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 Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A joint initiative between the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and telecoms operators Omantel and Nawras will see 250 remote villages across Oman provided with mobile telephony services within two years. Times of Oman reports that around 200 base stations will be installed in unserved villages under the programme, including 120 2G and 80 3G cell sites.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:53:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 21, 2014

Canada’s federal government has promised an additional CAD305 million (USD277.5 million) over five years to expand and upgrade broadband internet services in rural and Northern communities, reports IT World Canada. Finance minister James Flaherty’s new budget sets a goal of giving 280,000 more rural households access to download speeds of at least 5Mbps, as per a five-year target established in 2011 by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Ottawa spent CAD225 million in 2010-13 to upgrade services to dozens of communities which previously had either minimal internet speeds or no internet access at all.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:58:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 31, 2014

Ukraine’s dominant national fixed network operator Ukrtelecom has reported on recent efforts to expand its coverage of rural fixed broadband internet access services, with an additional 4,000 connections in 28 small towns/villages in twelve regions deployed in the last month. Ukrtelecom’s ‘OGO’ branded market-leading DSL broadband service currently has nearly 1.65 million subscribers, the company claims (up from 1.626 million at 30 September 2013), while Ukrtelecom says it also serves approximately nine million subscribers of fixed telephony, although according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database this figure is down from 9.4 million just over a year ago.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 31, 2014 3:44:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 03, 2013

The Croatian Postal & Electronic Communications Agency (HAKOM) has announced that it has received bids from four companies for grants for the deployment of broadband networks in remote and rural areas, especially in areas of special state concern, including mountainous areas and islands. The four bidders have been named as VIPnet, T-Hrvatski Telekom, Pro-Ping and Optika Kabel TV. The regulator said it expects to reach a decision by 28 June.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:26:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 23, 2013

AfricaOnline has reported ‘overwhelming’ demand for its new ‘NawaSat’ nationwide low-cost satellite internet service in Namibia. Following the nationwide launch – which expanded on an earlier limited launch – the ISP said that it has a long waiting list of customers, which include rural lodges, farms, users in small towns, as well as big corporate clients in larger centres. The base price is NAD500 (USD52) per month, while out-of-bundle top-up rates ‘compare extremely favourably with other products on the market’, according to AfricaOnline’s general manager Marc Gregan, who added that, ‘We explored the product with a view to making internet affordable in small communities, isolated areas and at lodges, but this also competes in urban areas.’ NawaSat is provided in cooperation with satellite service provider SES.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 1:03:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2013

Microsoft, in collaboration with Kenya's ICT ministry and Indigo Telecom, announced the launch of a pilot project to deliver low-cost wireless broadband to previously unserved locations near Nanyuki and Kalema, Kenya. The network uses TV white spaces and solar-powered base stations to deliver broadband access.

This pilot is part of Microsoft's broader 4Afrika Initiative to help improve the continent's global competitiveness. A core goal of the 4Afrika Initiative is to facilitate access to technology for the masses and to empower African students, entrepreneurs, developers and others to become active global citizens. The project is the first deployment of TV white space technology in Africa targeted at communities without access to broadband or electricity and is a result of a memorandum of understanding on a framework of cooperation between Microsoft, the Kenyan ICT ministry and Indigo Telecom. 

The initial installation near Nanyuki includes five customer locations: the Burguret Dispensary (healthcare clinic), Male Primary School, Male Secondary School, Gakawa Secondary School and Laikipia District Community Library. The installation in Kalema will begin with a base station that connects to a government of Kenya agricultural extension office. Fourteen more locations on the network will be added in the coming months. The network will also feature white space radios manufactured by Adaptrum.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, February 18, 2013 11:15:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 14, 2012

The UK’s rural broadband rollout strategy, which had been placed on hold in July 2012 in order for European regulators examine to it, looks set to get underway again with the European Commission (EC) confirming that Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the umbrella support scheme for investments in next generation access (NGA) broadband networks, does comply with European Union (EU) state aid rules.

BDUK, a team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), was set up to deliver the government’s broadband strategy, with its main role being to allocate and distribute funding to bring superfast broadband to the third of UK homes and businesses which are not expected to be provided for by commercial rollouts. The British government had originally aimed for an open process in which community groups and private firms would be commissioned to build Europe’s ‘best superfast broadband network’, with BDUK having published a framework covering 35 local authority areas, under which contractors competed to win equipment supply deals. However, with claims that the selection criteria had proved insurmountable, a number of companies, including Geo and Cable & Wireless, withdrew from the process last year. With fixed line incumbent BT and Fujitstu emerging as the only two companies to ink contracts for a rural broadband rollout, the EC said that no work would move forward until it was satisfied with the plans. One of the main concerns with the setup was reportedly that BT was unprepared to offer access on a sufficiently open basis to the infrastructure it will roll out, with Brussels thought to want the incumbent to allow rival operators to be able to rent its dark fibre.

With the EC suggesting that the total value of aid to be delivered by the scheme would be around GBP1.5 billion (USD1.8 billion), it claimed this would likely enable the UK to achieve the objective of the EU Digital Agenda of coverage of 30Mbps networks for all European citizens. Further, noting that the design of the BDUK scheme contained several ‘best practices’ which it claimed would ‘help to ensure more effective, better targeted and less distortive public interventions’, the EC also pointed out that UK telecoms regulator Ofcom will have a crucial role in designing wholesale access prices and conditions. The UK meanwhile is understood to have committed to submitting an evaluation of the scheme to the Commission before 31 March 2015, while it will also ensure that any forthcoming scheme will take this evaluation into account.

Commenting on the decision, Joaquin Almunia, EC vice president, noted: ‘BDUK, as a national competence centre, will assist local granting authorities in designing and implementing successful broadband support measures in line with EU competition rules. The umbrella scheme will be a big step towards the achievement of the EU Digital Agenda targets and a strong impetus for growth in the UK.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, December 14, 2012 11:10:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2012

Brazilian telco Oi SA, the entity formed through the restructuring of Telemar Participacoes’ former operating divisions Brasil Telecom, Tele Norte Leste Participacoes, Coari Participacoes and Telemar Norte Leste, has extended the operational footprint of its national broadband plan – Plano Nacional de Banda Larga (PNBL) – to 2,005 municipalities. Oi SA, which markets its internet offering under the Oi Velox banner, reached its latest milestone through the deployment of services to an additional 113 cities, and now targets coverage of 4,800 municipalities by the end of 2014. The carrier added that around 40% of cities covered are located in the north and northwest of Brazil. In total, Oi Velox is now available in 24 states across the country, excluding the Federal District, and offers users a low-cost 1Mbps internet service for BRL35 (USD17.2) per month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:27:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 29, 2012

Croatia’s T-Hrvatski Telekom (T-HT) reports that it has expanded its 3G W-CDMA/HSPA mobile network coverage throughout central and eastern regions. The expanded 3G footprint includes Bjelovar, Daruvar, Pakrac, Virovitica, Slatina, Nasice, Pozega, Garesnica, Orahovica, Pitomaca, Kutjevo, Lipik, Pleternice and ‘many smaller settlements’ as well as road coverage.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:46:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 01, 2012

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in Nepal has announced plans to use NPR5.63 billion (USD66.9 million) from the state’s Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) to expand the provision of fibre-optic services to more remote parts of the country. MyRepublica reports that the rollout programme is being carried out under the auspices of the Kingdom’s ‘District Optical Fiber Project’, and that it has assigned a committee to oversee the scheme which will target making improvements in the quality of voice and data services in certain rural areas. The ambitious District Optical Fibre Network Project is aiming to construct a high speed data service, offering 256kbps bandwidth in 38 districts and their rural communities by 2014.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:52:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gabonese internet service provider (ISP) Internet Gabon has launched its ‘Triple Net’ project, a partnership between itself, the European Satellite Company (SES) and Hughes Advantage, that aims to expand internet access and satellite TV to rural areas of Gabon, reports Africa Info. The trio intend to expand the USD12 million project to rural areas throughout francophone southern Africa. Internet Gabon claims to have already installed VSAT equipment to 500 sites, and set up 50 wireless in the local loop (WiLL) towers. The ISP added that the ‘Triple Net’ project would allow it reduce prices for end users, whilst it would endeavour to ensure that installation and delivery were very simple.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:29:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mexican president Felipe Calderon has announced that Mexico expects to launch auctions within the next two months that aim to boost coverage of telecommunications services offered over fibre, BNamerica reports.

The development dovetails with an earlier announcement that the Mexican government is aiming to promote high speed internet adoption in part by the sale of concessions that would allow the winning bidders to utilise state-owned fibre-optic lines and to build networks in those areas that currently do not have access to broadband services. As reported by CommsUpdate in January 2012, the initiative was expected to see the government conduct auctions that will include contracts to use two fibre-optic lines from state-owned powerco Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), while bids will also be taken on the use of fibre links running on along the federal highway network. Commenting on the latest plans, President Calderon was cited as saying: ‘We’re going to launch 1,000 new access points of CFE’s fibre-optic network and I’ve instructed the CFE’s director to increase the 20,000km of fibre to 30,000km.’

The head of state has also confirmed that an auction will be conducted to extend fibre-optic connectivity to Mexico’s south-west coast, to Ometepec, in the state of Guerrero, with the government expected to subsidise the rollout using money from its infrastructure fund, with the winning bidder to be that which requests the smallest subsidy. Further, looking ahead the head of state has confirmed that all new highways constructed in Mexico will have fibre-optic cable laid at the time of building.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:29:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Guardian newspaper reports that Vodacom’s Tanzanian operating subsidiary intends to expand coverage of its popular money transfer service M-PESA to even the most remote parts of the country, by dint of the TZS130 billion (USD83.8 million) network upgrade it is currently undertaking. Rene Meza, managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, says that the M-PESA service – launched in 2008 – is now taken by almost three million subscribers, helping to drive overall customer growth. Speaking in February this year, Meza said the sharp increase in subscribers was largely driven by people signing up to M-PESA, which has a claimed 85% share of total e-mobile commerce transactions in the country. It is clear that the money transfer service has made a significant contribution to the socio economic development of the country and ‘revolutionised’ the way many people do business there.

Meza is now confident that, with the planned network upgrade, Vodacom will be able to open up some otherwise ‘uncovered’ areas to its products and services. As reported by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Tanzanian operator’s South Africa-based parent, Vodacom Group, earlier reported that its unit in Tanzania increased its active subscriber base in the twelve months ended 31 March 2012, closing out the period with 9.665 million users, a market share of 40.5%.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:14:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

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

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

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:51:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Amid concerns that it is not competitive, the UK’s rural broadband rollout strategy has reportedly been placed on hold while European regulators examine it, British broadsheet The Guardian reports. The development comes after confirmation that just two companies – fixed line incumbent BT and Japanese technology firm Fujitsu – had been selected to receive funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) set up to deliver the government’s broadband strategy. BDUK’s main role is to allocate and distribute GBP530 million (USD829 million) in funding with a view to bringing superfast broadband to the third of UK homes and businesses which are not expected to be provided for by commercial rollouts.

The state had originally aimed for an open process in which community groups and private firms would be commissioned to build Europe’s ‘best superfast broadband network’, with BDUK having published a framework covering 35 local authority areas, under which contractors competed to win equipment supply deals. However, with claims that the selection criteria had proved insurmountable, a number of companies, including Geo and Cable & Wireless withdrew from the process last year.

With both BT and Fujitstu having reportedly signed contracts last Friday for their respective portions of funding, it has been confirmed that no work will move forward until the European Commission is satisfied with the plans. It has been suggested that one of the main concerns with the setup is that BT is unprepared to offer access on a sufficiently open basis to the infrastructure it will roll out, with Brussels thought to want the incumbent to allow rival operators to be able to rent its dark fibre. A BT spokesman was cited as saying of the development: ‘Discussions between the UK government and the commission continue on the issue of state aid. This is an EU issue as the commission is developing rules that need to work across Europe as well as taking the different conditions in the UK into consideration … We are working with the UK authorities for an outcome that both incentivises further investment in fibre broadband and delivers vibrant competition in broadband services … We believe there needs to be consistency with the wider regulatory framework which has given the UK the most competitive broadband environment in the world.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:42:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has launched a national project aimed at providing basic telecoms services to over 150 villages in remote and rural areas of the country, Times of Oman reports. Implementation of the project will begin in the third quarter of this year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Work will be carried out in cooperation with the Sultanate’s two licensed telecoms operators, Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) and Nawras, which will build a total of 120 base transceiver stations (BTS) in rural areas. ‘Telecoms companies usually target areas with high population density that have economic returns in order to develop their networks and provide various services,’ noted Dr Hamed Al Rawahi, chief executive of the TRA, adding: ‘Though this initiative will provide telecoms services in many additional areas, there would be areas that will remain without services. This is an issue that the TRA is currently working on through implementing field surveys in the remaining areas, upon specifying such areas the TRA will set the plans to accomplish the coverage of the remaining villages, in coordination with other government authorities.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 4:09:55 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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The World Bank’s board of directors has approved the extension of Nicaragua’s Rural Telecommunications Project, with an additional credit line of USD5 million. The funding will be used to expand telecoms access to more than 200,000 rural inhabitants in Rio San Juan, the Region Autonoma del Atlantico Norte (RAAN), the Region Autonoma del Atlantico Sur (RAAS) and the Alto Wanki Territory. The rural initiative, which was introduced in 2007, with an initial investment of USD7 million, has already installed broadband access points in 101 municipalities, expanded mobile phone coverage to 37 rural communities, and installed almost 600 public phones in rural areas. In these areas, poverty levels reach almost 55%, and the problems are especially prevalent in indigenous communities which lack access to the country’s national communication networks.

Orlando Castillo, executive president of the Instituto Nicaraguense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos (Telcor), commented: ‘With the extension of this project, we will be able to increase regional access to telecommunications services by at least 40%, something that will have a positive effect on the local economy.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:39:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:11:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 22, 2012

Chilean telecoms regulator the Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel) has announced the completion of its public-private initiative, to deliver broadband services to remote rural communities. The project, which saw Subtel partner with local operator Entel and was launched December 2009, rolled out wireless broadband networks to 1,474 towns and villages allowing around three million Chileans to access the internet more easily. The project cost USD110 million, with Entel providing USD65 million, and USD45 million coming from the Fund for the Development of Telecommunications (FDT) and the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications (MTT). As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the first stage of the project was completed in September 2010, having connected 451 communities, consisting of around 1.7 million people.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 3:02:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azeri telecoms operator AzTelekom, which is wholly owned by the state via the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), is set to expand the availability of broadband services in rural parts of the country through the deployment of a 600km fibre-optic cable. Telecompaper cites a report by news agency Trend as saying that the operator is carrying out the project in partnership with seven private internet service providers (ISPs), five of which have already commenced work, with 200km of fibre deployed to eleven telecoms access nodes. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that AzTelekom operates in the internet market through its subsidiary AzTelekom.NET, which was established in September 2004. It provides a range of connection options, including dial-up, leased lines and ADSL (offering transmission speeds of up to 10Mbps), and also provides voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) telephony.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:59:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Regional US operator Pioneer Cellular has inaugurated its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in selected parts of six counties in central and western Oklahoma, adjacent to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, Telecompetitor reports. Additional base stations are expected to be lit over the course of the next ten months, as the cellco’s network deployment gathers pace. When completed, the network will cover more than 260,000 people in 21 counties across nearly 17,000 miles of central, western and southern Oklahoma.

The network launch, which took place towards the end of last month, means that Pioneer Cellular technically becomes the first participant in Verizon Wireless’s ‘LTE in Rural America’ programme to go live, narrowly beating Wisconsin-based Cellcom, which launched LTE earlier this week. Pioneer Cellular CEO Richard Ruhl told the website that the company will initially offer three devices for use with the network: a MiFi hotspot, a USB dongle and a fixed home router. Within 30 days he expects the cellco to offer LTE-suitable mobile handsets. Pricing will be ‘comparable’ to the amounts charged by Tier 1 carriers, although Pioneer is also expected to unveil a number of multi-play offers leveraging its fixed line business.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Pioneer was one of the first regional carriers to join the LTE in Rural America programme, back in December 2010. It began testing its LTE network twelve months later, and indicated that it expected to launch commercial LTE services this spring. In May 2010, prior to its commercial LTE launch, Verizon Wireless revealed that it was looking to partner with an unspecified number of rural operators in an effort to speed up its LTE deployments. The cellco planned to lease pockets of its 700MHz spectrum to rural carriers so that they can roll out LTE networks of their own, over which Verizon will have roaming rights. Verizon said that it would not insist that the rural carriers used Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as their LTE infrastructure vendors as Verizon has done, but noted that there may be some benefits from economies of scale through sharing vendors.

Source: United States.

Friday, June 22, 2012 9:41:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 3:29:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2011
The Telecommunications (TSO, Broadband and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has passed its third and final reading in New Zealand's Parliament. The Bill provides the regulatory framework for the government's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiatives. It also implements reforms to the Telecommunications Service Obligation (TSO) regime, and implements measures to assist in the roll-out of broadband. The Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative aims to deliver fibre connectivity to schools, hospitals and 90 percent of businesses by 2015, and to three-quarters of all New Zealanders by 2020.
 
The Rural Broadband Initiative will cover areas outside of the UFB and will enable 97 percent of schools to connect to ultra-fast broadband and 97 percent of households to receive peak speeds of at least 5 Mbps. The bill also clears the way for the structural separation of Telecom New Zealand into two new businesses, as part of Telecom's involvement in the Ultra-Fast Broadband project. Following Royal Assent, the bill is scheduled to come into force on 1 July.
 
Source: TelecomPaper


Thursday, July 14, 2011 9:44:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National regulator the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is promising to improve telecoms access in rural areas under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s ‘Equal Opportunity Trust Fund’, The Citizen daily quotes its deputy coastal zone manager Jumanne Ikuja as saying.

According to the TCRA official, the agency is exploring all angles to ensure that areas currently without access to services can receive them. ‘The authority continues to receive information and complaints from different areas regarding poor communication services … we are making analysis that will give us the way forward on all these problems,’ said Mr Ikuja. With companies tending to avoid big investment in areas of low or no chance of profitability, the TCRA is providing its equal opportunity trust fund to subsidise the cost of enabling such remote areas.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, April 12, 2011 3:53:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mexican fixed line incumbent Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) has unveiled plans to break its fixed line voice operations apart, revealing it aims to form two separate companies, one of which will exclusively serve rural areas, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the telco’s proposals, which will require the approval of the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) and other regulatory bodies, Telmex intends to create a new company, Telmex Social, to service rural regions and those areas of the country ‘in which there is no economic interest of any competitor’. The new company, Telmex said, would continue to pay the same interconnection rates to competitors as the enlarged operator currently does.

The move, it is thought, is in part aimed at countering criticism of Telmex’s dominant position in the fixed line voice sector; it currently has a market share of around 80%.

Further, it is also believed that Telmex, which is controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, hopes that the decision to split its operations will prompt the relevant regulatory bodies to allow it to offer IPTV services and triple-play bundles, which would allow it to compete directly with the country’s main cable TV operator Televisa, which already offers such packages.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 3:36:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has announced plans to cut the interconnection tariff of international call termination. The watchdog hopes the measure will reduce the use of illegal VoIP services. Four telcos currently own VoIP concessions: Nepal Telecom (NT), United Telecom (UTL), Spice Nepal (Ncell) and STM Telecom, although only NT has started offering a VoIP service for incoming calls. The regulator recently stated that more companies would be awarded VoIP licences provided they expand their service area to 25 districts covering 1,300 village district committees (VDCs).

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:01:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 13, 2011

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

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

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:20:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Chilean government, former fixed line incumbent Entel and Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson have announced a plan to provide three million people in remote rural Chile with mobile broadband and mobile telephony by the end of 2011. The first stage of the project - Rural Internet Network: All Chile Communicated - was completed in September this year, by which time 1.7 million people had been connected. In 2009 Entel and Ericsson won a USD45 million public contract from the government to provide broadband access to between 70% and 90% of the rural population. The two-year end-to-end project includes deployment of core and radio access networks for both 2G and 3G platforms. Ericsson is building, integrating and activating 2G and 3G base stations at about 1,500 rural locations.

Nicolas Brancoli, President of Ericsson Chile, said: ‘This project marks a new milestone in public-private partnerships in Latin America because we're collaborating in the financing and the development of this connectivity plan. Research shows that a 10% increase in mobile penetration in developing countries leads to a 1.2% increase in gross domestic product. We hope this project will reduce the digital divide and help increase social and economic empowerment in Chile's developing regions.’

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:02:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 27, 2010

­The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) says that it plans to spend P1.5 billion (US$34 million) to roll out more additional cell sites in rural areas across the country. The company expects to deploy an additional 500 base station "to complete the gap in remote areas", Napoleon Nazareno, PLDT's president and chief executive told reporters.

The rural expansion is part of the P28.6 billion (US$657 million) capex for this year, and the rural expansion is expected to be completed within three months.

The company currently has some 9,000 base stations, of which 114 are running on renewable energy supplies. This figure is expected to rise as the rural base stations will be in areas with unreliable power supplies.

According to the Mobile World analysts, the company's mobile division - which trades as Smart - ended June with just under 43.4 million customers, representing a market share of 55%.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:20:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 09, 2010

Belize Telemedia Ltd (BTL) has launched a new fixed-wireless telephony and high speed internet service for rural customers based on 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology in the 450MHz frequency band. Users, some in areas previously without access to a full range of services, can now sign up for ‘HomeFone’ or ‘BizFone’ CDMA fixed line phone services (including SMS) and broadband-speed internet access. The network is being rolled out in phases commencing with villages in the southern part of the country. BTL says thousands of additional users will benefit from the new service.

The telco also announced it had completed upgrades to its fibre-optic transmission network in the south, increasing capacity in the Punta Gorda and Independence areas, whilst giving continuous capacity from Belize City to Punta Gorda both via Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) and Under Hung Fibre Cables. Telemedia’s existing fibre-optic network extends from Belize City to the northern and western borders and also into Belmopan.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:52:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 25, 2010

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

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:09:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that at the end of 2009 voice telephony services were available to 99.86% of the country’s administrative villages (up from 98% a year earlier), while internet access covered 91.5% (up from 89%), according to data from the regulator MIIT. Between them, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom raised RMB10.3 billion (USD1.5 billion) to help deploy telephone and internet networks in mountainous regions and plateau areas last year.

Meanwhile, China Mobile is reported to have finished 2009 with more than five million 3G subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the cellco launched its 3G TD-SCDMA network in April 2008.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:42:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The UK government is seeking comments on how to spend its planned GBP 1 billion Next Generation Fund.
 
First unveiled last summer, the fund will be used to bring next-generation broadband services to rural and under-served areas of the country, with the goal of 90 percent of the population able to access the faster services by 2017. The fund will be financed by a tax of GBP 0.50 on fixed-line subscriptions, for which legislation is pending. The government expects the market will deliver the faster broadband to around 60-70 percent of the country, and wants the public fund to support the roll-out of fast networks in other areas.
 
The consultation published by the department for business innovation and skills is seeking feedback on a number of issues, with responses due by 1 April. Questions include minimum requirements for next-generation access and services, estimated costs of roll-out for different technologies, whether to distribute funds on a regional or national level and in what areas of the country, models for distributing the state aid, possible market-distorting effects of the aid, and obligations on deployed networks such as clawback of funds or open access.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:40:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 21, 2009

Paraguay's National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has granted mobile operator Tigo the license for universal service provision, local newspaper ABC reports. Tigo will receive subsidies of PYG 5 billion from the Universal Service Fund to deploy mobile telephony lines in areas currently not covered by the network of Paraguay's state-owned operator incumbent Copaco. Over the next six months, Tigo will have to deploy mobile phone lines in the department of San Pedro. The overall subsidies for this area reach PYG 1.15 billion. Additionally, subsidies for the department of Concepcion exceed PYG 2.28 billion, while the Amambay region has been assigned PYG 1.12 billion and the Canindeyu area will receive up to PYG 377 million in universal service subsidies.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 21, 2009 9:15:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Estonian government has approved plans to construct a nationwide superfast broadband network, according to local news source Postimees Online. Under the proposals the state expects 90% of the country to have access to the 100Mbps network by 2012, with the remainder of the population to be connected by 2015. Juhan Parts, Estonia’s minister of economic affairs and communications, also revealed that the government would create an autonomous foundation comprising all major telecommunication providers in the country to oversee the network’s development. ‘The state plans to provide significant support for developing the infrastructure; as of now, the state’s contribution that is required is approximately EEK1 billion (USD91.45 million)’, the minister noted. It is expected that the government will fund the deployment of infrastructure in those areas, mostly rural and sparsely populated, that are not considered financially feasible by commercial operators.

Source: Telegeography

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:38:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 27, 2009

­Fueled by mobile penetration into the rural market and by uptake of 3G services, China's telecommunications market will generate $187 billion by 2014, surpassing Japan to become the largest telecommunications services market in Asia, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

China's telecommunications market generated US$110 billion in 2008, making it the second largest telecommunications services market in Asia/Pacific after Japan, notes Daniel Yu, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "Given continued demand for connectivity and rising adoption of mobile and fixed broadband services, the Chinese market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent between 2009 and 2014, reaching $187 billion by 2014, surpassing Japan as the largest telecommunications services market in Asia," Yu says.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Monday, July 27, 2009 4:24:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 22, 2009

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has invited bids from both private and state-owned operators to roll out around 28,000 fixed line broadband exchanges and 6,000 satellite broadband sites as part of efforts to increase broadband penetration across the country, particularly in rural regions. According to the Economic Times the project will be funded from the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which at present is understood to have around INR200 billion (USD4.1 billion) in unutilised funds. The successful bidders will be required to share their infrastructure with other operators, and the subsidy granted by the USOF will be allocated in a phased manner, with the final value determined by the degree to which infrastructure is shared.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 3:01:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The World Bank has agreed to give Tanzania USD100 million to improve telecoms infrastructure in governmental buildings, improve access in rural parts of the country and boost registration systems, Reuters reports citing bank officials as saying. The funding forms part of a total of USD151 million approved to boost telecoms access in Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. Although Tanzania was home to a total of 14 million mobile and fixed line users at the end of March this year, up from 13.1 million at 31 December 2008, access to the internet, especially in rural areas, is patchy at best.

Source: Telegeography.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:05:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lord Stephen Carter, the UK’s communication minister, has released the final version of his Digital Britain report, which details proposals for improving and expanding the nation’s digital infrastructure. Echoing the previous indications in the interim report, which was published in January 2009, one of the main proposals is for the universal provision of broadband services at speeds of 2Mbps, which is expected to be delivered through a combination of fixed and mobile technologies. Approximately 15% of British homes are not currently able to receive 2Mbps services, and the government will release approximately GBP200 million (USD328 million) from unused funds previously set aside to assist elderly people with the switch from analogue to digital TV. To manage the process a Network Design and Procurement Group will be created, and will be responsible for structuring and running the procurement process, overseeing delivery, ensuring active stakeholder engagement, and accountability for the value for money use of the direct public contribution to the Universal Service Commitment.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:08:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel intends to hold a licensing tender for voice telephony and broadband internet services in rural parts of the country, Agencia Estado reports citing the communications minister Helio Costa. The tender could take place later this year and will favour telcos that pledge to deliver broadband internet services for rural areas by offering them lower licence fees, the minister said. Costa said the government has set itself a target of providing 100% telephony coverage in rural areas by 2014, adding that it would use the 450MHz frequency for phone services in such areas.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:27:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |