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 Thursday, February 07, 2008

Korean market leader SK Telecom finished 2007 with 21.97m customers and a market share of 50.5%, up 0.1pp compared to the end of 2006. Quarterly net additions of 0.36m brought the annual total to just under 1.7m, an 8.4% annual growth rate. Revenue growth lagged behind customer growth slightly, a 6% rise taking the 2007 total to KRW 11,286bn. However, operating income was down 16% to KRW 2,172bn, and this impacted EBITDA, which was down 5% compared to 2006 at KRW 4,024bn.

One of the most remarkable aspects of SK Telecom's figures is the growth in the W-CDMA customer base, which we estimate to have reached 2.68m at year-end.

This represents an astonishing growth rate of 8847%, with the customer base at the end of 2006 standing at just 30k. However, this still leaves it short of KT Freetel's figure for 3G customers, which was 3.21m at the end of 2007 having launched in January 2007.

Clearly the appetite for 3G services in Korea is enormous. With 14% of Korea's total mobile customers owning W-CDMA handsets at the end of 2007 - up from 0.1% at the end of 2006 - it will be interesting to see how long it takes for 3G penetration to rise to the levels seen in Japan, where it currently accounts for more than half of the total.

Customers by Technology Standard

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 1:16:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco finished 2007 with 20.029 million mobile subscribers, up from 19.188 million in September and 16.005 million at the end of 2006. Mobile penetration has now reached 65.66 percent of the population, versus 53.54 percent a year ago, according to the figures from market regulator ANRT. Out of the total base, only around 800,000 use postpaid services, while the remainder are prepaid. Maroc Telecom has a 66.54 percent share of the market, while Meditel holds 33.46 percent. The number of fixed-line users meanwhile has grown to 2.394 million from 2.266 million in September and 1.266 million at the end of 2006. Fixed penetration rose to 7.85 percent. The number of internet subscribers rose 7.6 percent over the fourth quarter and 31.6 percent over the full year to reach a total 526,080 at the end of 2007. ADSL accounts for 90.6 percent of all subscribers, while plans for 256 Kbps make up 43.6 percent of all ADSL users.

Source: Wireless Federation, from ANRT.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 11:42:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest market data from analyst firm Canalys shows how much the converged device market (all smart phones and wireless handhelds) has grown over the past year. These, typically high-end, devices represented around 10% of the global mobile phone market by units in 2007, with annual growth of 60% making them one of the fastest growing segments of the technology industry. Year-on-year growth climbed every quarter throughout 2007, to reach a peak of 72% in Q4.

Apple's entry into this market in 2007 with the iPhone sparked a lot of media attention and speculation about how much it could disrupt the status quo and take share away from companies such as Nokia, RIM, Palm and Motorola.

Market shares Q4 2007, Q4 2006

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 8:49:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom Group, the Vodafone associate based in the Republic of South Africa, has announced its December quarter numbers. It's total base has risen by 4.7% in the quarter, to a total of 33m. Using an estimate of the activity level in the main market of South Africa, these numbers would change from 33m to around 32.1m, which would imply a slightly faster growth rate, of 4.8%. South Africa obviously accounts for the majority of this base - 23.3m or 73% of the total on an active basis - with the balance being spread across four other networks, in Tanzania, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lesotho.

Other than the DRC, which managing only 2.9% growth to 3.27m, all the others outpaced their parent in proportionate terms, with growth rates of 7.3% in Tanzania, 9.9% in Lesotho and 11.9% in Mozambique. The chart below shows the recent trend in the overall base.

Venture Customers, EOP (000s), Q1 05 - Q4 07

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 8:47:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

France added nearly 2 million new mobile phone users in the fourth quarter of 2007, taking the total to 55.4 million (87.6% of the population), according to telecommunication regulator Arcep. MNOs had 50.7 million customers and around fifteen MVNOs had 4.88 percent combined market share at the end of the year. Of the total number of mobile phone subscribers, 53.3 million are in mainland France, where the penetration rate is 87.1 percent, and 2.1 million are in overseas territories (103.5%). Postpaid plans were used by 36.3 million consumers at the end of last year, compared to 19 million on prepaid. SMS traffic rose to 37 per month in the fourth quarter from 31.1 in the third. Communication time slipped to 33.4 billion minutes from 34.6 billion, respectively. ARPU rose to EUR 35.80 per month in the third quarter, compared to EUR 35.20 in the second. This compares to EUR 37 at the end of 2006. Mobile number portability rose to 321,800 numbers in the fourth quarter, up 21.6 percent on the preceding quarter.

Source: Wireless Federation, based on Arcep.

Thursday, February 07, 2008 8:43:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Government has launched a credit scheme of a cellphone-per-household aimed at bridging the communication gap in rural areas.

Click here to see full article

Through the efforts of the initiative, the cost of a mobile phone has been slashed from Frw28,000 (US$52.55) to Frw13, 000 (US$24.40). The relaxed credit scheme will enable a person to own a phone and pay only Frw1,000 (US$1.88) per month in a period of 13 months. Over 53,000 handsets have so far been dispatched to 15 out of 30 districts. Celestin Karabayinga, the mayor of Musanze District, described the initiative as milestone in rural development. He appealed to the suppliers to increase the number of phones to meet the increased demand as a result of fruitful agricultural harvests in the Northern Province.

Source: Balancing Act, from The New Times.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:41:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom saw a dip in the pace at which new customers are joining its network in South Africa, with 958,000 signing up in the past three months against 1.5-million just before Christmas a year ago.

The cellular operator is also seeing slower growth in its other operations, adding 519,000 new users in the third quarter to December to the previous December quarter's 870,000. Its biggest slowdown came in the Congo, where its subscribers inched up just 2.9%, well short of the 15% surge enjoyed a year ago. Its networks in Tanzania and Mozambique added fewer customers than they did in the third quarter of last year, with only its tiny network in Lesotho enjoying stronger growth to reach a total of 332,000 customers.

Vodacom is now serving 33-million people, up 4,7% since September, as it connected 4.8-million new users. But that growth is offset by their constant hopping between rival networks, so overall its user base rose by just 600,000 from 31.6-million in September. In South Africa, it now serves 24.2-million users, but its rate of growth fell to 4.1% from 7,3% a year ago.

Yet it remains well ahead of MTN, which claims 14-million users in SA, meaning Vodacom has an estimated 55.6% of South African users. MTN outstrips Vodacom overall, however, with 55 million customers throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Source: Balancing Act, from Business Day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 1:35:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 28, 2008

The worldwide mobile phone market passed a new milestone in shipments by recording over 300 million devices shipped during the fourth quarter, while experiencing slower year-over-year growth for 2007. According to IDC, the 334.0 million handsets shipped during the holiday quarter was a new record for the industry, and was up 15.3% over last quarter.

For the entire year, total shipments reached 1,144.1 million units in 2007 with 12.4% overall growth. Nokia once again led vendors in shipments throughout the year, although some shakeup in the vendor rankings did occur. Samsung, which had been the number three vendor in the industry, surpassed Motorola during 2007 to capture the number two spot.

Top Five Mobile Phone Vendors, Worldwilde Full Year 2007 Results

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, January 28, 2008 3:11:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 25, 2008

The United Kingdom has been expelled from the list of the world's ten largest markets by Pakistan, as the South Asian market moved on to a total of 70 million customers by the end of Q3 2007, ahead of the UK with 69.3 million. Of course, the UK figure takes into account active customer numbers wherever possible, whilst the Pakistani number does not and almost certainly masks a very significant degree of inactivity. However, the change in the ranking - which uses active numbers wherever possible - is symbolic of current developments in the industry.

Italy also lost a place this quarter, slipping from eighth place to ninth, giving way to Indonesia, which moved up another place having been responsible for relegating the UK to tenth place in Q1 2007. Further down the ranking France also gave ground, this time as not one but two Asian markets - in the shape of the Philippines and Thailand - moved past it to take 15th and 16th places.

Meanwhile looking to the top 20, we find there was only one new entrant, Nigeria, which leapt from 22nd place to 19th in Q3 2007, knocking South Korea to 20th and ousting previous number one South Africa from the top 20. South Africa's status as the world's 20th largest market lasted just three months, as it only overtook Poland to enter the ranking in Q2 2007.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, January 25, 2008 11:44:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2008

At the end of 2007, the total number of mobile connections in India had grown by 61.0% year-on-year to reach 229.56 million. GSM connections totalled 172.13 million, 75% of the total. Net additions in December stood at 7.95 million, while the 2007 total stood at an astounding 86.99 million new connections - more than the entire market in Italy, which has had mobile operations for over 20 years, and more than China's 2007 total of 86.16 million.

Penetration in India is still low, having reached 20.5% at the end of 2007, and there is no reason why the market should not continue to grow rapidly, even if it cannot maintain 2007's stupendous pace. In fact, provided there is not a significant slowdown, India looks set to overtake the USA as the world's second largest market in 2008, as the chart suggests.

Market leader Bharti increased its market share to 24.0% at the end of December, a 1.6pp year-on-year gain, and finished the year on 55.16 million customers. December completed a six-month run of 2m+ monthly net additions with a record-breaking 2.20 million new customers (excluding Tata's July figure, which was massively boosted by a reclassification of its WLL customers as mobile). In second place, Reliance continued to fend off the challenge of Vodafone, stretching its lead to over 1 million for the first time in 6 months. At the end of the year it had a total of 40.93 million customers compared to 39.86 million for Vodafone.

USA vs. India: Total Customers, EOP (m), Q3 05 - Q4 07

Click here to see full article
Thursday, January 24, 2008 3:59:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of mobile subscribers in Bangladesh reached 34.037 million at the end of December, up by 1.027 million in a month, and a rise of over twelve million since the start of the year, according to the latest figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). GrameenPhone remains the market leader with 16.48 million customers, up from 15.15 million at the end of September, while Banglalink (aka Sheba Telecom) ended the year with 7.08 million subscribers, up from 6.02 million at the start of the fourth quarter, and double its figure at the beginning of 2007. This growth pushed Orascom-owned Banglalink into second place in the market, overtaking Telecom Malaysia subsidiary AKTEL, which lost 600,000 net customers in 4Q to end December with 6.40 million users, according to the regulator’s figures. UAE-backed Warid Telecom acquired 2.15 million customers - taking fourth place - in just eight months after launching in May 2007. Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited (CityCell), the only CDMA operator in a GSM-dominated sector, continued to steadily increase its subscriber base to 1.41 million by end-December, up from 1.32 million at the end of 3Q. State-run Teletalk had 850,000 subscribers on 31 December, up from 720,000 a month earlier, and 400,000 at end-2006, although previous claims had put its estimated subscriber base at a million by end-September 2007.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:00:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Advanced Info Services (AIS), has said that it believes it should be allowed to launch 3G services using W-CDMA technology in its existing 900MHz frequency band, without waiting for a specific 3G licence. The GSM operator, and its rivals True Move and DTAC, are still waiting for the authorities to award UMTS licences, now expected sometime in the first half of this year. AIS has earmarked USD600 million for a first phase rollout of a 3G network covering Bangkok and 20 provinces.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:58:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Namibia’s second mobile operator Cell One has announced that it has rolled out its GSM network to Karasburg, Khorixas and Omaruru, and its services have now reached all 13 regions of the country. According to chief marketing officer, Ivar Talmoen, Cell One covered around 70% of the country by the end of last year and continues to expand its footprint on a weekly basis. Powercom (trading as Cell One) launched commercial mobile services in Windhoek in March 2007, breaking the monopoly of incumbent provider Mobile Telecommunications.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:57:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Taiwanese cellco Taiwan Mobile says it is aiming to double its 3G user base in 2008, from 1.3 million now to 2.6 million by year-end. The firm plans to procure between 1.1 million and 1.2 million handsets this year, of which around half will be 3G models, chief business officer Cliff Lai told DigiTimes.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 8:56:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PARIS -(Dow Jones)- SFR, France's second-largest mobile-phone operator, Tuesday said it has signed up 250,000 subscribers in two months to contracts allowing them unlimited Internet use on their mobile phones.

About 52% of the subscriptions are new customers while the remaining 48% are SFR customers who have changed contract, the company said in a statement.

The number of clients significantly exceeds SFR's initial target of 100,000, the company said. SFR is 56%-owned by Vivendi while Vodafone Group  holds the remaining 44%.

Rival operator France Telecom's  chief executive said Jan. 11 that the company's Orange brand had sold about 70,000 of Apple's iPhone handsets at the end of 2007, having forecast sales of nearly 100,000.

The iPhone is different from other handsets, though, as operators don't subsidize its price.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 8:47:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 22, 2008

China Telecom ended 2007 with 220.33 million local access lines in service (includes wireless local access lines), down from 223.04 million access lines in December 2006. In December alone the company lost 1.48 million customers and during the year China Telecom shed 2.71 million customers. However, the company added 600,000 broadband subscribers in December to end the month with a total of 35.65 million broadband users. Over the full year the company signed-up 7.33 million broadband subscribers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 10:39:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 21, 2008

Caribbean-based mobile telecommunications operator Digicel ended 2007 with more than 6 million customers. The company has also announced that its total investment exceeded USD 1.9 billion across the region and it has also opened new business operations in Suriname, Guyana and El Salvador. In December 2007, Digicel was also granted a mobile licence to operate a GSM network in the British Virgin Islands. The company also introduced a new line of mobile handsets called Coral that is accessible to consumers across almost all Digicel markets. Digicel is also expanding its customer offerings, continuing to roll out technology services such as its Personal Broadband Service through WiMAX technology.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, January 21, 2008 4:54:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |