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 Monday, November 10, 2014

Data from TeleGeography’s new Business Broadband Research Service reveal that business broadband prices vary widely, not just by country, but also within countries.

Western European markets are among the most competitive in the world. The median monthly price of a fixed broadband plan with between 10Mbps and 16Mbps of downstream bandwidth is USD47 in Germany, while comparable plans cost USD28 in Spain and USD34 in the Netherlands.

Business broadband service is also relatively inexpensive in many East Asian economies, such as Taiwan, where the median price of 10-16Mbps service is USD37 per month; Japan, where it’s USD39 per month; and Vietnam, at USD29 per month. However, due to the diverse levels of broadband infrastructure availability and competition in the region, prices can be far higher in other countries. In Malaysia for example, the median price of a 10-16Mbps plan is USD140 per month. Business broadband service can be particularly expensive in Africa, where 10-16Mbps median prices are USD93 in South Africa, USD161 in Nigeria, and USD352 in Kenya.

Broadband prices can also vary widely within countries. In Chile, where the median price of a 10-16Mbps plan is USD41 per month, the highest price is two times the lowest price. In the United States, where the median price is USD90 per month, the high price is seven times the low. Similarly, the high price in Germany is three times the low price, while the high price in South Africa is an astonishing 24 times the low.

Business broadband services are priced for the local market. ‘Price differences between countries reflect competition, geography, population density, and the local cost of wholesale IP transit,’ said TeleGeography analyst Rob Schult. ‘Price differences within countries reflect similar characteristics, with the greatest differences coming between urban and rural markets. For a single geography and downstream speed, product features such as upstream bandwidth, multiple static IP addresses, data limits, and domain hosting have the greatest impact on price.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, November 10, 2014 3:39:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 16, 2014

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

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

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:47:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rican regulator Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) has announced that it will hold a public consultation regarding the possible introduction of a flat rate for mobile internet services for both pre- and post-paid customers based on the amount of data transferred, local news outlet El Financiero reports. Under the proposed scheme, all users would be charged CRC0.0075 (USD0.00001) per kB, regardless of transmission speed, and at present, that pricing model is used only in the pre-paid space. Senoran Matias, the manager of Spanish-backed cellco Movistar, a relative newcomer to the market, commented that the charging model was a necessary change and would allow a wider range of offers, adaptable to the needs of customers, adding that limited download plans were ‘unsustainable.’ The hearing is scheduled for 1 July and Sutel has a month to respond to the comments of the consultation before making a decision on the tariff plan.

Sutel president Mayleana Mendez was quoted by TeleSemana in an interview in late April as saying that unlimited use tariffs had created a strain on the network resources of telcos, to the detriment of overall service quality and going as far as to say that some ‘aggressive’ consumers were almost abusing the system. According to Mendez, 40% of network resources were being consumed by 5% of the subscriber base. The official added that the situation was troubling and that the regulator was investigating measures to address the matter.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:33:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 12, 2014
Vodacom Tanzania is offering all users unlimited access to mobile internet on its new ‘Uhuru Wa Kweli’ data bundles, irrespective of what type of phone they use, available on all daily, weekly and monthly plans. The cellco’s managing director Rene Meza said the move is designed to help ensure Tanzanians have access to the internet at affordable rates and to narrow the digital divide in the country. Uhuru Wa Kweli allows Vodacom Tanzania users to purchase a daily data bundle for TZS1,000 (USD0.62), or TZS6,000 for a seven-day equivalent, while monthly data bundles will cost TZS20,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:41:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, increased its tariffs by an average of 14% at the start of this month, in response to the high inflation in the cost of utilities, goods and services. The company said in a press release that it ‘must maintain profitability of its operations to support sustainable development of telecommunications in Malawi, which in turn contributes significantly to the country’s economy.’ It adds that in order to achieve this level of profitability, TNM must continue to invest heavily in network expansion and infrastructure development; the tariff adjustments therefore aim to keep pace with the financing needs of TNM’s operations, while sustaining profitability. Going forward, the company, which exceeded the two million mobile subscriber mark in July 2013, says it plans to continue introducing new products and services at affordable prices, while also striving to maintain network service quality.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:30:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 01, 2014

Greenland’s incumbent wireless operator TELE Greenland has announced that it will significantly lower its mobile tariffs from 1 May. According to a company press release, the country’s telecoms watchdog, the Telecom Agency (Telestyrelsen), has approved a number of new tariffs, with the price for mobile data decreasing by DKK0.75 (USD0.14) per 1MB, to DKK1. Further, the cellco will halve the prices for sending SMS/MMS to DKK0.60, while voice calls will be charged at DKK1.23 per minute, regardless of the call time. TELE Greenland will also introduce two new mobile packages on 1 May: ‘Mobile Akulleq’, priced at DKK275 per month, includes 120 minutes of voice calls, 500 SMS/MMS and 500MB of data, while ‘Mobile Angisooq’, which costs DKK350 per month, comprises of 180 minutes of voice calls, 1,000 text or multimedia messages and 1GB of data. Meanwhile, the ‘Mobile Data 300’ plan will be discontinued, and current subscribers will be automatically migrated to Mobile Angisooq from 1 May.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:17:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Science, technology, energy and mining minister Philip Paulwell has revealed that the government intends to introduce a new broadband provider to the market to increase competition and drive down prices. The Jamaica Observer quotes the minister as saying that: ‘The price for broadband is too high. We want to see more competition…to get those prices down… and [as such], I am going to bring in another [operator].’ Further details were not forthcoming, however, and it remains unclear whether the intended newcomer will operate its own infrastructure. Paulwell also confirmed that he had received assurances from Digicel and LIME that the duo were planning to upgrade their broadband services, claiming that they had committed to rolling out broadband services ‘in a much more vigorous way.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:43:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 27, 2014

Telecom Namibia has announced the launch of revised, ‘affordable’ data-only fixed broadband packages for residential, small office/home office (SOHO) and small enterprise customers, under a promotion running for a month ending 20 June 2014. New ‘Speedlink Lite’ packages are grouped as ‘Speedlink Data’ (home and business) and ‘Speedlink Data Professional’ with static IP address. Speedlink Data offers speeds of minimum 512kbps and maximum 10Mbps, while Speedlink Data Professional offers 1Mbps up to 10Mbps. The Speedlink Lite packages have eight data-only offerings, all with unlimited usage, at prices starting from NAD245 (USD22.50) a month for a 512kbps package up to NAD4,048 for a 10Mbps package on a 36-month contract. An installation fee of NAD222 is payable in urban locations and NAD333 for rural customers, while the packages do not include a modem – users may purchase their own modem separately for a one-off payment or via instalments, reports Biztechafrica. Telecom Namibia offers a range of Wi-Fi enabled modems allowing customers to connect to the internet via smartphones, tablets and laptops. Isak Ouseb, senior manager for product management, said that the new data-only plans are based on customer demand for more data and faster speeds, adding that Namibian consumers and businesses are increasingly accessing the internet on smartphones or tablets while staying in touch with family, friends or colleagues through e-mails, instant messaging or social networking sites. ‘Our new Speedlink Lite packages will target these specific requirements,’ Ouseb added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:59:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecom Cook Islands has launched 3G mobile data services. Initially the service is only available on Rarotonga, TeleGeography writes. The launch is supported by increased international bandwidth through satellite operator O3b Networks, which was successfully trialled in December last year. Telecom Cook Islands offers a range of "Anytime" postpaid plans starting at NZD 30 with data inclusions ranging from 100 MB to 1 GB. Prepaid data packs start at NZD 10 for 100 MB and range to NZD 50 for 1 GB.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Tariffs
Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:56:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Danish cellco Hi3G Access is claiming to be ‘the first operator in Denmark’ to scrap roaming charges for several destinations within and outside the European Union (EU). According to a press release, under the initiative ‘3LikeHome’, from 17 March Hi3G’s subscribers travelling to Sweden, England, Ireland , Austria, Italy and Hong Kong will be able to make voice calls, use the web and send text messages at the same price as in Denmark, on any network in those countries. 3LikeHome will be included in every retail subscription that provides unlimited voice calls as well as a number of business subscriptions with inclusive calls.

Morten Christiansen, CEO of Hi3G Access Denmark, said: ‘Our customers are among the most advanced mobile users in Denmark. And according to figures from [Erhvervsstyrelsen] our customers use more than three times as much data as the average American. It is therefore natural for us to take the lead for more mobility with fewer limits.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:55:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Cuban authorities have set the maximum rate that state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) can charge for mobile internet access at CUC1 (USD1) per megabyte of data, CafeFuerte reports. The rate, which excludes service set-up charges, was approved with the publication of Ministry of Communications Resolution No. 8/2014 in the Official Gazette last month. The resolution indicates that mobile internet access could be launched on the island in April, initially for post-paid customers only, but with a pre-paid offering set to follow from the third quarter of 2014.

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

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:48:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has launched a promotion offering mobile customers a reduced rate for calls and SMS to international networks. Until 30 April the pre-paid rate for calls to ‘America (except Venezuela)’ will be CUC1.10 (USD1.10) per minute instead of CUC1.60 per minute, calls to Venezuela will be charged at CUC1.00 (CUC1.40) and the rate for voice calls to the rest of the world will be CUC1.20 instead of the usual rate of CUC1.80 per minute. Text messages for both pre- and post-paid subscribers are available at a promotional price of CUC0.60 until the end of April, compared to the standard rate of CUC1.00.`

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:45:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 21, 2014

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, Information & Technology has decided to cut international incoming voice call termination rates by 50% from USD0.03 to USD0.015 per minute, in a measure aimed at fighting the illegal calls market. The Daily Star reports that if the rate reduction receives final approval it will be implemented for an initial six-month ‘test period’. Telecom secretary Abubakar Siddique confirmed that the decision was sent for Finance Ministry consent last week, but the proposal could take up to a month to consider, as it has the potential to backfire and dent government earnings from international call termination fees, currently standing at around BDT11 billion (USD140 million) annually via the 51.75% the state takes from licensed operators’ incoming call connection revenue. Siddique added that under the proposed new rates framework, the government would receive a reduced revenue percentage of 40%, as a further incentive to the licensed international gateway (IGW), interconnection exchange (ICX) and retail voice service operators, which split the remainder of incoming call revenues between them. Illegal calls bypass the IGW-ICX route, and the state receives no revenue from such calls. The telecom ministry’s decision was backed by the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh which on 30 January 2014 wrote a letter to the ministry recommending the halving of the official minimum threshold rate to 1.5 US cents – as according to the association illegal calls currently cost on average between 1.5 and two US cents. Legal and illegal international call volumes are roughly similar at present, according to market sources cited by the Star report. During January 2014 the country received an average of more than 40.5 million international incoming call minutes per day, according to figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in an earlier measure to fight the ‘grey’ unlicensed international voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) call market, the government reduced the minimum incoming overseas call termination rate by one US cent to USD0.03 per minute with effect from May 2009, although illegal VoIP operators were still able to offer cheaper rates. GlobalComms adds that Bangladesh has subsequently licensed a long list of official VoIP-based international incoming call operators alongside the legal IGW and ICX operators – but with the regulated minimum call rate stuck at a higher level than in the unlicensed sector, it appeared that further regulatory measures were necessary.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:52:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Finnish mobile network operator Elisa has reached an agreement with the all of the country’s other cellcos regarding mobile termination rates (MTRs) for the period 2014-2015. In a press release confirming the development, the company said that at present all of the nation’s mobile providers have rate parity, with the existing MTR standing at EUR0.0280 (USD0.0380) per minute. From 1 September 2014, however, this charge will be reduced to EUR0.0187 per minute, with the new rate to be valid until 30 November 2015. Commenting on the future rate, Elisa said that it did not expect the change in interconnection fee to have any impact on profits, nor its 2014 outlook and mid-term financial targets.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:49:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Israel’s communications minister Gilad Erdan is said to have accepted the recommendation of the Ministry of Communications’ (MoC’s) expert committee which suggested cutting fixed line interconnections fee to ILS0.099 (USD0.028) per minute, Globes Online reports. Arguments by the country’s fixed line operators Bezeq and HOT Telecommunication Systems, both of which had been pressing for a higher charge, were reportedly rejected, while mobile operators such as Cellcom and Partner saw calls for a lower fee similarly turned down.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in August 2013 the MoC outlined plans to reduce fixed line interconnection fees from the current level of ILS0.0104 per minute. At that date it was said that, while final rate would not be set until after the communications minister had concluded discussions with the country’s telecoms carriers, the decision to update the pricing structure had been prompted by comments from carriers and a correction in the calculation of fixed termination charges.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:29:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Spain's telecoms regulator CNMC has announced a significant 18 percent reduction in the price payable by rival operators for wholesale access to Telefonica's ADSL network. The measure relates to tariffs for indirect access services, known as GigADSL and ADSL-IP, through which Telefonica's competitors offer a wide range of ADSL services across Spain. According to the CNMC, some 673,323 lines, around 5.5 percent of broadband connections in Spain, are affected by the measure. The regulator justified the decision, which follows a reduction of around 14 percent applied in 2012, on the grounds that technological advances have enabled Telefonica to offer these services at lower rates.

In addition, the CNMC explained that for the first time the new wholesale broadband access service known as NEBA (New Broadband Ethernet Service) was used to evaluate the cost of providing indirect access, and will form the basis of all future calculations.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 4:01:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Jordanian government is still studying the impact of the decision to double the tax on mobile subscriptions to 24% and is looking into the consequences for consumers as well as its effect on operator revenues. The Economic Development Committee of the cabinet is currently discussing the effects of the tax hike, which came into force in mid-2013, and is expected to reduce the levy slightly, The Jordan Times cites an unnamed industry insider as saying. The nation’s three wireless providers Zain, Orange and Umniah, as well as lobby group the ICT Association of Jordan (ICT@J) have called on the state to rescind the tax increase. Ihab Hinnawi, the CEO of Umniah claimed that revenues in the telecom sector have fallen by 9% since the tax was introduced, adding that profits for cellcos had fallen by 30%-40% over the same period. ICT Minister Azzam Sleit told press that the committee was considering a solution that would reach a balance that would be acceptable for the public, providers and the state. However, Sleit added that the government was not looking to take any action regarding the doubling of the tax on mobile phones from 8% to 16%, which was introduced at the same time as the increased tax on services.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Jordan’s trio of wireless providers boycotted the recent spectrum auction for 4G-compatible frequencies in protest against the tax increase.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:58:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 31, 2014

Bolivian state-owned operator Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel) will reportedly reduce its pre-paid mobile tariffs by 20% in April this year, BNamericas reports citing local new source La Razon. It is understood that the launch of Bolivia’s first satellite at the end of last year has allowed the telco to lower its prices, according to Bolivian president Evo Morales, and the move is said to have been made with a view to shoring up the operator’s leading market share. Entel meanwhile expects that the increase in its client base that may arise as a result of the tariff reduction will offset any impact on its revenues.

In the wake of the news, private operators Tigo and Viva are said to be considering their strategies, with the former’s head of communications and corporate responsibility, Nadia Eid, said to have argued that Entel’s price modification represents a change in market dynamics, and noting that Tigo is examining alternatives that would allow it to maintain its competitiveness.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 31, 2014 3:51:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 22, 2014

All three of Zambia’s mobile network operators – Airtel Zambia, MTN Zambia and Zamtel Mobile – have reportedly enforced a 15% excise duty on airtime that had been proposed in the 2014 national budget. According to the Zambia Daily Mail, the levy has been increased from its previous rate of 10%, with Abdul Ismail, chairman of the GSM Operators Association of Zambia (GSMOAZ) which represent cellcos interest, confirming the upward adjustment in a press statement. The executive noted that the tariff adjustments had become effective from 1 January 2014, though he confirmed that all three wireless providers would maintain their existing recharge voucher prices. ‘As service providers in the country, we are required to collect excise duty as required and on behalf of the Zambian Government. The adjustment came into effect on 1 January 2014,’ Mr Ismail said.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 10:46:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 06, 2014
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has decided to adjust the mobile network interconnection settlement charges. From 1 January 2014, calls from China Mobile's network (excluding the TD-SCDMA network) to China Telecom or China Unicom will continue to incur a settlement charge of CNY 0.06 per minute. However, the settlement charge for calls from China Telecom or Unicom to a China Mobile number will be lowered to CNY 0.04 from the current rate of CNY 0.06 per minute. The charge for calls between China Telecom and China Unicom will also remain at CNY 0.06 per minute. Interconnection charges for calls to TD-SCDMA users will remain unchanged at CNY 0.06 per minute and the charge for calls from China' Mobile's 3G network to the other two operators will remain at CNY 0.012 per minute. The SMS interconnection fee will also be adjusted from CNY 0.03 to CNY 0.01 per SMS and MMS interconnection fees have been lowered to CNY 0.05 from CNY 0.10 per MMS. The MIIT will assess the interconnection settlement policy every two years.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, January 06, 2014 11:21:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French telecoms company Iliad, operating in the country under the Free Mobile banner, has dealt another blow to its competitors by including high-end smartphone lease deals in its Free Mobile package, currently priced at EUR19.99 (USD27.10) per month. According to a company press release, subscribers to the Free Mobile plan can lease some of the latest handset models, including the Samsung Galaxy S4, Apple iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy Note 3, for EUR12 per month (over a 24 month-period), in addition to an upfront fee starting at EUR49. The offer represents an average discount of 40% on the original price of a smartphone handset. New subscribers can sign up to the deal from 17 December 2013, while current Free Mobile users will be able to access the offer by the end of the month.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Free Mobile sparked a price war in the French wireless market in December 2013, when it revealed that subscribers to its Free Mobile Plan would now benefit from download speeds of up to 150Mbps, at no additional cost. By way of comparison, rival Bouygues Telecom’s cheapest 4G plan costs EUR29.99 (for 3GB of data), while Orange provides 4G services for EUR39.99 per month (including 4GB of data) and SFR charges EUR42.99 for 3GB of data over its 4G network. Subsequently, Bouygues Telecom and Orange France hit back at Iliad by offering free 4G LTE services with their respective low-cost packages. Meanwhile, Orange France CEO Stephane Richard addressed the escalating price battle by threatening to end its roaming agreement with Free Mobile, by stating: ‘Orange may very well do without the roaming agreement, but is the [opposite] certain?’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, January 06, 2014 11:17:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spain's No. 4 operator Yoigo joined its larger rivals by offering bundles of fixed and mobile services as part of ongoing efforts to attract and retain companies in the hard-fought mobile market.
 
Following its recent network-sharing deal with Telefónica, TeliaSonera-owned Yoigo is also now offering the service bundles under the Fusion brand that was originally launched by Telefónica's Movistar. Starting at €34 ($46) per month, Yoigo customers have three plans to choose from, and also have the option of adding extra mobile lines to their plans.
 
Under the network-sharing deal, Telefónica is also using Yoigo's LTE network to enable it to offer LTE services as it builds out its own LTE network.

Source: Fierce Wireless.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:42:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnam’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers, Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone, have increased their 3G tariffs for the second time this year, after receiving approval from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). Earlier this year the trio increased the cost of their unlimited 3G mobile data plans by 25% from VND40,000 (USD1.9) to VND50,000 per month, and from today the price for these tariffs will rise by a further 40% to VND70,000, Tuoi Tre News reports. Plans affected by the change include Viettel’s ‘MiMax’ tariff, MobiFone’s ‘MIU’ plan and the ‘MAX’ package offered by Vinaphone. Mobile operators have argued that the 3G price hikes are necessary to enable them to upgrade and expand their networks to meet growing demand for mobile data services, and are also required to offset declining revenues as a result of subscribers using smartphone apps, such as Viber and WhatsApp, to make free calls and send free messages.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:59:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following on from reports in May 2013, Yonhap News Agency is reporting that approval has now been given for a scheme under which mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) will be allowed to sell their services via the state-run postal service provider. It is understood that the decision is squarely aimed at enhancing the sales network for the country’s MVNOs, with a view to lowering calling rates sector-wide. When the news first broke regarding the proposals earlier this year, South Korea’s virtual operators were said to be offering their services at just 408 outlets, a figure representing just 0.2% of the 20,000 shops in which the incumbent mobile network operators were selling their services at the same date.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 8:54:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Israel’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) is planning to cut fixed line interconnection fees from the current level of ILS0.0104 (USD0.002) per minute to ILS0.0099 per minute, Globes Online reports. While it is understood that the final rate will not be set until after communications minister Gilad Erdan concludes discussions with the country’s telecoms carriers, the decision to update the pricing structure comes after comments by carriers and a correction in the calculation of fixed termination charges.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:21:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 25, 2013
Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCom) unleashed a tariff war in the 3G data segment on Thursday as the company slashed monthly tariff by 50%, offering high-speed mobile internet at half the price of competitors like BhartiAirtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular. The move by the country's third-biggest mobile operator comes a few weeks after its rivals lowered 2G and 3G rates, but only for data usage beyond standard package limits.

Data adoption in India has been slow, but is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years as sales of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets boom with users consuming more online content.

RCom has reduced the monthly tariff for 1GB data on 3G to Rs 123 from Rs 250. This is even cheaper than the company's 2G monthly tariff that of Rs 125. "We want a data tsunami and want to liberate customers from high prices and slow speed," RCom president and CEO (wireless) Gurdeep Singh said.

When contacted, most of the other companies refused to comment. However, industry analysts say that a price cut may not be far away as companies are scouting for heavy data users.

3G adoption in India has been slow as high prices and not-so-efficient services have kept users away. Only about 5% of the country's 850 million mobile users have subscribed to 3G services, which are estimated to account for 3% of mobile revenue of telecom carriers. Companies are also fighting hard in the data space as voice tariffs - one of the lowest in the world - have remained more-or-less muted over the last many months and operators have rather done away with freebies and discounts here to shore up revenues.

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had last month cut the prices of their internet data plans, but the lower rates were valid only beyond the stipulated standard package prices. Currently, Vodafone charges Rs 250 monthly for 1GB data package of 3G and Idea and Bharti also offer a near-similar plan. Their reductions had come for data usage beyond the 1GB limit.

RCom has 3G services in 13 circles that include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and North East. The lower tariffs are for all kind of connections - pre-paid, post-paid, new and old. RCom has also reduced prices for 2GB and 4GB pack on 3G network.

Source: The Times of India.

Thursday, July 25, 2013 7:36:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 15, 2013

Sector watchdog the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has lowered the price ceiling for national roaming voice and SMS services, to come into effect from 1 July 2013. Price ceilings for outgoing calls were reduced from INR1.4 (local) and INR2.4 (long distance) per minute to INR1 and INR1.5 respectively whilst maximum fees for incoming calls were lowered from INR1.75 to INR0.75 per minute. Charges for outgoing SMS, previously under forbearance, have now been capped at INR1.5 per message, and incoming SMS will be free.

In its press release, the TRAI explained its reasoning for not mandating free roaming immediately: ‘With increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with national roaming have declined, but not vanished…Mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practicable at this juncture. Compelling a transition to a fully free national roaming would result in telecom service providers not being able to recover their costs from roamers. In turn, teleocm service providers would pass these costs on to all consumers (predominantly non-roamers) through higher tariffs.’ Instead of implementing free roaming, the TRAI has ruled that special tariff vouchers (STVs) and combo vouchers can be extended to roaming tariffs.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:58:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Digicel Jamaica, the island nation’s largest cellco by subscribers, has cut tariffs for its pre-paid customers from between JMD14 and JMD8.99 per minute to between JMD2.99 and JMD2.49 per minute, local paper the Jamaica Gleaner reports. The reduction follows the introduction of a new mobile termination rate (MTR) of JMD1.1, which was announced in late May and comes into force on 1 July 2013. Smaller rival LIME Jamaica beat Digicel to the punch on capitalising on the lower MTRs, cutting the price of cross-network calls from JMD6.99 to JMD2.99, level with its pricing for on-net calls. The smaller cellco introduced the changes immediately, with CEO Garfield Sinclair saying: ‘Even before the termination rates take effect, we will make the cut and will take the difference because we want to give customers value right away.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:55:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator turned integrated services provider Digicel Bermuda has thrown down the gauntlet in the domestic broadband market, slashing the cost of some of its services by over 50%. The company has halved the cost of its 2Mbps service to BMD30 (USD30) per month, while also cutting the cost of its entry-level 1Mbps offer. More significantly, the price of the 4Mbps option has been cut by more than 50% to BMD40 from BMD90, while other cuts cover its 6Mbps (BMD50 from BMD109), 8Mbps (BMD60 from BMD119), 10Mbps (BMD70 from BMD129), 15Mbps (BMD90 from BMD149) and 25Mbps (BMD150 from BMD199) packages.

Commenting on the latest initiative, the firm’s CEO Wayne Caines said in a press release: ‘When Digicel first purchased Transact and started offering home internet in November 2011, we told the public that we intended to bring prices down by enhancing competition … Within two months, annual internet rates were up to BMD130 lower for the same speeds … We have continued to knock down internet prices, leading the competition in our goal to make internet more affordable for the average Bermudian. Our new, reduced rates demonstrate this commitment. An 8Mbps plan, which our competitors were selling for BMD129.95 per month in 2011, is now available for just BMD70 per month. There is no denying that Digicel has knocked down Internet prices drastically.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:46:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has reportedly increased the monthly line rental fee for a number of its residential and business tariffs. According to iTnews, Telstra residential customers signed up to its HomeLine, Plus, Advanced and Together plans, along with BusinessLine subscribers, will see monthly access charges rise by up to AUD2 (USD1.83). Bundled tariffs will, however, be unaffected by the changes, while Telstra’s HomeLine Budget and Telstra’s Pensioner Discount scheme will also remain untouched. Commenting on the decision, a statement from the operator was cited as saying: ‘We understand that there is never a good time to make changes to our prices and we don’t make these decisions lightly … We spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year operating and maintaining our phone services so our pricing needs to reflect this ongoing investment, as well as the rising cost of our own business inputs such as labour, petrol and materials.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:36:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bloomberg News writes that from today (1 July), the European Union (EU) is cutting the price mobile carriers such as Vodafone Group and Orange can charge customers for checking e-mail and watching videos while traveling by 36%. Under new rules laid down by the EU, European mobile carriers will not be able to charge customers travelling abroad more than EUR0.45 (USD0.59) per 1MB of data, plus tax, down from the previous cap of EUR0.70 (set a year ago). Further, from 1 July 2014 the rate will be cut again to a maximum EUR0.20 per 1MB it said. The move means that data roaming fees are now 91% lower than they were in 2007.

The new rates form a key part of European Commission (EC) vice president Neelie Kroes’s plan to make the European market a level playing field. However, her battle plan has sparked the ire of many mobile carrier which argue that – whilst consumer-friendly – they are too restrictive and will act as a bar to network investment in future. ‘The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step towards getting rid of these premiums once and for all,’ Ms Kroes said in the statement. ‘This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:31:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A study published by the World Bank, and backed by a number of other leading institutions and development agencies, has lambasted Djibouti for failing to liberalise the country’s telecoms market, to the detriment of service quality and access costs there. Djibouti Telecom still holds a monopoly on the national and international market which, in the World Bank’s opinion, is ‘a serious handicap to competition in the sector’.

The Bank cites by way of example the fact that the cost of a basic 1Mbps ADSL service currently costs USD36 per month, or around half the average Djiboutian annual salary, compared to just 5% in Morocco or 3.5% in Tunisia. As such, high speed internet access is prohibitively expensive to all but the richest inhabitants or corporate/international firms.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:56:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 08, 2013

People living in certain parts of the UK are being forced to pay up to £170 million a year more for their broadband, due to a 'postcode lottery'.
 
New research from a broadband comparison site has revealed that in some cases, families are paying more than double what their neighbours are, despite living just 50 yards apart.
 
The study, the biggest ever of its kind, looked at more than 1.7 million postcodes covering 97 per cent of British households.

The study from Broadbandchoices.co.uk found speeds and prices often differ from street to street - sometimes within 50 yards - with postcode affecting choice of providers, deals and available speeds.
 
This system means 13 per cent of internet users are being penalised because they don't have access to cheaper deals - adding more than £60 to their yearly broadband connection bills.

Millions of broadband users are also suffering from reduced download speeds and limits.

In some areas customers can choose from 10 providers, while others have just five options.


This means that although some could pay as little as £2.99 per month for their broadband package, others are being forced to spend £8.15 or more.
 
The difference in availability doesn't only vary from county to county, some users in the same towns and even the same street can get better deals than their neighbours.
 
Those living on Bartons Place in Newmarket, Suffolk, for example, could find themselves paying over twice as much for their broadband than other houses less than 50 yards away - but getting just a third of the download speed of their neighbours.


Residents of Scarrowhill Road, Hornsby Gate, Cumbria, pay an extra £5 per month as well as receiving slower download speeds and having two fewer providers to pick from compared to neighbours just half a mile away on the same street.
 
The survey also reveals a north south divide in the number of providers.


Those in the South have an average of 10 while those in the North of England have a pool of 11 to choose from.
 
Herefordshire has the worst overall broadband choice where users have the narrowest choice of providers - at an average of eight.

The county also has the slowest advertised download speeds of just 12.3Mbps and pay the second highest minimum costs in the country of £5.47, second only to Rutland residents who have to pay a minimum of £5.99 a month.
 
Greater Manchester topped the study with the lowest broadband costs at just £2.99 per month, average advertised download speeds of up to 28Mbps and an average choice of 12 providers.

Those in the South can take some solace in the fact they just nudge the North when it comes to average advertised download speeds with 22Mbps compared to 21Mbps.
 
The difference in download speeds between counties ranges from 8.5Mbps to 40Mbps, meaning a two-hour HD film takes as little as 10 minutes (at 40Mbps) to download, whilst for others it will take nearly an hour.

Source: Mail Online.

Monday, July 08, 2013 7:17:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 03, 2013
Cuba will open 118 new public internet centres on 4 June Efe reports, citing a resolution published in the official gazette. The centres will be run by state operator Etecsa and will offer access to the internet through a new portal called "Nauta". Access will be blocked immediately if the operator detects "any violation of the ethical standards of behaviour promoted by the Cuban State", according to the resolution.The new centres will charge between CUC 0.60 and CUC 4.50 an hour, depending on the service used, in a country where the average salary is under CUC 20 a month. More centres, made possible thanks to an undersea cable to Venezuela, will be added gradually. There are currently around 200 public facilities offering e-mail only at hotels and post offices. Home internet use is still banned for most Cubans, with the exception of some professionals such as doctors, journalists, academics and artists.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:41:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Representatives from FYR Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro will meet in Skopje in July to discuss a potential reduction in roaming fees, Telecompaper writes, citing local press reports. The initiative, spearheaded by Macedonian telecoms watchdog the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) and attended by a representative of the European Commission, will see AEC hammer out terms with its Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts – the Republic Agency for Electronic Communications (RATEL) and the Agency for Electronic Communications and Post (EKIP) respectively – for a trilateral programme to reduce roaming fees between the three nations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 7:49:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 23, 2013

According to a survey conducted by the Saudi Consumer Protection Association (CPA), mobile communications charges in the Kingdom are among the highest in the world, with a rate of SAR0.35 (USD0.093) per minute, compared to an average of seven Saudi halalas (USD0.019) per minute in the rest of the world. The CPA’s survey figures represent ‘costs for all communication services, including the internet.’ The CPA conducted the survey after the announcement of the decision to stop free international roaming calls for subscribers, Zawya reported. In the statement CPA urged communication providers to restructure charges for mobile calls in order to reflect real prices. The association also announced its plans to publish a fair price for calls, by taking into account details such as average income, inflation and the ‘real price’ of communications.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 1:07:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand's three private mobile operators and the regulator have agreed on an interconnection fee of THB 0.45 per minute. Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True currently work with an interconnection fee of THB 1 per minute but will soon sign an agreement to adopt the new, lower rate, The Nation writes. The rate will also apply to the operators' subsidiaries that operate 3G services, which already use the new interconnection rate. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) asked the three operators to negotiate a new agreement on one interconnection rate for all mobile services, rather than using the different rates. The companies agreed to do so while state-owned operators TOT and CAT Telecom have said they need more time to consider this. CAT and the private operators charge each other THB 0.50 per minute in interconnection fees.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:57:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 09, 2013

A price war is in progress in the Czech mobile market. The line up of cheaper flat-rate mobile tariffs is likely to have further repercussions going forward. A recent line-up of flat-rate calling plans in the recent weeks by T-mobile, O2 and Vodafone will mean that higher ARPU customers in the Czech mobile market stand to benefit.

O2 cut its full flat-rate call plan from 1,900 K? per month until mid-april, to 749 K? “Free CZ” plan for customers signing up for two years.

T-Mobile and Vodafone responded with similar price cuts, and Vodafone has since doubled to 1.2 gigabytes the amount of data offered free to customers of its 691 K?-per-month flat calling plan. It is reported that almost 300,000 people have taken up these offers!

Unlimited call plans

  • T-Mobile : 1.5GB for 749 K?
  • Telefónica O2 : 1.0 GB for 749 K?
  • Vodafone: 1.2 GB for 691 K?

Consumers get a cheaper price, and the operators may see an increase in ARPU. Margins may be lower on these deals, but ARPU could go up. Depending on the profile of users in the country, this could be good or bad news for the operators.
 
There is a downside to these deals as well, and that of possible cannibalisation of revenue from erstwhile high ARPU users, now migrating to these plans to take advantage of these offers. If price elasticity favours the operators, and there is a broad acceptance of these offers, then this will take the ARPU higher.

Smartphone penetration in the Czech market is still at very low levels (approximately 16%) compared to other markets in Europe this is almost 1/3rd that of markets like Denmark. It is possible that there will be a very strong growth in Feature phone to Smart phone penetration with the introduction of entry level smartphones.

Smartphones with a non-data oriented feature set, like that of the Lumia 520 and other entry level smart phones will greatly help boost smart phone penetration over the next 12-18 months.

Local news agencies in Czech market are reported to have said that Telefonica believes that the interest in these plans is “Phenomenal”, according to Hany Farghali of Telefonica Czech.

The Czech market is likely to see a fourth entrant in the market. The Czech Telecommunication Office is running an auction to award mobile spectrum frequencies for 4G/LTE.

It turns out that a recent MVNO launch, BLESKMobil and other possible MVNO launches may have triggered this price drop, according to some sources. This seems unlikely as longer duration and unlimited plans are not the domain of MVNOs like BLESKMobil, until they plan to go the “Free Mobile” route of the french operator, who came in and single handedly shook the french mobile market.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, May 09, 2013 2:37:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Virgin Mobile announced a new price plan called “1,2,Free”, offering subscribers every third minute, SMS, or megabyte of data free.

Two “1, 2, Free” price plans have been announced: one focused on voice, and the other on SMS and data:

  • Free Talk: every third minute is free every day.
  • Free Surf and Text: every third SMS and every third Megabyte is free every day.

Call rates are 99c per minute, billed on a per second basis, while an SMS/MMS costs 50c each, and data is billed at 99c per mb.
 
CEO of Virgin Mobile, Jonathan Marchbank, explained that the “Free Talk” plan will be Virgin Mobile’s default pre-paid price plan, but that customers can change to “Free Surf & Text” by dialling *110*6# from their handset.
 
Subscribers can change price plans for free every 30 days.
 
“We have been waiting for the price wars to play out before announcing 1,2,Free just to see how low they would go – and then we launched a much simpler and transparent set of offers,” Marchbank said.
 
Marchbank said – “It’s not a promotion, it’s a core offer”.
 
Asked why they didn’t bundle the free minutes, texts, and data all together in one plan, Marchbank said that “the economics wouldn’t work” for them.

Further questioned about why they didn’t just cut their prices by a third, Marchbank said that it’s to encourage people to use.
 
“If you start selling at 66c I’m starting a price war I don’t particularly want to,” Marchbank said, adding that he doesn’t want to win customers only on price, but on brand.
 
Marchbank explained that if someone switches to Virgin because of the price, they’re easy to lose again.
 
Wireless Federation refers to these users as “Headless Chickens”. These types of users are more expensive to have on your network and it is better to lose them as their SAC is much higher and retention even more expensive!

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, May 09, 2013 2:29:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Orange Espana has announced the launch of commercial fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in the area around the La Vaguada shopping centre, at the same time unveiling a new portfolio of tariffs for its fibre-based services. In terms of its new offering, customers can sign up for a connection providing 100Mbps downlink speeds, unlimited national fixed line voice calls, 1,000 minutes per month for calls to national mobile numbers and 300 minutes for calls to 60 international destinations; the package will cost EUR25.95 (USD33.94) per month. In addition, Orange has confirmed it will offer a tariff offering the same call allowances, though with a lower downlink speed of 25Mbps, for EUR15.95 per month. Following the expansion of its FTTH network to La Vaguada, Orange has said that around 40,000 homes in Madrid now have access to its fibre services, while noting that a further 58,000 premises in Catalonia and Asturias are also within its fibre footprint.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month Orange Espana and Vodafone Spain unveiled plans to invest up to EUR1 billion on the construction of a joint fibre-optic network. Under the terms of the agreement, the two operators will each deploy street-level fibre in complementary geographies, and while the fibre will be owned independently it will share the same technical specifications to ensure compatibility as a single network, with each partner having guaranteed access to the whole infrastructure. Commercial services over the new infrastructure are expected to be introduced from January 2014, and some 800,000 premises are expected to be able to connect to the network by March 2014, with that figure rising to three million and six million by September 2015 and 2017, respectively. In total, the fibre-optic network will cover 50 of Spain’s major cities when complete.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:30:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian operator ArmenTel, which offers fixed telephony, broadband internet and mobile services under the banner Beeline, has trimmed the cost for connection to its fixed telecoms network and for other one-off charges. In a press release, ArmenTel says it is cutting the costs of a fixed line installation from AMD12,000 to AMD2,400 (USD33.09 to USD6.62), while the charge for a temporary installation of a core line (i.e. for less than one month) has been cut to AMD1,800 from AMD9,600. The new rates for residential and business users took effect from 1 April 2013, with ArmenTel acting CEO Karen Shahnazaryan, saying that the telco is able to cut the prices thanks to its investment in ‘innovative technologies’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:28:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Tuoi Tre News, Vietnamese cellcos MobiFone and Vinaphone have increased the cost of their respective unlimited 3G data plans to VND50,000 (USD2.4) per month, up from VND40,000. The operators say that the higher price is necessary to offset declining revenues as a result of subscribers using smartphone apps to make free calls and send free messages. The cellcos also say that they are forced to strictly adhere to government regulations, whereas apps such as Viber, Wala, Zalo, Line, WeChat and WhatsApp are managed by foreign companies and are not subject to the same conditions.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:27:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: Telecom Paper.

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

The head of Ukrainian competition watchdog AMKU, Rafael Kuzmin, has stated that cellcos Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine have agreed to reduce intra-national and roaming rates by 20%-25%, according to a report by BizLigaNet, cited by Telecompaper. The news follows pressure from AMKU, which has asked the operators to fulfil rate obligations within the next ten days, and to implement the recommendations on roaming rates within 30 days, having threatened them with a maximum fine of 10% of annual revenues.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:24:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spain’s antitrust authority has reportedly fined the country’s three largest mobile network operators a total of EUR120 million (USD159 million) for charging too much for SMS messages. The Comision Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) levied the penalty after ruling that Movistar, Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana abused their dominant position in the wholesale markets for access and origination and for termination of short messages in their respective networks. With all three operators cited as having ‘a monopoly position in SMS and MMS termination services in their respective networks’, the CNC noted that the market for SMS termination services was unregulated between 2000 and 2009 (the period investigated by the watchdog). As such, the CNC claims, the trio were freely able to price the termination of SMS at very high levels, which in turn allowed them to pass these costs to consumers in the shape of higher retail prices for SMS and MMS services.

No new regulatory measures are to be introduced however, with the CNC noting that it did not consider such action appropriate as there was only evidence of overpricing in the period to 2009 and not more recently. Further, it argued that telecoms regulator the Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) ‘is better positioned to design the ex-ante regulation of these markets’.

As per the antitrust agency’s ruling, Movistar faces the largest fine – EUR46.490 million – while Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana will be required to pay EUR43.525 million and EUR29.950 million respectively. All three operators are expected to appeal the ruling.

Source: TeleGeography.

SMS | Tariffs
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 10:23:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 25, 2013

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) has released the latest update of the retail price benchmarking study of telecommunications services in Arab countries. The study was commissioned by the TRA on behalf of AREGNET (the Arab Regulators Group). It was undertaken by Teligen, an independent consulting firm specializing in tariff comparisons. The main insights of the study are:

  • Mobile tariffs: Mobile prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 30% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 41% since 2008 when TRA decided to allow a third mobile operator to enter Bahrain. Mobile prices in Bahrain have been deregulated since 2010. They compare well with GCC and Arab averages but mobile prices in Bahrain remain consistently above the OECD average.
  • Fixed broadband: The entry of Wimax-based operators following TRA’s award of new fixed-wireless licences in 2007 has significantly enhanced the competitiveness of fixed broadband services in Bahrain. Fixed broadband prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 53% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 71% since 2008. For the low speed and mid speed baskets, Bahrain is now one of the cheapest GCC and Arabcountries. The picture is somewhat different for the high speed basket (>15 Mb/s), where despite price reductions in 2012, fixed broadband in Bahrain remains relatively expensive compared to other GCC countries (particularly residential prices). The OECD average is significantly lower than the fixed broadband prices in Bahrain, the GCC averages and Arab averages, particularly for the high speed basket.
  • Mobile broadband: Mobile broadband pricesare set freely by each of the three mobile operators since 2010. They have also come down significantly as a result of an increasingly competitive market. Mobile broadband prices in Bahrain declined by up to 63% between 2011 and 2012, and Bahrain has amongst the lowest prices for mobile broadband in GCC and Arab countries. Bahrain also compared well with the OECD. TRA expects faster and new services from the auction of additional spectrum planned in April 2013.
  • Fixed voice tariffs: Bahrain is one of the cheapest Arab countries. Although Bahrain compares well with other Arab and OECD countries (low baskets) in terms of the cost of a basket of fixed voice services, calling revenues still represents a significant portion of the fixed line cost, suggesting that retail rates are not rebalanced. Fixed voice tariffs in Bahrain have been static in nominal terms for all users in the last five updates.
  • Leased line tariffs: As is the case in most of the GCC countries, the prices for leased lines in Bahrain have not changed in nominal terms since the first Arab Price Benchmarking Study in 2008. Leased line prices in Bahrain are similar to prices in the Arab region, although by OECD standards, leased lines tariffs in Bahrain remain high. The finding that prices have not changed over the last four years indicates that competitive pressures in the leased line market have been less intense than in other telecommunications markets within Bahrain. TRA has sought to address this during 2012 through the introduction of better retail prices for a new type of leased lines and through the introduction a new regulated wholesale local access service, which should enable other operators to compete more effectively in the supply of retail leased line services to end users.

Source: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA).

Monday, March 25, 2013 2:12:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2013

BT has introduced Totally Unlimited Broadband on all but its entry level broadband offering. It is now offering broadband without any usage limits and free from traffic management from GBP 16 per month for 16 Mbps copper broadband, GBP 23 for 38 Mbps Infinity or GBP 26 for 76 Mbps Infinity. Previously, the cheapest unlimited broadband option was GBP 26 per month. New customers are being offered the first six months free. This offers end on 06 June and applies to new BT Broadband customers signing a minimum 18-month contract and paying line rental.

BT is also announcing a new online storage service called BT Cloud, offering a free allowance for all consumer broadband customers. Infinity 76 Mbps and top tier copper customers receive a 50 GB allowance. The service allows BT’s consumer broadband customers to safely and securely back up and share their photographs, documents and videos wherever they are. All backed up documents can be accessed from smartphones, tablets and computers. Customers can stream their content direct to their mobile device and share it friends via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter.

BT will continue to sell its basic broadband, which costs GBP 13 a month, although this product will not be unlimited, along with Infinity 1, which costs GBP 18. Totally Unlimited Broadband will be available from 01 February. The 16 Mbps copper broadband options both come with the first six months free, while customers can get Infinity for GBP 9 per month for the first three months. Existing customers will be able to switch to Totally Unlimited Broadband by signing a new contract.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, February 18, 2013 11:17:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 07, 2013

Kenya's largest mobile operator Safaricom on Friday increased the cost of moving funds through M-Pesa following a new tax on transaction fee earned from mobile money transfer.

Safaricom said customers transferring more than Ksh101 ($1.2) will have to pay 10 per cent more on account of a government decision to introduce a similar tax on earnings from the service.

The telco is opposed to the new tax arguing that it would add more costs to customers and therefore negatively affect the sector.

“As Kenya’s largest taxpayer, we appreciate the need to support government as it seeks to reach its financial obligations. However, we maintain our position that a tax on mobile money is at that this time premature and is likely to have a negative impact on the country’s financial deepening agenda by creating an unnecessary barrier for wananchi who are most in need of basic financial services, “Bob Collymore, the company CEO said.

The government on Friday gazetted amendments to the Finance Act of 2012, introducing a 10 per cent excise duty tax on transaction fees for financial as well money transfer services as it seeks to raise cash to fund its growing recurrent expenditure.

Analysts say the new tax law could have an even bigger impact on banks given the size of their transactions.

“Banks will even be worse because the 10 per cent duty is a huge portion of their revenues. Most players will pass on costs within the next few weeks,” explained Eric Musau an analyst with the Standard Investment Bank.

Source: The East African.

Thursday, February 07, 2013 12:13:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ukrainian cellular market leader Kyivstar has made increases to a wide range of its tariffs. Effective from the first week of February, 16 post-paid tariff plans will increase their monthly fee by 15%-30% while certain prices for services under 29 pre-paid tariff plans will be affected, writes newspaper Kommersant. For example, for tariff plans without a regular fee, such as ‘One price’ and ‘Better with us’, February will see a 15%-25% increase in the cost of on-net calls, while in a number of tariff plans the minimum cost of purchasing a block of SMS messages will increase by 50% (although the number of SMS included will increase accordingly). Kyivstar’s director of corporate communications, Jeanne Parkhomenko, pointed out that price rises applied only to ‘old’ tariff plans, while users on newer tariffs were experiencing price reductions. She went on to say that from the first week of February the cellco was also reducing the cost of sending SMS and MMS by 50% for ‘80% of the subscriber base’, and claimed that ‘around three million customers’ will be transferred to the company’s ‘economic’ tariff plan and incur charges only for services used. Mrs Parkhomenko also indicated that the selected price increases were part of a company strategy to offset losses stemming from certain tariff reductions implemented following sustained pressure from Ukraine’s anti-monopoly agency. The LigaBusinessInform news agency adds that Mrs Parkhomenko will be leaving next week to take up a post in Kazakhstan.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:52:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile network operator Airtel Tanzania has cut the cost of its on-net calls to TZS0.10 (USD0.00006) per second after the first two minutes of the call – equivalent to a reduction of 70%. The new lower rate will take effect from 24 January, allowing Airtel pay-as-you-go users to pay far less to make on-net calls.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:44:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set a new price cap of NGN4 (USD0.025) for domestic off-net text messages, to be introduced from 5 February 2013, according to local newspaper The Guardian. The new rate is a 60% reduction from the previous cap of up to NGN10 per off-net SMS. Commenting on the move, Josephine Amuwa, the NCC’s director of Legal and Regulatory Services, said that having evaluated and analysed SMS traffic information provided by the operators, the regulator noted that ‘there was a general recognition that the cost of SMS is too high, especially in view of the interconnection rate of NGN1.02 for SMS as determined by the Commission in 2009.’ She added that at present, the NCC has no plans to place a price cap on international SMS, but said the regulator would encourage operators to work towards lowering the cost of international messages.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:43:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rene Meza, the managing director of Vodacom’s Tanzanian mobile operation has expressed concerns over a plan by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to slash interconnection fees, saying such a move would hurt infrastructure investment in the East African nation.

As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the government of Tanzania is considering slashing the rates that mobile network operators charge each other for terminating calls on each others’ networks by up to 69% from March 2013, in an effort to drive competition. Innocent Mungy, a spokesman for the TCRA, was quoted as saying that under the proposal, the mobile interconnection rate could be cut to TZS34.92 (USD0.022) a minute, from the current TZS112.00. The TCRA will decide on the precise magnitude of the cut this month, but in an e-mailed statement Rene Meza said: ‘We have raised concerns with the significant reduction proposed in March 2013 and the basis by which the reduction has been proposed … It is important that interconnect charges are designed to reflect the actual costs of mobile operators and the impact that the reduction will have on investment plans by Vodacom and other national operators.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:40:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bloomberg News writes that the government of Tanzania is considering slashing the rates that mobile network operators charge each other for terminating calls on each others’ networks by up to 69% from March 2013, in an effort to drive competition. Innocent Mungy, a spokesman for the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), is quoted as saying that under the proposal, the mobile interconnection rate could be cut to TZS34.92 (USD0.022) a minute, from the current TZS112.00. He added that the TCRA has also acquiesced to a request from domestic operators to start charging fees in the local currency, the shilling, rather than in USD dollars, as has been the case until now.

‘We are doing this to encourage competition in the sector, and to ensure calling is affordable to consumers,’ the TCRA official said. ‘We held consultations with stakeholders including consumers and telecom operators on the matter yesterday and the board will have to make a decision in a week or so but before the end of this month. The rates however have to go down.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:04:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), has reduced the cost of making a national mobile phone call to CUC0.35 (USD0.35) per minute from CUC0.45, reports Telesemana. The move comes almost one year after the rate of a domestic mobile voice call was reduced from CUC0.60. Earlier this month the operator also introduced a calling-party-pays (CPP) system, meaning that the island’s mobile subscribers no longer have to pay to receive calls and text messages.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:03:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mexico Congress votes for cell phone charges by the second MEXICO CITY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress voted unanimously on Tuesday to change the country's telecom law to make cell phone operators charge customers per second of call, instead of rounding in minutes, as they had been doing for years.

The move had previously been approved by the Mexican Senate. The modification, which now only requires the final signature of president Enrique Pena Nieto, will become official 90 days after being published in the country's official gazette.

Source: Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Israeli Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon has told the cabinet that the public has saved ILS 5.7 billion in the past two years from the mobile market reform. According to Globes, Kahlon said an average household with three mobile phones saved ILS 1,900 a year, and that a household with four phones saved ILS 2,500 a year. Kahlon also said that the average mobile phone user pays ILS 93 a month, 36 percent less than the ILS 145 a month spent in 2010, even though average minutes of use per user rose from 347 per month to 426.

Kahlon said that the average cost of minutes of use on a mobile phone has fallen 75 percent in the past two years from ILS 0.42 to ILS 0.10. The minister said that the mobile devices import reform has cut prices by 60 percent. He also reported that one million subscribers switched carriers in January-September 2012.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:00:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 20, 2012

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

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

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Mobile | Tariffs
Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:26:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 14, 2012

In the wake of slowing subscriber growth NTT East and NTT West have cut prices for their fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service by 34%, from JPY5,460 (USD67) to JPY3,600. The move is widely seen as a measure to stem the flow of customers leaving fixed broadband services in favour of mobile broadband platforms such as Long Term Evolution (LTE). According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, NTT’s net addition of FTTH subscribers fell from 2.046 million during the twelve months ending June 2010 to 1.756 million in the twelve months ending June 2011, and fell further to 1.277 million over the twelve months to June 2012. Australian technology news site Delimiter cites sources at NTT East and NTT West as being convinced that the main reason for the slowing FTTH take-up is due to many younger users preferring not to pay for a household-based FTTH service when they are already paying for their own smartphone LTE data plan. Unlike its smaller rival KDDI, NTT is prohibited from offering FTTH and LTE from its subsidiary NTT DoCoMo in a single bundled offering.

Source: TeleGeography.

FTTH/B | LTE | Tariffs
Friday, December 14, 2012 11:08:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 15, 2012

Telefonica Germany, which provides services under the O2 brand, has announced that it has begun offering VDSL access at download speeds of up to 50Mbps. Customers with an existing ADSL contract are able to book the new ‘Speed’ option for an additional EUR4.99 (USD6.4) a month. For the first three months, the monthly cost of the service for new customers will be EUR14.99. The 50Mbps option is offered over the VDSL network of fixed line incumbent Telekom Deutschland, and will be available to more than eleven million households across the country.

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:06:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Source: Telegeography.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 2:05:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2012

Solavei, a social network and commercial platform provider, has launched a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in Puerto Rico over the network of T-Mobile, in a partnership with the cellular operator which also covers the US. Solavei’s MVNO offering is based on an unlimited service plan costing USD49 a month, including national voice, text and data for mobile phone users based in Puerto Rico.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:35:38 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)  #     | 

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

National watchdog the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) is proposing to cut mobile termination rates (MTRs) in the country, Telecompaper reports without citing its sources. Under the plan, MTRs will come down from CZK0.55 (USD0.0285) per minute, to CZK0.27, while the rate for fixed calls will drop to between CZK0.04-CZK0.08 per minute, from CZK0.15-CZK0.34. The new prices, which are based on a long-run incremental cost (LRIC) model, are expected to take effect from 1 January 2013. The CTU will hold a consultation on the plan and hopes to issue a final decision by the end of this year.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 4:55:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The advent of full commercial 3G services and the busy roll-out of smartphones are putting intense pressure on mobile operators and triggering a data price war, reports the Bangkok Post. Stiff competition is expected to spur overall mobile handset sales in Thailand to top 20 million units in 2013, up from 14 million this year. Sales of smartphones are set to reach 6 million units this year, while the total smartphone installed base will top 12 million units.

At the four-day Thailand Mobile Expo, Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move are introducing promotional data bundle prices, starting at THB 399 per month. Operators are also offering ten-month instalment payment plans, with AIS offering as much as twenty-month instalments at the four-day event at Queen National Sirikit Convention Centre.

Total Access Communication is offering subsidised smartphones with discounts of up to 50 percent on some models. The price of the BlackBerry Torch 9860 has slidden to THB 9,900 from THB 15,900, while the Nokia Lumia 900 has dropped to THB 11,900 from THB 18,900. Samsung is offering bundled packages with the three mobile operators at THB 22,900. LG also launched its pre-booking Optimus Vu priced at THB 18,900. Tablet prices are being offered at discounts of 30-50 percent, ahead of the arrival of Windows-based tablets later this month.

Source: Telecompaper.

Monday, October 29, 2012 3:50:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: Telegeography.

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

According to Chronicle.lu, Orange Luxembourg has confirmed that its under-deployment Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is set to launch on 29 October, with an unlimited monthly data subscription available for an introductory price of EUR39 (USD50.2). Although no LTE-compatible handsets are believed to be in the pipeline, the network will be offered to customers using USB dongles, Mi-Fi personal access points and 4G tablets. At a live feed LTE demonstration Thierry Iafrate, the cellco’s director of marketing and CEO Patrick Ittah confirmed that 4G coverage is currently available to 70% of the Grand Duchy, with theoretical transmission speeds of up to 50Mbs/20Mbps (down/uplink). In 2013 coverage will be extended to 90%, with speeds increased to 150Mbs/75Mbps.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Orange’s rival Tango confirmed that its own LTE launch was set for 1 October, giving it a clear advantage over its competitors in the race for 4G domination. In addition, it is believed that Tango will offer LTE-compatible smartphones at launch.

According to the GlobalComms Database, third-placed player Orange was authorised by the Institut Luxembourgeois de Regulation (ILR) to carry out a six-month LTE trial during the second half of 2010, in conjunction with parent company France Telecom-Orange and French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent. Although the trial concluded with a successful demonstration in front of the local press, the operator revealed that the deployment of LTE in the 2.5GHz frequency band was likely to present a serious risk of interference to neighbouring countries, effectively sending the ILR back to the drawing board.

Source: Telegeography.

LTE | Tariffs
Monday, October 29, 2012 10:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belgium’s largest broadband provider by subscribers, Belgacom, has announced that it is increasing the upload speeds on all of its DSL services from the beginning of next month. Residential customers signed up to its ‘Internet Everywhere Start’ tariff will see uplink rates climb to 2.5Mbps, up from the 1.5Mbps they currently receive, while ‘Everywhere Comfort’ and ‘Everywhere Maxi’ customers will see speeds increase to 3Mbps (previously 2.5Mbps) and 4Mbps (3.5Mbps) respectively. Business users, meanwhile, will see similar speed increases, with users signed up to the telco’s top-end tariff, ‘Offce & Go Pro Everywhere’, will gaining access to the fastest upload speeds of 6Mbps, up from 5Mbps.

Further, Belgacom has also revealed that it will increase data usage allowances on its Internet Everywhere Start plan; the current 50GB per month cap will be doubled to 100GB per month.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2012 Belgacom announced a radical reinvention of its tariffs, unveiling its ‘Internet Everywhere’ range, which it said would replace all of its older tariffs. The products include both traditional fixed line broadband access, while also including Wi-Fi access (via the network of Wi-Fi provider Fon) and 3G data (via the network of its mobile subsidiary Proximus) as standard.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:33:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 01, 2012

The Ministry of Communications in Kuwait has imposed a price ceiling on internet services in the country which will force operators to drop prices by up to 40%. Local news agency KUNA reports communications minister Salem Al-Utheina as saying: ‘ISPs price reduction process will take place first, later other services will witness similar reduction, which will be supervised by the ministry in the near future.’ The minister did not specify which services were under consideration for future price capping.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:55:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Australian communications provider Telstra has announced changes to fixed and mobile price plans. Access fees for about half of the HomeLine plans will be increased but Bundled access prices will remain the same. Local call prices for three HomeLine plans (Complete, Plus, and Advanced) will be increased by AUD 0.002 per call. Calls to 13/1300/1345 numbers from fixed line services will increase from AUD 0.30 to AUD 0.35 for all Telstra customers. Furthermore, the 0018 Easy Half Hour international calling service will be removed from 1 October. There are also changes to business fixed line plans, including a monthly access increase for not-for-profit and charity customers. In the mobile segment, Member, Phone, and Casual mobile plans will be charged in 60-second blocks, from the 30-second blocks currently.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:27:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zimbabwe’s largest cellco Econet has relaunched its mobile WiMAX broadband services, having slashed its prices and made available once again its mobile WiMAX USB modems which were previously taken off the shelves whilst it concentrated on marketing its 3G cellular mobile broadband services instead. As TechZim reports, Econet is now offering a ZTE TU25 mobile WiMAX dongle modem for a one-off price of USD45 and internet access for USD0.025 per MB, compared to a previous pricetag for the same modem of USD175 two years ago (with a cost per MB of USD0.15). The mobile WiMAX service was launched commercially in April 2010 by Econet’s Ecoweb ISP unit, but its high prices made it unattainable to the average internet user, and marketing of the service to new customers was suspended after five months as Econet focused on its 3G network development, and repositioned WiMAX as a fixed-wireless service, offering indoor modems as part of its ‘@Home’ and ‘@Work’ WiMAX packages. The relaunch of mobile WiMAX packages appears to be timed to fight the challenge from rival ISPs launching the technology, including Utande, by undercutting their prices.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:59:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:50:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Indian GSM operator Tata Docomo has launched new offers for its Photon Plus Postpay and Prepay customers across India, claiming price reductions of up to 60 percent. Tata Docomo Photon Plus postpay customers can select from unlimited 6GB usage for INR 950 rental or unlimited 11 GB for INR 1200. These two unlimited plans also offer cash back of INR 100 per month for twelve months from date of purchase. Tata Docomo entry-level packs cost INR 250 for 1GB of data download and INR 450 for 2GB. Tata Docomo also introduced Reload packs for Photon Plus Postpay customers with 1GB for INR 200 and 2GB for INR 350. Tata Docomo Photon offers usage-based data plans. Prepay customers can get unlimited 2GB usage on a recharge of INR 700.


Source: Telecompaper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:09:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

South Korean regulators have decided to let mobile operators charge users extra fees for VOIP applications or block their use entirely, according to a report by Networks Asia.
 
As per the report, Korea’s top mVoIP app, KakaoTalk, has gained rapid popularity among smartphone users. Other players in the mVoIP market include Microsoft’s Skype, Google Voice, Fring, Line 2 as well as other independent and operator-driven services.
 
 With widespread use of these mobile applications adding data traffic and cutting into their text and voice profits, the major Korean operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – have decided to raise prices for data usage, as revealed in the report. As the country’s regulator is allowing the telcos to charge for use of apps such as KakaoTalk, some are claiming that this is a violation of net neutrality rules.
 
 The report claims that Jiho Park, an activist with the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, said that this will set a precedent for coming apps such as FaceTime, where SKT and KT already said they will apply the same pricing policy as with local apps, and this can clash with global players like Apple and Google.
 
Apple’s FaceTime is only available on Wi-Fi networks now but with iOS6 this fall, people will be able to use it over 3G or 4G LTE, too. SK Telecom and KT currently offer unlimited data plans, which allow users to freely download apps on their networks, whereas LG U+ used to block over-the-top programs entirely. The companies have not yet released specific information on their new rates, says the report.
 
KakaoTalk has 36 million Korean users and 9.2 million international users. More than half of 50 million Korean cell phone owners use smartphones, according to the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).
 
The Korean government released its open Internet guidelines last year, designed after the U.S. network neutrality rules released by the Federal Communications Commission last year. Under these principles, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and what content they want to access, create or share with others.
 
Unofficially, the KCC has already permitted operators to enact policies of their choice regarding third-party apps, as per the report.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:33:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Verzion has revamped their prices by raising fee for data services with an intention to increase its data revenue. These hikes will largely effect smartphone users who are not availing the unlimited text and calling facility will be charged $10 extra for services they are not using increasing their expenditure to $100 per month. The lightest data plan will now come for $50. Families using unlimited text, talk and 1GB data will be on the beneficial side by saving $60 per month. They will now just have to spend $150 a month.
 
Text messaging and calls are the major source of revenue and due to increase data services the users have been drifting apart from these services which are doing no good to the companies.
 
Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Sprint, which offers unlimited data usage for a flat fee, said that sharing data across devices significantly increases the potential for upsetting customers with surprise monthly bills due to data overage charges.
 
The users will be able to share multiple devices like Tablets and Laptops with its Share Everything Plan.  Users will be able to pay a flat monthly fee for each device they want to connect: $40 for smartphones, $20 for portable hotspots or notebooks, $10 for tablets, and $30 for standard cellphones. The dedicated plan offers additional charge of $50 for 1GB and $100 for 10GB.
 
As told in an interview to Reuters by the Chief Marketing Officer Tami Erwin that Customer who will use multiple devices will quickly identify the value in the plans. Many customers have to pay extra for going over their data allowance on their tablet even though they may not have used their full smartphone data allowance. With a shared plan that would not be an issue, Erwin said.
 
The new plan requires a monthly access fee of $40 that includes unlimited calls and texts for a single smartphone, and another fee of $60 for two gigabytes of data, which could be shared with up to 10 devices. Each additional device requires another access tariff such as a $10 fee for a tablet or a $20 fee for a laptop.
 
Verizon Wireless customers will have a choice to stick with the existing service plans, but any new customers will be required to sign up for the shared plans from June 28 onward, even if they do not intend to connect a second device.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:31:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spain’s Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) has revealed proposals in which it plans to deregulate the pricing of Telefonica de Espana’s monthly access fee, which is currently set at EUR13.97 (USD17.15) per month, excluding tax. The move, the regulator noted, comes after an analysis of the country’s fixed voice sector, which it said had shown that competition ‘had improved substantially, in particular by the pressure of bundled services’. Traditionally the CMT has been responsible for setting Telefonica’s access fee on an annual basis, and as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the regulator’s most recent decision regarding the charge came in September 2011, at which date it confirmed that it would remain at its EUR13.97 level until at least the end of 2012.

In outlining its plans, the CMT has noted that its original decision for the current pricing structure will remain valid, after which, from end-2012 Telefonica will be permitted to increase the rate, although by no more than the rate of inflation, until 2016. Further, in the retail market analysis of access to fixed telephone networks, the watchdog has said that it will keep a number of other obligations related to the fixed voice sector, including: that Telefonica should notify the CMT of fares and promotions prior to their introduction; that the incumbent’s prices will be examined to ensure it is not acting in an anti-competitive manner; and that carrier pre-selection services continue to be offered.

A public consultation on the proposals will now be conducted, and interested parties have been given one month to submit their views. Once the consultation has been completed the CMT said it will forward the draft measures to the European Commission (EC).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:49:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

PSTN operator Angola Telecom has introduced a national single rate tariff to standardise the cost of making calls to all areas of the country within its network, news agency ANGOP reports. The wireline and CDMA network operator has set off-peak and peak tariffs for destinations countrywide between its subscribers, at KWZ7.20 (USD0.075) and KWZ8.93 per minute respectively. To promote the move Angola Telecom is offering customers free calls at the weekend this month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:47:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) announced yesterday that it has decided to reduce the maximum wholesale termination fees an operators can charge each other for making calls on their networks. Reuters notes that the watchdog has been gradually trimming termination rates in the country in line with EU regulatory norms, and between 2005 and 2011 has cut them by 65.3%. Under the latest cut, the wholesale termination price will reduce to CZK0.55 (USD0.027) per minute from CZK1.08 from 15 July 2012, for all new contracts (and from 15 September will be extended to include all existing contracts).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:41:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Crnogorski Telekom, Montengro’s fixed line incumbent, has rolled out its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to 7,700 households, the company announced today. Whilst fibre-based services have so far been limited to the capital, Podgorica, Telekom has begun deploying infrastructure in the coastal town of Budva and Bijelo Polje, near the Serbian border. Subscribers to the telco’s fibre broadband packages have access to download speeds of up to 40Mbps, with options for a triple-play package including voice, broadband and TV. New subscribers to the service are exempt from set-up fees and equipment costs.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 4:11:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Togo Telecom has announced that it is doubling mobile internet bundles for customers using its HELIM NOMAD tariff plans, without increasing their monthly bills. The move follows the announcement that the telco hoped to reduce prices once the West Africa Cable System (WACS) lands in the country. As reported previously by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 11 June Togo Telecom confirmed that it had inaugurated WACS with the central landing of the fibre-optic cable in Afidegnigba. At the time, the telco said it hoped to usher in a ‘new era’ in telecommunications for the Togolese, offering more affordable broadband internet connectivity for the nation.

True to its word, the telco says that from now the cost of a 1GB package bundle will be XOF7,880 (USD15) – it used to cost USD30 per month for a 1GB bundle – a 2GB bundle will now be USD30 a month, and the premium 3GB offer on the same tariff will be USD45. Togo Telecom has however, increased the cost of its fixed line (ADSL) connections – branded HELIM FIXED – but ‘honoured its promise to reduce internet tariffs for mobile subscribers,’ it said.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 4:05:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Europe’s largest pre-pay mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) by subscribers, Lycamobile, has rolled out services in Ireland, claiming to offer affordable, low cost international mobile calls for as little as EUR0.01 (USD0.0125) per minute (with no connection charge), and national calls for EUR0.03 a minute. In a press release Lycamobile says that in the launch phase it will offer a number of introductory ‘Pay As You Go SIM’ offers in Ireland that will be tailored to deliver a range of voice, data and SMS text propositions. In addition to its low cost calls prices, the MVNO says its new business model will offer ‘free unlimited’ 3G internet connection and text messages for just EUR0.09 to national and international numbers. To complete the suite of offers Lycamobile customers will also get unlimited free on-net calls and SMS.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:58:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), the United Arab Emirates’ incumbent telecoms operator, has slashed the price of its basic broadband packages in the face of increasing competition from sole rival Du. The National cites Rashid Majid Al Abbar, Etisalat’s vice president of home products marketing, as saying that the company has reduced the price of its 1Mbps internet package, which includes a fixed telephony line, from AED259 (USD70.5) per month to AED189, with the aim of enticing users away from slower 256kbps and 512kbps connections. ‘That is the long-term strategy… We want to have more high speed customers,’ Mr Al Abbar said. Etisalat is also studying the possibility of reducing landline rates by between 10% and 30% for local calls, as well as international calls to ‘specific destinations.’ The move could be implemented in the second half of the year, the Etisalat executive said, but first requires the approval of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). The regulator is currently gearing up for the commercial introduction of bitstream access later this year, following a trial service with selected customers launched in July 2011. The introduction of bitstream access will break the monopolies held by Etisalat and Du within their respective areas by enabling consumers nationwide to choose between the two providers for their fixed line voice and broadband services.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:53:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Uzbekistan national operator Uztelecom continues to reduce the price for use of its internet gateway by ISPs. The rate was cut from USD 457 to USD 442 per 1 Mbps. It has been the fifth reduction this year, dropping from USD 500 in January.


Source: Telecompaper

CIS | Internet | Tariffs
Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:46:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Azerbaijan mobile operator Azercell has launched its LTE network in Baku, reports Trend. The network is operational in the capital city only, and the operator plans to double the coverage by the end of the year. Azercell offers USB modems supporting LTE for AZN 149, and the monthly subscription for unlimited broadband costs AZN 45. CEO Ali Agan said that the LTE launch should support a reduction in mobile data prices in Azerbaijan.

Source: Telecompaper

CIS | LTE | Tariffs
Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:44:29 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)  #     | 

State-owned telco Une-EPM has begun offering commercial services over its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, the first of its kind in the country. At present the mobile broadband service is available to 80% of the populations of Bogota and Medelin, but will be expanded to Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Bucaramanga later this year. Une intends to achieve 90% population coverage by end-December 2012, and sign up 120,000-180,000 subscribers by that date. Une is offering pre- and post-paid plans with maximum download speeds of up to 12Mbps, with download limits of 6GB or 12GB for monthly contract subscribers and 1.2GB, 4GB or 8GB for pay-as-you go users. Post-paid subscriptions start at COP89,900 (USD49.78) per month, plus COP33,400 for the USB modem.

Commenting on the launch, Une president Marc Perret Eichmann said: ‘4G will contribute to the development of the country, putting it at the forefront of telecommunications infrastructure in the region.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:32:29 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)  #     | 

Telefonica O2 CR has announced the launch of a commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, making it the first carrier to bring 4G services to the Czech population. At launch, the new LTE network covers the municipality of Jesenice (district Prague-West) and its surroundings, serving a total population of around 10,000 people. Further, the operator says its LTE signal is also available in approximately half of the Chodov shopping mall in Prague, where its flagship ‘O2 Experience Centre’ store is based.

Telefonica O2 CR is using so-called ‘network neutral’ spectrum to support its LTE launch and is using equipment supplied by Huawei of China. The cellco’s fledgling 4G system comprises 2×10MHz of bandwidth in the 1800MHz band. From 19 June O2 customers can purchase one of two devices that support LTE with a SIM card, it says. It is offering customers an option of three tariffs for the new service, branded ‘LTE Mobile Internet’, with prices starting at CZK333 (USD16.5) per month for 2GB of downloads, rising to CZK800 for 40GB and a maximum 60Mbps/25Mbps connection.

Source: Telegeography

LTE | Tariffs
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:21:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued an order to the country’s dominant telecoms operator Batelco, setting new wholesale regulated access and interconnection rates for 2012. Under the order the telco’s bitstream and wholesale DSL charges are decreasing by between 2% and 26% compared to current prices; interconnection links charges are being cut by between 30% and 50%; interconnection services charges remain unchanged; duct access rates are similarly unaltered (although the TRA has introduced a maximum price that Batelco can charge to alternative operators for the field study stage required prior to cabling); domestic leased line wholesale costs are dropping by up to 46%; fees for international leased half circuits to Gulf countries are falling by between 28% and 68%, and for Southeast/East Asia, Europe and the USA, the wholesale tariffs have been cut by between 41% and 45%.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:14:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 1:33:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bahrain’s Batelco has announced the commercial availability of enhanced mobile broadband services with theoretical maximum downlink connection speeds of up to 42Mbps on its HSPA+ network. Alongside the upgrade to dual carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) standard, Batelco has launched new mobile broadband packages with unlimited monthly data usage for smartphones, tablets and laptops, available to new and existing post-paid subscribers. The telco has also introduced a new line-up of devices capable of supporting its new higher data speeds for its ‘O-Net’ mobile broadband users. The three unlimited post-paid packages start from BHD8 (USD21) per month, and all allow access to the 42Mbps network, with each tier allowing a different data threshold before the connection speed is throttled to 512kbps (downlink)/128kbps (uplink). Subscribers to the BHD8 package have a monthly threshold of 4GB, BHD10 packages users get 7GB of unthrottled usage, and the top-tier BHD11 option throttles speeds after 8GB.

Source: Telegeography

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

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)  #     | 

Telefónica banishes bill shock with the announcement of its first standard pan-European data roaming tariff – giving smartphone customers 25MB of high-speed Internet usage anywhere across the 27 European Union member states for just $2.54 a day.
 
Telefónica’s EU-wide tariff means mobile customers – on Movistar or O2 networks – will no longer have to worry about the cost of sending or receiving emails, updating their Facebook status or browsing the web on their smartphones when travelling or holidaying abroad.
 
For $2.54 a day, Telefónica is giving its smartphone customers travelling in the EU a data volume of 25 Megabytes – which translates to 250 visits to essential websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google or BBC Online and up to 500 emails. Additionally, customers will only pay for days they choose to use data, and will not be charged should they wish to switch off their phone.
 
The Telefónica tariff weighs in at a fraction of new price caps announced by the European UnionFacebook, Twitter, Google – which ruled that as of 1 July, one data megabyte should cost no more than $0.9, or $22.25 for 25 MB. On a per megabyte basis, Telefónica’s European tariff works out considerably cheaper than the EU’s regulated rate.
 
José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe, said that users no longer need to switch off their smartphones when travelling within the EU, and neither do they need to worry about bill shock when they get home. Further, their European data tariff gives smartphone customers great value while allowing them to do what really matters – to stay connected wherever they are in a simple and transparent way and with complete peace of mind.

Smartphone customers use on average around 6MB in a day, but any Telefónica customers exceeding 25 MB will be immediately notified.  The Pan-European tariff launched in Germany in May and will be available this summer to O2 and Movistar customers in Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Source: Wireless Federation.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:48:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Airtel Tanzania yesterday launched a five-in-one offer that encompasses its data and voice services through a combination of quality, affordable rates and unique
online products, according to a report by Tanzania Daily News.
 
The new services launched will allow Airtel customers to call for half a shilling 24 hours throughout the week to preferred numbers. The company’s Managing Director Sam Elangalloor said at the launch in Dar es Salaam that Airtel subscribers will enjoy night calls at quarter a shilling, send 10 SMS at $0.02 and get 200 free.
 
They will also get free facebook browsing as well as free night time Internet. He emphasized that whereas the offer mainly targeted the youth, all other Airtel customers frequently using both data and voice services will also be rewarded. He said Airtel is committed to providing our customers with quality innovative products and services that will improve the total customer experience.
 
Elangalloor added that Supa 5 will provide a great experience with five grand offers that will enable youth across the country to select three numbers to call for half Shilling all day all night. He said the offer provides a well-rounded and affordable solution for those who seamlessly use voice calls, online social platforms and short texts to communicate with relatives, friends and peers.
 
On his part, Airtel Marketing Director Cheikh Sarr said the Supa 5 is the most competitive offer available in the local market with no hidden charges.

Source: Wireless Federation.
 

Friday, June 22, 2012 1:53:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Millicom-owned Tigo, Ghana’s second largest cellular operator by subscribers, has unveiled the country’s first unlimited mobile internet plans which offer customers time-based rather than volume-based tariffs. The cellco’s acting general manager, Obafemi Banigbe, told local news portal Joy Online: ‘With this unlimited internet plan… our subscribers can read the news, search on Google, listen to music, watch videos, download and stream movies and not bother about their internet volume finishing.’ Mobile handset users can access the internet with rates starting at GHS0.99 (USD0.53) per day, rising to GHS22.99 for a whole month. Laptop and tablet users, meanwhile, are offered rates from GHS1.99 a day to GHS39.99 a month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 12:26:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzanian fixed and mobile operator Zantel has launched 3G/3.5G mobile services based on HSPA+ technology on the island of Zanzibar, to improve internet access for the local population and afford them access to services such as multimedia (text, graphic, video and animation), mobile broadband internet access and improved voice call services. Commenting on the launch, Zantel’s chief commercial officer Ahmed Mokhles said: ‘Zantel’s superior internet connectivity has gained popularity and is of high demand in Tanzania, and now the Zanzibaris will be able to enjoy the fastest internet speed.’

The operator’s new service is promising maximum download speeds of 21Mbps via its E 3131 modem, which is priced at TZS60,000 (USD39), and 7.2Mbps on the cheaper E 303 modem (costing TZS30,000). The cellco is also supporting handsets and devices on the new network it said, including smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone, iPads, tablets and other 3G modems and routers. ‘We will also be offering data bundles to our customers giving them flexibility and choice to subscribe to a package that suits their lifestyles. Our customers can now enjoy internet for [as little as] TSZ500 for 30MB [bundle] and TZS3000 for 250MB,’ added Mr Mokhles.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 12:25:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Azerbaijan mobile operator Bakcell announced that it plans to raise the prices of on-net calls for subscribers of its SevimliCIN, SevinCIN and QoshaCIN tariffs from 15 May. The current AZN 0.04 per minute rate for on-net calls at off-peak hours will be raised to AZN 0.06 per minute for subscribers of the SevimliCIN tariff and to AZN 0.08 per minute for subscribers of the Sevin CIN and QoshaCIN tariffs.

Source: Telecom Paper.

CIS | Tariffs
Friday, June 22, 2012 12:24:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Azerbaijan mobile operator Bakcell announced that it plans to raise the prices of on-net calls for subscribers of its SevimliCIN, SevinCIN and QoshaCIN tariffs from 15 May. The current AZN 0.04 per minute rate for on-net calls at off-peak hours will be raised to AZN 0.06 per minute for subscribers of the SevimliCIN tariff and to AZN 0.08 per minute for subscribers of the Sevin CIN and QoshaCIN tariffs.

Source: Telecom Paper.

CIS | LTE | Tariffs
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:57:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 30, 2012

Tanzania Telecommunications Company (TTCL) has introduced a new offer known as Nduki Broadband, which will enable broadband users to pay from Tanzanian shillings 30,000/- (around USD20) to 200,000/- (around USD130) per month for unlimited access.

The offer allows customers to download as much data as they like without any limitations. The offer will give them for first package speed of 256 Kbs, and is known as Nduki Bronze which will be paid Tanzanian shillings 30,000/- (around 20 USD) per month.

The second package is known as Nduki Silver, with speeds of 512 Kbs, which will cost a Tanzanian shilling 60,000/- (around USD40 USD).

Nduki Gold is the third package, giving customers high speed access of 1Mbps which per month at Tanzanian shillings 100,000 (around USD65). The highest-speed package, Nduki Diamond, offers speeds of 2Mbps at a cost of Tanzanian shillings 200,000/- (around 130 USD) per month.

All the packages give TTCL subscribers unlimited download services.

The state-owned company is seeking to grow its broadband subscriber numbers in order to compete with private telecom companies which currently lead the market in Tanzania.

According to TCRA quarterly report December 2011, TTCL has only 1% of the market shares while Vodacom is leading the market with 45%, Airtel with 27%, Tigo with 21%, Zantel 6%, Sasatel 0.02% and Benson 0.01%.

Source: Biztech Africa.

Friday, March 30, 2012 11:04:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French cellco Bouygues Telecom is lowering the price of some of its mid-range price plans in the face of stiff competition from the market’s newest operator, low-cost provider Free Mobile. Telecompaper reports that the price of Bouygues’ Eden Smartphone 1GB plan, for example, which offers unlimited voice calls and 1GB of data usage per month, will be slashed from EUR79.90 (USD105.23) a month to EUR49.90. The firm says most customers opt for calling plans with limited monthly minutes in the EUR35-EUR45 bracket, and this new offer is an attempt to entice these users onto unlimited packages rather than seeing them migrate to low-cost alternatives such as Free Mobile.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, March 30, 2012 10:40:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French mobile and broadband operator Bouygues Telecom will cut the price of its mid-range mobile subscriptions with subsdised handsets on 19 March. Since the market entry of Free Mobile, MNOs have cut the price of their low-cost brands and quad-play plans with unlimited mobile, but other than commercial gestures by customer services, the announced price of mid-tier services has not changed. Les Echos reports that  Bouygues will halve its number of Eden subscriptions. Two-hour call package prices will come down by only around 10 percent, but packages with unlimited calls, such as the Eden Smartphone 1GB plan, will come down to EUR 49.90 from EUR 79.90 a month.

Bouygues currently sells few unlimited voice plans, with most customers opting for plans costing EUR 35-45 a month.  The new pricing is likely to motivate customers to opt for unlimited call plans, according to Bouygues’ deputy director for consumer, Frederic Ruciak. Only 10-15 percent of Bouygues’ customers are now choosing Sim-only subscriptions and fewer than 5 percent choose Sim-only plans with mobile data. Bouygues Telecom announced that it expects a 10 percent fall in revenues in 2012, a year in which it aims to save EUR 300 million a year. The company said that fixed broadband is continuing to grow, but that growth in Sim-only offers and the arrival of Free Mobile would have a negative impact on revenue.

Source: Telecompaper.

Friday, March 30, 2012 10:39:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 16, 2012

Having last month notified the European Commission (EC) regarding provisional new charge controls for a number of wholesale fixed line services provided by BT’s wholesale division Openreach, UK regulator Ofcom has announced that it has now formally set the new pricing structure. The watchdog noted that the proposed charges remain unchanged from those submitted to the EC, with Ofcom reiterating that the charges were being regulated as fixed line incumbent BT is judged to hold significant market power (SMP) in the delivery of the services in question.

Ofcom has confirmed that the charges will take effect from 1 April 2012, and as per the new pricing regime the annual cost of a fully unbundled line will drop to GBP87.41 (USD138.16) per year, down from the current cost of GBP91.50. Looking forward, this fee will then decrease further in the following financial year (from 1 April 2013), with the reduction calculated using the formula of retail price index (RPI) -5.9%. A shared unbundled line, meanwhile, which currently costs GBP14.70 per year, will be reduced to GBP11.92 for FY2012/13, before falling further in the following fiscal year by RPI -15.9%. Rounding out the regulator’s price revisions, Ofcom has also confirmed that the cost of wholesale line rental (WLR) would be reduced to GBP98.81 per annum from its current rate of GBP103.68 from March 2012, with a further reduction due in FY2013/14 using a formula of RPI -7.3%.

On the back of the ratification of the new charges, Ofcom has said that it expects the new prices to ‘lead to real term price reductions for consumers, as communications providers pass on savings to their landline and broadband customers’. In confirming its regulatory decision, Ofcom also highlighted that the number of local loop unbundled (LLU) lines in service had increased from just 123,000 in September 2005 to more than eight million today, while there are now some 6.2 million WLR connections in the UK in addition.

BT, meanwhile, has indicated that it may challenge the ruling, with Techweek Europe citing the telco as saying: ‘As expected, following last month’s draft statement, Ofcom has today published the final charge controls for the Openreach LLU and WLR portfolio … We continue to disagree with some of the underlying assumptions they have used to determine these controls with our primary concern being that we are able to achieve a fair rate of return in order to continue our investment in the future of the UK’s communications infrastructure.’ BT has said it will consider all options open to it, including appealing the new charges.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, March 16, 2012 4:05:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 24, 2012

Mobile operator Orange has reacted to the impact of Free Mobile’s launch stating that in the first 48 hours following 10 January 2012, Orange recorded a substantial increase in RIO requests, (the identity codes required to request mobile number). These peaked at over 150,000 requests in a single day during this initial period but have now decreased tenfold. As at 15 February 2012, the Orange mobile subscriber base had declined by 201,000 subscribers, representing around 0.7 per cent of its total mobile customer base in France, which, at 31 December 2011, had reached just over 27 million subscribers. Orange’s early commercial counter-attack enabled it to respond rapidly by adapting tariffs for its low-cost brand Sosh, launched in September for this purpose, and by adjusting the Orange Open quadruple play offer. The new tariffs for Sosh respond to the new market environment, with three commitment-free SIM only offers from US$ 1.2 (2 hours voice, unlimited SMS / MMS / WiFi) to US$ 33 (100 per cent unlimited). As per the company statement, they helped accelerate the acquisition of new customers and had attracted a total of 90,000 Sosh subscribers as at 15 February 2012. In parallel, the Orange Open range was enriched and reached a total of 1.4 million subscribers as at 15 February 2012. Finally, the Origami range also contributed a significant share of new additions over the period. Lastly, ever pragmatic, Orange signed a 2G and 3G roaming contract with Free mobile last March. This contract will generate additional revenue for the Group linked to the volume of traffic that, at the time of signing, was estimated to represent US$ 1.3 billion over a six-year period. The traffic generated by Free mobile subscribers could be substantially higher than expected without this having a negative impact on the quality of service for Orange customers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

 

Friday, February 24, 2012 9:28:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The OECD has recommended ways for governments to take action against high costs for international mobile roaming. The recommendation largely follows the measures implemented or under consideration by the European Union. The OECD first recommends that governments promote transparent information on roami­ng prices, to help protect consumers and businesses from high costs. Setting a financial limit for data roaming services would also help, the group said. In addition, international MVNOs should have access to wholesale mobile services under local conditions and on fair and reasonable terms, the OECD said. They should also benefit from regulated wholesale roaming rates between operators. If the above measures are not effective, the OECD recommends that governments consider price regulation for roaming services. Wholesale roaming services could be regulated by means of bilateral or multilateral wholesale agreements with mutually established price caps.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, February 24, 2012 9:24:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has told the country's mobile operators to reduce roaming charges by up to 75 percent, Trade Arabia reported. This follows the decision of the ministerial committee of the GCC Council to introduce maximum prices. Some regional operators have already implemented the decision. The TRA decision sets the maximum charge for international ca­lls at BHD 0.249 per minute from within Gulf countries made by a Bahraini mobile user. Currently, Bahraini consumers pay as much as BHD 1 per minute for calls to Bahrain while roaming in some Gulf states. The maximum rates will only apply to voice calls made within and between GCC countries and not to data services at this point. The TRA decision also limits the cost of local calls within a GCC country by a Bahraini mobile to BHD 0.104 per minute, whether it is to a fixed or a mobile number.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:45:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Austrian telecom regulator RTR announced that it has introduced a monthly ceiling of EUR 60 for the use of mobile data services, starting from 01 May. RTR director general Georg Serentschy said that the regulator found an increased need for customer protection in the use of mobile data services in recent months. From 01 May, customers will be protected from high costs they may encounter with expensive downloads. The billing ceiling will also apply to legacy contracts.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The EU Parliament is pushing for much steeper reductions in roaming fees than those proposed last year by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. According to a draft proposal seen by Reuters, the parliament is aiming for a rate of EUR 0.15 per minute, compared with Kroes's plan for a one-third cut to EUR 0.24. Mobile data would be capped at EUR 0.20 per MB, rather than EUR 0.50 under the European Commission's proposal. Angelika Niebler, a German politician steering the proposed regulation through parliament, said mobile operators should not charge customers differently depending on where they are. "There should really be no roaming (fees) at a time when we are supposed to have a single market," Niebler said in an interview. The two sides are set to debate the measures in the coming months with the aim of arriving at a compromise law that would be phased in over three years. Under the parliament's proposal, the caps proposed by Kroes would come into force in July 2012, with its steeper cuts implemented in 2013 and 2014. Niebler's draft proposal would lower the cost of incoming calls to 5 cents per minute by 2014, half the rate proposed by Kroes, and c­ut the price of a text message by 50 percent to EUR 0.05. The current caps are EUR 0.35 per minute for outgoing calls and EUR 0.11 for incoming calls.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:49:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s national regulator Anatel has ordered local telecoms operators to reduce tariffs by 10.78% starting from 24 February, Dow Jones reports. In a statement published yesterday, the watchdog is looking to reduce prices of calls from fixed to mobile numbers and also for mobile to mobile calls, it said. It hopes the move will further boost consumer take-up and in so doing compensate for any initial losses to operators revenues. Under the plan the cost of a call from a fixed line to a mobile phone will come down from BRL0.546 (USD0.311) per minute to BRL0.487. The regulator has also ordered similar reductions from the start of 2013 and 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:45:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Direction to all telecom operators on the publication of tariff plans, in a bid to offer greater transparency for telecom subscribers in choosing their tariff plans.

According to the report, the Direction asks for all tariff plans meant for pre-paid and post-paid subscribers to be published in separate formats. Further, in order to facilitate easy comparison across tariff plans, these formats should contain all the tariff plans offered by the telecom access service provider in a service area inclusive of all tariff items along with the respective tariff in tabular formats at one place.

The Direction also states that all the tariff plans should be made available to the subscribers in the prescribed formats at the customer care centres, points of sale/retail outlets as well as on the website of the telecom access service provider. Also, the telecom access service provider is required to ensure that the tariff plans published in the prescribed formats are updated on their website and customer care centre every time there is a change in any of the tariff plans, and make available the updated tariff plans in these formats by the 7th day of January, April, July and October at their points of sale and retail outlets.

As per the Direction, it is mandatory for the telecom access service provider to publish all the tariff plans in prescribed formats in at least one regional language and one English newspaper at an interval of not more than six months, and provide compliance to the regulatory authority.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:41:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tariffs for mobile broadband on laptops, netbooks and tablets have fallen slightly in the past half year in most Western European countries, according to the latest research from Telecompaper. The average monthly cost was down in ten out of the 16 countries surveyed, although prices vary significantly still across countries. The Netherlands has moved from the most expensive in Q1 2009 to seventh place in Q4 2011. Mobile broadband prices for laptops and tablets were still the lowest in Finland, the UK and Ireland, based on the average monthly rate, while Switzerland, France and Spain remain the most expensive. In the past, unlimited, affordable subscriptions were the norm in order to stimulate use of mobile data. Today the majority of operators have switched to tiered pricing, with data allowances and speed reductions after using a certain volume of data. The huge growth in mobile broadband use, both on phones and other devices, is driving­ operators to develop new pricing models, in order to support further development of their networks. This means that consumers can expect to continue to pay more for data used.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:46:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 13, 2012

Spanish regulator CMT has launched public consultations on mobile termination rates in the Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo networks. CMT proposes a 73 percent reduction of mobile termination fees for the three main mobile operators Movistar, Vodafone Spain and Orange Spain, from the current 4 eurocents per minute to 1.09 eurocents per minute. CMT also plans to cut MTRs in the Yoigo ne­twork by 80 percent, from the current 4.98 eurocents to 1.09 eurocents per minute. The regulator proposes a two-year glide path for mobile termination rates, with cuts every six months starting in April 2012 until October 2014.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:13:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The new regulation by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will reduce the access charges paid by mobile operators for the text messages sent by customers across all networks by as much as 57 percent. According to reports, the regulator has slashed the interconnection rates, a major revenue source for the mobile operators, from US$ 0.008 to US$ 0.0035, and expects the charge for the customers to be reduced to around US$ 0.023 per SMS.

As per sources, the revenue from text messages was US$ 648 million, almost 27 percent of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s earnings for the first nine months of 2011. Further, Globe Telecom’s revenue from mobile communications data services reportedly accounted for 39 percent of the company’s overall revenues for the same period.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, January 13, 2012 11:32:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 07, 2011

From today, incumbent fixed line operator Mauritius Telecom is cutting the cost of its residential ADSL Home tariffs by between 12% and 46%, and halving access prices on its ADSL Business plans, L’Express reports. The announcement was made by the Minister of Information Technology and Communication (ICT), Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, on 25 November during a press briefing. As a result of the reduction, the cost of the telco’s 256kbps ADSL Home package will come down to MUR349 (USD12.35) per month from MUR399, the 512kbps service will be trimmed to MUR699 from MUR759, while the cost of its 1Mbps plan will be cut by 46% to MUR799.

Meanwhile ADSL Business users will see their rates cut by 50%, while call centres and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms will experience cuts of between 10% and 46%. Mauritius Telecom will not however, be cutting the cost of its triple-play service, My.T.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:14:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

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

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

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 3:56:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 24, 2011

Italian telecoms regulator Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (AGCOM) has confirmed that the country’s four mobile network operators – Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Vodafone Italy, Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy) and 3 Italia (H3G Italia) – have been instructed to cut mobile termination rates (MTRs) by 40%, following a request by the European Commission (EC).

As such, the telecoms watchdog has indicated that tariffs must drop from EUR0.025 (USD0.034) to EUR0.035 by 1 July 2012, with a further reduction, to EUR0.0098 by 1 July 2013.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, November 24, 2011 3:12:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tigo Ghana has reduced its on-net and off-net call rates even further ahead of Glo mobile’s launch in Ghana on 17 November 2011. According to reports, Tigo Ghana is offering customers new call rates of US$ 0.02 per minute for on-net calls and $ 0.058 per minute for off-net calls. As per sources, Carlos Caceres, CEO, Tigo Ghana has said that the new rates will replace all other promotional call rates on Tigo. He added that the many call tariff plans and promotions in the telecom market are very complex for the average phone user to understand and they make it difficult for customers to know how much they are spending.

Mr. Caceres also said that for those who were on more than one network, the several tariff plans becomes even more confusing because it is difficult to monitor the different charges for different locations at any point in time. He said the new rates Tigo had announced were straight forward and they remain unchanged for 24 hours every day, no matter the location or time of day, so customers do not have to get confused about different charges at different times of the day. The CEO has also hinted that Tigo may also be reviewing their data packages to better suit the customers’ needs.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:17:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Danish telecoms regulator, the National IT and Telecom Agency (Telestyrelsen), has announced that mobile termination rates for the country’s four mobile network operators – TDC, Telia Denmark, Telenor Denmark and Hi3G Access Denmark (3) – will be lowered from 1 March 2012. Telestyrelsen has confirmed that the mobile termination rate for voice calls will drop from the current rate of DKK0.33 (USD0.061) per minute to DKK0.22 per minute, while the rate for text messaging will fall from DKK0.16 per SMS to DKK0.12. The regulator has also submitted a draft decision which seeks to impose the same mobile termination rates on mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile as the country’s four network operators. Lycamobile launched mobile services over the network of TDC in July 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:16:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lebanon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has presented a study showing that prices for consumer and corporate ADSL broadband internet packages with capped data usage are now cheaper than the average across Arab countries, following the recent connection to additional international bandwidth and a state decree which mandated price drops and speed increases. Although a significant number of areas in the country are still awaiting the full implementation of new speeds via DSL access network upgrades and domestic fibre backbone rollouts, the retail price reductions have been experienced nationwide, whilst wholesale international bandwidth costs are also now lower than the Arab country average. The TRA’s presentation showed that new ADSL tariffs for low data usage customers, capped at 2GB per month, were priced at 23% below the Arab average, while ‘high-usage’ (6GB) ADSL tariffs were priced at the regional average (USD28), although data speeds were not compared. In the corporate broadband segment, Lebanon’s prices came out as significantly lower than average using the same comparison criteria: by 59% in the case of 2GB plans and 75% lower for a 6GB monthly tariff. International bandwidth and international leased circuits are now ‘significantly’ lower than the Arab average, the regulator added. Prior to the market shake-up, a similar regional study published by Bahrain’s national telecoms regulator showed that Lebanon had the highest-priced broadband in the Middle East for low-speed (256kbps), ‘high’ usage (6GB a month) services, as of March 2011.

In July 2011 the Lebanese communications ministry announced that ISPs were to be granted retail and wholesale access to increased international internet capacity via the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) submarine cable, and the promise was formalised by decree in September, which mandated an 80% reduction in the cost of DSL bandwidth to the consumer, an increase in retail broadband speeds by between four and eight times – up to 8Mbps – and a rise in monthly download limits. On 1 October 2011 state-run incumbent telco Ogero announced the launch of new internet packages, including a minimum 1Mbps ADSL service across ‘the majority’ of the country for its retail end-users and wholesale ISP customers. Upgrades to another cable system, Cadmos, will also boost the country’s available bandwidth, helping to raise speeds and lower prices.

Meanwhile, in the same presentation, the TRA revealed that the price of 3G mobile services in Lebanon is between 23% and 25% higher than average across the Arab world. The official launch of commercial 3G mobile broadband services took place in the country on 1 November 2011, courtesy of the two state-owned cellcos Alfa and MTC Touch. In subsequent stages of 3G development, the TRA said, the two cellcos will leverage economies of scale to significantly reduce prices as 3G device ownership increases.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:14:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Royal Gazette Online reports that domestic internet service providers (ISPs) in Bermuda intend to increase end-user broadband access speeds without making them pay for the upgrade. Late last week a number of local providers confirmed plans to offer customers free upgrades on their DSL services from 6Mbps (download) to 8Mbps. Incumbent Bermuda Telephone Company (BTC) confirmed that the upgrade will be underway by the end of this month, and added that it is also looking to introduce a 10Mbps service. Meanwhile, ISP North Rock says it will honour BTC’s ‘free’ upgrade. ‘North Rock’s 6Mbps DSL rate is BMD119.95 per month and BTC is offering these customers to upgrade to 8Mbps DSL at no additional charge. We will also honour this and move them from 6Mbps DSL to 8Mbps DSL for the same BMD119.95 [USD119.95] per month price,’ it said. The ISP is also looking to offer the 10Mbps service from BTC, which will be priced at BMD129.95 per month, it added.

BTC has been looking to launch higher speed services for some time and in the summer received approval from the government to launch the new 8Mbps and 10Mbps options. At the time, critics expressed concern that the incumbent was looking to forge ahead with higher speed services, rather than upgrade slower services – as is the trend in other countries.

Meanwhile, Bermudan cable services provider CableVision says it has also applied to increase its broadband internet access speeds. The firm’s manager Terry Roberson says that the group has recently submitted a request to the Telecommunications Communications vis a vis approval for a 20Mbps service. Although the price of the new service has not been disclosed, the paper notes that CableVision’s Ultimate High Speed Internet package costs BMD55 per month for an 8Mbps connection, excluding the ISP’s charge.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:12:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Chile has completed the first phase of the process of elimination of domestic long-distance charges. The process will see the number of calling zones reduced initially to 13 from 24, and in a second stage will eliminate all zones for a single nationwide calling area. According to Chilean telecoms regulator Subtel, this first stage has benefitted around 6 million customers in the regions of Valparaiso, El Maule, Bio Bio, Atacama, Coquimbo, Los Lagos, and Los Rios. The charges are expected to be completely eliminated by 2013.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:04:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has cut down the interconnection charges for short messaging service (SMS) among telecom operators, in an attempt to provide users with more affordable rates for sending text messages. According to reports, the regulatory authority has ordered that the interconnection charge for SMS between two separate telecommunications networks should not exceed $0.003 (15 centavos) per SMS through its Memorandum Circular No. 02-10-2011. Consequently, the new rates will come down by $0.005 (20 centavos) from $0.008 (35 centavos).

As per sources, Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC Commissioner has said that the enactment of the new SMS interconnection rates was in line  was in line with the provisions of the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, which seeks the establishment of fair and reasonable interconnection among public operators and other telecommunications service providers at reasonable and fair cost. He further said that the reduced SMS interconnection rate would translate to lower retail price of text messaging services and make the popular telecommunication services more accessible and affordable to a greater number of people throughout the country. Currently, telecom operators charge a rate of $0.002 (10 centavos) per text message within their network, however the rates for messages sent across different operators increase with the additional cost of the network receiving the text message along with the interconnection charge of $0.008 (35 centavos) per message.

Further, under the same circular, network operators were also ordered to ensure that they have the adequate facilities required to guarantee that 99 percent of the text messages reach their destination within 30 seconds of being sent. In order to achieve this, it is proposed that all networks involved in the interconnection should provide the required links or circuits to effectively handle their SMS traffic.

Source: Wireless Federation

SMS | Tariffs
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 11:49:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2011

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has cut down the interconnection charges for short messaging service (SMS) among telecom operators, in an attempt to provide users with more affordable rates for sending text messages. According to reports, the regulatory authority has ordered that the interconnection charge for SMS between two separate telecommunications networks should not exceed $0.003 (15 centavos) per SMS through its Memorandum Circular No. 02-10-2011. Consequently, the new rates will come down by $0.005 (20 centavos) from $0.008 (35 centavos).

As per sources, Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC Commissioner has said that the enactment of the new SMS interconnection rates was in line  was in line with the provisions of the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, which seeks the establishment of fair and reasonable interconnection among public operators and other telecommunications service providers at reasonable and fair cost. He further said that the reduced SMS interconnection rate would translate to lower retail price of text messaging services and make the popular telecommunication services more accessible and affordable to a greater number of people throughout the country. Currently, telecom operators charge a rate of $0.002 (10 centavos) per text message within their network, however the rates for messages sent across different operators increase with the additional cost of the network receiving the text message along with the interconnection charge of $0.008 (35 centavos) per message.

Further, under the same circular, network operators were also ordered to ensure that they have the adequate facilities required to guarantee that 99 percent of the text messages reach their destination within 30 seconds of being sent. In order to achieve this, it is proposed that all networks involved in the interconnection should provide the required links or circuits to effectively handle their SMS traffic.

Source: Wireless Federation

Monday, November 07, 2011 9:04:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Croatian Parliament has decided to abolish the 6% tax on mobile network service revenues as of 1 January 2012.

On 1 August 2009 a 6% tax was introduced for all mobile operators in Croatia as a measure against the economic crisis. The tax was applicable on revenues generated by mobile services, i.e. voice, SMS and MMS, and was payable by the mobile operator.

Vipnet, the Croatian subsidiary of Telekom Austria Group, recorded a mobile tax expense of EUR 15.2 million in the full year 2010.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:54:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 21, 2011

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

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, October 21, 2011 1:01:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Croatia’s government is seeking parliamentary approval to scrap the country’s ‘special tax’ on mobile phone services, reports Reuters. The 6% tax was introduced in 2009 as a measure to help plug the public deficit, but the government has proposed removing it from 1 January 2012. Finance Minister Martina Dalic told a cabinet session: ‘Such a tax does not exist in the countries whose companies own the operators in Croatia [Swedish Tele2, Germany’s T-Mobile and Telekom Austria-backed VIPnet] and one of its consequences was a reduction of investments in the telecom industry. Scrapping the tax paves way for lower prices and more investments in this area.’

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 21, 2011 12:55:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2011

Colombia’s telecoms watchdog the Communication Regulation Commission (CRC) has approved new measures that will improve competition in the wireless market. The provisions focus on regulating more closely the relationships between telcos. No mobile network operator will be allowed to block a device, meaning that customers can connect through any network. In addition the CRC will decrease interconnection rates for calls between operators from the current rate of COP98 (USD0.05) per minute to COP42 per minute by 2015, and investigate the possibility of reducing SMS interconnection rates from COP59 to a single figure by the same date.

Going forward, by April 2012 the watchdog plans to have completed work on a website that will allow customers to view and compare the rates offered by different providers.

Colombia’s wireless market consists of three players, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. Comunicacion Celular is the dominant provider with 67.8% share of the mobile market, whilst Mexico’s Telefonica Moviles Colombia (Movistar) and Luxembourg’s Colombia Movil (Tigo) represent 22.0% and 10.2% of the sector respectively.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 07, 2011 1:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Guam based telco, GTA TeleGuam has announced that it is scrapping the current unlimited mobile data tariffs and will replace it with a range of tariffs for new and existing subscribers.

Currently, GTA TeleGuam's customers pay $29.95 a month for unlimited smartphone data.

Under the new tariffs, GTA TeleGuam will offer three tiered pricing options. These include 5GB for $29.95, 10GB for $49.95, and unlimited monthly usage for $99.95. Overage charges will be billed at $10 per additional Gigabyte. "Moving to usage-based pricing is among multiple steps GTA TeleGuam is taking to better manage explosive wireless network usage and preserve its position as the smartphone leader in Guam," said Roland Certeza, executive vice president of sales and marketing for GTA TeleGuam.

According to GTA TeleGuam mobile data usage reports, more than 90 percent of the company's Mpulse wireless data users use less than 3GB per month.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, October 07, 2011 12:42:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 15, 2011
The Kazakshtan Ministry of Communications reported a continuing decline in mobile rates, reports Novosti-Kazakhstan. The tariff policy at Kazakhstan mobile operators has changed significantly in the past 12 months, according to the ministry. Interconnection rates have been reduced, activation rates abandoned, and per-second billing introduced. The minimum call rate offered by the mobile operator Beeline Kazakhstan dropped from KZT 27 to 18 per minute, Kcell's rate reduced from KZT 29 to 20, and Tele2 Kazakhstan offers calls for as little as KZT 8 per minute. The ministry started a campaign to bring down rates in the summer of 2010.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:22:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 26, 2011

South African operator Cell C has announced new and bundled broadband products at competitive prices. On 01 August, it will launch new 10 GB and 20 GB packages on the South African market, with the aim of bringing its HSPA network to higher-demand internet users. Cell C says the launch is in response to demand from South African consumers and small business owners for larger bandwidth products at competitive prices to help them meet their day-to-day internet access demands.

The 10 GB per month package, standard with either a 7.2 Mbps MyZone router or 21.6 Mbps speed stick, will cost ZAR 499 per month on a contract for 12 months or ZAR 4,999 prepaid. The 20 GB per month package, also standard with a MyZone router or Speed Stick, will be available at ZAR 899 per month on a contract or ZAR 8,999 prepaid. Both prepaid packages will also be available as SIM-only variants at a ZAR 1,000 discount. Customers who already own a speed stick or router will be able to purchase a 120 GB SIM (10 GB per month) for ZAR 3,999 or the 240 GB SIM (20 GB per month) for ZAR 7,999. Cell C's out-of-bundle rate of ZAR 0.39 applies to these packages.

Source: Telecom Paper

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:08:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2011

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

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

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

Source: Cellular News

 

Thursday, July 14, 2011 9:47:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 28, 2011

­USA based Verizon Wireless is reported to be planning to scrap its unlimited mobile data tariffs next month for new subscribers and will move towards a range of tariffs with different allocations per customer. Although details are still being finalised, the majority of rumours agree that Verizon will charge US$30 a month for 2GB of mobile data - which puts it $5 per month higher than AT&T's equivalent tariffs.

"As we have stated previously, Verizon Wireless is making some minor changes to data plans including those for new smartphone customers," Ken Muche, a Verizon spokesman told media. "We will move to a more usage-based model in July. More details to come."

Rival networks, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA offer unlimited mobile data plans for US$80 per month. Some analysts expect that the move to tiered pricing for mobile data traffic will drive the heavier users towards Wi-Fi hotspots, and release more capacity on the mobile networks for occasional and low-intensity useage.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 4:23:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­West and Central Africa represents one of the fastest-growing mobile communications market in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the past few years, the region has witnessed a dramatic increase in mobile subscriptions due mainly to the surge in mobile subscriptions in Nigeria. The low levels of mobile broadband penetration in the region indicate that there is room for growth.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the mobile communications markets in Nigeria, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast earned combined revenues of $8.6 billion in 2009 and estimates this to reach $12.6 billion in 2016. From approximately 92.6 million in 2009, mobile subscribers are expected to grow to 172.4 million in 2015.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:47:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:15:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) confirmed new directives aimed at limiting the tariff wars among mobile operators. Under the directive issued 10 June and reported by the Daily Monitor, operators will not be allowed to charge on-net rates lower than 70 percent of interconnection rates. These currently stand at UGX 131 per minute, so no operator will be allowed to offer on-net calls below UGX 91 per minute, which translates into not less than UGX 2 per second.
 
Currently, some companies offer rates cheaper than UGX 2 per second, largely on a promotional basis. The new guidelines also stipulate that a promotional tariff shall not be in the market for more than 90 consecutive calendar days and may only be re-introduced after another 90 calendar days from the end of the previous promotional tariff offer. Failure to comply with the regulations could result in penalties of up to 10 percent of annual turnover. The UCC said the decision was reached following a consultation process involving industry stakeholders, and the guidelines will be effective as soon as they are gazetted. Some operators told the Daily Monitor that the decision and timing of the announcement was suspect. Others said the new regulations are an affront on legitimate business competition. The new law will also require telecom operators to notify UCC in an application five days before introducing a new calling rate.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 1:09:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2011
Orange Austria has introduced a new tariff structure called Supernet. All Supernet tariffs include unlimited mobile data use. Supernet is available in five variaties: Supernet 300, 2000, 3000 Young, 4000 and 6000. The number in the tariff name stands for included minutes and SMSs which can be used within Austria and the tariffs cost EUR 9, EUR 15, EUR 15, EUR 25 and EUR 40 per month respectively. Supernet 2000, 3000 Young, 4000 and 6000 include 1 GB, 2 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB data use at the highest speed available after which the data download speeds are dropped to GPRS level until a new month begins.
 
Minutes and SMS used on top of the included units are charged at EUR 0.10 per message or minute. The tariffs are directly available for new customers or existing customers extending their contracts, while existing customers with an ongoing contract will be offered to change to the new tariffs in July of this year, according to Orange Austria CEO Michael Krammer in an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presse at the launch press conference. Krammer also said 80 percent of new Orange Austria customers also purchased a smartphone during this year and that Austria has the highest iPhone penetration of Europe, 50 percent more than Android. He cites a European-wide network study by ARCchart which claims that Finland has the highest Android smartphone penetration as well as the highest smartphone penetration.
 
The Netherlands is second with smartphone penetration followed by Austria. Krammer would not comment on Orange Austria's quarterly figures, but said that the revenues dropped slightly while the EBITDA is stable and customer base is growing slightly with a stable ARPU of EUR 29 per month.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:19:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The island nation of Mauritius has revealed it will cut telephone interconnection charges in the country by 33%, effective 1 July 2011. The government hopes the move will increase telecoms uptake in both fixed and mobile users.

The state’s statement confirmed that the edict will cut tariffs on calls made from a fixed line number to a mobile network, and from a mobile number to another mobile on a different network. Mauritius is home to around 1.3 million people and has more than 1.2 million SIM cards registered. However, the government believes there is still more room for growth.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 12:19:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Key highlights

  • Consumers are paying 18% less for ICT services than they were two years ago
  • The price for high-speed Internet connections dropped by 50% between 2008 and 2010, compared to a 22% drop in prices for mobile cellular services (Table 1)
  • In developing countries, fixed broadband prices dropped by 52%, compared to 35% in developed countries (Chart 1)

Table 1: ICT Price Basket and sub-baskets, 2008 and 2010

Click here to see full article: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/ipb/index.html

ITU | Tariffs
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:58:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2011

­As average monthly wireless charges increase from 2009, wireless customers indicate they are particularly dissatisfied with the cost of their service, according to a J.D. Power and Associates survey.

The study examines perceptions of wireless customers with their service, mobile phone (for both traditional mobile phones and smartphone devices) and retail experience. Satisfaction is measured across seven factors: cost of service; network quality; account management; customer service; handset; offerings and promotions; and sales process.

The study finds that satisfaction with cost of service averages only 551 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with an average of 648 for overall satisfaction, and is the area of the wireless experience with which customers are least satisfied.

On average, customer-reported monthly bills for contract service have increased to $78 in 2011 from $71 in 2009, partially driven by the increase in penetration of smartphones and data plans. Thirty-nine percent of customers in 2011 report owning a smartphone, up from 25 percent in 2009, while the proportion of customers who report having a data package has increased to 60 percent in 2011 from 15 percent in 2009.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:41:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2011

Ukraine’s National Commission on Communications Regulation (NCCR) has given its approval to proposals from recently-privatised national PSTN operator Ukrtelecom to increase local fixed line subscriber fees by 35%. The move comes despite recent statements from the Prime Minister’s office that local fixed line fees should remain the same, at least in the short-term. The 35% increase will be implemented in two phases beginning on 1 May 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, April 18, 2011 1:53:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On the back of its recent rebranding, Ethiopian monopoly telecoms provider Ethio-Telecom has announced the restructuring of tariffs for its mobile voice, mobile broadband and fixed line high speed services. With European telecoms giant France Telecom (FT) having taken over the management of the operator as part of a two-year contract with the Ethiopian government, Ethio-Telecom’s CEO Jean-Michel Latute said that the ultimate aim of introducing the new pricing structure for so many products was to ‘realise equitable access to all income groups, including the low income groups step by step, to allow them to benefit from modern services.’

For Ethio-Telecom’s residential mobile voice subscribers the company has revealed that it has removed regional zones for calls, and instead all calls will now be charged on a national basis, with both pre- and post-paid customers charged at ETB0.72 (USD0.04) per minute at peak hours (7am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday), while off-peak calls will be charged at ETB0.30 per minute. The rate will apply to both the operator’s 2G and 3G subscribers. Further, the cost of a new SIM card has been reduced, with customers wishing to sign up for a mobile service now to be charged ETB60 for the card, down from ETB80, which includes airtime worth ETB15. Replacements of lost or stolen SIM cards will, however, now cost customers more, with Ethio-Telecom increasing the charge from ETB15 to ETB45.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 8:06:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 18, 2011

­The European Commission says that it has decided to refer France and Spain to the EU's Court of Justice because they continue to impose specific charges on the turnover of telecoms operators in breach of EU law. The charges in France and Spain were introduced to compensate for the loss of revenue from paid advertising on public TV channels.The Commission considers the 'telecoms taxes' in France and Spain to be incompatible with EU telecoms rules, which require specific charges on telecoms operators to be directly related to covering the costs of regulating the telecoms sector. The Commission requested the French and Spanish authorities in October 2010 to put an end to these 'telecoms taxes, but they are still in place.

France

The French charge on telecoms operators was introduced in March 2009 after the decision was taken by the French Government to end paid advertising on public TV channels. This charge is imposed on telecoms operators authorised to provide services in France. They pay 0.9% of their total revenues exceeding EUR5 million received from subscribers. The annual revenue from the new charge, which has been paid to the French Treasury, is estimated at EUR400 million. Operators that are subject to the tax having been paying it in monthly instalments since its introduction.

Spain

A law on financing the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE entered into force in September 2009 and imposed a charge of 0.9% on the gross revenues of telecoms operators to make up for the loss of revenue from paid advertising this broadcaster. In October 2010, telecoms operators made the first payments to CMT, the national telecoms regulator. The charge was expected to generate revenue of around EUR230 million in 2010.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, March 18, 2011 12:21:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Austrian mobile network operators A1 Telekom Austria, T-Mobile Austria, Orange Austria and Hutchison 3G Austria have signed a voluntary code of practice to provide customers with improved measures for controlling mobile internet data usage. The core of this code will see the operators allow customers to view what data they have consumed through a web interface.

They have also pledged to inform customers via text when they have reached 70-80 percent of their inclusive data allowance, plus another text when they have used all of this allowance. As an alternative, operators have also agreed to send warning texts to customers when they reach a specific value for mobile data usage. Following the signing of this voluntary code, 3 Austria announced the introduction of an automatic SMS warning service. Available with immediate effect for all customers without a data flat-rate included in their tariff, the service will send a warning text message when their data consumption reaches EUR 60.

Source: Telecom Paper

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 5:42:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Neotel, South Africa's second national operator (SNO), has slashed the cost of calls to mobile phones by 23% in an effort to improve its market share. The lower rates – which were prompted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA’s) ruling on termination fees last year – came into effect on 1 March. Neotel's Dr Angus Hay commented: 'Neotel continues to offer the most cost effective home phone service for consumers. For as little as ZAR99 (USD14.4) per month rental, you can get a wireless phone - no copper wires, no waiting for installation - and these new rates make it even more compelling.

You can even keep your old landline number'. According to Neotel, calls to the MTN or Vodacom network will now cost ZAR.095 (plus VAT) during peak hours, and ZAR0.85 (plus VAT) during off-peak hours. Calls to Cell C and 8ta will cost ZAR1.20 (plus VAT) during peak hours, and ZAR0.96 (plus VAT) during off-peak hours. Hay continued: 'At standard rates, it is still cheaper to call a Telkom line from a Neotel phone than from a Telkom phone, and all calls between Neotel subscribers countrywide are free after hours. And now, Neotel is able to offer the best ever prices for calls to mobile phones as well'.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 3:28:31 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)  #     | 
 Friday, February 11, 2011

France’s second largest fixed and mobile telecoms service provider SFR yesterday announced it will not be increasing its prices to existing mobile users after all, prompting larger rival France Telecom (FT) to mirror its move within hours. The country’s main players previously announced their intention to hike prices after the government implemented a rise in value added tax (VAT) on triple-play bundles.

The operators’ latest moves show that competition is biting in the domestic market as the date-imposed VAT hike takes effect. SFR and FT previously confirmed their plans to pass on the rise to end-users but have now made a significant u-turn. Smaller rival Bouygues Telecom claims it is 'absorbing' the cost of a government-imposed tax hike which took effect on 1 January and will not pass on the rise to its customers. However, its DSL broadband users are set to see a small rise in their monthly connection fee.

According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database, France has increased VAT to 19.6% from 5.5% on combined internet, TV and telephony packages, scrapping a reduced rate applied to the TV portion of triple-play bundles. SFR and FT earlier reported tariff increases to partially compensate for a VAT rise on triple-play services. SFR said it would raise retail broadband prices – by EUR2 for most monthly packages and by EUR1 for its entry-level option – and many of its mobile tariffs on 1 February 2011. FT meanwhile, said it will increase monthly tariffs by between EUR1 and EUR3 as of February 2011, although a company spokesperson said the tax increase will still cost it around EUR70 million a year (compared to around EUR316 million without any price raising). For its part, cableco Numericable’s prices are expected to rise by 3% on average as of August 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, February 11, 2011 11:39:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Turkmenistan’s fixed line monopoly provider Turkmentelecom has unveiled its first high speed internet option for residential customers, but most of the country’s population seem unlikely to rush to sign up for the new service. With the average monthly wage in the country standing at around USD620 per month, Central Asia Newswire reports that the telco has inaugurated a tariff offering unlimited usage at downlink speeds of up to 2Mbps for a staggering USD6,821 per month.

Despite the sky-high tariff the introduction of the service is something of a watershed moment, particularly for a country that until mid-2008 did not allow members of the public to apply for an internet connection. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in the wake of the supposed assassination attempt on the then president Saparmyrat Niyazov (in November 2002), the state placed restrictions on the media, including the internet, following which only Turkmentelecom was permitted to offer ISP services, leading to a five-fold increase in prices for access, whilst high speed facilities remained non-existent.

Subsequently, following Niyazov’s death in December 2006, two internet cafes in Ashgabat opened in February the following year, before domestic mobile network operator MTS Turkmenistan became the first private ISP of the new era when it launched mobile internet via GPRS and EDGE in April 2008.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, February 11, 2011 11:34:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 08, 2011

French mobile operator SFR, backed by telecoms and entertainment conglomerate Vivendi, has announced plans to offer unlimited mobile calls from 18 January as part of its triple-play ‘Neufbox Evolution’ product, launched in November last year.

The telco hopes the move will help it pre-empt the threat of rival Iliad (Free) which recently started offering free calls to mobiles for users of its own internet box package, ‘Revolution’. The industry is now watching France Telecom to see if the country’s number one operator by subscribers jumps on the bandwagon.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 4:03:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 07, 2011

Filipino mobile operator Globe Telecom today announced it is cutting the cost of its Globe Super Surf mobile broadband internet service to PHP999 (USD22.46) for 30 days, from the original price of PHP1,200. The cellco says the cut is designed to take ‘advantage of the growing demand for mobile broadband services’.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, February 07, 2011 11:53:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 24, 2011

­Kenya's Safaricom has warned that an ongoing price war between the country's mobile networks "cripple the industry". Safaricom Chief Executive Bob Collymore said that the price wars would cost the industry Sh26 billion in revenue this year alone.

Telkom Kenya chief executive Mickael Ghossein had earlier in the week voiced similar concerns, saying with low profit margins, operators would not see the point in reinvesting in infrastructure to up quality.The price war was sparked by Airtel, which recently took over the former Zain network and said that it had doubled its subscriber base to 4 million in less than six months. 

"We believe the industry will lose revenues of between Sh20-26 billion as a result of this," said Collymore. He said Safaricom was unlikely to follow Airtel in cutting tariffs. "That price is unsustainable, we are unlikely to move to that level because I have been charged with looking after the responsibilities of not just customers but also shareholders," Collymore said. He accused Airtel of putting Safaricom and the entire industry at risk through its strategy of offering calls at rock bottom rates.

Based on figures from last September - only a few weeks after the price cuts by Airtel - the Mobile World subscriber database reports that Safaricom is the market leader with a market share of 81% with Airtel (formerly Zain) coming in at 8.6%. Newer entrants, Econet had 7% of the market while Orange (Telecom Kenya) had 3.6% of the market.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, January 24, 2011 11:35:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spain’s three largest mobile network operators – Telefonica Moviles Espana (Movistar), Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana – are reportedly under investigation for allegedly charging rivals excessive amounts to rent space on their networks for messaging services, Reuters reports. It has been claimed that the trio set wholesale charges for both SMS and MMS a too high a rate, negatively impacting the country’s mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), as well as other rival operators that also take advantage of such services, such as Jazz Telecom. It is understood that Spain’s competition authority, the National Competition Commission (CNC), expects to issue a ruling on the matter within 18 months.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 24, 2011 11:29:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

To wrap up what has been an eventful year for next-generation mobile broadband technology Long Term Evolution (LTE), Light Reading Mobile has compiled a list of the world's commercial LTE services.

It's quite short.

Verizon Wireless and TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) aren't the only names on the list, however, although you would be forgiven for thinking that, considering how much attention these operators' get for their 4G (or rather, FauxG?) moves. (See Happy Birthday, LTE! .)

We count nine commercial LTE services worldwide, based on our criteria. To be included on the list, it had to be clear that a potential customer could go to an operator's shop or Website and buy a dongle (or handset in case of MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS)) and sign up to start using the services. We did not include pilot networks or user trials, where consumers or business customers may be able to use an LTE service, but do not pay for it. (See LTE Beckons in Uzbekistan .)

So here's where LTE is commercially available now at the end of 2010:

Table 1: Commercial LTE Services

Operator

Where

Monthly Price

Equipment suppliers

NTT Docomo*

Japan

¥1,000 (US$12) for 3 GB or ¥7,980 ($95) for 5 GB

Fujitsu, Ericsson, NEC, NSN

MetroPCS

9 U.S. cities

$55

Ericsson, Samsung

Telekom Austria

Vienna, Austria

€90 ($120) for 30GB, plus €340 ($453) for USB stick

Not available

TeliaSonera

Denmark

399 Danish kroner ($71)

Ericsson, NSN

TeliaSonera

Finland

€46 ($61)

Ericsson, NSN (for initial rollout)

TeliaSonera

Norway

699 Norwegian kronor ($118)

Ericsson, NSN

TeliaSonera

Sweden

599 Swedish kronor ($88) for 10Mbit/s-80Mbit/s LTE, 3G, WiFi, and 30GB of data

Ericsson, Huawei, NSN

Verizon

38 US cities

$50 for 5GB or $80 for 10GB

Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NSN (for IMS)

Vodafone Germany

rural Germany

€69.99 ($94) per month for up to 50Mbit/s downlink, 10Mbit/s uplink, and 30GB of data

Ericsson, Huawei

* Service starts on December 24, 2010

 

 

Source: Light Reading

Monday, January 24, 2011 11:16:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Verizon Wireless has announced that it will launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on Sunday in 39 markets and 60 airports, covering more than 110 million people. The new network will offer download speeds of up to 12Mbps – more than ten times faster than current data speeds. Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer at Verizon Wireless promised that the new network would deliver superior performance.

The first devices to use the new network will be USB wireless data modems for laptops and are expected to appeal primarily to business customers and technology early adopters. However, Verizon Wireless will announce up to five new smartphones capable of running on the network at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. These handsets are expected to use the existing 3G network for voice calls and the 4G network for mobile internet access and running applications. There has also been speculation that Apple could announce an LTE version of the iPhone 4G early next year, though both Verizon and Apple have declined to comment. Initially Verizon will offer two monthly data plans – USD50 for 5GB of data and USD80 for 10GB. It will charge customers USD10 for each additional 1GB used.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:45:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 12:02:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 27, 2010

France Telecom (FT) yesterday announced plans to reduce dramatically the cost of making fixed line voice calls in the country, charging all calls made at the same rate. FT, which owns and operates the Orange brand, is cutting the price to connect a call by 25%, while the price per minute (peak rate) will be cut by more than 55% and the price for off-peak calls will come down by more than 65% in mainland France. In addition, calls made to mainland France from overseas French territories with also fall by 20%, it said. The operator expects the measures to have an adverse impact on its annual revenue of around EUR30 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:37:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) is working on a plan to lower interconnection fees among telecom operators, reports AllAfrica. The watchdog’s acting director general Regis Gatarayiha said in an interview that interconnection charges were acting as a bottleneck to the sector’s growth, as they prevented retail prices falling, and that bringing down the standard charge from the current RWF40 (USD0.067) per minute would compel operators to lower the cost of mobile communications for end-users. The regulator has commissioned a study ahead of a decision on new pricing, and hopes to adjust wholesale rates within four months, according to Gatarayiha.

Meanwhile, the same report quotes Mr Gatarayiha as saying that plans to licence a fourth mobile operator have been suspended until a formal policy decision is taken. He disclosed that the process would have started early in September and been completed within six months, but delays have occurred whilst RURA seeks agreement with operators on the licensing procedure and conditions. ‘We still have some three months to legalise everything, agree on the process and we may start it early next year, and I don't see it going beyond June,’ he said. The former director general of RURA, Diogene Mudenge, previously stated that a fourth licence would be issued ‘by the end of 2010’, whilst revealing that numbering codes for a new entrant had been reserved.

In another mobile sector development, Gatarayiha said that the government will start registering all active SIM cards early next year in an attempt to prevent crimes committed using cell phones.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:12:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ISP AccessKenya has announced that it has doubled its residential broadband speeds for all subscribers to its Access@Home service; the speeds apply to subscribers of its Value, Premium and Elite packages. Further, AccessKenya has confirmed that for the last quarter of 2010, any new customers signing up to Access@Home for a three month period will receive an additional month for free. As previously reported on CommsUpdate, AccessKenya recently announced that its turnover dropped by 17.5% to KES876 million (USD10.38 million) in 1H10, after its strategy of increasing bandwidth but freezing prices severely affected its bottom line. This week rival telco Telkom Kenya doubled customers download limits, as part of a month-long promotion.

Jonathan Somen, managing director of AccessKenya commented: ‘As we grow and get more subscribers, we will continue to work on offering them more value and more speed. The market told us that they wanted a guaranteed service but with more bandwidth. Our new improved offerings keep the basic benefits of buying guaranteed speeds, while at the same time offering customers much more speed for the same money. Access@Home offers a service to our customers completely unlike any other residential internet offering in the market. Firstly, we offer customers a guaranteed high speed at a very affordable and fixed price. This is backed up with excellent levels of service and absolutely no data caps - effectively a corporate-style guaranteed service for users at home. Our new speeds come with glad tidings for our 4,000 residential clients. They shall enjoy these increased speeds at no extra cost from the comfort of their homes’.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:11:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mobile operator Zain has made a mark in the telecom industry by chopping down its call rate from 12 Ghana pesewas to 8 Ghana pesewas per minute across all networks with no registration required to enjoy the new rates. The company will also offer eight free SMSs per day from one Zain user to another. The scheme is available for both Prepaid and postpaid customers.

The company came with the scheme in less than a week after Vodafone; the rival network reduced its tariffs for the prepaid subscribers.

According to Zain’s Country Manager, Mr. Philip Sowah highlighted that Zain is always looking for new opportunities to enable the Ghanaian public to enjoy the network.  Zain is always innovative in its concern for customers. The company does not require the customers to do anything in order to enjoy this offer; it is all about value for money and affordability. With mobile phones being such an integral part of ones day-to-day life, customers deserve to afford making calls whenever they need to.

Zain has certainly set the stage potential tariff war between the telecom operators with subscribers the likely winners.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 9:04:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 23, 2010

Macedonia's Transport Minister Mile Janakeski is quoted as saying the government is looking to open up the domestic telecoms market to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). In a statement posted on the Ministry website Janakeski said: ‘To enable this service, the interconnection fees charged by the mobile operators were lowered earlier this month.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in August this year national regulator the Electronic Communications Agency (AEC) announced it was reducing the cost of retail prices of mobile telephony services, effective from September 2010, in the wake of a May decision to cut the wholesale prices that domestic cellcos pay for the use of each other’s networks. In addition, the AEC ushered in another condition for domestic cellcos, under which they will have to rent out their infrastructure under previously determined prices, in a move designed to make the market more attractive to a fourth mobile operator, or MVNO – something the government has been pursuing for more than 18 months.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:43:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom’s Tanzanian mobile subsidiary has announced the reduction of its calling charges from Vodacom numbers to those of other local networks by more than 50%. Slashing the cost of off-net calls means that Vodacom users can now call other networks for as little as TZS3 (USD0.002) per second, compared with TZS6.5 previously. The cellco added that the new rates do not interfere or change other promotions such as Vodajamaa and ChekaTime, which remain in place.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:40:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Consumers living in emerging markets are paying up to three times more for broadband than their mature market counterparts, according to Ovum.Research by the independent telecoms analyst into broadband in 15 emerging markets revealed that emerging consumers are paying far more on average than the rest of the world, despite earning the lowest wages.Angel Dobardziev, an Ovum practice leader and author of the report on broadband pricing in emerging markets, said: "The cost of broadband in some emerging countries is three times as high as in mature markets, which when coupled with low wages, makes it an unaffordable luxury for all except a small group at the top of the socio-economic pyramid.

"The striking difference in broadband prices in mature and emerging markets means there is a huge divide in terms of uptake of services."­Nigeria's broadband tariffs were among the most expensive of those sampled by Ovum, with the annual cost of some services reaching more than $2,000 per year, despite the country having a low GDP per capita at $1,170.South Africa had the highest broadband prices of all the countries sampled. The annual cost of some services was found to be more than $5,000, against a GDP of $5,820 per year.

Angel adds: "The key to making broadband more affordable for emerging markets will be an increase in supply and competition, which is currently modest in most markets and non existent outside the key urban areas."However, many markets will require concerted regulatory and policy efforts to increase competition and supply and bring affordability within reach of the mass consumer market. As yet it is unclear how quickly this will happen."

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, September 23, 2010 8:26:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Albania's four mobile networks have jointly issued a statement calling on the government to review its plans to issue just one 3G license. The operators feel that the move would create a 3G monopoly and worry that the price for the single license is excessive. "The limitation of issuing a single licence through a public tender could endanger the process and create a monopoly in the Albanian market," the mobile operators said in their statement.

The government is seeking to sell the single license for EUR 12.5 million, while the operators each want a license for a lower figure.The operators noted that a competitive 3G market would speed up coverage deployment and bring benefits to customers.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, September 23, 2010 7:45:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Swisscom is further reducing its mobile termination charges starting 1 October, when they will decrease from CHF 0.14 to CHF 0.08 per minute. From the beginning of 2011, the rate will fall further to CHF 0.07 per minute. Swisscom has also reached an agreement with fixed network operators VTX and Verizon Business and with mobile operators Sunrise and Orange Switzerland. Swisscom started negotiating with the operators following a complaint filed by VTX with the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) in February.
 
Sunrise and Orange are also reducing their charges from CHF 0.17 to CHF 0.10 per 1 October and to CHF 0.0875 per minute as of 1 January 2011. Following the reduction in MTA charges, Swisscom will also cut prices for residential and business customers. The future prices are currently being worked out. Lowering the MTA charges will reduce Swisscom's annual revenue by around CHF 80 million. Because the fees charged by other mobile providers will also decrease, it will have virtually no impact on EBITDA.
 
Swisscom's financial outlook for fiscal year 2010 remains unchanged. Sunrise expects a negative effect from the MTA reduction on its profits, but said it will continue to offer low minute fees to its customers. Orange expects that this reduction in the mobile termination rates will now be reflected in fixed network operators' tariffs for calls to mobile networks, but would not provide information about possible effects on its profits and its own minute fees.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, September 23, 2010 7:32:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 09, 2010

Telefonica will increase the broadband speeds provided to its ADSL subscribers from the current 6 Mbps to 10 Mbps. The upgraded speeds will involve no extra charges for customers. The speed upgrade process is scheduled for completion by end-2011. Additionally, starting September, Telefonica will double the mobile broadband speeds for customers located in Madrid and Barcelona, from the current 21 Mbps to 42 Mbps.

According to Guillermo Ansaldo, Telefonica's head of Spanish operations, mobile broadband services will be the main market driver in coming years. In the 2008-2012 period, the number of mobile broadband accesses is expected to increase 6-fold, while mobile broadband traffic will multiply by 17.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:51:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Israel's telecommunications regulator has ordered mobile operators to cut interconnection fees by nearly 73 percent. Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said interconnect fees will drop to ILS 0.0687 a minute at the start of 2011 from ILS 0.251 currently. Fees will decline further to ILS 0.0634 per minute from the start of 2012, to ILS 0.0591 from 2013 and to ILS 0.0555 in 2014. Termination fees for text messaging will also fall sharply, from ILS 0.0284 now to ILS 0.0016 from 1 January 2011, to ILS 0.0015 in 2012, to ILS 0.0014 from 2013 and to ILS 0.0013 at the start of 2014.

The reduction is based on the final recommendations by Nera Economic Consulting, which examined the cost pricing model of mobile network components. The cuts to mobile termination rates could have been deeper as the ministry initially said it planned a reduction to as low as ILS 0.0414. Kahlon said reducing interconnection fees will save the public about ILS 1 billion a year, significantly lower the price of a call from landlines to mobile phones and increase competition to support the entry of new mobile companies. Market leader Cellcom said the cuts would reduce its annual EBITDA next year by ILS 420 million and net profit by ILS 320 million. Partner Communications predicted a negative impact of ILS 30-40 million per month on EBITDA and ILS 20-30 million on net profit. Both companies said they will consider legal action against the decision.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:45:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 03, 2010

­The ongoing price wars continued in Vietnam after S-Fone and Vietnamobile both reduces their tariffs for subscribers. Their decision to reduce rates followed after similar initiatives by Viettel, VinaPhone and MobiFone last month.

The fees were cut by an average of 15 per cent for subscribers using Standard, Economy, 4M, Daily and Smile, reported S-Fone. S-Fone Executive Manager Ho Hong Son told the Viet Nam News that the price reduction was not a competition-based initiative. Vietnamobile also announced that it would cut its charges by 10 per cent on average for all service packages.

The country officially has 122 million phone subscribers, which the Mobile World analysts calculate represents a population penetration level of 137%. However, there has been previous reports that the operators may not be calculating their active users by the conventional methods, and inflating the subscriber base.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, September 03, 2010 12:49:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For a decade, West Africa's main connection to the Internet has been a single fiber-optic cable in the Atlantic, a tenuous and expensive link for one of the poorest areas of the planet.

But this summer, a second cable snaked along the West African coastline, ending at Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos. It has more than five times the capacity of the old one and is set to bring competition to a market where wholesale Internet access costs nearly 500 times as much as it does in the U.S.

It's the first of a new wave of investment that the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union says will vastly raise the bandwidth available in West Africa by mid-2012.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Friday, September 03, 2010 12:33:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Alternative ISPs will be able to match the top broadband speeds provided by the larger operators under the latest decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The regulator said that large telephone companies must make their existing internet access services available to alternate ISPs at speeds that match those offered to their own retail customers. This reinstates the previous policy that had been withdrawn in 2007 at the request of the incumbents. The new decision includes ADSL services and fibre-based offerings.

To recognise and encourage investment in fibre networks, the incumbent operators will be allowed to charge a 10 percent mark-up on their costs for the use of their wholesale internet services' higher-speed options. Cable operators are already subject to the speed-matching requirements. Under the new decision, they must modify their existing internet access services in such a way that alternate ISPs can connect to their networks at as few points as possible. In addition, the commission denied the alternative ISPs' requests that the large telephone and cable companies reconfigure their networks. Although these reconfigurations may have permitted ISPs to offer additional services to consumers, the CRTC felt that they would constitute a disincentive to network investments without necessarily enhancing innovation or competition.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, September 03, 2010 12:30:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Telkom Kenya, which operates Kenya’s smallest cellco by subscribers Orange Kenya, has become the fourth and final operator to enter the ‘price war’ that has dominated the wireless sector since regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) cut its interconnection rates by 50% last week. Telkom has responded by reducing its own rates to KES2 (USD0.024) for calls within the Orange network, while calls to other networks will be charged at KES4 per minute, for both post- and pre-paid subscribers.

Meanwhile, when announcing the company’s new mobile tariffs, Telkom CEO Mickael Ghossein complained that the CCK had not consulted him before lowering the interconnection rates for fixed line services. Mr Ghossein commented: ‘We have taken issue with the CCK’s decision to set the interconnection rate for fixed lines with GSM at KES1.67, on the basis that it was too low to be sustainable and did not take into account running costs as well as network maintenance costs. We can easily close shop if we charge less than KES3 for off-net calls. The market is in a big mess. What other players are doing is not professional. My strategy is to sustain the company and grow revenues. Voice is dead, broadband is the future. At Telkom Kenya, with the enormous broadband resources we have, it is at our advantage as others fight.’ Telkom is the only operator licensed to provide fixed line services within the Kenyan wireline market.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:34:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Almost half of international mobile executives (48%) predict mobile operators will focus on developing new pricing models over the next three years, with 55% agreeing that tiered pricing is the way forward in mature markets and 47% arguing flat-rate "all-you-can-eat" data tariff plans are damaging their ability to increase revenue, according to a survey commissioned by international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

The cost of funding next-generation networks (44%) and ensuring adequate backbone capacity for future traffic loads (37%) are also identified as critical challenges whilst more than 60% believe pricing mechanisms will solve or mitigate the strain on the networks caused by data-hungry devices such as internet-connected smart phones. The move towards usage-based pricing models is predicated on an aggregate increase in data traffic. In mature markets, 37% anticipate application downloads will be a main revenue source in three years' time, exceeding voice (36%) and video downloads (32%).

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular-News

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:04:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 02, 2010

Bermudan mobile operator Digicel today launched a new 3G+ wireless modem which will enable its cell phone and laptop users to access the World Wide Web via a mobile broadband connection from almost anywhere on the Island using HSPA+ technology. The new device is available in a range of different flavours to suit the user’s demands. Entry level prices start at BMD79 (USD79) per month for a plan with a 2GB download cap, rising to BMD89 per month (3.5GB) and BMD99 a month for 6GB of traffic. Moreover, 3G+ for smartphones costs BMD9 per month for the 2MB plan it said, BMD20 for 10MB, BMD35 for 20MB and BMD45 for the premium data plan (350MB) which is controlled through a ‘fair usage’ policy to prevent network congestion. The operator’s single user modem costs BMD99 and the multi-user modem BMD199.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, August 02, 2010 10:27:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 30, 2010

Pakistan’s fixed line incumbent Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has reportedly seen its broadband subscriber base surpass the 500,000 milestone, according to Trading Markets. In addition, the telco has also increased the maximum download speeds available to its subscribers, introducing a new top speed of 8Mbps, double the previous limit of 4Mbps. PTCL has automatically upgraded all of its existing customers to higher speeds, with those previously on 2Mbps and 4Mbps packages seeing their top level speeds upped to 4Mbps and 6Mbps respectively, while retaining the same monthly package cost.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, July 30, 2010 3:08:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cosmote Romania has added a budget-priced 3G mobile internet package to its Connect 3G product line. As of 15 July, Cosmote will offer Connect Now+, which comes with a 2GB usage limit and download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps for a monthly subscription of EUR6.71 per month. With existing Connect 3G products, Cosmote subscribers achieve speeds of up to 21.6Mbps in approximately 3,300 localities across the country. Cosmote launched its 3G services after acquiring Zapp Romania in the November 2009.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:16:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian mobile operator VivaCell-MTS, a subsidiary of Mobile TeleSystems of Russia, has improved its ‘MTS Connect Unlimited’ tariff plan, offering subscribers 5GB of high speed internet downloads per month, instead of the previous 1GB of data, for the same monthly cost of AMD8,800 (USD2.42). In addition, the cellco is providing an MTS Connect modem free of charge for users taking a one-year subscription.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:14:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spain’s largest broadband provider by subscribers, Movistar, is set to revamp its double- and triple-play fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service, which it offers under the Movistar Futura banner. In mid-August the telco plans to introduce a new range of packages offering download and upload speeds of 50Mbps and 5Mbps respectively, while also revising the pricing structure of its offerings with a view to increasing uptake. Further, in the third quarter of 2010 Movistar will boost speeds for its bundled services to up to 100Mbps downlink and 10Mbps uplink, while continuing to expand coverage. Alongside improving connection speeds, the operator will also make available a new DVR set-top box and a range of new high definition content to further tempt prospective customers to sign up, with channels including Eurosport HD, Unitel Classic HD and MGM HD among those to launch on the service this summer. The price for the Movistar Futura 50/5Mb package will be EUR54.87 (USD69.29) per month, although the telco will waive the subscription fee and offer a lower EUR43.87 monthly charge for the first six months for those signing up in during a promotional period at launch.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:23:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

TeleYemen has announced that it has reduced its international calls rates to YER0.015 (USD0.00007) per second for fixed and mobile telephones, a 56% decrease. Company marketing director Hail Mohammed Ibrahim said: ‘We are glad to provide our customers with this high reduction rate on international calls to enable them to communicate with their friends, families and fellows abroad. We consider this campaign to be new evidence of our continuous commitment towards facilitating international calls to the citizens.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, TeleYemen is the sole international telecoms provider in Yemen.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:17:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Qatar has announced the launch of mobile broadband services and a Wi-Fi hotspot device dubbed ‘Vodafone MiFi’, local daily The Gulf Times reports. Post-paid customers can access 2GB of data, valid for 30 days, at a price of QAR100 (USD27.4), while 500MB of data is available for pre-paid subscribers at the same price, valid for 60 days. ‘We are delighted to be launching another great Vodafone service. As with all Vodafone’s services, mobile broadband offers customers simple and easy to understand price plans that are of good value,’ noted Vodafone Qatar’s CEO, Grahame Maher, adding: ‘The 900MHz network we have created is one of the most advanced in the region and is future-ready. The bandwidth on offer comes with 100% coverage of Qatar.’ The company has unveiled a plug-and-play USB dongle, which is available to buy for QAR299, while Vodafone MiFi is available for QAR599 and enables up to five users to connect their laptop and any other Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vodafone launched commercial 2G and 3G services at the beginning of July 2009, by which time it already had 15,000 network users. At 31 March 2010 the cellco’s subscriber base had risen to over 464,000, representing a market share of 18%.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:14:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Vietnamese ministry of information and communications will allow operators to lower their fees by no more than 15 percent, the VietNamNet Bridge reports. Three operators – Viettel, MobiFone, and VinaPhone – sought permission to lower their fees by up to 20 percent. The ministry supports the plan to cut charges but limits the reduction to 15 percent and operators can apply the price cut only once this year. The communications ministry and finance ministry will issue a directive on provider costs later this year.
 
Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:12:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Italia has reduced the price of fixed-to-mobile calls, it has been announced. Residential fixed line subscribers can now make calls to mobile numbers for 27% less, whilst business subscribers will see prices fall by 11.4% per minute.

Calls to Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) mobile numbers at peak time will drop from EUR0.1336 (USD0.10658) to EUR0.1140 per minute. Users will be charged EUR0.1182 per minute for calls to Vodafone numbers at peak time, a reduction from the previous price of EUR0.1386 per minute. Calls to Wind customers will be charged at EUR0.12 per minute, down from EUR0.1561 per minute, while prices for calls to H3G mobile numbers will drop from EUR0.1852 during peak time to EUR0.1344 (VAT included) per minute.

Off-peak call prices remain unchanged at EUR0.0776 per minute to TIM numbers, EUR0.0792 per minute to Vodafone, EUR0.0908 per minute to Wind and EUR0.1084 per minute to H3G. The call set-up fee is EUR0.0787. Telecom Italia fixed line business customers will be charged EUR 0.090 per minute for calls to mobile numbers on the Wind network and EUR 0.1080 for calls to H3G mobile numbers, down from EUR 0.0970 and EUR 0.1219 per minute, respectively. The call set-up fee is EUR0.0656.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, July 15, 2010 9:03:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 02, 2010

Romanian telecoms regulator, the National Authority for Administration and Communications (ANCOM), has announced that from tomorrow new interconnection rates will apply for wireless network operators Cosmote Romania, Zapp (Telemobil) and RCS&RDS. The first two named will cut rates from RON0.0567 per minute to RON0.0503, while RCS&RDS will cut its rates from RON0.064 cents per minute to RON0.0567 cents per minute.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:48:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Despite the impact of the economic crisis and a 45% reduction in mobile interconnection charges in 2009, Chile will remain one of the most advanced telecommunication markets in Latin America, with its availability of advanced data communications solutions, multiplay offerings and overall telecom services adoption giving it an edge over other markets in the region, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Chile's telecom market will rebound with a 4.4% CAGR from 2010 through 2015, reaching $6.1bn, propelled by significant increases in fixed and mobile data services. Mobile data service revenue will account for 23% of total service revenue by 2015, notes Sergio Cruz Zarate, Analyst at Large at Pyramid Research. "Revenue derived from data services will increase from 24% in 2010 to 35% in 2015. The rise will be the result of higher penetration rates enabled by continued declines in pricing," indicates Zarate.

Bundled offers, a decrease in tariffs, and wide coverage have helped broadband gain traction despite the economic crisis. "Broadband operators - fixed and mobile - are bundling connectivity with devices, helping to push penetration higher. Pyramid Research projects fixed broadband penetration to reach 17.1% by year-end 2015," Zarate says. Pay-TV, which remains largely underpenetrated in Chile at less than 40% of households, will also see an important rate of growth during the forecast period (8.5% CAGR) driven by the entry of traditional telecommunications service providers into the pay-TV space.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, July 02, 2010 2:12:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Despite EU mobile operators reducing roaming charges in line with maximum price caps introduced by EU rules, consumers still do not enjoy significantly lower tariffs according to a European Commission report published today. Whilst price transparency has improved, the report concludes competition on the EU's roaming market is not yet strong enough to provide better choice and even better rates to consumers.

Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "The cost of using mobile phones or devices when abroad in the EU has fallen continuously since the adoption of the first roaming rules. But three years since the rules came in most operators propose retail prices that hover around the maximum legal caps. More competition on the EU roaming market would provide better choice and even better rates to consumers."

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News
Friday, July 02, 2010 2:10:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Rwandan government has announced plans to scrap sales taxes (VAT) on mobile phones, although that was then offset by a rise in the excise duty on airtime from 5 to 8 percent. The airtime tax will also be progressively raised to achieve harmony with regional countries - where the rate averages between 10 and 12 percent. The airtime duty is on top of sales taxes, which ranges from 16 percent to 18 percent - ranking the East African region as one with the highest calling rates in the world.

The East African Communications Organisations (EACO) has been calling for the excise duty to be scrapped, saying that lower call costs would lead to higher volumes, and hence higher net taxable revenues via the sales tax.

Price Water House Coopers (PWC), a global consultancy firm said the removal of VAT on petroleum products and mobile handsets demonstrates the government's progress in harmonizing its laws with those of other East African Community (EAC) countries.

While the removal of VAT on mobile handsets will make handsets cheaper, PWC says 3 percent increase in excise duty on airtime is likely to have a negative impact. "The mobile handset suppliers may be unable to claim all their input VAT, and as a result may attempt to pass on this additional cost to their customers," the firm said in a statement.

Import duties on SIM cards are also expected to be scrapped in the near future.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, July 02, 2010 1:56:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Following an appeal by mobile network operator Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil) against a September 2008 regulatory decision to lower interconnection rates, a Cairo court has overturned the original ruling, Reuters reports. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) had originally said that the fee which Telecom Egypt (TE) paid to connect fixed line calls to mobile phones must be lowered, after the fixed line incumbent complained that the rates at the time were making it less competitive. However, the latest ruling by the Administrative Court at the State Council has effectively nullified the lower fee, prompting the NTRA to say that it would not take any action until it had studied the details of the court’s decision in more detail.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MobiNil said that under the September 2008 regulatory ruling TE requested that MobiNil drop its interconnection rates to below EGP0.15 (USD0.03) for termination on MobiNil’s network, and EGP0.10 to terminate on the fixed line network. MobiNil for its part claimed that it was willing to accept reductions in the interconnection rates, but only as part of a package including measures in the leased line sector, which the cellco argued was priced higher than its international counterparts.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:11:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 04, 2010
On 7 June, AT&T will introduce new metered mobile data plans, a change from its previous all-you-can-use USD 30 plan. For people who use less than 200 megabytes of data a month, the price of the new DataPlus plan is cut in half to USD 15. The DataPro plan provides 2 GB of data for USD 25 per month. Those going over their data quota can receive an extra 1 GB for an additional USD 10 per billing month. AT&T also announced a new service that lets smartphone users tether their devices, including the iPhone, to a computer and use the phone to access the internet as a modem.
 
The tethering feature, which is only available to DataPro customers, costs an additional USD 20 a month. With the new mobile data plans, pricing for a smartphone voice and data bundle starts at USD 54.99 per month for an individual plan, or USD 24.99 per month for an additional line on a FamilyTalk plan. For new iPad customers, the USD 25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing USD 29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their mobile data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the USD 29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new 2 GB data plan.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:58:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Orange France has officially announced that it would upgrade some of its internet offers on 10 June. 'La Fibre', costing EUR 34.90 per month, includes unlimited telephony to fixed phones in mainland France, excluding premium numbers, overseas departement, some overseas territories and over 100 destinations, 1 hour of calls to mobiles in metropolitan France, up to 100 Mbps downstream internet speeds, and Orange TV, with over 100 channels, including 10 in HD and now 3D. 'La Fibre Plus', which costs an additional EUR 10 per month, includes simultaneous calls, the gigamail function and 16 extra channels. Orange will also add services and reduce prices on its ADSL triple-play subscriptions.
'Net Plus' plans, which do not include line rental, and 'Formule Plus', with line rental, allow customers to make unlimited calls to fixed numbers in mainland France (excluding premium numbers), overseas departements, some overseas territories and over 100 international destinations, plus 1 hour of calls to mobiles in mainland France, up to 20 Mbps internet access and Orange TV, with up to 100 channels in the basic package. The monthly price of Net Plus will be reduced from EUR 39.90 to EUR 34.90 and Formule Plus from EUR 34.90 to EUR 29.90. For another EUR 5 per month, Orange customers can take up the 'Cle 3G+' subscription, which offers 2 hours of internet connection via a 3G+ dongle or the Domino device, which allows users to share their 3G connection with up to 5 people simultaneously.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:55:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 28, 2010

Around 30 million Americans or one in six mobile users have experienced “bill shock,” a sudden increase in their monthly bill that is not caused by a change in service plan, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s survey of consumers, conducted by Abt/SRBI and Princeton Survey Research Associates, International. The survey also shows that nearly half of mobile phone users who have plans with early termination fees and almost two-thirds of home broadband users with ETFs do not know the amount of the fees they are accountable for. The survey notes that 83 percent of adults in this country have a mobile phone, and 80 percent have a personal mobile phone. The survey finds that of the 30 million Americans who have experienced bill shock 84 percent said their mobile carrier did not contact them when they were about to exceed their allowed minutes, text messages, or data downloads. About 88 percent said their carrier did not contact them after their bill suddenly increased. The amount of bill shock varies widely but is often sizeable. In the survey, more than a third of people who experienced bill shock said their bills jumped by at least USD 50, and 23 percent said the increase was USD 100 or more. Of the respondents with personal mobile phones, 54 percent said they would have to pay an ETF should they terminate their contracts before the expiration date, and 18 percent did not know whether they would have to pay or not. Of those who are subject to an ETF, 43 percent said it was USD 150 or more, but 47 percent didn’t know how much it was. One reason for the confusion is billing practices, where only 36 percent of customers who are familiar with their bills said that they include “very clear” information on ETFs.

Only 21 percent of home broadband users say that their contracts include an early termination fee. Of those consumers, however, fully 64 percent do not know what the fee is, a higher level of confusion than for mobile phone service. The survey shows that ETFs are one factor that can keep customers from switching carriers even when their service is not ideal. Forty-three percent of these customers said ETFs were a major reason they would stay with their current service, almost exactly the same number who said they would be deterred from switching by the cost of setting up a new service or by paying a deposit on a new service.

Source: Telecom Paper

Friday, May 28, 2010 1:20:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Macedonia’s national telecoms regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has cut the wholesale prices that domestic cellcos pay for the use of each other’s networks. Local news journal Kanal5 notes the move should pave the way for a reduction in retail prices for mobile services too. AEC head Petar Ivanovski said that analysis carried out by the watchdog found there to be room to cut the wholesale rates for all three operators – T-Mobile, Cosmofon (ONE) and VIP Mobile – by between 10% to 15%. In addition, the AEC is ushering in another condition for domestic cellcos, under which they will have to rent out their infrastructure under previously determined prices. It is thought the move is designed to make the market more attractive to a fourth mobile operator – something the government has been pursuing for more than 18 months. None of the Macedonian incumbents have as yet commented on the plan, and none has announced any cut in prices yet.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:06:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian broadband access provider UCOM LLC plans to launch fixed line telephony services in the country – possibly before the end of the summer – according to its head of marketing, Manushak Melkumyan, as quoted by PanARMENIAN.Net. Ms Melkumyan told reporters that ‘Currently, works on the net[work’s] construction are [being] implemented, as well as negotiations with international operators of phone communication [services]’. UCOM is ready to begin offering reduced cost tariff plans for end users, saying its wholly owned fibre-optic network ‘should secure its competitiveness’ and allow its to offer competitively priced tariff plans for its services. At launch, UCOM intends to offer fixed line voice telephony in the capital Yerevan, before extending its reach to include other regions where its fibre-optic infrastructure is present. It has already secured the code ‘6045’ to operate voice telephony services and is looking at the possibility of having capacity for 10,000 telephone numbers, she said.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UCOM LLC was founded in 2007 to deliver a range of traditional and innovative high quality services in the Armenian telecommunications market. Having partnered with equipment vendor Ericsson, Yerevan-based UCOM has built a fibre-optic network based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON) technology and today offers telecoms services through its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, with prices for basic internet access costing AMD12,000 per month for a 256kbps/256kbps connection.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:01:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Israeli government has proposed a reduction in mobile interconnection fees. The ministry of communications issued a 30-day notice to operators to respond to the proposal. The fees are expected to drop from the current ILS 0.251 per minute to ILS 0.0414 from 1 August 2010, to ILS 0.0354 from 1 January 2011, to ILS 0.0311 from 1 January 2012, to ILS 0.0280 from 1 January 2013 and to ILS 0.0257 from January 2014. The ministry also wants a cut in SMS termination rates, from ILS 0.0285 currently to ILS 0.0019 in August and down to ILS 0.0013 by 2014.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:43:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 03, 2010

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

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Monday, May 03, 2010 2:52:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Where are the best deals for mobile broadband? Comparing mobile data pricing in a number of countries, ABI Research found that the UK, France and India have among the world's lowest prices for mobile broadband plans. In India for example, where 3G mobile broadband services launched in the middle of 2009, an unlimited download plan costs just over US$17 per month.

"ABI Research expects emerging markets with low Internet penetration to price mobile broadband aggressively to drive usage," says ABI Research analyst Bhavya Khanna. "However, in developed markets the widespread use of data dongles has created strains on mobile networks; and one could see data plans change to throttle data consumption."

Operators in some countries are already using this approach, limiting data to 5 GB or even as low as 3 GB per month, even for their most expensive plans.

Vice President of Forecasting Jake Saunders, adds, "Another consumer concern is confusing overage charges for data plans: consumers often do not know how many megabytes of data they are downloading. Once again, there is room for innovation here from operators by simplifying overage costs and educating consumers to encourage uptake of such services. For example, operators in Singapore have a fixed "cap" on overage costs per month; ensuring that users do not get 'bill-shock'."

Source: Cellular News

 

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:36:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzania’s main mobile operators are embroiled in a fierce price war to win more subscribers, although the regulator, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), believes this will ultimately only be to the benefit of end users. The cellcos’ moves to cut call charges follow years of competition in which they vied for customers based on their coverage, service quality and innovative products and services. According to the TCRA’s acting corporate communications manager, Victor Nkya, the domestic price war will continue to the benefit of customers with all operators spreading their services to rural areas to further boost their subscriber bases. The official notes that the country’s communications market is now a multimillion dollar industry, led by mobile telephony, generating over USD1.54 billion revenues annually.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:12:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced plans to cap the amount mobile operators can charge for calls and text messages later this year in a bid to lower call charges in the country, Reuters reports. Mary Uduma, director of policy and competition at the NCC, said the regulator was working to determine the appropriate cap, adding that the last review almost ten years ago fixed rates of NGN50 (USD0.33) for mobile calls and NGN15 for text messages. ‘We are trying to place a cap above which operators cannot price their services. We are taking into consideration macro, micro and market factors in determining this,’ she noted. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Nigeria is Africa’s largest mobile market by subscribers; the country was home to over 73 million cellular users at the end of 2009.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:07:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 14, 2010
­Orange UK has launched a range of 3G data tariffs that offer unlimited data usage, but only in the evenings. The move is aimed at commuters and small businesses who need remote access to their IT systems, while also boosting the use of the data network at a typically quieter time of the day.

The Business Everywhere 5 to 9 gives unlimited data for customers who want to work from 5pm to 9am only.

"We know that traditional working hours are changing and we want our mobile broadband offering to reflect the working lives of our customers. So, with Business Everywhere they'll be able to choose the plan that offers them the best value based on when they want to use their mobile broadband." said Martin Lyne, Director for small and medium business at Orange UK.

Orange's refreshed Business Everywhere portfolio offers customers four contract options:

  • Business Everywhere 5 to 9, offering unlimited data to customers who want access between 5pm to 9am every weekday (plus weekend) for £10 per month.
  • Business Everywhere 9 to 5, offering unlimited data to customers who want access between 9am to 5pm every weekday for £10 per month.
  • Business Everywhere Lite, aimed at low-usage customer, this delivers up to 1GB of data access anytime for just £7.50 per month.
  • Business Everywhere Unlimited delivers unlimited data usage at any time for £15 per month.

All the tariffs are subject to the usual clauses about fair usage policies and restrictions.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:07:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo yesterday notified the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications that it is cutting the fees it charges other telecommunications operators to interconnect with its network. The new rates, which will be effective from 4 March, will be applied retroactively to all interconnections made since April 2009, it said. The revised fees for calls made within the same service area have been cut 15.6% from JPY0.160 (USD0.00179) per-second to JPY0.135, while interconnection fees for calls between different service areas have been reduced by 13.3% from JPY0.180 per-second to JPY0.156.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 2:54:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rica's telecoms regulator Sutel has said it will implement price ceilings for all telecoms providers. According to a statement on the regulator’s website, the legislation is designed to allow service providers flexibility in lowering their prices, if needed in a market which is in the process of liberalisation. Currently, the prices of state telecoms incumbent ICE are fixed. The watchdog has not yet decided what the price ceilings will be, but they will apply for all services including mobile telephony, fixed line telephony, international long distance, internet, virtual private networks, VSAT services and text messages.

Currently ICE charges USD19 per month for a 256kbps internet connection. Mobile calls costs CRC30 (USD0.05) per minute at peak rate and CRC23 at the reduced rate.

In related news, by end January 2010 Sutel had authorised 65 operators to offer different types of telecoms services, local daily El Financiero reported.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 12:07:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has claimed that, as a result of increased competition from mobile and internet voice services, existing restrictions on the price that can be charged for fixed line calls should be removed. However, according to The Age, the telco is facing stiff opposition to such a move from The Australia Institute, a think tank which claims that the removal of such limits would harm lower-income households.

Under the existing legislation Telstra is unable to charge more than AUD0.22 (USD0.19) for a local call, while the telco is also restricted in that it may not increase line rental costs by more than the rate of inflation. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently conducting a review of the restrictions, and in a submission to the review Telstra has argued that increased competition effectively negates the need for price regulation, noting: ‘Although price controls may have been necessary during the transition to full market liberalisation, they are no longer necessary.’ Telstra has, however, said that it would back requirements for both untimed local calls and for a single price for local calls nationwide. Meanwhile, the Australia Institute in its submission to the ACCC said: ‘Low-income households are already spending 6% of their income on telephones, compared with only 1.6% for the wealthiest 20% of households. Removing price caps would only exacerbate this inequity.'

The ACCC is expected to report its findings to the government by 12 March 2010, with any new pricing rules to come in to force from July this year for a two-year period.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 11:59:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 15, 2010

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has planned to deregulate the market and allow the two-telecom operators (Etisalat and du) to set their own prices. The Authority decision will help to propel the already saturated telecom industry in the country. The proposed regulations, which could be enforced by the end of 2010, would also prevent the telecom operators from engaging into anti-competitive behavior such as predatory pricing. The TRA's announcement is likely to foster more competition in the tightly regulated market where rates are among the world highest. As per the existing structure, the TRA approves all the pricing and promotions strategies of the operators that prevent a price war between the two-telecom operators.

Click here to see full article

“Booming UAE Telecom Sector” contains comprehensive information about the current and potential outlook of various emerging technologies such as IPTV, WiMAX and Mobile TV. It also includes a segment of competitive landscape that discusses business activities and developments of the two-telecom operators (Etisalat and Du), including their SWOT analysis with regard to the country’s telecom industry.

Source: PRLog
Monday, February 15, 2010 1:22:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 12, 2010
South Africa's government has called for mobile operators to cut termination rates more quickly. The communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda issued a statement after telecoms regulator Icasa rejected proposal from the three network operators to gradually reduce the rates over the next three years. The minister said he considers the proposed three-year glide path period "long and unfair to consumers who have been affected by high telecommunication costs for too long". The operators' proposal for rates of ZAR 0.89 peak and ZAR 0.77 off-peak are reasonable only if they were to be implemented in a shorter period of time, he added. He underlined the ministry's respect for Icasa's indepdence, saying the final decision will reside with the regulator.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, February 12, 2010 11:33:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Wireless network operators in Jordan have criticised the government's plan to increase taxes on mobile phone services. It is estimated that the telecom industry now pays tax rates equivalent to 58% of its revenue to the government. The latest tax is an increase in the special cellular phone tax from 4% to 8%. In total, the network operators pay 16% in sales taxes, 24% income tax on profits and 10% on their total revenues. There is also the newly raised special phone tax of 8%. ‘The increase in the tax will certainly have a negative impact on the telecom sector. Whenever the government wants to increase tax, it thinks of the telecom sector because it is faster and easier to collect the tax, and there are zero efforts involved in the process,’ Raslan Diranieh, chief financial officer of the Jordan Telecom Group, told the The Jordan Times. Rival Zain said the decision was ‘shocking and negative’ and it that it contradicts the government's plan to expand the use of telecom services.

In response to the complaints that the higher taxes will hurt the poorer customers, government spokesperson Nabil Sharif said the government expects citizens to be up to the responsibility by changing their consumption patterns. ‘One can find four or five mobile phones in the same family. In light of the current difficult economic situations it is best for all to direct their spending towards essential items rather than luxury items,’ the minister said.

Source: TeleGeography

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

El Salvador's congress is looking to amend Article 8 of the Law on Telecommunications to allow basic charges for fixed telephony lines to be based on costs rather than be inflation indexed, BNamericas reports. The state hopes the move will lower the basic monthly fixed line fee; according to a government statement, El Salvador has the highest rate in Central America at USD9.43 per month, followed by Guatemala (USD5.43), while Honduras has the lowest fee at USD2.10. As reported by CommsUpdate, last month the country’s telecoms regulator Superintendencia General de Electricidad y Telecom (SIGET) allowed operators to raise the line rental fee by almost 50% to USD14.32 per month. Soon after however, the country’s legislative assembly approved a decree that ordered the elimination of the basic fee for fixed line telephony altogether, sparking anger from telecoms operators, which threatened to withdraw investment plans if the government approved the decree.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, February 12, 2010 11:09:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 05, 2010

­A new report from Tariff Consultancy (TCL) says that voice and SMS roaming rates in Europe have halved between 2007 to 2010 due to an EU roaming price cap - but with very few prices applied below the cap. EU mobile roaming data rates are on average 5.4 euro, 5 times the 1 Euro per MB wholesale rate though individual operator data roaming rates vary from below the wholesale cap to more than 10 times the cap rate.

Click here to see full article

Increasingly though mobile operators push a series of separate "opt in" roaming bundles for consumers that bypass the EU roaming cap which offer roaming discounts in return for a weekly or monthly fee to selected holiday destinations but can attract higher rates to EU countries than the EC rate cap.The net effect of the rebalancing of mobile roaming tariffs outside of the EU has been to make roaming services to the US or other countries relatively expensive by comparison with the EU.

For example:

- The price of a roaming voice call from the EU zone to the next geographical tariff zone has an average mark up of 200%

- The price of SMS roaming outside the EU zone to the next geographical zone has an average mark up of 160%.

- The price of Mobile Data roaming outside the EU zone to the next geographical zone has an average mark up of 270%.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, February 05, 2010 9:20:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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

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

Source: TeleGeography

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

The Malaysian government is set to examine the existing rates paid by subscribers for broadband services with a view to increasing the uptake of such services, The Star Online reports. Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim has said that the ministry plans to compare the local charges with rates in several countries including South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, noting: ‘The ministry will find a way so that the charges for internet and broadband services in Malaysia are affordable and do not pose a burden to users.’

Additionally, the minister has unveiled plans to construct around 1,000 more transmission towers across the country this year in a further bid to increase broadband penetration. The construction of the new infrastructure will be overseen by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, with regions such as Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu targeted particularly due to their current low penetration levels.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:47:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:29:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 08, 2010

According to senior figures involved in the telecoms industry, the cost of internet access in Poland is set to fall in 2010, reports the Warsaw Business Journal. The CEO of TP SA, Maciej Witucki, said that even if tariff prices remained the same, faster access will be available. Meanwhile, the head of mobile operator PTC, Klaus Hartmann, is on record as expecting lower tariffs. ‘During our negotiations, TP declared that it can lower its internet access rates by as much as 15%,’ said the head of the Office for Electronic Communication (UKE), Anna Strezynska.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, January 08, 2010 12:06:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Bulgaria's mobile operators have agreed to reduce the prices of calls after being asked to do so in a meeting with the country's Prime Minister Boiko Borissov.
During a meeting which took place on 1 December between Bulgaria's Prime Minster, Vivacom's CEO Bernard Moscheni, Globul's CEO Haris Kotsibos, M-Tel's CEO Andreas Maierhofer and the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC)'s chairperson Veselin Bozhkov, Borissov said that the government did not want to interfere in the free market, but asked mobile operators to lower their call prices for the benefit of ordinary people. He also said that CRC should strictly enforce the European regulatory framework and the European best practice. Vivacom said in a press release that the country's regulator was expected to approve the agreement between the government and the three operators. M-Tel's Maierhofer told Borissov that competition on the Bulgarian mobile phone market was strong, resulting in price decreases of an average of 30 percent per year.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, December 09, 2009 3:03:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 08, 2009

La apertura del mercado costarricense de telefonía celular se demorará por lo menos hasta el 2011.

Desde hace 10 años Costa Rica está perdiendo lo que era una posición privilegiada en materia de telecomunicaciones. Las estadísticas de la Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones (UIT) señalan que el país, con 1.800.000 líneas celulares, ocupa el lugar 160 en una lista global de 225.

Con 42 líneas por cada 100 habitantes, Costa Rica ya quedó muy por detrás de sus vecinos centroamericanos. Panamá tiene 115, El Salvador 113, Guatemala 109, Honduras 85, Nicaragua, 55. Dentro del continente americano, solamente Cuba y Haití están peor.
 
Click here to see full article

Source: CentralAmericaData.com

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:40:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mexican fixed line incumbent Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) has said that it will not increase the cost of its services to all of its customers in order to offset recent increases in taxes levied on telecoms firms. However, according to Reuters, Telmex has revealed that subscribers taking just its fixed line voice service will see increases; by contrast, those that are signed up to the telco’s packages that include a broadband service will see no price rise. ‘In Telmex packages that include a monthly fee, local and long distance calls, digital services, and high speed internet , the prices will remain the same. Telmex will not transfer these costs over to clients,’ the company said in a statement.

The move comes after Mexico's Chamber of Representatives, the lower house of the Congress of the Union approved legislation introducing a 3% excise tax on telecommunication services in October 2009; initial proposals had called for the tax to be 4%, but lawmakers reduced the levy by one percentage point. The Mexican Senate subsequently approved the plans later that same month.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 10:11:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The UAE’s incumbent telco Etisalat has launched a new 30Mbps broadband package over its new fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network. ‘Etisalat is committed to provide the best of technology to its customers by introducing advanced technologies like FTTH in the UAE,’ said Mohammed Khalfan Al Qamzi, CEO of Etisalat, adding, ‘Our FTTH network is on a fast track roll-out; Etisalat is getting ready to announce Abu Dhabi as the first connected capital in the world in the coming months and aims to connect all the UAE households and premises through its FTTH network by 2011, which will become yet another milestone in its own right.’

The telco has reportedly already connected over 550,000 households to its FTTH network. The 30Mbps package is priced at AED699 (USD190.35) per month, and includes free installation, one month's rental waiver, five free email addresses with 5GB capacity, and eight hours of free access each month to over 350 Etisalat wireless hotspots.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:24:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Fiji has announced new SMS charges for its prepaid subscribers. The on-net tariff has been slashed to FJD 0.15/SMS compared to FJD 0.20 previously. Vodafone will also continue to offer FJD 0.05 on-net promotional text offer from 00:00 to 5:00 daily.

Source: Wireless Federation

SMS | Tariffs
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:13:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is a novel concept, instead of billing for a text message of 160 characters like most mobile operators, Indian mobile operator Tata Docomo has just launched a short messaging service, called Diet-SMS, which enables customers to pay on a per-character basis.

“The cost of any Diet-SMS will be only one paise per character used (100 paise= 1 rupee), thereby providing complete value to customers. ”Deepak Gulati, President Tata Docomo said in a statement – “We broke the per-minute pricing paradigm for voice calls when we launched our services. With Diet-SMS, we are doing it again, this time on the SMS front.”Tata Docomo is a frontrunner in the pay-per-use business model in the Indian mobile telephony segment. It will not charge for space between words!

Tata Docomo has launched services in eight telecom circles and a countrywide rollout is expected to be completed this year.

“In all of the eight circles where we have launched our GSM services, we made the promise of introducing path-breaking innovative products and services, and never-before tariff options. Diet-SMS is another way of fulfilling that promise,” said Tata Docomo president Deepak Gulati.

Source: Wireless Federation

SMS | Tariffs
Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:50:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Kenyan government is not minded to lower taxes on mobile phone airtime, despite increasing calls from the mobile network operators for action. The country currently levies a 26 percent duty on airtime top-ups.

"The duty paid is important to treasury; if the government scraps the duty, the books will not balance," Uhuru Kenyatta, the minister in charge of finance told IDG News Service.

Instead of addressing the prospect of lowering the tax, Kenyatta chose to dwell on the advantages that submarine fiber-optic cables will provide for the mobile phone services sector.

"We expect arrival of the TEAMS, SEACOM and EASSY submarine cables to reduce cost of communication and solve the problem of insufficient bandwidth," the minister said.

A report commissioned by the GSM Association in Oct 2007 noted that it airtime taxes were lowered or removed, government tax receipts would actually increase as more people will connect and use mobile services, boosting Value Added Tax receipts and stimulating wider economic activity.

Mobile specific taxes are levied in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:39:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Venezuelan mobile operator Digitel, which launched 3G services based on 900MHz W-CDMA/HSPA technology in March this year, has launched a package bundling a mobile broadband subscription with a wireless modem and laptop computer provided by Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo, reports BNamericas, quoting local newspaper El Universal. Digitel commercial vice-president Luis Perez said that the company will initially make 1,000 combined packages available initially; the launch echoes moves in the fixed broadband sector, where Venezuela’s national PSTN provider CANTV has seen considerable success with its combined PC ownership and ADSL access scheme, which spreads the cost of a computer via monthly payments. Within its first month of 3G operations, Digitel covered 30 districts/towns with its new network, but in May it reportedly deferred expansion plans for the next generation infrastructure until 2010 in the light of the global economic downturn.

Source: Telegeography

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:37:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 06, 2009

Vodafone Spain has reportedly renewed its prepaid internet tariffs, by raising them up to 66% the volume of data transfer of its top-ups based on traffic volumes and cutting by as much as 35% the price of its top-ups based on time. Vodafone will now provide three top-ups by volume, the 250 MB Basic product for EUR 19, the 400 MB Advanced for EUR 29 and the 1 GB Premium for EUR 59, which will have a validity period of 3 months. The operator’s time-based top-ups, offering unlimited data traffic, will now be priced at EUR 19 for 7 days, EUR 29 for 15 days and EUR 49 for 30 days. Vodafone’s prepaid pack, costing EUR 49, will come with a k3565 USB modem and EUR 19 of credit.

Source: Wireless Federation

Thursday, August 06, 2009 11:07:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 24, 2009

­The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, has urged the Bangladeshi Government to eliminate the tax on SIM cards. The GSMA says that the growth of the mobile industry in Bangladesh has come to a halt due to increases in taxes across the board on mobile services.

The SIM card tax of Tk. 800 (US$11.6) per connection of each new subscriber is the single largest obstacle to the acquisition of new subscribers, constituting a major barrier to growth and blocking new investments in updated mobile networks that provide broadband via mobile infrastructure.

Increased mobile penetration in Bangladesh in recent years has given access to not only voice communication but data access to the internet to rural areas, which were beyond reach otherwise. Today, mobile connections in the country are 46.7 million - 32% penetration but despite this significant growth, Bangladesh remains below its neighboring countries in terms of mobile and internet penetration. Moreover, mobile adoption growth rates have been consistently falling in the last three quarters and now stand below 3% per quarter, which can be directly attributable to this damaging taxation.

Click here to see full article

 

Source: Cellular News
Friday, July 24, 2009 9:52:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cambodia’s state-owned incumbent Telecom Cambodia (TC) gained twice as many fixed lines subscribers in 2008 than in the previous year, boosting its number of lines in service to 26,091, writes local newspaper Phnom Penh Post. In 2008 more than 3,600 fixed lines were added, compared with just 1,500 in 2007. TC's subscriber growth has continued in 2009, with the number of fixed lines up by 1,337 in the first five months of the year. The report also adds that in total there are around 50,000 fixed line voice connections in the country, with the remainder shared between rival telcos Camintel and Mfone.

Meanwhile Camnet, the internet arm of TC, has also witnessed an increased growth in subscribers. ‘In 2007 there were about 300 Camnet subscribers, but by the close of the first half of this year (2009), the number climbed to around 1,000,’ said Lao Saroeun, director general of TC. One reason behind the increase in customers is the operator’s decision to cut the cost of broadband internet access, Saroeun added. Previously, the monthly cost for a 1Mbps downlink connection stood at USD1,300, but since Vietnamese military-owned rival operator Viettel entered the market, Camnet had dropped its price to USD700 for the same amount of bandwidth.

Source: Telegeography

 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 2:58:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 1:26:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In an interview with East Africa Business Week, MTN Rwanda’s CEO Khaled Makkawi has revealed that the government’s decision to increase excise duty on airtime from 3% to 5% commencing 1 July will effect the mobile operator’s projected growth for 2009. ‘That increase was a surprise to us, especially such increase coming in the middle of the year,’ Makkawi said, adding: ‘Such increment was not budgeted and has to go through my budget. When any amount comes suddenly out of the budget, I have to get this money from other areas. Surely, it will affect our promotions and expansion.’ The report states that MTN Rwanda, which generates 90% of its revenue from airtime sales, will be forced to cut the additional 2% from other areas where it had planned to use it to boost penetration, introduce new products and promotions in order to boost sales.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 2:09:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 25, 2009

Brazil has added nearly 2.09 million mobile subscribers in the month of May, ending the month with a total mobile subscriber base of 157.502 million, up 1.88%. The prepaid subscriber base accounted for 81.75% of the total subscriber base whereas postpaid held 18.25%. The teledensity across the nation grew to 82.44% up from 68.23% in May 2008. Anatel reports that Vivo led the Brazilian mobile market with 29.38% of the total subscriber base, followed by Claro with 25.51%, TIM Brasil with 23.59% and Oi with 21.14%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:06:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Greece, has introduced a new roaming service dubbed as Vodafone Europe.  The offer comprises of the Vodafone Europe Voice or Vodafone Europe Data subscriptions. Priced at EUR 18 per month, the package offers national rates for outgoing calls from EU to Vodafone networks in 11 countries in the EU as well as for international calls from Greece to EU networks. Moreover, receiving calls in Vodafone networks is free.  Vodafone Europe Data is priced at EUR 70 per month and offers 1 GB of data transfer in Greece and 11 Vodafone networks in EU. The 11 Vodafone networks where the two services can be used include Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:03:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The cost of buying a mobile phone in Kenya has dropped sharply after the government waived the import duty on mobile phones. Kenya's Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta cut the 16% VAT on new phone handsets in the government's budget statement - along with reducing import duties on a whole range of other products.

Click here to see full article

A recent report from the GSMA said that mobile subscribers across East Africa are taxed at some of the highest levels world-wide. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania impose mobile-specific taxes which when added to VAT can result in their respective consumers facing taxes as high as 30% in Uganda and Tanzania, and 27% in Kenya, considerably the highest rates in Africa (and the among the highest across the world as a whole).

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:19:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zimbabwe's cabinet has approved a commercialisation and privatisation plan encompassing state-held assets in industries including telecoms, energy and infrastructure. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti told the Zimbabwe Independent that the approved plan took into consideration timing, overall objectives and appropriate processes to be used, whilst state enterprises had been divided into categories depending on their potential and current state. The category of high value, high potential businesses (but needing capitalisation and better management) includes national PSTN operator TelOne, power stations and the national railway operator, according to the minister. It is estimated that the country needs USD10 billion to carry out necessary transformations to revitalise its economy, but has so far raised around USD1 billion. CommsUpdate previously reported that the government intended to put state-run mobile operator NetOne up for sale, but last month it was revealed the sale attempt would be suspended until the global economy improved.

Also in the news, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nelson Chamisa has ordered TelOne to make heavy cuts to its fixed line tariffs and to match billing systems used in other countries in the region. On Thursday Chamisa issued a ministerial order barring the telco from cutting off any customers unable to pay their bills, until the matter is resolved by cabinet.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:10:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Tanzania is proposing a new set of pricing mechanisms designed to reduce the cost of information and communications technology (ICT) services in the country. The Director General of the state regulator the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Prof. John Nkoma, is quoted as saying: ‘While the main goal is to provide ICT access to all, we should be cognisant of the fact that many people who are within coverage areas of ICT are still not served because of the high costs of services’. Although Tanzania has experienced strong growth in ICT take-up – eg cellular penetration now stands at over 33% with more than 13 million active and internet utilisation has increased to about 5% of the population – Nkoma says more needs to be done to reach underserved areas to ensure equitable access to ICT.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:08:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Globe Telecom of the Philippines last Friday launched DUO, an unlimited mobile and landline calls bundle available to pre-paid users in Metro Manila. It also offers the DUO service in service after unveiling it there on 25 May. Globe claims that DUO is the first unlimited mobile and landline call service offered anywhere in the world. The 2-in-1 package uses a single SIM and enables the user to make unlimited calls from the Globe network to any fixed line number and from any landline to Globe, as well as to and from any DUO post-paid mobile subscriber - provided they are all within the same area code. People signing up to DUO’s add-on pre-paid offer receive a special pre-paid SIM pack for PHP45 (USD0.94) allowing them to benefit from unlimited mobile and landline calling within Metro Manila and Cebu for five days for PHP125 and PHP350 for 14 days.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:07:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 04, 2009

Telecoms companies, ISPs and large enterprises in North America and Western Europe have access to abundant and affordable network capacity. But companies with large international bandwidth requirements still face significant challenges elsewhere.

Data from TeleGeography’s Wholesale Bandwidth Pricing Database reveal that stark price differences persist around the globe. For example, the median price of a 2Mbps E-1 circuit between London and Johannesburg in Q4 2008 was nearly USD15,000. For the same price, a bandwidth buyer could lease a 10Gbps wavelength—500 times the capacity of an E-1—between London and New York.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 22, 2009

Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili remarks, Nigerians will soon enjoy reduced GSM tariff. Akunyili said this was necessary considering the fact all the operators have recouped their investments from the patronage of Nigerians.

Akunyili said the present economic recession is hitting Nigerians hard and assured that by the time discussions are finalized between the GSM operators and her office, Nigerians will heave a sigh of relief and will be able to use the
operation more effectively and confidently.

She declared that there is none among the GSM operators that can deny it has not made double what it invested in the industry in the last six years.

She said that what is remaining is how to go about the whole thing so that it will be beneficial to all just as she also said that issues of drop calls and other network problems will soon be a thing of the past as the operators have assured to improve their services.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, May 22, 2009 10:20:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Malaysia’s Business Times is reporting that mobile operator Celcom has launched a new pre-paid tariff in a bid to increase its subscriber base by up to 25%. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, at the end of December 2008 Celcom had 8.76 million subscribers, making it the second largest operator in the sector; it has said it aims to have overtaken number one Maxis Mobile by 2012. The cellco claims that its existing pre-paid tariffs, UOX and SOX, are the market leaders for the youth segment outside of Kuala Lumpur, while the new package, XPAX, will target the same demographic. Celcom believes that one of the main draws of its new package is that, after a MYR50 (USD14.26) balance top-up customers will be able to keep their numbers active for two years without having to further reload their account. Additionally the tariff will offer unlimited mobile broadband surfing at a rate of MYR6 per day, or MYR20 per week.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 9:03:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Rwanda has introduced a special prepaid promotion where subscribers will be offered preferential tariffs on all calls to 3 special local numbers and one international number. The product, named as ‘Friends and Family’ will offer prepaid subscribers 20% discount on all the calls after they sign up for the product. The package is anticipated to strengthen the company’s market share.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 8:40:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 15, 2009

Vivatel, the Bulgarian mobile operator, has introduced three new mobile internet add-ons and a mobile internet subscription plan. The monthly tariffs for the add-ons are set at BGN 5 for the Data 30 MB pack, BGN 10 for the Data 150 MB and BGN 20 for Data 750 MB, while over the limit usage is charged BGN 0.30 per MB.

Vivatel has also launched the Traffic 750 MB subscription plan which offers 750 MB for BGN 20 per month. Traffic 750 MB joins Vivatel’s other two mobile internet tariff plans, namely Traffic 5 GB (36 BGN per month) and Traffic 15 GB (59.90 BGN per month). Vivatel’s Traffic plans are aimed at both residential and business subscribers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, May 15, 2009 10:46:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange France has introduced a new mobile tariff aimed at people that qualify for the Earned Income Supplement. The Earned Income Supplement is French Government is launching a new social benefit service. This is for very low income families - approximately 3.5 million French people qualify.

The Plan is dubbed as the RSA special tariff plan and offers mobile devices from as little as EUR 39. The tariff comes without a contract and offers 40 minutes of fixed line calls and 40 SMS for EUR 10 per month. This tariff will go live by June 18th and a special low-end EUR 20 Triple Play offer is planned.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, May 15, 2009 10:45:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In India, mobile tariffs in comparison to other countries are lowest and are anticipated to further decline by 20-25% during 2009. The decline in tariffs will triggered by the new entrants and rapid expansion of the existing telecom players. “Whenever new entrants commence operations in the country, there is a high chance of reduction in tariffs as they come in with innovative strategies and prices, including freebies. Apart from tariffs, the price reduction would also be extended to handsets,” European handset major Meridian India CEO Rajiv Khanna, reportedly said. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) estimates that the country needs around 300,000 towers by 2010 to support the massive 10 million monthly subscriber additions.

In recent, the termination charges have been brought to 20 paise from 30 for domestic calls, which the operators have begun passing on to the subscribers, is also pulling tariffs down. Though, few firms are not in favour of lowering tariffs to be an apt option for competing in the telecom space. “Indian companies are rolling our predatory prices without conducting proper studies, unlike in the U.S. or developed countries. Price reductions coming in from desperate companies are anti-competition and these are not based on economic sense, and in the long run this would be anti-consumer and anti-industry,” said Idea Cellular Managing Director Sanjeev Aga.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:46:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zantel, the Tanzanian mobile operator, has launched prepaid internet service based on 3G technology in a package dubbed as ZConnect. Depending on the modem one uses, the service will offer internet at up to 3.1 Mbps. The plan is priced at TZS 6,000 for a daily subscription, TZS 30,000 for a weekly package and TZS 90,000 for monthly usage. The ZConnect service will be available in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba, Tanga, Dodoma, Morogoro, Arusha, Moshi, Mwanza, Tabora, Musoma, Shinyanga, Mbeya, Iringa and Ruvuma.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 8:44:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 11, 2009

Vodafone UK has introduced a new business mobile broadband package offering the subscribers “all they can use”. The Flat Rate mobile broadband package won’t ever cost the subscribers more than GBP 18/month and is available as a rolling 30 day contract. Subscribers will have to pay GBP 58.70 for their mobile USB modem stick with a twelve month contract and a mobile dongle at GBP 24.68. With eighteen and twenty-four month contracts, the dongles are free. The new package offers “all you can use” on downloads but still comes with a fair usage policy. The package offers roaming tariffs at GBP 8.50 per 24-hours in selected countries or GBP 4.25 per MB in other countries.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, May 11, 2009 9:45:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 08, 2009

Nigerian mobile operator Globacom (Glo Mobile) has introduced the concept of 'One Network' over for its customers roaming between its networks in Nigeria and neighbouring Republic of Benin. Both sets of subscribers can now make calls charged at local rates in their own local currency when travelling in either country. The offer is initially limited to voice calls; SMS texts and GPRS data services will be included in due course, whilst Globacom also says it will introduce the concept to other west African countries where it is deploying networks.

Glo launched services in Benin in June 2008, and the company claims it has signed up 750,000 subscribers so far; it aims to double that figure by the end of the year. Glo says it has covered 85% of the Republic via 85 base stations and one mobile switching centre.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, May 08, 2009 8:58:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ronan de Renesse, Senior Analyst at Screen Digest has just completed an analysis of the 3G mobile broadband market. Although the number of people using mobile networks to connect to the Internet through a device known as a ‘dongle’ will continue to rise, he predicts that the rate of growth is set for a big fall over the next two years.

There has been a significant uptake in the usage of mobile broadband in the past two years, especially in Europe where usage grew ten fold from one million people in 2006 to nine million in 2008. Put another way, the mobile broadband market is currently worth more than mobile TV, mobile games and mobile music combined. This way of accessing the Internet is particularly attractive as an alternative to a fixed connection for students living in private accommodation, people who live in more than one place and also people who live in areas where fixed broadband is simply not available.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, May 08, 2009 8:54:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Verizon Wireless, the USA’s leading mobile operator, has introduced the Nationwide Plus Mexico plan that enables mobile subscribers to make calls to any number in the US, Puerto Rico and Mexico, including mobile phones, without long distance charges, 1000 night and weekend minutes for use in the US and Mexico, and unlimited mobile to mobile calling minutes while in the US. Family Share plans for Nationwide Plus Mexico are priced at USD 84.99 monthly access for two lines of service. Activation fees, taxes and other charges apply.

For a limited time, anybody can activate or switch to the Nationwide Plus Mexico plans will receive a one time USD15 bill credit. New subscribers have to ink a two year agreement. The promotion ends 30 June 2009. These plans are also eligible for the company’s no-cost Friends and Family feature, with which subscribers can make calls up to 10 phone numbers - landline or mobile - at no additional cost, regardless of day or time.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 9:35:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

T-Mobile CR, has launched a new roaming add-on, dubbed as Cestovatel (’Traveller’). Until 31 July, subscribers can receive free incoming calls and send SMS at discounted prices of CZK 5 per SMS and CZK 10 per MMS (VAT included).

The service will also be available in summer resorts across Greece and Bulgaria. The Cestovatel roaming add-on is available in Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Great Britain and the US. Calls within the visited country and to the Czech Republic are charged at CZK 4.76 per minute, plus the call set-up fee of CZK 34.51.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 9:29:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobilcom-debitel, the German mobile service provider, has introduced three mobile internet tariff options for its subscribers. The subscribers can choose between Take-away Basic, which is priced at EUR 0.99 a month, charging each MB at EUR1; Take-away Small, which costs EUR 4.95 a month including 5 MB, charging each additional MB at EUR 3.95 (T-Mobile, Vodafone) or EUR 0.50 (E-Plus, O2) and Take-away Flat, which cost EUR 9.95 a month, offers 250 MB via the E-Plus network, each additional MB is charged at EUR 0.50.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 9:27:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange France, has launched new mobile promotions valid until 17 June. The mobile operator is offering a discount of EUR 10/month for the first three months on the Origami Zen, First, Star and Origami for iPhone plans.

Subscribers under the age of 26 will be offered free unlimited SMS with all Origami subscriptions. New M6 Mobile and Mobicarte subscribers are given unlimited use of Orange Messenger by Windows Live for four months.

For subscribers above the age of 60, will enjoy a 10% reduction on Forfait Initial subscription plan. Until 17 June, the Orange Maps, Orange Mail and Blackberry Mail options will be offered at a discount of 50% for the first two months, as are the first two months of the TV Max option offering access to over 60 TV channel on Origami plans.

The promotion also includes rebates of EUR 50 on the Samsung Player Ultra, Nokia 5800 Xpress, LG Viewty Smart GC900, Sony Ericsson W705u and other phones bought with postpaid plans.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 9:26:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azercell Telecom, the Azerbaijani mobile operator, has introduced a new campaign for its SimSim, GencSim and BizdenBize subscribers.

The new campaign will offer discounts during 3 Minutes = 30 Units campaign. All subscribers who subscribe to this campaign will spend only 30 units for first 3 minutes of in-network calls. Following 3 minutes, the fees will be defined according to the tariff package of subscribers.

“During this campaign subscribers can join or leave this campaign on many times as they wish. For this reason, they need to send SMS to 7575. In order to join the campaign, you should type “3 deqiqe” in the short message and “0” to leave the campaign by sending it to 7575. For these messages, subscribers will pay the SMS standard rate in accordance with their tariff package,” it was reported.

Calling short numbers and roaming calls are also covered by this 3 Minutes = 3 Units campaign. At the same time, the calls to the numbers of Friends and Relatives are estimated at the basis of previous tariff package, e.g. in accordance with tariffs of the Friends-Relatives campaign. With these exceptions, the campaign 3 Minutes = 3 Units campaign is considered as the most beneficial campaign for prepaid subscribers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009 9:25:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 27, 2009

The European Parliament has approved new price caps for mobile network roaming within the EU, including voice, data/internet and SMS texting. From 1 July 2009 the cost of sending an SMS whilst abroad is capped at EUR0.11, whilst from that date wholesale data roaming charges are capped at EUR1 per MB (which will drop to EUR0.80 in July 2010 and EUR0.50 in July 2011). Maximum per-minute voice call roaming charges will also fall: to EUR0.43 for outgoing and EUR0.19 for incoming calls whilst abroad on 1 July 2009; to EUR0.39 and EUR0.15 respectively in July 2010; and to EUR0.35 and EUR0.11 respectively in July 2011 (compared to current roaming caps of EUR0.46/EUR0.22 on calls made/received). All prices exclude VAT. Other measures approved include compulsory per-second billing for the entire duration of calls received whilst abroad, and after the first 30 seconds for outgoing calls.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, April 27, 2009 10:12:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CMT, the Spanish telecoms regulator, has lowered the mobile termination fee to a common price of EUR 0.07 per  minute for Telefonica Moviles Spain (Movistar), Vodafone Spain and Orange Spain effective from 16 April. The same price is also applicable to MVNOs using the networks of these operators. CMT’s ruling, for the recent entrant Yoigo is that it will stick to its current mobile termination fees of EUR 0.10, as it started operations when the Spanish mobile market had already matured. The mobile termination fees quoted by CMT will be valid until 16 October, after which the fees is likely to fall further.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 12:34:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 06, 2009

Reuters is reporting that the British telecoms regulator Ofcom has ruled that mobile termination rates (MTRs) will be reduced by up to 21% in real terms as of today. Under the new ruling announced yesterday both Vodafone and O2 will cut their average mobile termination rates to GBP0.0471 (USD0.0687) per minute, a cut of 8.4% adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile Orange will cut its rates to GBP0.0484 per minute, an 11.1% cut. Hutchison Whampoa-owned 3 will see the largest percentage drop in its MTR, with Ofcom calling for a 20.9% drop to GBP0.0583 per minute. The ruling comes as part of as part of the regulator’s implementation of price controls for the next two years; Ofcom aims to have MTRs equalised for all mobile operators by the end of March 2011, and a further reduction in the rates is expected next year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, April 06, 2009 9:41:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (FNA), has cut the price that incumbent telco Deutsche Telekom (DT) can charge rivals for using its lines connecting homes and businesses to the local telephone exchange, known as the ‘last-mile’. According to Reuters, the regulator has lowered the price, which is reviewed every two years, by 2.9% from EUR10.50 (USD13.94) to EUR10.20. DT has criticised the ruling, stating that it has left it no foundation to invest in the expansion of its services to rural areas, and arguing ‘urgently needed funds for investments in broadband expansion will be abolished.’ The incumbent had wanted to increase the access price for its eight million connections to its local loop to EUR12.90. The new fee will expire on 31 March 2011.

The FNA has also set new mobile terminations fees - the rate that operators charge for calls made to their networks from those of rivals. The new rates are EUR0.0659 per minute for Vodafone and T-Mobile networks and EUR0.0714 per minute for E-Plus and O2, down 16% and 19% respectively. According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 put forward a suggestion in January 2009 to increase the mobile termination fees, while E-Plus was the only operator to propose a reduction. The new rates are valid until 30 November 2010.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, April 06, 2009 9:37:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 23, 2009

POTRAZ has slashed mobile phone tariffs by 40% in order to make mobile services more affordable in Zimbabwe. According to the regulator, the move was prompted by the need there was need to strike a balance between affordability of services by consumers and the viability of operators.

The POTRAZ board reportedly, said, “The strengthening of the United States currency against other regional currencies has resulted in a reduction in regional tariffs.” The hyper inflation and currency devaluation in the Southern African country has made all three mobile network service providers to start billing their subscribers in foreign currency. As per the PORTAZ directive, Econet Wireless has already reduced its tariffs.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, March 23, 2009 12:51:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following last week’s decision by Paraguayan regulator Conatel to end Copaco’s monopoly on wholesale internet access, the incumbent telco has announced that it will reduce retail and wholesale internet access tariffs for the second time this year in May, reports abc.com.py. From the beginning of March, Copaco cut certain tariffs by an average of around 23%, with a 64kbps connection falling from USD19 to USD17 per month, and a 128kbps subscription falling from USD25 to USD22 a month. However, Paraguay's prices remain the highest in the Mercosur region, with a 1Mbps ADSL connection costing Copaco customers USD92 per month, 318% more than in Argentina, where the same service is charged at USD22. The monopolistic market and high prices have inhibited growth in the sector; Copaco reportedly finished 2008 with fewer than 15,000 broadband customers, up from an estimated 10,000 at end-2007. Details of the new price list planned for May were not released.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 23, 2009 12:43:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Fiji telcos now get the freedom of formulating their own mobile and fixed-line charges as the interim Government withdraws the price control order imposed in 2008.

According to the Interim Attorney General and Telecommunications Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the termination of price control will enable a free market in the country. “This basically means the price control board will no longer be in place but the market itself will decide on the price that is to be set within the market,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 11:40:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gulf Daily News reports that Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has cut internet tariffs by 70%. The move is believed to be prompted by the impending arrival of three fixed line operators to the Saudi market, namely Hong Kong's PCCW, Bahraini incumbent Batelco, and a consortium led by Verizon Communications of the US and including Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC). Currently STC is the sole fixed line voice operator, and faces competition in the broadband sector from just one company, Mobily.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:44:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 10, 2009

­Cuba's sole mobile phone network, ETECSA says that its subscriber base has surged by 60% to reach nearly half a million customers after the government relaxed the conditions for private citizens to buy mobile phones.

President Raul Castro's government lifted a ban which had restricted ownership to tourists and VIPs in April last year. Nearly 8,000 new connections were sold in the first ten days after the restrictions were lifted. The government also halved the sign-up fee - although it still represents about three months wages for the average worker.

The local newspaper, Juventud Rebelde reported that around 480,000 cellular lines are now in use, compared with 300,000 before the law change.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:33:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lebanon will see a downfall in the mobile call rates by April’09. The government has official announced a reduction in call rates for both prepaid and post paid cards in order to lower the pressure on the the Lebanese.

The reduced call rates, according to the telecom minister Jebran Bassil, will save the Lebanese $225 million annually. The minister din’t predict a downfall in the revenues of the telcos as the country predicts that the country’s subscriber base is likely to rise to 2million.

Click here to see full article
Source: Wireless Federation.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 9:39:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Asiacell- the largest private Iraqi company and the first mobile telecommunications company to provide coverage for all of Iraq - announced the launch of its new service offer, which utilizes the payment-per-second billing system as an optional alternative to the per-minute billing system.

Asiacell subscribers who wish to adopt this new payment method will be able to enjoy the most economic mobile rates in Iraq, wherein 2 cents per 10 seconds will be charged for phone calls made to other Asiacell subscribers, and 3 cents per 10 seconds charged for calls made by Asiacell subscribers to other networks. International phone calls will also follow the per-second billing offer starting from the first minute at no extra cost. Asiacell subscribers are free to choose whether to remain subscribed to the payment per-minute system or to switch to the new per-second system.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 5:32:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azerbaijan has taken a step further in lowering the mobile tariffs calling for greater savings for the consumers. According to Eliyar Temirov, officer of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, the tariffs levied by operators, on an average, are higher that the tariffs in other nations. “To offset the balance in the market and to prevent unfair competition, asymmetrical regulation is exercised in the international practice by to supporting a new entrant against the established incumbent service providers. Moreover, the mobile call prices may be reduced by cutting the fees that operators levy for switching callers between each other’s networks,” he added.

The ministry has talked about this to Azercell and Bakcell, convincing them to cut down the tariffs. The Tariff Council has given a green signal to the lowering of so-called termination rates that mobile operators can charge each other to connect calls between their networks within the antimonopoly policy.

Source: Wireless News.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 5:20:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 14, 2009

With the weakening of Belarusian Ruble the local mobile operators plan to raise their call tariffs. MTS Belarus, one of the leading mobile operator, has already raised its call and SMS tariffs by between 15 and 30 rubles and other operators could now follow the league. The rise in tariffs is driven by a sharp depreciation of the ruble earlier this month; MTS Belarus has to pay for a significant proportion of its new equipment and for many services in foreign currency – and is struggling to do so as the currency fluctuates.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 11:39:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 06, 2009

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) ­Zimbabwe's largest mobile telephone network is phasing out Zimbabwe dollar tariffs and introducing United States denominated recharge cards from Tuesday, APA learns here.

Econet Wireless announced that the move to charge in foreign currency was meant to improve services by enabling the company to invest in new equipment and settle its foreign currency obligations.

“Econet is introducing US dollar recharge cards from 30 December 2008. Please use your Zimbabwe dollar cards by midnight 29 December 2008 as they will expire thereafter," it said in a notice to subscribers.

Local calls would cost around US$0.30 per minute while text messages would cost US$0.15.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 10:42:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Bulgarian Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), takes up a new schedule to lower the fees levied by the mobile operators by 45% by July’10. Bulgarian mobile phone users pay an average of 0.19-0.25 leva a minute when calling from mobile to mobile and 0.29-0.32 leva a minute when calling from landlines to mobile, the highest charged in European Union.

The mobile operators will have to lower their prices five times, on January 1 2009, July 1 2009, September 1 2009, January 1 2010 and July 1 2010, everytime by 7-9% and by the last cut the prices will fall down to 0.13-0.15 leva a minute regarding whether they call from a landline or a mobile.

CRC will also reportedly ask fixed-line telecoms to cut down the bulk mobile call termination rates, the fees paid by consumers when calling landlines from mobile numbers.

Bulgaria’s three telecom firms, Austria Telekom’s Mobiltel, Cosmote unit Globul and BTC, the dominant fixed-line operator that recently integrated its mobile subsidiary Vivatel, will be required by law to obey the ruling, but can appeal the decision in court.

The ruling will allow Mobiltel and Globul to maintain their dominant position in the Bulgarian mobile market, though they still are against the ruling. BTC, however, according to a localmedia report, was not happy with the decision, because it “did not change the current market situation,”.

Source: Wireless Federation.

 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:28:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 19, 2008

Mobitel, Sri Lanka, has launched a new pre paid tariff named SMART Pre Paid which will enable its Sri Lankan subscribers the lowest call rates in the country.

SMART Pre Paid Tariff will offer value to existing and potential subscribers, with outgoing Voice/Video calls at Rs.1 per minute and SMS at 50 cents per message to one nominated Mobitel M Best Friend number, outgoing Voice/Video calls at Rs.2 per minute to Mobitel numbers, and Voice/Video call rates to other local Mobile or Fixed Line numbers at Rs.4 per minute 24 hours of the day. Further, this plan allows users to enjoy Incoming Free Voice/Video calls from Mobitel, Local fixed lines and overseas numbers anytime of the day.

Click here to see full article
Source: Wireless Federation.
Friday, December 19, 2008 11:36:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 05, 2008

Myanmar will soon experience, the price for owning a mobile phone being much less than using the device. The state-owned mobile operators in Myanmar plan to sell cheaper SIM cards with a tenfold rise in call tariffs. The sale of new SIM cards will begin from Dec. 12 priced at $50-25 times less than the price at present. The new SIM cards will carry a talktime of $10 and the calls will cost $0.30/min up from $0.03/min for otugoing domestic calls and the incoming call s will cost $0.05/min.

Under the current Myanmar system, a military rule, not everyone is entitled to an officially sanctioned mobile phone, which costs $1,250.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, December 05, 2008 9:43:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 04, 2008

Millions of UK mobile users don’t understand international roaming charges – and go so far as to avoid making calls as a result. ­A new study, by market research firm, TNS indicates that it is confusion over service charges, in addition to the price of calls, which is preventing international roaming from really taking off.

A fifth of mobile users cite confusion over roaming pricing as their primary reason for using their phone less when abroad. Surprisingly this is especially true of younger consumers, where nearly a quarter (24%) of those aged 16-34 are still baffled by the costs of using their mobiles abroad.

The study also found that 17% of consumers would increase the amount of data services (like the mobile internet) they used if network providers offered them a fixed bundle package. Again this is truer of the 16 to 34 year olds, who are used to having bundled deals at home in the UK; 23% would use their phone more abroad if this type of deal were available. Similar findings were also seen in France where 14% of consumers said they would use their mobile more if they were offered a fixed bundle.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 2:47:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest analysis from Point Topic on average tariffs and packages on offer for broadband worldwide gives a general story of increasing speed and decreasing prices

Over the quarter there is some variation, but if you look at 2008 as a whole consumers are getting more bandwidth for their money.

Of the three primary broadband technologies, DSL has seen the largest fall in average price for a subscription down from $66.75 in Q108 to $53.32 in Q3 taking a worldwide average. This is a 20% drop in the first 3 quarters of the year. In comparison average subscription prices for cable are down just over 12% and FTTx down by 6.5%.

Figure 1: Average monthly subscription (US$)

 NB: Fiber prices based on averages of available country implementations, DSL and cable taken from a wider base of regional averages

Click here to see full article

Source: Point Topic.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 2:18:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

du, second largest operator of UAE has instigated a scheme called ‘double your talk time’. Under this scheme any du subscribers who buy “Pay as you Go” line or renew his existing one for Dh55 gets double the amount back as free credit of up to Dh110. The subscribers can make use of this offer after recharges done in the form of Dh10 on every third recharge up to a maximum of Dh110, from the time of first call for new customers or renewal for existing customers.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:32:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thanks to its One Region One Rate roaming scheme, all du mobile subscribers can enjoy calling local numbers and receiving calls at just AED 1.25 per minute, while roaming in the GCC region.

The unified rates come into effect immediately without any extra charges and will be available by default to all du customers while they roam in the GCC region. du mobile customers can choose any telecom operator during roaming in the GCC while still benefitting from this attractive scheme.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:29:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Virgin Mobile UK launches an all-you-can-eat internet access tariff at 30p per day, which is claimed to be a tariff three times cheaper in comparison to other offers by rival networks. The new rates will be levied from December 8 applying to both contract and pre-pay subscribers, Virgin reveals.

“By providing unlimited access at a highly competitive rate, we are giving all our customers the opportunity to use the internet on their phone without having to worry about racking up huge bills or working out complicated price structures,” said Virgin Mobile MD Graeme Oxby. However, the twist in the story lies that the 30p/day rate is counted as offering unlimited access, to which a daily fair use policy of 25MB applies. The subscribers exceeding this limit will have to pay £2 for each extra MB.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:26:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Lebanese government approves the reduction in mobile call fees to 10%/min along with other service fees. According to Information Minister Lebanon, Tareq Mitri, the Cabinet has approved the extension of mobile infrastructure and recommendations for improved services. He additionally said the Cabinet also gave a thumbs up to the recommendations by Telecoms Minister Jebran Bassil last week to end the existing management contract of cellco Alfa and let the communications ministry itself manage the Alfa network.
He further revealed a two month deadline for implementation of the following approvals by government.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Velcom posts its third quarter results. The subscriber base reaches to 3.5 million with the net addition of 100,000 new subscribers in third quarter. The 100% owned Telekom Austria subsidiary, reported revenues of EUR82.4 million (USD104.1 million) and EBITDA of EUR41.9 million in the period under review, while its EBITDA margin was stable at 50.8%. The operating income in this quarter was EUR22.7 million. The ARPU grows from EUR6.9 in 2Q08 to EUR7.6 in 3Q08, driven by the launch of new attractively priced tariff plans and currency fluctuations. While, average MOU dipped from 165.8 to 162.8 in the same period.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:07:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Virgin Mobile South Africa, raises its data and SMS tariffs for both its prepaid and post-paid subscribers, eliminating off-peak rates. The rise in tariffs mean that Virgin’s peak-time tariffs are quiet lower than its competitors. On the other hand, it also means that users will not benefit from low off-peak rates. Virgin Mobile’s all-day rate is now 60c/SMS. MMSs are charged at a flat rate of 75c each and its per-MB data rate is set at 60c in contrast with Vodacom’s 4U charging 80c/SMS in peak times and 35c in off-peak times and Pay-as-you-go MTN subscribers are charged 75c/peak-time SMS while off-peak SMSs cost 35c. For data users, Vodacom and MTN charge around R2/MB for out-of-bundle data usage, their in-bundle rates for 2 GB or more drop to R0.19/MB. This is in comparison with Virgin Mobile’s flat rate of R0.60 per megabyte.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:57:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

European Union is in favour of limiting the cost of SMS and mobile Web surfing between nation states. The ministers have given consent to cap the retail charge for sending a cross-border short text message at 11 euro cents, or 14 American cents. This implies that cost for sending Text across European borders would drop by an average of 62% from the current 29 euro cents. The data roaming charges are also expected to fall in the same line of SMS.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:44:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The call charges were likely to drop with telecom companies — global and domestic — keen to launch third-generation (3G) mobile services in the country, said Telecom Minister A. Raja. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Communications and global firms such as the UK’s AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, France-based Orange and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo have expressed interest in bidding for 3G mobile licence which will lead to stiff competition in the market, will reflect in lower tariffs.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:31:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 01, 2008

­The European Commission, in a letter, has welcomed the French regulator's proposal to lower the wholesale rates charged by French mobile operators. The Commission also invited the regulator, ARCEP to keep up its efforts to set a target date by which they should equal the costs of an efficient operator in the next regulatory window that starts in 2011.

Click here to see full article

The Commission endorsed the regulatory measures proposed by the French regulator ARCEP: a price control obligation requiring French mobile operators SFR and Orange France to charge a termination rate of €0.03 per minute from 1 July 2010. Bouygues' rate is to be set at €0.04 per minute by the same date. ARCEP`s overall approach is to reduce termination rates towards the long run incremental cost (LRIC) of an efficient operator resulting in symmetric rates which will eventually be in line with the Commission's forthcoming Recommendation on termination rates. ARCEP set the target efficient cost-based mobile termination rate between €0.01 and €0.02 per minute, to be eventually reached by all mobile operators.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, December 01, 2008 9:45:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 28, 2008

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) ­A media watchdog on Friday criticised the collapsed state of Zimbabwe’s telecommunications sector following more than a week of erratic coverage by the country’s main service providers.

The sole fixed telephone network run by the state-owned TelOne is in an appalling state of affairs, with erratic coverage in the urban areas and is virtually non-existent in the rural areas.

Problems on the fixed telephone network have also negatively affected Internet traffic in Zimbabwe during the past three weeks.

The three mobile telephone networks – Econet Wireless, Telecel Zimbabwe and the state-owned Net One – have also failed to cope with the market demand for their services in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary environment.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, November 28, 2008 4:52:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 17, 2008

The cost of talking on the go is coming down, thanks to an increasing number of options for using Internet calling services on cellphones as an alternative to traditional cellular service plans.

Click here to see full article

Source: IHT.

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:53:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­A new report from the ROA Group says that the number of mobile users in Japan will increase to 121 million by 2011 and the penetration rate in the Japanese market will grow to 95.4% by 2011.

As the Japanese market is reaching the saturation point, competition among the three operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank intensifies in terms of network, contents and devices. In this circumstance, the operators are also aiming to extend their businesses abroad. DoCoMo is now planning to commercialize Long Term Evolution (LTE) service for the first time in the world by 2010, and its rival SoftBank is to introduce the service about the same time. UQ Communications, a KDDI-led joint venture, and WILLCOM are planning to commercialize Broadband Wireless Access (BWA)-based mobile WiMAX service and next generation PHS service respectively in 2009, which is a year earlier than the planned launch of LTE by DoCoMo.

Looking at the general trend in price policy, it seems that two-year contracts are becoming common in the Japanese market.

In June 2007, DoCoMo introduced a new discount rate plan based on a two-year commitment. SoftBank and KDDI immediately followed the suit. For rate plans, unlike SoftBank and EMOBILE, both KDDI and DoCoMo are not offering free-call (flat-rate) service between those who use the same network. However, KDDI and DoCoMo may introduce 24-hour free call service in the future based on their business results, and it is expected that free-call service (flat-rate) will be widespread in Japan by 2011, says Steve Lee, Chief Consultant at ROA Group.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:45:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The price war in Kenyan mobile market is continuing head high as Telkom Kenya lowers the mobile tariffs to one shilling/minute. The calls made from Orange to Orange will be priced one shilling, whereas, SMS will cost the same across all networks. The offer will be available for two months which likely to increase the Telkom’s subscriber base.

It has now been nearly two months that the kenyan mobile operators have been engaged in the price war, which has significantly reduced the mobile tariffs in the country.

Following the trend Zain Kenya launched the Vuka tariff which charges eight shillings/minute to all networks.
Safaricom has still not joined the league though it slashed the night calling rates to five shillings between 10pm and midnight and two shillings and fifty cents after that till 6am, on Safaricom to Safaricom network.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:42:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vodafone has dropped their mobile broadband pricing to $39.95 for 5GB in order to take market share away. They are planning to roll out a new 3G network in December. Vodafone Australia claims that they are trying to validate their position as a key player in the highly competitive mobile broadband space with several anlalyst anticipating that they will soon reach no. 2 position in Australia. Vodafone has even ripped price for its 1GB plan from $29.95 to $19.95. Vodafone customers can now save up to $10 per month. Earlier this pricing was available to Vodafone customers with a mobile phone and mobile broadband bundle. Vodafone’s new carry anywhere USB Internet Stick modem, will be free for new customers signing up for 5GB plan.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:26:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 13, 2008

Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo has revealed it is cutting its monthly mobile tariffs in a bid to match rivals KDDI and Softbank Mobile, as the domestic mobile price war begins to intensify. DoCoMo still controls roughly half the market but has seen its share whittled away by its rivals in the past year. This month, KDDI unveiled a JPY980 (USD9.12) per month plan to compete with number three player Softbank, which has won more subscribers than either of its larger rivals since April 2007 on the back of its low-price strategy and aggressive advertising campaigns. Reuters reports that DoCoMo is dropping its lowest tariff plan by nearly 7% to JPY980 from July to match the competition.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 13, 2008 1:43:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Information & Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) of Mauritius has forced the country’s telecoms operators adopt new lower rates for mobile and international long-distance (ILD) calls, following the passing of a new directive on 30 April. The new rates, which came into effect last Wednesday, include an MUR87 (USD0.032) reduction in the standard interconnection usage charge (IUC) for fixed and mobile networks, paid by carriers for every minute of communication. The ICTA had asked operators to submit revised retail tariff plans based on the lower IUC rate so that end users could benefit from less expensive calls. In the wake of a poor response, however, it said that it would ‘intervene in the interest of the general public’. To that end, the regulator is understood to have imposed a MUR87 reduction in the cost of making a mobile call to a fixed line, bringing the per-minute charge down from MUR4.35 to MUR3.48 a minute, using a pre-paid card. In the international segment calls have been cut to as little as MUR4 per minute to some destinations. Commenting on the ICTA’s move, Michel Rigot, the managing director of Outremer Telecom, said ‘Liberalisation in the telecommunications sector brings major tariff reductions along. What happened this week is a concrete example. Now, the Authority should think about introducing a real liberalisation process in other segments like internet that is still controlled by one operator, Mauritius Telecom.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:38:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 09, 2008

Local newspaper the Zimbabwean reports that mobile tariffs have gone up by more than 1,500%. Reflecting the rampant inflation being suffered by the beleagured country, NetOne subscribers will now have to part with ZWD58 million per minute for a call to other NetOne users during peak periods – a significant sum to locals but just a tenth of a dollar in US dollar terms – while calls to customers on the Econet and Telecel networks will be charged at ZWD60 million per minute and ZWD72 million per minute respectively. Telecel has also reviewed its tariffs, and calls to users on its own network are now ZWD50 million, while to customers on other networks the figure is ZWD63 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 09, 2008 10:39:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB) has revealed that telephone rates fell by an overall 20% on 1 June 2008 following negotiations between the watchdog and operators. Companies were recommended to put in place 'simplified and homogeneous pricing' in which reductions were not to be merged with other off-peak offerings and regular bonuses. The TRB said that Cameroonian tariffs were above average compared to countries with similar economic profiles.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 12:56:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 02, 2008

Fighting increasing competition in the pre-paid market, T-Mobile USA has introduced a new pre-paid calling plan, ‘Pay By The Day’. The plan costs USD1 per day and allows users to place calls for USD0.10 per minute. Users also get unlimited daytime calls to other T-Mobile numbers and unlimited nationwide, off-net calls in the evenings.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, May 02, 2008 3:34:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone UK has revamped its mobile internet tariffs and henceforth, contract customers will no longer need to buy an additional internet bundle for £7.50 but instead every plan will automatically include internet access. Customers will get up to 500MB of data traffic per month included with their existing tariffs.

Price plans start at £25 and customers who select a £40 or higher price plan will also for the first time have the choice of unlimited texts, unlimited landline calls or unlimited Vodafone to Vodafone calls.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, May 02, 2008 3:33:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Taiwan’s largest cellular operator by subscribers, Chunghwa Telecom, says it is cutting its 3G tariffs in order to boost take-up of its high speed services. The firm is hoping to see a 50% increase in UMTS customers in 2008 to end the year with 3.3 million subscribers. Cross-network anytime tariffs for 3G customers will fall to as low as TWD0.06 (USD0.001) per second, according to a report from the China Post. Chunghwa is also offering increased maximum bundled minutes and further discounts on 3G handsets.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 3:52:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 27, 2008

According to DigiTimes.com, Taiwan's National Communications Commission (NCC) has approved a reduction by an average of 8.4% in monthly circuit-leased fees for using Chunghwa Telecom (CHT's) ADSL services. The cheaper tariffs, which will take effect from 1 April 2008, were proposed by the company following a request from the NCC that it lower its prices. Of CHT's ADSL customers, 3.526 million or 95.4% will be subject to the price cut. Since CHT is to cease installation of further 2Mbps/512Kbps ADSL services, the company has not offered price cuts for corresponding subscribers, the NCC added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:33:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 17, 2008

Viet Nam News, a national English daily, has revealed Viettel has slashed off-peak call charges by 75% as it seeks to ignite demand and attract more users. The military-run cellco said the new charges were down to VND500 (USD0.03) a minute for calls between Viettel subscribers and VND1,000 for calls to other networks – the lowest rates in a highly competitive market. Managing director Tong Viet Trung said that the company was able to make such drastic price cuts because its network and services were running at optimal levels, enabling them to reduce operating costs. ‘We hope promotion will increase the number of Viettel subscribers from 15 million to 22 million by year end,’ he added. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database Viettel is the country’s largest wireless operator by subscribers. It plans to install an additional 4,000 base transmission stations in 2008, bringing the total number to 10,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 17, 2008 2:29:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thailand's four main mobile network operators, AIS, DTAC, True Move and Hutch has jointly announced plans to offer a special tariff to low-income people which will be managed by the government's Commerce Ministry.Thana Thienachariya, chief commercial officer of DTAC, told the Bangkok Post that the cards would feature a single tariff plan targeting low-income customers. The tariff will be known as "Blue Flag", which corresponds to other government subsidy schemes which are also known by blue flag names.

However, Mr Thana said the plan would depend heavily on market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) as it would result in additional costs for smaller operators such as True Move and Hutch, who already faced operating losses.According to figures from the Mobile World database, the country's largest operator, AIS ended last September with some 23.2 million customers, followed by DTAC with 14.9 million, True Move (11.2 million) and Hutch with just 884,000.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:13:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Safaricom has completed a test run for an HSDPA service that it says will enable subscribers access the Internet faster. HSDPA will be used to deliver the service that will include mobile video conferencing and video phone.
To get connected to the service a subscriber will require a special 3G enabled SIM card plugged into a computer modem. Safaricom chief executive officer, Michael Joseph, said the service would increase access to high speed Internet in the country.

Initially, subscribers will be able to access their data at a speed of 3.6 megabytes per second but this, he said, will be upgraded to 7.2 megabytes per second. Dubbed 'Bambanet,' the service will be available on both prepaid and post paid basis.Through the post-paid system, a subscriber will have to pay Sh5,999 for the modem and a special 3G SIM card, and sign a contract of two years. There will also be a monthly access fee of Sh1, 999 for 700 megabytes and a subscriber will pay a charge of Sh12.60 per megabyte.

On the prepaid mode, a subscriber will have to pay Sh12,500 for the 700 megabytes, receive free 700 megabytes for not more than a month, and pay Sh12.60. The costs could reduce when the company starts using fibre optic. Safaricom has spent US$20 million to roll out the service. So far it has built 75 third generation sites within Nairobi. The company intends to roll out the service first in Nairobi, followed by Mombasa by April then Kisumu.
(Source: Business Daily)

Source: Balancing Act.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 2:07:05 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)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2008

Users of pre-paid airtime sold by telecommunications providers have been slapped with a 15 percent value added tax (VAT) from February 1st. This follows a 15 percent VAT imposed by the Ministry of Finance, which was originally scheduled for implementation in September last year.

The VAT, said mobile phone operators MTC and Cell One, will be levied on the face value of the pre-paid vouchers and will be deemed to be inclusive of VAT. This means that a pre-paid voucher of N$10 will yield an N$8.10 airtime, with the remaining N$1.30 VAT going to the Receiver of Revenue. Residential users of mobile telephones were excluded from VAT when first implemented in Namibia to promote the use of telecommunications services.

Click here to see full article

Telecom Namibia has, however, taken a different route, and decided not to pass on the VAT levy onto its customers. "This decision represents an effort to bring relief to the vulnerable groups most susceptible to the increased inflation that the VAT can cause," said Managing Director of Telecom Namibia, Frans Ndoroma.

"Here we have in mind a huge number of prepaid card users, most of whom are students, elderly and non-income earners, for whom the imposition of the VAT would therefore worsen their financial plight. By subsidising this VAT, Telecom Namibia stands to lose "millions" per month, said Manager: Finance and Administrator, Robert Offner.

A study by Nepru indicates that 92 percent of mobile phone users buy prepaid mobile services.

Source: Balancing Act, Issue 391, 08.02.2008 based on New Era.

Monday, February 18, 2008 9:43:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |