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 Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wireless phone company Vodafone has dialed up mobile banking in -- surprise -- developing countries, not rich nations.

Vodafone's VOD service lets cell phone users transfer small sums of money via text messaging.

It's targeting developing countries in Asia and Africa, where most people don't have bank accounts, but cell phone use has soared.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Peru's incumbent fixed line carrier Telefonica del Peru (TdP) has posted a net loss of PEN91.31 million (USD32.06 million) in 2007 compared to a PEN178 million profit in 2006. Revenues slipped 1.7% to PEN4.42 billion, although performances were mixed across its operations: local telephony, public telephones and business communications saw sales fall 6.4%, 25% and 7% respectively, while internet, pay-tv and long-distance operations recorded increases of 23.2%, 23.9% and 17.4% respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 8:46:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2008

A total of 52 percent of Irish consumers with a fixed line in their home subscribe to some form of bundled service, according to a Trends Series Survey into telecoms service usage from regulator ComReg. The most common bundle is fixed line calls, line rental and internet access - selected by 51 percent of respondents. The survey was conducted by Millward Brown IMS in October and November 2007. Mobile phone ownership for residential consumers reached 90 percent in Q4 2007, with 76 percent of consumer mobile phone owners using pre-paid models. Pre-paid mobile phone usage is higher for 15-24 year olds (89%) and those with no fixed-line at home (82%). A total of 54 percent of respondents use the internet from any location, with 48 percent of respondents having home internet connections. Of those with home internet connections, 68 percent are using broadband. DSL is the top broadband access technology for home internet users, with 52 percent using DSL. E-mail, research and travel/holiday bookings were given as the top reasons for using the internet. Online banking and online shopping were most popular for 25-49 year olds, with music downloading, social network sites and online games playing most popular for 15-24 year olds.

Source: Wireless News.

Monday, February 18, 2008 9:53:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

OECD has published a  paper to measure the impact of ICTs. The study presents available (mainly official) statistics on the impacts of ICTs and discusses a numberof statistical issues associated with ICT impact measurement. It attempts to place ICT impacts measurement into an Information Society conceptual framework and suggests a number of areas for further work.

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/25/39869939.pdf

Source: OECD.

Monday, February 18, 2008 9:46:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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.

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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)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms sector regulator said last weekend that two new companies, Visafone and Emerging Market Telecommunications Service (EMTS) are soon to roll out commercial service to increase competition in the telephony market.

Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, NCC, Ernest Ndukwe who confirmed this at the NCC-organised Telecom Consumer Parliament in Lagos says the new entrants will bring additional dial tones to more Nigerians just as a new report by the regulator indicates that the overall market peaked at 41.5million active subscriber lines in December 2007.

Meanwhile, according to NCC data, overall active subscriber lines peaked at 41,511,612 lines with the GSM sector in unrivalled dominance of the telecoms market with 39,533,459 lines while fixed wireless sector follows with 1,593,838 lines and mobile CDMA sector with 384,315 lines.

MTN leads the overall telecoms market with 15,873,000 lines accounting for 38 per cent of the market followed by Glo mobile with 12,385,959 lines accounting for 30 per cent of the nation’s telecoms market.

Celtel placed third on the table with 11,098,500 lines representing 27 per cent of the total market. All players in the fixed/fixed wireless sector with a combined capacity of 1,593,838 lines representing 4 per cent of the market placed fourth on the ranking followed by mobile CDMA sector with 384,315 lines representing 1 per cent of the market. At the bottom is Mtel with 176,000 lines accounting for below 1 per cent market share.

Within the GSM market sector with 39,534,296 lines, MTN leads with 40 per cent of the mobile market share; Glo mobile follows with 31 per cent; Celtel places third with 28 per cent and Mtel is a distant fourth with 1 per cent of the GSM subscribers nationwide at the end of December, 2007.

Source: Balancing Act, Issue 391, 08.02.2008 based on Technology Times.

Monday, February 18, 2008 9:39:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 15, 2008

A new research study published by the Center for Global Development has looked at the impact of mobile phones on the prices of farm produce in the African country of Niger - which faced serious food shortages in 2005. In theory, the increasing use of mobile phones should have improved distribution efficiency and hence lower the variations in prices around the country. The study set out to see if that was the case.

Click here to see full article
Friday, February 15, 2008 4:33:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A report published yesterday by Ireland’s telecoms watchdog the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) shows that while former monopoly eircom may be losing ground in the internet access segment, it still controls a 78% share of the residential telephony market despite nine years of competition. The regulator’s ‘Consumer ICT Services Survey Q4 2007’ shows that eircom far and away outstripped its closest rival Perlico, the company recently acquired by Vodafone, which had 7% of the residential telephony market by subscribers, based on the survey conducted by Millward Brown IMS. Third place was taken by BT Ireland (5%), followed by TalkTalk/Tele2 (2%), Imagine Group (2%), ntl/UPC (1%), Magnet (1%), others (2%) and don’t knows (2%). The report also revealed that the percentage of homes in the Republic with a fixed line is falling: in 2000 more than four-fifths of households reported having a landline, but this figure has now dropped to around 68%. Over the same period, the proportion on people (15yrs-74yrs) owning a cellphone has climbed from 40% to 90%, with even higher rates of ownership for all adults under the age of 50. Pre-paid ownership accounted for 76% of users in 4Q07, down two percentage points in the year.

Click here to see full article
Friday, February 15, 2008 3:08:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of mobile subscribers in Pakistan reached a total of 78.74 million at the end of January versus 76.88 million subscribers in December. According to figures from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Mobilink had the highest number of subscribers with 30.88 million subscribers, followed by Ufone with 16.44 million subscribers, Telenor with 15.35 million subscribers and Warid with 13.38 million subscribers. The mobile density was 48.96 in January compared to 48.61 in December. The number of fixed-line subscribers in Pakistan totalled 4.83 million in December. PTCL had the highest number of subscribers with nearly 4.69 million subscribers followed by NTC with 106,336 subscribers, NayaTel with 13,500, Worldcall with 10,008 and Union Communication with 3,500 subscribers. The number of wireless local loop subscribers rose to 2.20 million at the end of January, compared to 2.12 million in December. PTCL had the highest number of WLL subscribers at 1.27 million. TeleCard, World Call, and Wateen had 0.46 million, 0.39 million and 11,792 subscribers respectively. The new operators Burraq and Mytel had only 190 and 138 users respectively. The total fixed teledensity was 4.45 for January, which was comprised of 3.06 fixed density and 1.39 WLL density.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, February 15, 2008 11:46:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belgium's second largest operator by customer numbers, Mobistar, has reported its Q4 07 results, which suggest that it finished the year strongly, adding a record 155k new connections in the final quarter of 2007. This takes its total customer base to 3.49m, with net additions of 337k in the year, up from 240k in 2006. On a proportionate basis, annual growth rose to 10.7% from 8.2% in 2006.

However, these headline figures do not tell the whole story. In fact, most of the growth in 2007, and particularly in Q4, was attributable to 'third party' MVNO customers. In terms of annual net additions, 193k - 57% of the total - were in the MVNO segment, while in Q4 the figures were 112k and 73%. If we strip out new connections to MVNOs, a very different picture emerges. In the retail segment, there were only 145k net additions in 2007, compared to 226k in 2006, while annual growth in this segment was down to 4.6% from 7.8% in 2006.

Click here to see full article
Friday, February 15, 2008 11:45:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) plans to expand broadband services to more than 95% of the nation's villages in 2008, up from 92% in December 2007. All of the towns and villages in some of the central and eastern provinces will be covered by the end of this year. According to the MII, the number of internet users in China rose by 73 million in 2007, to 210 million; of the new users some 40% reside in rural areas. The total number of rural internet users rose by 127% in 2007 to 52.62 million compared to a 38.2% increase in urban users. China had 122 million broadband users at the end of 2007.

Source: Telegeography.

Friday, February 15, 2008 10:27:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belgacom, the incumbent and leading internet access provider in Belgium has decided to say good bye to dial-up. The operator will stop marketing the service from 31 January 2008.

With ADSL now available to 99.7% of the Belgian population and subscription prices continuing to fall there seem few reasons to stick with narrowband.  25% of the population will have a broadband subscription by the end of 2007.

However Belgian ISPs are facing similar issues to those in the UK.  To keep growing their subscriber base they need to capture new customers, but as the pool of offline users dwindles the pot of dial-up users becomes incresaingly important. 

A traditional way to gain new broadband users is to compete on price, to this end Belgacom launched a new service in December last year, the ‘ADSL Budget’ service comes in at €20/month.

The ‘ADSL Time’ package, launched at the same time, charges €0.043/minute at peak times, plus a connection charge of €0.25.  Dial-up usage patterns are usually patchy and relatively light and the pay as you go model of ‘ADSL Time’ looks to allow users access to broadband speeds without the burden of paying for an always on connection.

The hope, and perhaps the irony, is that dial-up will be laid to rest by broadband, but only by replicating the usage patterns of its ancestor.

Source: Point Topic.

Friday, February 15, 2008 10:26:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recently published figures from the Japanese telecoms regulator show that the trend established in the latter half of 2007 continued in the first month of 2008, with Softbank extending its run of market-leading performances to nine months. In fact, Softbank's January figure of 201k new connections represented 59.8% of the total net additions for Japan, the highest percentage it has ever claimed. KDDI's combined au and Tu-Ka offerings added 83k while DoCoMo managed just 20k, lower even than startup 3G operator eMobile, which added 33k.

Of course, the level of stratification in the Japanese market means that DoCoMo's lead is nigh-on unassailable in terms of overall customer numbers, with 53.17m connections at the end of January compared to 29.64m for KDDI and 17.81m for Softbank. However, DoCoMo's market share continues to slide inexorably downwards, with a 0.2pp drop in January taking it to 52.7%. This compares to 54.8% a year earlier. KDDI gained 0.6pp year on year, although it has been stuck on 29.4% since August, while Softbank finished on 17.7%, a 1.2pp yearly gain.

In total, the Japanese market reached 100.86m customers at the end of January, with the level of W-CDMA penetration up to 55.1% from 41.6% a year earlier.

Percentage of monthly net additions by operator

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:55:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |