-agreement with Oi valid until the end of next week to buy a stake once it has sold its part in Brasilcel, the joint venture through which Telefonica and PT control Vivo. Reuters notes that El Economista did not state the size of the Oi stake or give further details of who had agreed to sell it.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:10:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:53:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 19, 2010

Nigerian operator Globacom has won a licence to operate in Gambia barely four months after it was awarded one in Senegal. Globacom said in a statement that its latest licence approval was presented to the company in Banjul on 12 July by the country's secretary general, Njogou Bah. Globacom also disclosed that the Gambian licence is the sixth the company so far has won in Africa. It now has operating licences in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Gambia. The company started operations in Nigeria in August 2003 and in Benin in June 2008. It has also concluded plans to roll out services in Ghana. Globacom's executive director for human resources, Adewale Sangowawa, said the licence would enable the operator to stimulate world class services in the country. The licence will also allow Globacom to land its Glo 1 trans-Atlantic submarine cable in Gambia, with opportunities to extend the infrastructure to neighbouring countries. It gives the company the right to carry traffic for major operators, the government and wholesale customers in Gambia. Globacom emphasised that with this development, the people of Gambia have now been positioned to be part of the telecommunications revolution which Globacom is bringing to Africa. Sangowawa stressed the new licence adds impetus to the group's desire to provide the West African sub-region with an excellent communication network and cost-effective voice, data, video and e-commerce services.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, July 19, 2010 12:12:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 02, 2010

Residents in the Turks and Caicos Islands now have three choices of mobile telephony provider with the launch earlier this month of Islandcom Wireless, the country’s first 3G network operator. Islandcom’s range of W-CDMA-based pre- and post-paid services includes video calling and high speed internet access with international roaming. In September 2008 the company formed a partnership with Bermuda Digital Communications (BDC), a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network, which provided new investment to begin building an UMTS network in March 2009. 17 3G base stations have been rolled out and by the end of the year will be expanded to 19 sites across the islands, including North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Grand Turk.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:17:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 15, 2010

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

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

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

­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, June 15, 2010 1:42:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The long running process to sell a majority stake in Zambia's state-owned Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel) has concluded with the winning bid of US$257 million being placed by Libya's Lap Green Networks. The government retains a 25% stake in the company, and may float the stake on the local stock exchange in the future.

The company beat Angola's Unitel and Russia's Altimo to gain control of Zamtel."The government of Zambia has today paved the way for completing the most significant privatization in the history of Zambia," said Situmbeko Musokotwane, minister of finance and national planning.

Lap Green Networks will also invest US$127 million into the company, partly as recapitalisation and partly on network upgrades.The country currently has three mobile network operators with the following market shares; Zain (70%), MTN (20%) and Zamtel (10%) - based on statistics from the Mobile World subscriber database.

Zamtel's new owner could revitalise the company, gaining a 19% share of the mobile market by 2015, up from its current 4% share, according to an Onda Analytics report last November.Although the privatisation will result in the liberalisation of the international call gateway, to the benefit of the other private operators, no new operator license will be offered in the country until Zamtel has returned to economic viability.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:13:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 28, 2010

Telecom New Zealand has confirmed that it is fully investigating structural separation in order to participate in the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. However, “in making a thorough assessment of structural separation we need to have a detailed understanding of the regulatory environment, and this warrants detailed discussion and analysis with Government before any decisions regarding its viability can be made,” CEO Paul Reynolds said in a statement. Telecom has asked the telecommunications minister to consider a variation on three components of Telecom’s undertakings that will no longer be relevant in a fibre future.


The proposed changes are to:

  • Suspend the forced bulk migration of existing broadband customers onto a new copper-based broadband service. However, the company will continue to supply this new broadband service to all new customers;
  • Remove the requirement for Telecom to migrate 17,000 customers onto a new VoIP over copper service by the end of this year; and
  • Remove the requirement for Telecom to build a new set of wholesale systems that are not consistent with the industry structure implied by UFB.

Source: Telecom Paper

Friday, May 28, 2010 1:07:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The oft-delayed sale of Indian 3G spectrum has finally been concluded, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced, revealing that the auction raised more than double the expected amount for the government. After 34 days of bidding, seven of the nine operators that had successfully applied to take part in the sale process came away with 3G licences, although no single operator was able to lay claim to a pan-India concession, with the most that any cellco managed to win being frequencies in 13 of the country’s 22 telecoms circles.

Three of the participants – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Aircel – acquired 2x5MHz paired spectrum in 13 circles, although due to the manner of the bidding the trio paid significantly different amounts for their respective concessions, with licence prices decided on a circle-by-circle basis. Bharti’s 13 licence areas will cost it INR122.95 billion (USD2.66 billion), the highest paid by any of the seven 3G auction winners, while Aircel will pay just over half of that, INR64.99 billion, for its 13 licences; RCOM meanwhile will be charged INR85.85 billion. Idea Cellular bagged the next highest number of circles – eleven – paying INR57.69 billion, while both Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Vodafone Essar will be permitted to offer third-generation services in nine circles, paying INR58.64 billion and INR116.18 billion respectively for their concessions. STel, which only launched 2G services in December 2009, rounded out the successful bidders, claiming three circles for a total of INR731 million. The two operators that came away empty-handed were Etisalat and Videocon.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:32:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:20:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 22, 2010

British fixed line incumbent BT Group has at last begun offering triple-play bundles incorporating fixed line voice, high speed internet and IPTV, taking advantage of telecoms regulator Ofcom’s decision in September 2009 to lift restrictions that previously prohibited such packages. To celebrate the new range of offers BT has revealed it will discount its new bundles until 23 March 2010, and commenting on the launch John Petter, managing director of BT’s Consumer Division, said: ‘Over the last twelve months, 3.6 million of our customers have moved to calls packages, where you don’t pay for every call. Offering a bundle of broadband and ‘Anytime’ calls for this knockdown price will launch us into the bundles market as an unrestricted competitor for the first time. There will be many more bundled offers to come and customers can only benefit.’ BT’s initial top-level triple play package will give customers unlimited fixed geographic calls, internet at speeds of up to 20Mbps and its Vision Gold Value IPTV service for GBP48.99 (USD74.16) per month; under the introductory offer it will reduce this cost to GBP35.99 for the first three months.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, March 22, 2010 10:51:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Data just released by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) shows that the country was home to a total of 17.642 million fixed and mobile subscriptions at the end of 2009, up from 13.130 million a year earlier, a combined teledensity of 43% (32%, 2008). Of the total subscriptions recorded at end-2009 17.469 million were cellular connections to one of the country’s leading mobile operators. Market leader Vodacom attracted 1.475 million new users last year for a total of 6.883 million, while second-placed Zain (Celtel) signed up a net 1.048 million new users in the period for a total of 4.910 million. Zain, however, failed to reach its own stated goal of six million customers by the end of last year. Third place operator Tigo boosted its base to 4.178 million by the end of 2009, and Zantel Mobile — once the nation's fastest growing cellco — added roughly 300,000 net new customers during the period for a total of 1.378 million. Trailing far behind the big four, the mobile arm of fixed line operator TTCL added just 10,000 subscribers for a total of 115,681, and Benson Informatics Limited (BOL), which lost 300 subscribers in 2008, had 3,101 data-only subscribers, up 101 since the start of the year.

In the fixed line segment, TCRA reported 172,922 fixed lines in service as at 31 December 2009, up from 123,809 at the start of the year, but only marginally higher than the 163,269 counted at 31 December 2007. National PSTN operator Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) claimed the lion's share with 157,321 lines at end-2009 (its December 2008 figure was 116,265 after it disconnected a number of active lines), with Zanzibar Telecommunications' (Zantel's) fixed line division taking the remainder.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, March 22, 2010 10:37:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 02, 2010

­UAE based Etisalat has announced that its subscriber base has exceeded 100 million subscribers across its 18 markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This comes shortly after Etisalat announced it has acquired an additional share equal to 18% in "Atlantic Telecom" thus increasing the shareholding to 100%.

Added to that is its application to the Indian Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), to obtain approval to raise its 45% stake in its Indian subsidiary Etisalat DB to 50% plus one share. Etisalat targets majority stakes in its subsidiaries and associates for more operational and financial synergy.

Recently Etisalat reported annual Net Revenues of AED 30.83 billion and Net Profits of AED 8.836 billion marking a 5% and 16% increase respectively, compared to 2008.

Etisalat has operations and investments in 18 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Togo, Republic of Central Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 1:49:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 05, 2010

The sale of two mobile phone networks in Lebanon which has already been delayed many a times is again delayed till the end of this year. US$7 billion was expected to be raised through this sale for the heavily indebted government, although valuations have fallen since the economic downturn.

10- Year Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement led to the set up of Lebanon’s two operators in June 2001. However, the government controversially cancelled the BOT licenses held by LibanCell and Cellis which were not due to expire until 2004 and invited bidders to manage the networks on its behalf, and the concession was eventually awarded to Zain and Alfa.

Political turmoil in the country had led to the failure of network sales.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, February 05, 2010 9:48:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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, January 13, 2010 10:51:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 22, 2009

­The French telecoms regulator, Arcep has finally awarded the country's fourth 3G license - to the sole bidder in the latest round, Free Mobile, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Iliad group. Free Mobile has also taken numerous commitments, on commercial, contractual and technical levels, with respect to hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). Among other things, it has committed to hosting full MVNOs on its network.Free Mobile has committed to launch its services within two years, and to cover at least 90% of the population with its 3G network within eight years.

This call for applications was a follow-up to those issued in 2000, 2001 and 2007. Three of the four 3G licences were awarded at the outcome of the first two calls for submissions: to SFR and Orange France in 2001 then to Bouygues Telecom in 2002. As the call for applications carried out in 2007 produced no results, a new procedure for awarding a licence for 5 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band was launched by the French government on August 1st 2009.

Arcep will award the frequency licence to Free Mobile in January 2010. The remaining spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band will be allocated through a new call for applications, which will be issued in the first half of 2010 and be open to all players. Finally, with a scheduled launch in the second half of 2010, Arcep is preparing the allocation procedures for the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz-band spectrum which will enable the deployment of LTE and WiMAX networks.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:52:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 21, 2009

Another new player has announced its entry to the crowded Indian wireless sector, with STel, which is 49%-owned by Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco), launching commercial GSM-based services in the Himachal Pradesh circle. According to the Business Standard, STel plans to expand its areas of operation before the end of the year, and has announced plans to launch in Bihar and Orissa within the next ten days. The cellco also holds licences to offer services in Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, and it expects to introduce its services in at least three more circles before the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Monday, December 21, 2009 8:50:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, December 21, 2009 8:30:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 07, 2009

France Telecom and Denmark’s TDC are set to merge their Swiss operations — Orange Switzerland and Sunrise, respectively — in a move that would create a powerful rival to the market leader – Swisscom. France Telecom said it will pay 1.5 billion EUR to TDC to become a 75% shareholder in the combined entity, while TDC will hold the remaining 25%.

The new firm will have approximately 3.4 million mobile and 1.1 million fixed and broadband customers, accounting for a 38% share of the Swiss mobile market and 13% of the fixed broadband connections. At the same time, the merger is expected to generate synergies to the tune of 2.1 billion EUR.

According to France Telecom’s Gervais Pellissier: “The planned merger of Sunrise and Orange Switzerland marks a new significant step in the long-term investment by France Telecom-Orange in Switzerland. Following the UK joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile ,France Telecom completes another major in-market consolidation, consistent with its M&A policy.”

At the moment, Swisscom dominates the Swiss mobile market with an estimated 62% marketshare (5.5 million connections) in Q3 2009. Sunrise holds the second position with 1.9 million users (a 21% market share), while Orange is third with 1.6 million users (18%).

Source: Intomobile via GSMA


Monday, December 07, 2009 5:28:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 17, 2009

­South Africa's MTN Group has announced that it had a shade under 108.5 million subscribers at the end of September. This is a 5% increase for the quarter from 103.2 million subscribers recorded at the end of  June 2009 and a 19.6% increase for the year to date.

The South and East Africa (SEA) region increased its subscriber base by a very modest 0.5% for the quarter. This was primarily due to the disappointing negative movement of the South Africa subscriber base which contributes 64% to the region. South Africa's subscriber base declined from 17.23 million at the end of June 2009 to 16.42 million at the end of September. The main reason for the movement is the significantly lower number of gross connections following the implementation of RICA in August, which requires PrePay SIM cards to be registered with the operators. Given the current market uncertainty following the RICA implementation there are challenges with South Africa achieving its revised target of zero net additions for the full year.

Uganda increased its subscriber base by 11% in the quarter following the continued success of MTN Zone which now constitutes 95% of the total prepaid base.

The West and Central Africa (WECA) region increased its subscriber base by 5% for the quarter driven mainly by Nigeria which accounts for 58% of the region's subscribers. Nigeria recorded a 5% increase in its subscriber base to 28.76 million mainly due to continued network rollout, innovative product offerings and the effectiveness of the distribution channels implemented earlier in 2009. Ghana maintained its market share and increased its subscriber base by 2,6% despite aggressive competitor activity. Both Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire increased their subscriber bases by 4% and 5% to 4.19 million and 4.21 million, respectively.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region recorded a 9% increase in subscribers for the quarter. This was largely due to continued growth from the Iran operation, which contributes 62% to the region's subscribers and increased its base by 8% to 20.7 million. Iran's growth was attributable mainly to expanded network coverage and continued promotional activity. Syria increased its subscriber base by 13% to 4 million, well above expectations. Afghanistan, although a relatively smaller operation, has been steadily contributing positively to the region's growth and has gained No. 1 position in the market from No 3 at the beginning of 2009.

MTN has revised its subscriber net addition guidance for the year for South Africa to zero and for Syria to 550,000 while other individually disclosed country guidance remains the same. MTN expects to achieve the total group subscriber net addition guidance for 2009 of 22.6 million.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2:52:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Bangladesh based mobile network operator, Grameenphone (GP) says that it added almost 1 million new subscriptions in the third quarter of 2009, pushing the total subscription base near to 22 million. However, GP crossed 22 million subscription base mark on 1st October.

Grameenphone CEO Oddvar Hesjedal, expressed his satisfaction with the subscription growth posted for the third quarter, "the market has just crossed the 50 million subscription mark and GP serves the largest share of that market (44%) among the operators. It pleases me that we have been successful in adding a significant amount of the new subscriptions to the market in the last quarter, which indicates that Grameenphone is the preferred service provider."

Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by 6% compared to same period of last year mainly as a result of a raised tariff floor.

"A rising ARPU is a good indicator for both the industry and a sign of slow economic recovery," said the Grameenphone CEO. "However, reduction or removal of the BDT 800 SIM tax will help the economy recover sooner because internet and telecommunication penetration generates faster economic activity and community development," he added.

EBITDA margin has also improved to 57% compared to the same period of last year of 48.9% due to higher revenue, combined with lower network operation and maintenance costs. Capital expenditure was also lower during this quarter, in accordance with the current traffic demand.

Following the formal approval for Grameenphone's initial public offering (IPO), trading of the Grameenphone shares at the Chittagong and Dhaka stock exchanges is anticipated to commence in November. This is subject to approval from the regulators and stock exchanges.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2:45:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 21, 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, October 21, 2009 12:20:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 17, 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, September 17, 2009 3:44:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vodafone is expected to use Vodacom as its vehicle to expand into developing markets in Africa now that it has secured control of the company. Vodacom CEO, Pieter Uys said that the company is looking to take advantage of falling prices to increase its footprint.

"If you look at the world there aren't many growth opportunities around; Africa is one of them," Uys told the Bloomberg news agency. "All markets in Africa offer potential for consolidation." Vodafone "has committed to use us" to enlarge its sub-Saharan business and "support us" on potential acquisitions, he said.

Vodafone has just increased its holding in Vodacom from 50% to 65%, while South African landline operator, Telkom floated its 35% stake onto the local stock market earlier this week.

Vodacom has operations in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, DR Congo and Mozambique. Through its Gateway Communications subsidiary, it offers satellite services in 40 African countries.

Click here to see full article
Source : Cellular News
Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:25:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For a few days last month Maroc Telecom's parent company Vivendi looked like it might pull off one of the most audacious attempts yet to arrest control of one of the Middle East & Africa's largest mobile operations from the now well-entrenched players. However, Zain, whose Celtel unit was the subject of the interest, could not agree on price with the French company and the chance of a deal - however unlikely most commentators, including your author, thought that to be - now looks to be dead and gone. If a transaction had gone ahead it would most likely have had a significant effect on Maroc Telecom's place in the Vivendi group, with the Moroccan incumbent slotting in as part of a much larger overall portfolio.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:28:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 01, 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, July 01, 2009 12:25:01 PM (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, July 01, 2009 12:15:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 26, 2009

Some of the world’s largest service providers have beaten the recession blues and out-performed overall market growth, either by being focused on high growth markets or by merger and acquisition activities. China Mobile, Vodafone and America Movil fit into the first camp while China Unicom, Vivendi, China Telecom and Verizon are in the latter. All of these companies reported Q1 2009 revenues that were at least 10% higher than their respective Q1 2008 turnover. In aggregate, the seven recorded 16% revenue growth in the latest quarter (when measured in their local currencies).

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 26, 2009 10:55:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 12, 2009

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.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:44:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009

­Kuwait based Zain is reported to be considering an offer to sell its African mobile networks to an unnamed French company. The sale of the former Celtel assets is estimated to be worth up to US$12 billion, including debt, reports the Dow Jones Newswire, citing the Al Qabas newspaper.

Celtel was founded by Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim in 1998 and sold to Kuwiat's MTC (now Zain) in April 2005 for US$3.4 billion.

Zain is waiting for reply from the French company this week and if the deal isn't settled Zain will study bids made by other companies, the newspaper added.

No reason was given for why Zain is looking to sell the African division.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:14:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The government of Nigeria has taken back control of the country’s former telecoms monopoly NITEL and its wireless arm M-Tel, citing a lack of investment and unpaid debts in the three years since local firm Transcorp took over the telco. Reuters reports that the National Council of Privatisation has ruled that Transcorp breached its contract, having failed to meet its obligations to invest NGN8.9 billion (USD60.9 million) within 100 days of the takeover, and had an unpaid debt of NGN17 billion. The government will take control of NITEL until a new core investor is found.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the federal government sold it’s 51% stake in NITEL to Transcorp for USD750 million in November 2006, retaining a 49% interest. Since then the telco’s initial 500,000 fixed lines in service have dropped to about 45,000, its workforce has declined from 12,000 to just 2,000 and the company is USD500 million in debt. In February 2009 Transcorp agreed to divest part of its shareholding in the telco and in late March the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) announced it was offering a 51% stake in the fixed line operator and 100% of its mobile unit. Last week Nigeria’s anti-corruption police charged the head of Transcorp and two other employees with fraud for embezzling around USD110 million belonging to NITEL.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:30:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 02, 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, June 02, 2009 7:29:00 AM (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, June 02, 2009 7:27:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 22, 2009

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, May 22, 2009 10:34:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A new report from Arab Advisors Group analyzes and ranks 30 fixed services operators and 50 cellular operators in nineteen Arab countries. STC’s Al Jawwal, Egypt’s Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt are the largest Arab cellular operators in terms of subscribers.

 

With the advent of new operators and increased competition in 2008, cellular subscribers in 19 examined Arab countries reached 194.533 million. ALJAWAL and MobiNil sustained their top rankings by H1 2008, with 17.800 million and 16.328 million subscribers respectively. Vodafone Egypt ended the first six months of 2008 with 15.202 million subscribers, settling as the third largest mobile operator in the region. UAE recorded the highest cellular penetration rate by H1 2008, which stood at 198.6% followed by Saudi Arabia (123.3%). Both countries report subscribers based on active on the switch method. UAE also had the highest fixed line penetration rate by H1 2008, which stood at 29.4%.

Click here to see full article

Source: Arab Advisors Group.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:46:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The evergrowing competition in the Kenyan mobile market is expected to take down Safaricom’s market share which will drop from its dominant 80% to 65% in another four years. The fall will be driven by the launch of rival operators, says Chief Executive Michael Joseph.

“We will have between 65% and 70% market share by 2011,” says Michael. The closest competitor to Safaricom is Zain, which has started offering all new lowered tariffs and products, which targets the lower segment of market, which was earlier captured by Safaricom.

The state owned Telkom Kenya is speedily building up its GSM ntwork under the brand name Orange. In order to stay in competition, Safaricom has invested more in data services and is building a WiMax network, to complement its broadband service launched in August this year.

“We are diversifying our revenue streams, with a shift from the voice market. Which is becoming increasingly unattractive, due to the low tariffs, to data,” says Michael. He additionally said that the operator with its broad network can fight the agressive competition.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:04:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Megafon continues to grow in the Russian mobile market in the month of October by adding 960,894 new subscribers. Megafon, country’s third largest operator, is competing closely with Vimpelcom, which stood at 45.88 million, 31.7% of total net addition. Megafon’s net additions counts to 38.7% share of Russia’s total net additions and totalled its subscriber base to 42.32 million. MTS lagged behind its rivals in terms of new additions, claiming just 19.4% with a subscriber base of 62.36 million in October, causing a threat to its number one position. Russia ended October with just over 182 million mobile subscribers, up from 179.54 million at the end of September.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:02:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 30, 2008

Operator expands to 15 African markets via launches in Kenya, Uganda and Niger

France Telecom-owned Orange has long had a footprint in the predominantly French-speaking areas of West Africa, but this year has seen the operator push into new African markets and seek to exploit its brand profile in the continent.

Orange entered Kenya - East Africa's largest economy - via its US$390 million acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Telkom Kenya in December 2007. The operator subsequently rebranded the company as 'Orange Kenya' and launched operations last month. Orange is targeting 1.5 million customers within a year and claims to be the first 'integrated' operator in the country by combining mobile, fixed-line and Internet services. It has reportedly invested US$110 million in the subsidiary to date – the majority of investment focused on expanding its GSM network. It is using mobile market-leader Safaricom's network to ensure a nationwide service while it builds-out its own infrastructure but expects to cover the whole country within two years. Orange Kenya is the third mobile operator in the market (after Safaricom and Zain), while a fourth player - Econet Wireless Kenya, a specialist 3G operator - plans to launch in the country soon.

Click here to see full article

 

Operator

 

Market

Ownership

Connections

Market Share

Market Position

MobiNil

Egypt

71.25%

17,518,000

50.57%

1 / 3

Orange Senegal

Senegal

42.40%

3,042,000

64.44%

1 / 2

Orange Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

85.00%

2,826,000

36.33%

2 / 4

Orange Mali SA

Mali

42.30%

2,367,000

87.88%

1 / 2

Orange Cameroon

Cameroon

99.50%

1,827,000

37.04%

2 / 2

Orange Madagascar

Madagascar

65.90%

1,655,000

64.88%

1 / 2

Orange Botswana

Botswana

51.00%

620,000

41.20%

2 / 2

Orange Mauritius (Cellplus)

Mauritius

40%

560,000

60.01%

1 / 2

Orange Guinea

Guinea

--

398,000

--

--

Orange Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea

40.00%

255,000

100.00%

1 / 1

Hits Telecom

Uganda

53.00%

135,335

2.17%

5 / 5

Orange Republic of Centrafrica

Central Republic of Africa

--

70,000

--

--

Orange Guinea Bissau

Guinea Bissau

--

41,000

--

--

Orange Kenya*

Kenya

51.00%

0

0.00%

3 / 3

Orange Niger**

Niger

--

0

0.00%

4 / 4

TOTAL

 

 

31,314,335

 

 

France Telecom (Orange) Africa Mobile Connections: Q2, 2008
Source: Wireless Intelligence, company data 
* Launched 17 September 2008; ** Launched 30 June 2008

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:59:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Hungarian telecom regulator, National Communication Authority, launches two mobile licence tenders and a proposal to provide mobile infrastructure development. The two mobile licence will be valid for 15 years. According to Daniel Pataki, President NHH, the following descision has been taken in order to boost mobile market competition in the country. He also adds that though the country has a mobile penetration of 108%, countyry’s 20% population still doesn’t own a mobile phone and the price competition has been stagnant among the existing mobile operator i.e. T-Mobile, Pannon and Vodafone.

Looking at the present financial scenario, Pataki adds ‘We have called the tender now as market conditions could turn even more unfavorable, since nobody can tell when this global financial market turmoil could end’.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:55:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Millicom International Cellular (Millicom) has reported its third quarter results along with the analysts’ forcast. But the cellco has admitted that the revenue growth is sluggished due to global economic crisis. It has wireless subsidiaries in 16 emerging markets around the world, said EBITDA for the third quarter rose 25% year-on-year to USD369 million while net profit for the period rose 17% to USD161 milion. Further the firm added that it would reduce investment in the coming year, forecasting a CAPEX figure of ‘less that USD1.5 billion’ in 2008 and a substantially lower figure again for 2009. According to CEO Marc Beuls, the company had decided to put off an early redemption of the USD460 million 10% 2013 Notes, strengthening its balance sheet by reducing short term debt and increasing long-term debt.

Millicom has ended this period with 30.59 million subscribers to its subsidiaries with the addition of 2.1 million new customers in the third quarter of 2008 alone.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:54:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 17, 2008

­Algeria's state owned telecoms operator, Algérie Télécom is now unlikely to be privatized for at least two to three years as the company implements an improvement program to make it more commercial. The company is the country's dominant landline operator, and owns its second largest mobile network operator, Moblis.

Click here to see full article

Algeria's government has been planning to partially privatize Algérie Télécom for several years. The sale was expected to be take place by end of 2006, with the government selling 35% of the operator in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). However the procedures have not been finalized and the tender was yet not launched, but expected to take place in 2008.

Click here to see full article

According to figures from the Mobile World database, the country has three operators with the following market shares, Djezzy (39.7%), Moblis (36.4%) and Nedjma with 21.5%. The country itself ended last year with just under 28.2 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 84%.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:19:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2008

­The Kenyan government has announced plans to scrap a law which had required foreign firms to have local partners if investing in the telecoms industry. Under the current system, any investor has to allocate at least twenty percent of the company to a local partner, which has caused legal problems in the past.

Click here to see full article

The Kenyan market is dominated by Safaricom, which has a market share of 86.6% - followed by Zain and Orange. According to figures from the Mobile World, the country had 36.5 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of the first half of this year - although that still represents a population penetration level of just 39%, leaving plenty of space for a third network to enter the market.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 3:07:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Cameroon has been launched under the brand name, Yemba. At a press conference organised by Providence Technologique, the company behind Yemba, General Manger, Michel Nguetsop said that the company had secured an MVNO agreement with CDMA operator, Camtel.

The MVNO has set itself an ambitious target of two million subscribers by 2010.

Camtel was expected to activate an EV-DO upgrade on its Huawei supplied fixed wireless infrastructure last September - although it is not initially clear if this has happened.

According to the Mobile World database, there are currently two active operators in the country - MTN and Orange. The two operators ended the first quarter of this year with a combined 4.9 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of 27%.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 9:25:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 14, 2008

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi) A leading mobile service provider in Malawi, Celtel, on Friday celebrated a milestone of having added one millionth customer to its ever expanding mobile network in the country.

Celtel Managing Director Fayaz King told journalists in Lilongwe that the development places the company ahead of other players as an undisputed leader of the telecoms industry in Malawi.

"We are very proud to be associated with the current development which, in turn, should go a long way to assist in the country’s economic growth," he said.

King said since the company has now surpassed the one million customer base, it is now looking forward to reaching two million customers in years to come.

Malawi is ranked Number 12 in Africa in terms of customer base, with Nigeria’s 10 million customers leading the way.

Celtel Malawi, which was established in 1999, is part of a leading Middle East and African telecoms group, Zain Group.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, July 14, 2008 11:04:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Communications market research firm Infonetics Research reports that worldwide service provider capex (capital expenditures) totaled $248.8 billion in 2007, a 7% increase from 2006. Infonetics' report projects a spike in worldwide carrier capex in 2008, followed by a plateau in 2010 and a decline in 2011, and emphasizes that the weak US dollar is inflating current growth rates in Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, and Japan.

 

"Our capex analysis indicates we are in the fourth year of an investment phase, and we may be reaching the plateau this year in both North America and Europe, where large service providers' capital intensity (the ratio of capex to revenue) will likely be as low as 12%. Meanwhile, China and India will drive a significant jump in carrier capex in 2008 as a result of network construction projects combined with currency appreciation against the US dollar. Both countries are still posting double-digit revenue growth in their native currencies, which, converted in US dollars creates a big spike in worldwide carrier revenue as well," said Stéphane Téral, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

Other highlights from the report:

  • Telecom service providers earned a combined $1.5 trillion in annual worldwide revenue in 2007, up 10% from 2006, with currency appreciation making up the bulk of the growth, while the rest came from wireless services
  • Carriers are increasingly investing in application software (vs. hardware) for media rich applications such as content, storage, and security for broadband based wireline and wireless services
  • Current investment drivers for carrier spending: convergence between IT, media, Internet, and telecom, which is adding new competitive pressures to carriers, and the shift from legacy TDM to next generation IP networks
  • The world's 10 largest service providers (ranked by 2007 revenue) are AT&T, Verizon, NTT, Deutsche Telekom, France Télécom, Vodafone, Telefónica, China Mobile, BT, and Sprint
  • The next largest service providers include Telecom Italia, Comcast, and KDDI, which, according to their most recent growth rates, are poised to join the top 10
  • The incumbent share of North American carrier capex jumped from 56% to 63% in 2007; MSOs are expected to increase their share of North American carrier capex by 2011
  • The Asia Pacific telecom industry is squeezed between 2 opposite market forces: a saturated market made of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan characterized by flat to decreasing capex, and a fast growing market driven by China and India, characterized by double digit growth for both capex and revenue
  • Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) service provider revenue jumped 29% between 2006 and 2007
  • Mobile infrastructure makes up the bulk of total equipment capex in 2007, accounting for about 20%, followed by voice infrastructure, optical equipment, and broadband aggregation equipment
  • WiMAX equipment spending by service providers as a portion of total carrier capex has roughly doubled each year since 2004, and will continue to increase its share in the near term, driven by major WiMAX projects in the US, India, and Latin America.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 2:42:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The total number of mobile connections in the UK surpassed 70 million during the fourth quarter of 2007, finishing the year on 70.99 million. In total there were 4.10 million net additions during the year, up from 1.35 million in 2006, while on a proportionate basis the annual customer growth rate almost tripled from 2.1% to 6.2%. This was due in part to the one-off loss of 1.30 million customers in 2006 as a result of T-Mobile's change in policy regarding active users, but even if we discount this there would have been an increase in customer growth in 2007. This is despite the fact that penetration is well over 100%: at the end of 2007, in fact, the penetration rate had reached 116.5%, up from 110.1% a year earlier.

Customers and Annual Customer Growth Rate

Monthly ARPU - Top Four Operators

 
Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:28:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 14, 2008

MUMBAI -(Dow Jones)- Indian telecommunications operator Bharti Airtel added 2.31 million mobile phone subscribers in March, industry data showed Friday.

As a result, Bharti's total mobile phone user base has grown to 61.98 million subscribers at the end of March, according to data released by the Cellular Operators Association of India.

In March, Vodafone Essar added 1.57 million mobile phone users taking its total subscriber base to 44.13 million, said COAI, which represents the 10 operators using the global system for mobile communications technology.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) added 1.64 million mobile phone users, taking its total subscriber base to 36.21 million at the end of March.

Idea Cellular added 1.13 million users and had 24 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of March.

Another state-run operator, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., added 120,020 new mobile phone users in March and has a total subscriber base of 3.24 million

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, April 14, 2008 8:58:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 27, 2008

Qatar’s monopoly telecoms provider Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has announced that it crossed the 1.4 million subscriber mark early this month, including around 1.2 million GSM mobile subscriptions and over 200,000 fixed lines. The achievement, in a country with a population of less than a million, was driven by positive customer response to recent promotions, particularly its current ‘Hala Line for Free’ campaign, according to a spokesperson. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, wireless penetration in the country passed 100% in 2006, and Qtel signed up its one millionth mobile subscriber in March 2007. A rival GSM network being set up by a consortium led by Vodafone Group is scheduled to end Qtel’s monopoly by the end of this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:34:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 10, 2008

Swisscom has announced that in the year ended 31 December 2007 revenues rose 14.9% to CHF11.09 billion (USD10.7 billion), while EBITDA was 18.9% higher at CHF4.5 billion. The increase was primarily attributable to Swisscom’s May 2007 acquisition of Italian ISP Fastweb. On a like-for-like basis net revenue increased by 0.3%; declining revenues from its traditional fixed line business were offset by growth in its outsourcing business and broadband operations. Gains from the sale of subsidiaries Antenna Hungaria and Infonet helped the company report a 29.4% increase in net income for the year, to CHF2.07 billion.

At the end of 2007 Swisscom claimed 5.29 million fixed lines in service, of which 1.6 million were DSL. At the same date the company had 5.01 million wireless customers, a net increase of 375,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 10, 2008 9:25:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: TeleGeography.

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

The number of registered mobile phones in Ghana topped the seven million-mark by the end of 2007, according to new data published by the regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA). The watchdog’s figures show that the country recorded quarterly net growth of 8.4% in the last three months of the year, boosting the country total to 7,604,053 by 31 December. Local industry watchers predict, however, that the sector could soon reach saturation levels, leaving the four main cellular operators to slug it out for market share. The NCA reports that MTN Ghana was the market leader by the start of 2008 with 4,016,132 subscribers, ahead of Millicom Ghana (Tigo) with 2,023,091, while GT-OneTouch and Kasapa Telecom took third and fourth place with 1,275,764 and 289,066 subscribers respectively. Tigo topped the list in terms of net subscriber additions in 4Q07, however, signing up a net 426,640 new users compared with 143,743 for MTN and 21,456 for Kasapa Telecom. Meanwhile, Ghana Telecom’s mobile arm OneTouch recorded a net loss of 4,493 users in the last three months of the year, with a proportion of the net decline being attributed to subscribers having their lines cut or deactivated from the network.

Source: Balancing Act.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:10:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange and Tigo Senegal added 688,725 new users in the fourth quarter of 2007 to boost the country mobile total to 4.123 million at the end of the year. According to the country’s telecoms regulator Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP), cellular penetration reached 38.97% by 31 December 2007, up from 28.19% the previous year. Orange Sonatel, part of the Paris-based Orange group, had 3.004 million users at the end of December 2007, up from 2.443 million in September. Meanwhile, Tigo had 1.118 million clients, from 991,631 three months earlier. An overwhelming 99.17% of all users are on pre-paid services, the regulator said.

Source: Balancing Act.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:08:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As mobile telephone subscribers search for cheaper and affordable call tariffs, scores of people in the eastern province of Rwanda have subscribed to Vodacom Tanzania.

The strong signals the company has and the free airtime the telecom company is offering to all its subscribers has lured some Rwandans near the Tanzania border to subscribe to Vodacom, abandoning their MTN lines. Vodacom has also lowered the calling rates to other networks to give its clients more freedom to talk, according to Kabayija, a 'Vodacom agent' in Kayonza district. Rwandans in districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza and Rwamagana can now call for four minutes freely. Subscribers on pay standard spend Tzs200 (Frw93)-whereas MTN Rwandacell charges Frw100.

Prices of smuggled Vodacom sim packs have also soared from Frw1,000 to Frw5,000. (about Tzs10,000) There are claims that MTN, with the largest coverage in eastern province is affected negativly, as sales of its products have dropped. "I no longer buy MTN airtime vouchers. Sim pack agents say sales have drastically dropped," a resident of Kabarole who was using a Vodacom line claimed." But The New Times was not able get comment from MTN officials as some could not answer their phones. However, a source close to MTN Rwanda management say Vodacom and MTN are about to enter a roaming deal, where subscribers on the two networks will not have to switch sim cards. In Kayonza and Rwamagana towns, dealers of Vodacom products were openly luring more Rwandans to get connected to the Tanzanian network. An official in Rwandatel said his company 'is not worried about the competition.'
(Source: The New Times)

Source: Balancing Act.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:03:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thai communications and media holding group Shin Corp, controlled by Singapore's Temasek, has reported that its net profit in 2007 decreased by 6.3% to THB3.1 billion (USD101 million), on revenues of THB22.8 billion, down by THB142 million year-on-year. The firm’s share of the net results of leading Thai mobile network operator Advanced Info Services (AIS) contributed 30.2% of total revenues. AIS, which has already reported its results separately, finished the year with a total of 24.1 million GSM users, an annual rise of 23%. In Laos, Lao Telecommunications Company (LTC), 49%-owned by Shin’s Shenington Investments unit, saw mobile subscribers increase by 28.7% year-on-year to 700,306 at the end of December, primarily due to expansion following increased marketing activities targeted at low-usage subscribers. LTC’s mobile ARPU increased by 10% whist its number of fixed PSTN subscribers increased by just 0.1% in the year. In Cambodia, Camshin, wholly owned by Shenington Investments, increased its mobile user base by 72.1% in 2007 to 469,514, again driven by marketing aimed at low-end pre-paid customers. Camshin’s mobile ARPU decreased 12.1% on an annual basis, primarily as a result of the introduction of promotional packages following increased competition. Shin Corp also has a stake in Thailand’s largest dial-up ISP, CS Loxinfo, which launched ADSL services in 2006.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:13:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 25, 2008

Reliable sources indicate that Vodacom is close to signing a deal with Libyan-owned Lap Green to take over its recently purchased operations in Rwanda and Uganda. A draft of the agreement clearly indicates that Vodacom would take over a majority stake and have technical control, whilst Lap Green would remain a significant minority shareholder.

If the deal comes off, it would make sense of much that so far has not made much sense. Libya’s Lap Green clearly has not lacked for money but has so far only sent in a small number of its own management personnel. As one person in the ISP sector in Uganda observed:"Not much has happened on the practical side and there’s no sign of change yet." From the Vodacom perspective, it would offer them two new territories after a long period of no new acquisitions.

The mobile market in Uganda is clearly the larger prize with an estimated 4.5 million subscribers. Currently, utl is the smallest player after MTN with 1.25 million subscribers and Celtel with 1.2 million subscribers. The Celtel operation, which used to be in poor shape, is now powering ahead and becoming a serious challenger for market leadership.

The latest entrant Warid seems to have acquired 20-30,000 subscribers in its two week existence but does not yet seem to have set the market alight. MTN introduced a pre-emptive 14% drop in its tariffs and Warid opened with slightly lower tariffs. Competitors acknowledge that it has good network coverage but that it has no particular local insight and only a narrow product range. Prices still seem set to fall further and there is the makings of a price war when the fifth operator HITS finally enters the market. Optimistically, this might be in May of this year.

Meanwhile, Uganda is only the latest country to join the 3G arms race. Both Celtel and MTN are installing 3G, although the latter is only likely to have it in Kampala and around Entebbe Airport. MTN has 65,000 subscribers on a combination of its EDGE upgrade and its Wi-MAX fixed broadband locations in 51 Ugandan towns. Achieved download speeds on both are in the region of 250 kbps. It has found that introducing a 3G network has meant finding new sites to ensure sufficient coverage.

As MTN’s CEO Erik van Veene told us:"We are really doing a couple of laps round the track before the fibre cable arrives." It hopes to be able to offer cheaper local pricing so as to encourage local hosting and content.

Source: Balancing Act.

3G | Africa | Mobile | Operators
Monday, February 25, 2008 4:23:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Mobile, the world's largest operator by subscriber numbers has announced plans to seek overseas expansion and is considering setting up an MVNO in the saturated European market, along with industry favourite - the emerging markets of Asia and Africa.

Henry Ge, chief representative of China Mobile UK, told the Financial Times that the company would focus on three areas: emerging markets; overseas Chinese customers wanting to keep in touch with home; and "the short-term visiting market", which included travelling business customers and the growing number of Chinese tourists.

Vodafone has built up a 3.3 percent stake in China Mobile over a couple of purchases and has a representative on the company board of directors.

Last year, the China Mobile's unlisted parent company took control of Pakistan based Paktel for US$460 million and announced plans to spend a similar amount on improving the network.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:40:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

APA-Maputo (Mozambique) South African-based mobile phone company, Vodacom-Mozambique (VM) has announced a 40 percent share in Mozambique's mobile phone market, five years after entering the market.

The chairman of Mozambique's second cell phone operator, Hermenegildo Gamito, said that by January 2008, VM had reached 1.5 million clients, which is over 40 percent of the estimated 3.3 million cell phone users in the country.

"We now have a market share of 40 percent in Mozambique, that is 3.3 million, and is only 16 percent of the Mozambican population from which we may readily conclude that the penetration of mobile telephony in Mozambique is still regarded as rather weak", he said at a business lunch with Mozambican journalists in Maputo, the country's capital.

"VM is working with government bodies to improve the business environment for mobile telephony, with the aim of allowing greater access to existing services", Gamito added.

Vodacom, a subsidiary of the South African Vodacom Group, was awarded a mobile network license in 2002 to become the second cellular operator in the country after paying U$$15 million for the license to compete with mCel, which is owned by the Mozambican government and a German company Detecon.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:38:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 22, 2008

India's Reliance Communications has announced acquisition of Uganda based Anupam Global Soft, a company holding Public Infrastructure Provider License (PIPL) and Public Service Provider License (PSPL) issued by Uganda Communications Commission. The company says that following the acquisition - for an unspecified amount - it plans to spend up to US$500 million on building out the telecoms network.

Under the existing Licenses, Reliance Communications targets to offer Mobile, Fixed Line, Internet, National and International Long Distance services, in addition to WiMax and Wi-Fi services in Uganda.

Click here to see full article

Figures from the Mobile World database note that the population penetration level in Uganda had reached 13.3% at the end of September - compared to the 10% figure reported by Reliance for the end of last March.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:55:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Mobile, the world's largest operator by subscriber numbers has announced plans to seek overseas expansion and is considering setting up an MVNO in the saturated European market, along with industry favourite - the emerging markets of Asia and Africa.

Henry Ge, chief representative of China Mobile UK, told the Financial Times that the company would focus on three areas: emerging markets; overseas Chinese customers wanting to keep in touch with home; and "the short-term visiting market", which included travelling business customers and the growing number of Chinese tourists.

Vodafone has built up a 3.3 percent stake in China Mobile over a couple of purchases and has a representative on the company board of directors.

Last year, the China Mobile's unlisted parent company took control of Pakistan based Paktel for US$460 million and announced plans to spend a similar amount on improving the network.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:50:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |