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 Monday, February 25, 2008

Kuwait’s telecoms regulator and monopoly fixed line operator, the Ministry of Communications (MoC), reported revenues of KWD146.7 million (USD535.2 million) for 2007, according to a report from Arab Times. A comparative figure for the previous year was not given. The MoC says there were 800,153 telephone lines installed across Kuwait at the end of last year, of which 538,219 were active, giving a wireline penetration of around 18%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:40:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel) has reported consolidated group revenues of QAR10.373 billion (USD2.9 billion), a year-on-year increase of 134.7% from QAR4.42 billion in 2006. The state-controlled full-service operator expanded its international operations dramatically by purchasing Kuwaiti group National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya) in March 2007, and now has a geographic presence in 16 countries. Qtel’s EBITDA reached QAR5.172 billion, an increase of over 97.5% on 2006’s figure of QAR2.619 billion, and the group reported a net profit of QAR1.878 billion (USD523.5 million), up from QAR1.646 billion (USD459 million) in 2006. Consolidated subscribers reached 16.4 million at the end of December (with seven million proportionate subscribers). Units in Qatar, Algeria, Iraq and Tunisia represented 9%, 28%, 26% and 22% respectively of consolidated customers. The number of GSM mobile phone users in Qatar increased 31% to 1.5 million and doemstic ARPU ‘was higher’ as the economy grew and the population expanded, the company said. Wireless services represented 87% (QAR9.054 billion) of total revenues; Qatar, Kuwait and Algeria contributed 43%, 21% and 10% of total turnover respectively.

Qtel’s fourth quarter net profit fell 9.6% year-on-year due to a one-off amortisation impact associated with its purchase of Wataniya, on revenues that more than doubled to QAR3.47 billion, compared with QAR1.34 billion in the year-ago period.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:37:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:32:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The price of international bandwidth will plummet 80% when the Seacom undersea cable goes live on June 17 2009, more or less the same date as the TEAMS cable in Kenya. Construction has already started and Seacom president Brian Herlihy said the project was on track for a "dead-certain delivery date".

Its bandwidth will cost as little as R267 a month per 1MB, compared to between R3,500 and R11,000 to use Telkom's bandwidth on the existing Sat-3 cable, or a punishing R231,000 for satellite connectivity. "It's going to flood international bandwidth into the markets and drop the international component of prices dramatically," Herlihy said.

Click here to see full article
 

Source: Balancing Act.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:28:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Balancing Act.

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

Vodacom-Mozambique (VM), the second cell phone operator in the country, lastTuesday claimed that it has increased its share of the mobile phone market to 40 per cent. Speaking at a lunch in Maputo with journalists, itschairman Hermenegildo Gamito said that by January of this year it had reached about 1.5 million subscribers - which is well over 40 per cent of the estimated 3.3 million cell phone users in the country.

Vodacom's last published figures were the interim results for the six month period ending on 30 September 2007, and these showed a client base of slightly less than 1.1 million, which at the time was estimated to be 38 per cent of the markets. If Gamito's figures are accurate, the company has added an extra 400,000 clients in four months - a growth in the client base of 36 per cent.

Gamito added that 3.3 million is only 16 per cent of the Mozambican population "from which we may readily conclude that the penetration of mobile telephony in Mozambique is still regarded as rather weak".
(Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique).

Source: Balancing Act.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:20:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AccessKenya Group, Kenya’s only publicly listed ICT company, last week announced its results for the year ending December, 2007, breaking the K Shs 1 billion barrier one year early and reporting a significant increase in profit after tax from K Shs 47 million in 2006 to K Shs 150 million in 2007. The Group closed the year with 1,950 corporate broadband customers and Earnings per share for 2007 stand at 0.97.

Click here to see full article
  • The AccessKenya Group has made significant progress with respect to its main IPO pledges, in particular 
  •  To aggressively increase market share in the core corporate internet sector, where the Group closed the year with 1,950 leased lines – ahead of the IPO projections of 1,720 – and with an estimated market share of about 40% 
  •  To enter the IT services market with the acquisition of Openview Business Systems in 2007 and the forthcoming launch of Outsource IT 
  • To launch a residential broadband service in 2008 for which technology and marketing plans are complete. This will be a tremendous opportunity for the Group to extend their high levels of broadband service and speed from corporate to residential customers.

Source: Balancing Act.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:09:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India's telecoms regulator, TRAI has reported record growth for the country's mobile phone operators. In January, they signed up 8.77 million new subscribers - which broke the record of 8.17 million set only the month before.

The total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA & WLL(F)) base stood at 242.40 million at the end of January 2008. In the wireline segment, the subscriber base has slightly decreased to 39.22 million in the month of January 2008 as against 39.25 million subscribers in December 2007.

The total number of telephone connections reaches 281.62 million at the end of January 2008 as compared to 272.88 million in December 2007. The overall tele-density is 24.63% at the end of January 2008 as against 23.89% in December 2007.

Breakdown of subscriber numbers:

  1. Bharti Airtel 57,417,625
  2. Reliance 42,566,333
  3. Vodafone 41,145,413
  4. BSNL 37,986,440
  5. Tata Teleservices 22,541,429
  6. Idea 21,954,685
  7. Aircel 9,933,815
  8. Spice 3,942,828
  9. MTNL 3,284,804
  10. BPL Mobile 1,256,534
  11. HFCL Infotel 268,830
  12. Shyam Telelink       102,995

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, February 25, 2008 10:58:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

World’s biggest telecommunication company Vodafone has unveiled a new service in Spain, which enables its mobile consumers to turn their handsets into a fixed telephone at home.

Click here to see full article

Vodafone is about to start selling the service hoping to reach 9.6 million homes which have no broadband Internet access.

Click here to see full article

Vodafone launched similar services in other European countries such as Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Greece, where it now has 4 million fixed-line customers.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:42:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Source: Cellular News.

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

Spurred on by the explosive penetration of mobile telephony and broadband services, the Colombian telecommunication services market has witnessed high and stable growth rates in recent times. Market development, in the short and medium term, will depend a great deal on the promotion of new technologies and applications.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of over $5.48 billion in 2006 and estimates this to reach $7.12 billion in 2012.

"The primary drivers for the Colombian telecommunications markets include the strong growth of broadband services, the development of the VoIP market, and the emergence of new applications in the mobile telephony segment," notes Gina Sánchez, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. "With fixed telephony services having reached maturity and mobile telephony penetration levels at over 73 percent, value-added services and new technologies will be critical to the market's future growth."

With regard to broadband and Internet access services, growth is likely to be accelerated by the country's economic progress, more affordable personal computers (PCs) and telecommunication equipment, and the Government's social programs for digital inclusion. Moreover, broadband prices continue to fall as a result of increasing competition and this continuing trend is likely to further spur subscriber growth.

Going forward, the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) segment is likely to emerge as the fastest growing market segment, followed by the broadband and Internet access segment. During the forecast period, the VoIP segment is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 77.0 percent and the number of lines is expected to grow from 22,560 to 504,509.

"However, the entrance of multinational companies and the mergers and acquisitions adopted by market participants to strengthen their position have added much competition to the market," notes Sánchez. "In this scenario operators have started a price reduction race that may restrain market growth."

Overall, the Colombian telecommunications sector has emerged as a market with high and stable growth rates. Given the increasing competition and the overwhelming need to maintain healthy average revenue per user (ARPU), it will be vital for market participants to offer bundled solutions and triple play, as well as integrated packages of telecommunications and IT solutions.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, February 25, 2008 8:39:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Cellular News.

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

Chinese regulators are finalizing plans to overhaul the telecommunications industry under a package of reforms that is expected to consolidate six big state-run operators into three service providers.

The will see the emergence of three entities providing a full-range of services, unlike the current setup that has operators divided among fixed-line, cellular and other services, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday in its online edition, citing an outline of the restructuring carried by state-run media earlier in the week. The industry reforms, many analysts believe, will clear the way for the government to issue third-generation cell-phone licenses later this year.

Click here to see full article

The total number of cellphone users in China rose by 87 million to 547 million in 2007.

On the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at midday, shares of China Mobile were down 1.5%, China Telecom eased 1.3% and China Unicom rose 0.6%.

China's state-run media said Thursday that the restructuring plans would see China Mobile merge with the small fixed-line carrier China Tietong Telecommunications Corp.

The second big move would see China Telecommuncations parent of China Telecom, acquire a wireless network from Unicom parent China Untied Telecommunications. The third big move would see the GSM network of China United merge with the parent of China Netcom.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:46:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Click here to see full article

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

Source: Cellular News.

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Cellular News.

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

BNamericas, quoting a study by local consultancy Prince & Cooke, reports that revenues from Argentina's telecoms market totaled ARS24 billion (USD7.6 billion) in 2007, an increase of 25% compared to 2006. The study found that revenues were driven by the mobile telephony and internet segments. Mobile revenues surged 42% last year compared to 2006 while the internet sector experienced 40% growth. The cellular market accounted for 45% of total turnover. The country ended 2007 with 2.6 million broadband subscribers, and approximately 800,000 additions are expected this year.

Source: Telegeography.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:48:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications (Wataniya) has reported a fourth quarter profit of KWD21.3 million (USD77.96 million), down almost 8% year-on-year, though profits for the full year were up 50% at KWD80.7 million. Revenue for 2007 stood at KWD407.6 million. Majority owned by Qatar Telecom, Wataniya is Kuwait’s second largest cellular operator, with around 1.2 million subscribers and a 43% share of the overall market at the end of 2007.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:47:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MADRID -(Dow Jones)- The number of mobile phone lines in Spain rose 7.3% in 2007 to a total of 50.2 million, the telecommunications regulator CMT said Wednesday.

At the end of the year, Spain had a mobile telephone penetration rate of 112%, or 112 lines per 100 people, the CMT said.

Of the 3.4 million new cellular lines added last year, Vodafone's Spanish unit picked up roughly 40% of them, followed by Telefonica with 35%.

TeliaSonera's Spanish unit, Yoigo, had 18% of the new mobile lines while France Telecom's operator Orange added 16%.

The remaining new lines were picked up by Spain's smaller low-cost MVNO operators, which buy airtime from the larger operators.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:25:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Monthly net additions in the Indian GSM market were the highest ever recorded in January 2008, according to the latest data from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Including estimates for Reliance, whose reporting still lags by a month, GSM net additions increased in number to 6.54m in January – beating the previous best of 6.24m set in August 2007.

Cumulative customer growth rate since 07/07

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:18:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Consumer VoIP subscriber growth continues to soar in Western Europe, reaching 21.7 million at mid-year 2007, up from 15.6 million only six months earlier. TeleGeography estimates that the ranks of European VoIP subscribers had grown to 28.9 million by year-end 2007.

While VoIP is often associated with competitive carriers and cable companies, many European incumbents have counterattacked by launching their own VoIP services, often with great success. France Telecom has emerged as by far the largest consumer VoIP provider in Europe, while BT, Telecom Italia, and KPN all rank among the top ten European VoIP operators.

As these rankings suggest, the European consumer VoIP market remains fragmented and highly diverse, featuring a wide range of provider types and business models. In some countries, incumbents dominate; in others, competitive carriers have gained the advantage. Similarly, VoIP adoption differs widely across nations. For example, 34 percent of all French households subscribe to VoIP, compared to only 11 percent in Germany.

Source: TeleGeography.

Europe | VoIP
Friday, February 22, 2008 10:11:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The symposium organized by WTO on 20-21 February 2008 in Geneva commemorated the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the 4th Protocol of the GATS, more commonly known as the Basic Telecommunications Agreement (BTA). The two day event highlights the transformation of telecommunications over the past decade and the regulatory challenges governments have faced. It also explores the broader implications for the ICT sector, trade, economic development and growth, and prospects for the future.

The ITU Secretary General Dr. Hamadoun Touré gave opening remarks at the first day of the symposium. Ms. Susan Schor of the Regulatory and Market Environment Division of ITU-BDT gave a presentation on 10 Years Regulatory Trends. Ms. Vanessa Gray from the Market Information and Statistics Division, ITU-BDT presented ICT Market Trends, which have swept the sector over the last decade. Dr. Tim Kelly from the Standardization Policy Division, ITU-TSB provided an overview of Regulatory challenges in new and emerging services.

Source: WTO and ITU.

ITU | World
Friday, February 22, 2008 8:59:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Egypt reached 30.047 million at the end of 2007, up from 29.368 million in November and 18.001 million at the end of 2006, according to figures from the ICT ministry. Mobile penetration was at 40.62 percent of the population at year-end. Fixed-line density increased marginally to 15.2 percent at the end of 2007 from 15 percent a year earlier, while internet use was at 11.7 out of every 100 inhabitants versus 8.3 in 2006. Internet use rose to 8.62 million users, versus 8.29 million in November. The number of ADSL users increased to 427,085 from 394,875 in November and was more than double the figure at the end of 2006.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:48:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest figures from the Pakistani telecoms regulator show that the mobile market in Pakistan grew to 78.74m customers at the end of January. The figure for monthly net additions of 1.86m was 17% down on the January 2007 total, and also represented the second lowest figure for two years, the lowest being the 1.52m recorded last October.

Orascom's Mobilink continues to dominate the market with 30.89m customers at the end of January, but it has lost market share in every month since February 2006 and January's 0.6pp fall saw it hit 39.2%, its lowest percentage since 2002. Pakistan Telecom Mobile (U-Fone) remained in second place with 16.44m customers at the end of January. However, in the last 6 months Telenor Pakistan has narrowed the deficit considerably, from 3.5m at the end of July to just over 1m at the end of January.

Monthly Net Additions by Operator

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:45:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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.

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)  #     | 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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)  #     |