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 Monday, June 30, 2008

An EU-wide survey of 27,000 households has revealed the emergence of new consumption patterns in telecoms services in Europe. Technological progress and competition have brought more choice to European consumers as almost a quarter (24%) of households have given up their fixed telephone in favour of mobile phones while 22% of them are using their computer from home to make phone calls over the Internet.

In an increasing number of Member States, European households are using wireless access to connect to the Internet, via mobile or satellite networks. Meanwhile, 29% of European households buy bundled telecoms and media packages, an increase of nearly 10% since last year.

Nevertheless, the top priority for consumers in this fast evolving environment remains the quality of services.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, June 30, 2008 3:03:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the latest ROA Group report, the number of mobile WiMAX users in South Korea will increase to more than 2.5 million by 2011. The market revenues are also expected to increase to KRW65 billion (US$627 million) by 2011. Mobile WiMAX, called WiBro in Korea, was commercially launched in the country two years ago, on June 30, 2006, but due to insufficient CAPEX investment, resulting in poor service coverage and device line-up, the subscriber growth was slow, until KT started strong marketing strategies to attract subscribers in early 2007. The subscribers increased 5,600 in April 2007 to 106,000 in December 2007. In 2008, the subscribers are increasing by about 10,000 per month. In addition, KT and SKT, the two mobile WiMAX operators in Korea, have decided to expand their investment from 2008, and the mobile WiMAX market is expected to grow faster.

Moreover, the availability of VoIP will have a significant influence on subscriber addition. Currently, the biggest disadvantage with WiBro service is that it fails to provide a killer application. To become a 4G mobile technology, voice support is a must for WiBro and a necessary element for competing with HSDPA and its next generation version, LTE in 3G/4G mobile market, says Ku Kang, analyst at ROA Group.

To improve the service expansion, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in Korea is developing NeMA (New Mobile Access), an upgraded version of WiBro. NeMA is a technology for the users who move at a high speed; at 100Mbps while moving at the maximum of 120km/h. In 2007 ETRI developed NoLA, which is LAN-based technology for the users who move at low speeds. ETRI plans to combine these two technologies and if it succeeds, the Korean market could witness next year a service that allows the users to use Internet in a moving vehicle on the highway.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, June 30, 2008 12:30:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 27, 2008

Worldwide mobile subscriptions will rise from 3.9 billion in 2008 to 5.6 billion in 2013, according to a new Strategy Analytics report. Discounting for people with more than one subscription, more than half of the world’s population will be using mobile phones by early 2010, up from 40% at the start of this year.

3G share of subscriptions and revenues

Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa (MEA) are responsible for the current surge in mobile subscriptions. Those areas will remain the engines for growth in the wireless market in the medium term, contributing to 80% of subscription growth through 2013.

“These two regions may be driving the subscription count, but they contribute much less to global revenues,” comments Phil Kendall, Director Global Wireless Practice. “Asia-Pacific and MEA account for nearly 60% of worldwide subscriptions, but less than 40% of revenues. Their increasing significance will reduce average revenues per subscription by 15% over the next five years”.

3G networks will account for half of all mobile subscriptions by 2013. Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, Senior Analyst, Wireless Network Strategies, adds, “3G technologies will reach critical mass in more regions in 2008, driving worldwide subscriber numbers close to 500 million by year end. Next year, more than one third of all service revenues will be generated by 3G technologies, even though 3G accounts for only one in six subscribers.”

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 27, 2008 10:59:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of mobile connections in Argentina is almost certain to have surpassed 40m at the time of writing, having reached 39.47m at the end of Q1 08. Furthermore, if Q2 net additions match last year's figure, then penetration will have broken the 100% barrier by the end of the current quarter, with Q1's figure standing at 97.3%.

Customers, America Movil vs. Telefonica, Q2 06 – Q1 08

Annual growth stood at 21.1%, an impressive figure given the maturity of the market, although exactly half the 42.2% rate recorded in the prior twelve months. Annual net additions totalled 6.87m, while on a quarterly basis there were just 0.89m new connections due to the combined effect of first-quarter slump and high penetration.

The biggest story of the quarter was the change in market leader, with America Movil's customer base overtaking that of Telefonica. At the end of Q1, AM had 13.99m customers to 13.75m for Telefonica, compared to Q1 07 figures of 10.93m and 11.68m respectively. As the graph on the left shows, the trajectories of the two companies over the past two years made the change in leadership all but inevitable, with AM outpacing Telefonica in terms of quarterly net additions for the past eight quarters. In fact, AM's Q1 08 figure of 511k was its lowest for three years, but Telefonica had an even worse quarter with just 125k net additions, its worst result since Q3 03.

Meanwhile, third player Telecom Personal - the mobile subsidiary of Telecom Argentina - added 216k to finish on 10.88m, while Nextel reached 0.85m thanks to record first-quarter net additions of 39k.

GSM dominates in Argentina, and as in the rest of the continent its domination has been steadily increasing. At the end of Q1 08, 92.9% of the total customer base was using GSM technology, up from 86.5% a year earlier. CDMA's proportion dropped from 7.5% to 3.8%, while AMPS and TDMA connections dwindled to just 0.8% from 3.9% a year earlier. W- CDMA, which was launched by Telecom Personal in Q2 07 and by Telefonica in Q4 07, had an estimated 0.15m customers at the end of Q1, giving it 0.4% of the country's total customer base. Finally, Nextel's iDEN technology improved its share slightly, from 2.1% to 2.2%.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 27, 2008 10:49:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China's mobile phone accounts rise to 592 million; number of fixed-line accounts falls

China's fast-growing number of mobile phone accounts has risen more than 8 percent since the start of the year to 592 million, while demand for traditional fixed-line service is falling, a state news agency reported Thursday. The figures reflect a growing trend for Chinese customers to opt solely for mobile service. The shift has hurt fixed-line carriers, prompting Beijing to launch a massive industry reorganization to revive competition.

The number of mobile accounts in China grew by 44.8 million through the end of May, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Information Industry. It said the number of fixed-line accounts fell by 6.5 million to 358 million. China has by far the world's largest population of mobile phone users. But several million have multiple phones for personal and business use, so the total number of subscribers is smaller than the number of accounts. The boom has turned China's dominant mobile carrier, China Mobile, into the world's biggest phone company by number of subscribers, with more than 400 million. Meanwhile, fixed-line carriers China Telecom and China Netcom have seen subscriber demand and profit growth slump.

That prompted Beijing to announce an industry restructuring in May aimed at creating more robust competitors to China Mobile. It would create three groups based around China Mobile, China Telecom and China Netcom, each with a mix of fixed-line and mobile assets. The government says the reorganization will clear the way for the long-awaited awarding of licenses for third-generation, or 3G, mobile service. That technology, which supports wireless video, Web surfing and other services, is expected to boost revenues for mobile carriers still further.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 27, 2008 9:42:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to MIC (Market Intelligence Center, Taiwan), an ICT industry research institute based in Taipei, mobile data services will be a key focus for Taiwanese telecom operators in 2008, with the growing popularity of 3G/3.5G mobile phones. Thanks to the promotional plans offered by telecom operators to boost 3G subscriber numbers, Taiwanese mobile phone market volume for the entire 2008 is expected to slightly advance 0.9% to 7.2 million units, with the share of WCDMA models expected to top 40%. Taiwanese mobile phone market sales volume advanced 6.7% sequentially to 1.90 million units in the first quarter of 2008, with market value reaching NT$11.2 billion (US$367.5 million; US$1=NT$30.5). According to MIC analyst Joyce Chen, "ASP (Average Selling Price) slipped to NT$5,882 (US$192.9), mainly due to promotional activities launched by Taiwanese telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom for its three low-price, entry-level 3G models, in a bid to boost 3G subscriber numbers and stimulate replacement demand". Sony Ericsson's Z610i and K530i models, both priced under NT$5,000 (US$163.9) received positive market reception, and this was also attributed to the ASP decline.

The share of WCDMA models jumped to 35.8% in the first quarter of 2008, up 7.8 percentage points from the fourth quarter 2007, with its market volume increasing by 181,000 units to 679,000 units in the first quarter. The share of GSM/GPRS models fell 7.4 percentage points to 60.6%, as many subscribers switched to WCDMA models. Regarding CDMA models, only sales of the low-price, entry-level Samsung S399 and Nokia N2505 models stood out, and thus the share of CDMA models slipped 0.4 percentage point to 3.6% in the first quarter.

The share of Smartphone and PDA phones reached 2.8% and 1.5% respectively in the first quarter 2008. Ms. Chen stated that in the Smartphone segment, the Nokia N73, N95, and N82 Smartphones achieved strong sales, while the PDA phone growth was derived from good market reception for the Touch series models Touch Color and Touch Dual.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 27, 2008 9:37:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 26, 2008

Celtel Malawi has announced that it has reduced the cost of its cheapest handset by 35%, from USD25 to USD16. The move follows the government's eradication of a 25% customs and excise duty on imported handsets and cellular network equipment. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms database, the cellco is the country's largest company by subscribers, claiming a 69% market share at the end of March 2008, with Telekom Networks Malawi accounting for the remainder.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 26, 2008 4:35:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new report from Juniper Research says that the number of subscribers using mobile Internet services will rise from 577 million currently, to top 1.7 billion by 2013, spurred by demand for collaborative applications known collectively as 'web 2.0,' and greater 2.5/3G penetration. Putting that figure into some context, a report from Gartner earlier this week had said that the worldwide PC base would reach 2 billion by 2014 - so internet access by mobile phones will represent at around 50% of the total internet usage.

According to a new report from Juniper Research, the emergence of applications such as: Social networking; User Generated Content (UGC); Instant Messaging (IM); Location Based Services (LBS); Search calls for delivery of the mobile Internet as it was originally conceived -- i.e. an open environment in which users are able to share, collaborate and exploit content/information without any one party controlling the value chain.

This marks a fundamental shift for the industry towards the D2C (direct-to consumer) model and places growing pressure on mobile network operators (MNOs) and handset manufacturers in particular, to relinquish some of their control over the value chain, by opening up their networks/devices to third-parties.

"Major web players have already crossed the Rubicon and established themselves in the mobile domain, placing the onus on MNOs and other members of the value chain to form innovative relationships and grab a share of the new revenue streams being created," comments Ian Chard, Juniper Research Analyst and author of the report 'Mobile Web 2.0: Leveraging Location, IM, Social Web & Search 2008-2013.'

"The mobile web 2.0 market is still nascent and business models remain in a state of flux, so there is still time for players to establish fruitful partnerships that build on their strengths and are reciprocally beneficial. The window of opportunity, however, is closing."

Source: Cellular News.

3G | Convergence | Internet | Mobile | World
Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:24:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Approximately 135,000 subscribers use 3G services in Argentina, reveals BNamericas quoting local newspaper El Cronista. Telecom Personal's innovation and services manager told the paper that the cellco has approximately 75,000 3G users on its books, up from 20,000 at the end of 2007. Rival operator Claro has 50,000 active 3G customers, of which 30,000 access the network via modems or PC cards. Movistar is said to have 10,000 3G subscribers. All three companies launched next generation services in 2007, and the relatively poor take-up has been attributed to lack of coverage.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Americas | Mobile
Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:21:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The CDMA Development Group (CDG) has announced that, as of Q1 2008, Indonesia had more than 16.3 million CDMA2000 subscribers -- making it the leader in Southeast Asia for 3G CDMA subscriber growth. The CDG attributes the increase in large part to the availability of ultra low-cost handsets and affordable tariffs, which are critical to technology and service expansion in emerging markets. "Indonesia has emerged as a prime showcase of CDMA2000's core value proposition," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "With a dynamic combination of ultra low-cost handsets and value-added broadband services, Indonesia's six CDMA operators have boosted their revenue streams and propelled the region into the spotlight for mobile telephony and Internet growth."

Indonesia's CDMA2000 operators are Telkom Flexi (PT Telkom), StarOne (Indosat), Smart Telecom, Fren (Mobile-8 Telecom), Esia (Bakrie Telecom) and Ceria (Sampoerna Telekomunikasi Indonesia or STI). By March 2008, the total number of CDMA2000 subscribers among all six carriers exceeded 16.3 million, up from 14.4 million at the end of 2007 and 7.8 million at the end of 2006, representing annual growth rates of 53 percent and 85 percent, respectively.

Indonesia has the highest number of CDMA subscribers in Southeast Asia. "With CDMA2000, we are confident in providing a telecommunication service that is within reach by all people from all levels of society," said A.R. Martirez, Chief Executive Officer of PT Smart Telecom. "We are taking rapid steps to expand our penetration and market development through various products and services. This proves that CDMA2000 can readily fulfill all telecommunication wants and needs of customers in this country. And we demonstrate this with our value-for-money offer to the market, in terms of an economical tariff and affordable handsets, on a network that provides a pervasive yet efficient coverage. Best of all, it delivers a superior quality of service in both Voice and Data that customers expect."

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:27:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pioneer Consulting has published a new report which shows that a significant portion of multimedia content on mobile phones is either user generated or is simply being stored on the handset. This content, termed User Originated Content (UOC) is being increasingly shared with friends, family and contacts on social networks. With handsets starting to have Bluetooth, WiFi and WiMAX capabilities, end users can use alternative networks to share content, effectively bypassing the operator’s mobile network and the content value chain. Pioneer Consulting estimates that as a result of users sharing content and bypassing the existing value chain, $16.4 billion worth of revenue opportunity will be at risk by 2012. This is estimated to be more than a quarter of the total revenue opportunity for that year.

However, the study says that all is not lost yet and operators can play a key role in preventing this disruption from happening. To begin, mobile operators need to re-evaluate the applicability of the traditional client-server content delivery architecture in an environment where a large portion of the content originates from the handset. In addition, operators need to realize that there will be a bandwidth bottleneck between the base station and the handset due to an oversubscribed air interface, especially in the case of bandwidth heavy multimedia content.

Robert Hsieh, author of the report says that, “Mobile operators need to embrace peer to peer (P2P) methodologies within their own networks and focus on the advantages of using both assisted P2P and augmented P2P to mitigate the disruption”. Aditya Kaul, Senior Analyst, Emerging Wireless at Pioneer adds that, “P2P is generally treated with contempt by operators and has now become the 'P' word that should never be uttered. It is more of an attitude problem rather than an engineering one, and unless operators wake up to the reality of the situation, we cannot even begin to solve the problem”.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:25:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan-Caribbean operator, Digicel has announced that it has ended its fiscal year (March 31,2008) with 6.54 million customers, representing a 39 percent increase compared to the same quarter in the previous fiscal year. Operating across 23 markets, Digicel Group continues to experience organic growth in existing markets while increasing mobile penetration growth rates in new markets. In November 2007, Digicel successfully launched operations in Suriname. Digicel already has a presence in South America through its operations in Guyana and French Guiana. Its Caribbean and Latin American GSM networks also extend across the British West Indies, the Dutch Caribbean, the French West Indies, Bermuda and El Salvador.

Digicel says that it plans to further expand later this year with a pending launch in the British Virgin Islands, while Digicel Central America Holdings, a sister company to Digicel Group, prepares to launch in Honduras and Panama. These launches will expand Digicel's GSM network to 26 markets.

"We're very excited about our ability to sustain growth opportunities in existing markets while picking up momentum in new ones, and we've had one of our most successful financial years to date," said Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO. "We will continue to put our customers first by offering them better value, world-class customer care, new technology innovations and attractive offerings based on the strength of our network."

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:21:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to a report from The Syria Report Newsletter, Syria’s state owned national monopoly fixed line and internet operator Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) has awarded China’s Huawei Technologies a EUR877,000 (USD1.36 million) contract to install 33,000 new ADSL lines in the country. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database writes that STE offers dial-up and ADSL broadband access through two wholly owned ISPs, 190 and Syrian Computer Society (SCS). There were an estimated 16,500 broadband subscribers by end-2007 (latest available figure) and around 300,000 dial-up subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:18:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 23, 2008

According to IDC India, close to 85 million mobile phones were shipped in India between April 2007 and March 2008, compared to just under 66 million units shipped over the equivalent period a year ago. This was a record and amounts to a year-on-year growth of around 29 percent in terms of units.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, June 23, 2008 4:24:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of active mobile lines in Brazil reached 130.5 million at the end of May, up 24.2% year-on-year, according to preliminary data published by the country’s telecoms watchdog Anatel. Of the total, some 80.95% are on pre-paid options and 19.05% are on post-paid monthly contracts. Last month Brazil’s mobile operators collectively signed up a total of 2.8 million net new lines, up 2.2% month-on-month and 27.1% higher than the number of users added in May 2007. As a result, the overall cellular penetration rate stood at 68.23% at the end of last month. However, there are some marked regional differences. Distrito Federal boasted a mobile teledensity of 126.01%, the state of Rio de Janeiro was 85.09% and Mato Grosso do Sul was 83.59%. By contrast cellular penetration in the north of the country was 51.17%, the northeast was 53.91%, the southeast (75.81%, the south (74.26%) and the centre-west (85.35%).

In terms of market share, Brazilian mobile operator Vivo led the way with 30.45% of the market, compared to 30.36% in April. TIM Brasil remained in second place with 25.60%, down from 25.85% a month earlier, and Claro, a unit of Mexico's America Movil was third with 24.75%. TNL PCS (Oi) took the fourth spot with 15.09% in May, while Brasil Telecom (BrT GSM) came in fifth with 3.76%, up from 3.66% in April. In the minor rankings, CTBC Telecom Celular remained at 0.30% and Sercomtel Celular decreased from 0.06% in April to 0.05% in May.

BNamericas reports that Anatel amended its data reporting in April to reflect the incorporation of Telemig Celularby Vivo, and of Amazonia Celular by Oi.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 23, 2008 4:23:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nigeria based Globacom has sold a staggering 600,000 new SIM cards since it launched its new Glo Mobile branded network in Benin just under two weeks ago. The company says that traffic has been significant at its new retail stores as well as 3rd party outlets.

The company won a GSM operating license in the country last year and has built out its network covering the main cities, with a new switching centre in Cotonou, capital of the country.

Estimates from the Mobile World record that the country ended last year with around 1.4 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of just 17%. By that measure, the new network has captured some 30% of the enlarged market within just a few days.

The market leader at the end of last year was MTN with just over 54% of the market, followed by Bell Benin with 21.5%. Moov comes third with 24.6%.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, June 23, 2008 4:22:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Government statistics bureau Indec has published data showing that residential broadband connections in Argentina numbered 2.23 million at the end of March, up 43.9% year-on-year. Meanwhile, corporate high speed internet connections rose 22.1% to 208,652, giving a total broadband subscriber base of 2.31 million. According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms database, Telecom Argentina is the largest company by subscribers, claiming just over 30% of the market, ahead of second place Telefonica with 25%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 23, 2008 4:21:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nigeria based Globacom (Glo Mobile) has won a licence to operate mobile cellular service in the Republic of Ghana - just a week after the company launched its services in Benin. The company won the license  in a tender auction.

Globacom's management expressed gratitude to the telecoms regulator, the NCA for the confidence reposed in the company and promised to “roll out aggressively” in the country “very shortly”.

The company is also currently bidding for a license in Togo.

Last month, the NCA also announced plans to offer number portability on both landline and mobile networks. Joshua Peprah, Director of Regulations and Licensing at NCA said “We’ve also had informal discussions with the telecom operators on this service and in principle, they have no problem with it. Their main concern has to do with the cost associated with the implementation of the service,"

However, he added that “as of now, we have not mandated the telecom operators to implement the service. The market should really be ripe for it and besides, the stakeholder consultation is still ongoing.”

If number portability is introduced, that generally assists new market entrants to take subscribers from the incumbent operators.

The country already has five operators, but according to figures from the Mobile World database, the country only had 7.6 million customers at the end of last year. That figure equates to a population penetration level of just 33%.

The five operators (and market share) are: MTN (53%), Tigo (26.7%), Ghana Telecom (16.8%), Kasapa Telecom (3.5%) & Westel (0%).

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 9:06:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 13, 2008

APA-London (United Kingdom) Africa now has 300 million mobile phone subscribers with a penetration rate fast approaching 30 percent, according to the latest marketers’ assessment unveiled on Thursday in London.

As many prefer pay-as-you-go use, mobile phones are attached to bikes and boats and taken to where the business is.

In Uganda these bikes, known locally as boda bodas, are hooked up with spare batteries and desktop mobile devices to create what are affectionately known as ’Bodafones’.

Some mobile phone functions can be more useful in Africa than in Western countries, such as the ability to work as a torch.

Charging phones is more of a problem but the arrival of cheap solar panels should help solve that.

In South Africa, the phone model “Call Me” allows Vodacom subscribers to send up to five messages per day, free of charge, requesting a call back from the receiver.

Services such as these have emerged in response to consumer behaviour, users who would have previously “flashed” the person they wished to speak to by ringing their phone once and hanging up.

“Call Me” formalizes the process, helps minimizes network traffic through fewer prematurely disconnected calls.

Most parents with teenagers are probably familiar with the idea.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 13, 2008 2:58:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A report dealing with the broader issues of rural connectivity in Africa to be launched next week by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) reveals that a number of novel and multi-stakeholder partnerships, unique business models and innovative technologies are, for the first time, paving the way to connect many of Africa’s rural communities, on a sustainable, profitable basis.

The report provides evidence that contrary to some assumptions that the private sector can lead the effort to connect Africa’s rural populations, the experiences of industrialised countries like Canada, the Unites States and Australia is that governments have had to lead the effort, but in close collaboration with the private sector and local communities. The report calls for Commonwealth African governments to implement their national ICT policies as part of a wider national development strategy and to make faster in-roads into rural ICT rollout through public private peoples partnerships (PPPPs), with local communities playing a more pivotal role.

The report finds that the key to successful partnerships between the public and private sectors and other ICT stakeholders is to encourage local ownership, thereby nurturing the community’s enthusiasm for effective connectivity and ensuring the sustainability of ICT investments.

The CTO study found that whereas Commonwealth countries such as Malaysia and India have made significant in-roads in rural connectivity, Commonwealth African countries like Sierra Leone and Zambia are lagging behind in rural access, leading to poor and overall slow economic growth. The report finds that although recent years have seen dramatic growth in penetration rates in some African countries, especially through mobile networks, the continent’s aggregate penetration rate is still less than 20 percent.

“For Internet access and use, the figures are well below 5 percent for most of Africa. Over 60 percent of Africa’s population lives in unconnected rural areas and represent an untapped market, holding enormous potential for growth for service providers, equipment manufacturers and the entire telecommunications industry”, the report claims.

By way of conclusion the report calls for ICT policy provisions that focus on universal and rural access, in order to affirm the commitment of governments to providing basic ICT services to poor, isolated and marginalised communities . There is also the need for continued incremental and a more methodical process of liberalisation and privatisation of the telecommunications sector in many African countries, and a variety of regulatory safeguards need to be put in place to foster competition and promote a conducive environment for rural connectivity.

Commenting on the initiative the CEO of CTO, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah said: “The evidence we have accumulated in the course of this 9-month study demonstrates that most of Africa’s rural populations could well be connected over the next decade. This is partly because an unusual confluence of sounder policies, relevant legislation, improving regulatory practices, the establishment of universal access and service agencies and the revenues they have acquired, new technologies and business models, and the availability of funding from a plethora of sources, all make it now possible for most of Africa to be connected wirelessly within the next ten years. According to the CTO CEO, who is a former Minister of Communications of Ghana, “the pilot project models we have found to work best are where a combination of public institutions and private ICT operators or equipment vendors have found it possible to involve local groups or communities in structuring, ownership or management of the ICT assets, to ensure their more effective use and sustainable operation. We hope that more companies will join the CTO as we move to the second phase of this important initiative to replicate and scale-up a number of selected model projects, so that the benefits of ICTs can be enjoyed by millions more in Africa. Connecting the majority of Africans to the Information Super Highway is necessary if African countries are to benefit from the global knowledge revolution,” said the CTO CEO.

The project was undertaken under the auspices of the Commonwealth Connects programme, which involves collaboration with a number of Commonwealth agencies, including the Commonwealth Secretariat. It is supported by the International Telecommunication Union, as part of efforts to help unearth market opportunities, enhance technological advancements, as well as accelerate social development and economic growth by connecting rural communities in the 18 Commonwealth African countries.

The first phase of the project was aimed at discovering how telecommunications regulation, policy, legislation, and operational, technological and financial models affect the potential for cost-effective rural connectivity in the 18 African Commonwealth countries. The research compiled similar information on initiatives and best practices of five selected non-African countries namely USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and India, countries that have enjoyed greater success in connecting their rural populations. Subsequently the initiative is to devise effective dissemination channels for the report and identify 10 pilot projects for adaptation and replication to form the basis for the second phase of the project.

The Commonwealth African Rural Connectivity Initiative (COMARCI) has so far received financial support from the Government of Malta, BT Global, Vodacom Group, Telkom of South Africa, Celtel Uganda and from the CTO itself.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 13, 2008 2:55:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ireland’s independent telecoms regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has outlined new proposals designed to expand the definition of wholesale unbundled access to take on board fibre-based networks and not just the DSL platforms currently covered. Siliconrepublic.com says that the move is seen as a means of driving broadband uptake in the Republic by encouraging alternative operators to expand their local loop unbundling (LLU) footprints. In a consultation document published yesterday, ComReg concludes that former monopoly operator eircom controls 70% of all xDSL connections in the country and that furthermore, DSL technology accounts for 60% of all broadband connectivity in the country. As a result, ComReg contends that only eircom has significant market power (SMP) in the broadband segment and that it now intends to expand wholesale broadband access to include not just DSL, but all forms of local access technology, including fibre and any next generation networks (NGNs), the incumbent may look to deploy. In addition, ComReg is looking at new measures that would require eircom to provide alternative operators with at least five years notice if it decided to close down a local exchange in which they had co-located equipment.

The regulator’s plans have been broadly welcomed by smaller operators with Smart Telecom’s manager of regulatory affairs, John Quinn, saying the decision to create a ‘technology neutral environment’ would encourage alternative operators to invest in new networks. ‘This will put Ireland in line with other European countries and means that the access network is not just copper but future fibre networks,’ he said. Smart now intends to invest more heavily in its LLU programme which currently involves 37 exchanges across Ireland, covering around half a million potential subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 13, 2008 1:47:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

News agency Trend Capital reports that Azerfon, known locally as Nar Mobile, deployed 55 new base stations last month, lifting overall network coverage to 80% of the Azerbaijan's territory. The cellco was granted a GSM-900/1800 licence in December 2005 and launched GSM/GPRS/EDGE services in late March 2007. It currently has an estimated 700,000 subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 13, 2008 1:38:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Commerce over mobile devices such as cell phones is accelerating in the US, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Already, 9 million US mobile subscribers say they have used their mobile phone to pay for goods or services, and half of all data users (49%) say they expect to participate in mobile commerce in the future. Nielsen Mobile presented an overview of the opportunities in mobile commerce at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

Among the findings presented:

  • As of Q1 2008, 3.6 percent (9.2 million) of US mobile subscribers use their phone to pay for goods or services
  • Men are more likely than women to use their phone for commerce: 4.5 percent (4.9 million) of men and 3.0 percent (4.3 million) of women say they have made a purchase using their phone
  • Adults ages 25-34 are the most likely to have made a purchase using their phone: 5.4 percent (3 million) of adults ages 25-34 have made a purchase, compared to 3.6 percent of all mobile subscribers
  • 49 percent of mobile data users, those subscribers who have used one or more data features on their phone such as text messaging or the mobile internet within the past 30 days, say that it is likely they will conduct mobile commerce in the future

Mobile websites are one popular way consumers make purchases over the mobile phone. Of the 40 million active US users of the mobile web in April 2008, 5 million accessed mobile shopping and auction websites -- up 73% from April 2007, when just 2.9 million mobile users did so. Auction site eBay is the most popular shopping or auction destination on the mobile web, with 3.4 million unique visitors in April.

Purchasing items via text messaging is another growing form of mobile commerce. Some services allow consumers to send text messages to a phone number or mobile shortcode in order to be charged for goods or services directly on their mobile phone bills. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they've used text messaging to purchase an item.

"For many of the millions of consumers who are already shopping online or over landline phones, mobile commerce is an obvious and useful extension of that opportunity," said Nic Covey, director of insights at Nielsen Mobile who presented the data at the conference. "As more mobile commerce services become available and consumers develop a greater trust for phone-based transactions, we expect commerce to be an increasingly important part of the mobile experience next year and beyond."

The findings come from Nielsen Mobile's monthly Mobile Insights survey of more than 30,000 US wireless subscribers, with similar data available internationally.

Nielsen's study reveals that security is the number one concern among those mobile data users not yet participating in m-commerce:

  • 41 percent of data users who do not participate in mobile commerce say security is their biggest concern
  • 23 percent say they worry about being charged for the airtime
  • 21 percent say they don't trust that the transaction will be completed

"As with other forms of electronic commerce, US consumers need proof that mobile transactions will be a safe, affordable and efficient complement to other modes of shopping," said Covey. "As long as retailers continue to meet those expectations, more consumers will come to view mobile shopping as a compelling and viable option."

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 13, 2008 8:20:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 12, 2008

The total number of mobile connections in North America rose to 277.90m at the end of Q1 08, from 257.60m a year earlier. The penetration rate saw a 5.3pp gain to 82.5%. Obviously this figure is close to the 84.9% penetration rate in the USA, the region's largest market by some distance with 92.7% of North America's mobile customers, although it is dragged down by the low Canadian rate of just 60.5%.The other two markets in the region are so small as to have little bearing on the total penetration rate. St. Pierre et Miquelon, a group of small islands off Newfoundland which are an overseas territory of France, had 2,935 mobile customers at the end of Q1 08, and a penetration rate of 41.7%. Meanwhile, Greenland was the region's most penetrated market by some distance with 96.9% of the population owning a mobile phone, which amounts to around 55k connections.

By far the fastest growing technology in North America is W-CDMA, which saw a 336.7% gain in customers in the 12 months ending 31st March 2008. The total number of W-CDMA connections surpassed the 10m mark during Q1 08 to finish the quarter on 11.12m. This is still below the number of iDEN customers, which stood at 16.56m at the end of Q1, but with iDEN losing 5.09m customers year on year and W-CDMA gaining 8.57m, it seems likely that iDEN will lose its status as North America's third most important technology before the end of 2008.

CDMA remains the dominant standard with 52.7% of the total North American customer base, or 146.49m connections, up from 130.6m (50.7% of the total) a year earlier.

The number of GSM connections broke through the 100m barrier to reach 103.7m at the end of Q1, but growth more than halved from 15.0% in the 12 months to the end of Q1 07, to 7.0% in the subsequent 12 months, as a consequence of the success of W-CDMA. Annual CDMA customer growth was also down compared to the prior twelve months with a 4.4pp fall in the rate, although it remained in double digits with a 12.2% yearly gain.

The total customer growth rate also fell compared to the prior 12 months, from 11.6% to 7.9%. This is the lowest rolling annual growth rate ever recorded in the North American region, and we fully expect it to be the lowest rate of any region in the world in Q1 08.

Source: Cellular News.

Americas | Mobile | OECD
Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:10:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Swedes are increasingly placing calls, surfing and sending text messages, which led to sharply increased traffic and increased revenues for mobile network operators in 2007. For the first time, total revenues from services in mobile networks exceed revenues from fixed telephony according to a report from the telecoms regulator, the National Post and Telecom Agency (PTS).

In December 2007, nearly half a million customers used mobile Internet services, a sharp increase from just over 90,000 subscriptions one year earlier. Data traffic in mobile networks has increased tenfold since 2006. Mobile users placed more, and longer, calls in 2007 and sent an average of 40 text messages per month. Revenues from mobile services totalled SEK 19.7 billion in 2007, which is an increase of some 12 per cent since 2006. Mobile Internet services, by means of USB sticks or USB modems, account for more than SEK 1 billion of such revenues.

“We take mobile telephony for granted. We are used to placing calls whenever and almost wherever we want. 2007 was the year when even broadband users could seriously consider mobile Internet services when choosing a provider,” says Marianne Treschow, Director-General of PTS.

There were nearly 2.8 million subscriptions for fixed or mobile broadband at the end of 2007, which corresponds to 62 subscriptions per 100 households. Broadband services grew by more than 30 per cent in 2007.

The content service growing the fastest in fixed broadband networks is IPTV, for which there were 355 000 subscriptions at the end of 2007, compared with 50 000 subscriptions the year before. Subscriptions for IP-based telephony in broadband networks rose by more than 50 per cent to 623 000 subscriptions.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:07:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

EW DELHI -(Dow Jones)- Bharti Airtel, India's biggest cellphone operator by subscribers, added 2.46 million mobile users in May, data issued by an industry body showed Wednesday.

As a result, Bharti's total mobile phone user base has grown to nearly 66.83 million subscribers at the end of May, data from the Cellular Operators Association of India showed.

In May, Vodafone Essar added 1.69 million mobile phone users taking its total subscriber base to 47.47 million, said COAI, which represents the nine operators using global system for mobile communications technology.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. added 314,281 mobile phone users, taking its total subscriber base to 37 million at the end of May.

Idea Cellular added 1.1 million users and had 26.14 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of May.

Another state-run operator, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (500108.BY), added 66,686 mobile phone users in May, taking its total subscriber base to 3.35 million.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, June 12, 2008 10:09:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |