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 Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Operator-billed service revenues across the Africa & Middle East region are expected to rise to more than $107 billion in 2013, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The report found that growth would be driven by mobile data services, fuelled by the greater availability and wider variety of rich-media content coupled with lower browsing costs. However, it noted that regional operator-billed voice revenues were likely to peak in 2011 and would subsequently fall away due to increasingly competitive pricing in that sector.

According to Juniper Research report author Dr Windsor Holden, "While the downward trend in regional ARPU will continue as adoption increases amongst lower-usage customers, we expect the decline in voice ARPU to be partially offset by an increase in data revenues, both amongst 2.5G and 3G customers."

The report also observed that the region was likely to witness a surge in the growth of mobile financial services, with a raft of operator-led payment initiatives such as M-PESA and mobile banking providers such as WIZZIT having already gained substantial user bases.

Other findings from the Juniper Research report include:

  • The Middle East/Africa mobile user base is to grow at an average annual rate of 10.5% between 2008 and 2013
  • Mobile data services are expected to contribute 24% of operator-billed service revenues in 2013, against just 9% in 2008
  • Saudi Arabia will provide the largest share of cumulative regional revenues over the forecast period, followed by Nigeria

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:34:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of fixed line broadband connections in Hungary stood at 1.437 million at the end of May, up from 1.124 million a year earlier, according to data published by the industry regulator the National Communications Authority of Hungary (NCAH). Of the total, 778,000 were ADSL subscriptions, while a further 468,000 took cable internet services from one of the four main providers UPC, T-Kabel, FiberNet and Digi. At the same date, the number of main lines in service fell by 12,000 in May to 3.198 million from 3.210 million in April, lowering the fixed line phone penetration rate to 31.8%. The NCAH does not keep a record of mobile broadband subscriptions.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 12:35:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MANILA -(Dow Jones)- Philippine Long Distance Telephone Tuesday said the number of subscribers to its mobile service, the group's main revenue earner, has exceeded 33 million at the end of June.

The country's largest telephone company by revenue said the figure reflects a net addition of over 1.6 million subscribers in the second quarter alone.

At the end of 2007, PLDT had a total 30 million mobile phone subscribers.

No other details were provided in PLDT's disclosure to the stock exchange.

Its chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said the company is sticking to its guidance that this year's core profit will rise 5% to PHP37 billion despite threats from surging inflation, which threaten to damp spending and increase the company's costs.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 7:49:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Communications market research firm Infonetics Research reports that worldwide service provider capex (capital expenditures) totaled $248.8 billion in 2007, a 7% increase from 2006. Infonetics' report projects a spike in worldwide carrier capex in 2008, followed by a plateau in 2010 and a decline in 2011, and emphasizes that the weak US dollar is inflating current growth rates in Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, and Japan.

 

"Our capex analysis indicates we are in the fourth year of an investment phase, and we may be reaching the plateau this year in both North America and Europe, where large service providers' capital intensity (the ratio of capex to revenue) will likely be as low as 12%. Meanwhile, China and India will drive a significant jump in carrier capex in 2008 as a result of network construction projects combined with currency appreciation against the US dollar. Both countries are still posting double-digit revenue growth in their native currencies, which, converted in US dollars creates a big spike in worldwide carrier revenue as well," said Stéphane Téral, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

Other highlights from the report:

  • Telecom service providers earned a combined $1.5 trillion in annual worldwide revenue in 2007, up 10% from 2006, with currency appreciation making up the bulk of the growth, while the rest came from wireless services
  • Carriers are increasingly investing in application software (vs. hardware) for media rich applications such as content, storage, and security for broadband based wireline and wireless services
  • Current investment drivers for carrier spending: convergence between IT, media, Internet, and telecom, which is adding new competitive pressures to carriers, and the shift from legacy TDM to next generation IP networks
  • The world's 10 largest service providers (ranked by 2007 revenue) are AT&T, Verizon, NTT, Deutsche Telekom, France Télécom, Vodafone, Telefónica, China Mobile, BT, and Sprint
  • The next largest service providers include Telecom Italia, Comcast, and KDDI, which, according to their most recent growth rates, are poised to join the top 10
  • The incumbent share of North American carrier capex jumped from 56% to 63% in 2007; MSOs are expected to increase their share of North American carrier capex by 2011
  • The Asia Pacific telecom industry is squeezed between 2 opposite market forces: a saturated market made of Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan characterized by flat to decreasing capex, and a fast growing market driven by China and India, characterized by double digit growth for both capex and revenue
  • Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) service provider revenue jumped 29% between 2006 and 2007
  • Mobile infrastructure makes up the bulk of total equipment capex in 2007, accounting for about 20%, followed by voice infrastructure, optical equipment, and broadband aggregation equipment
  • WiMAX equipment spending by service providers as a portion of total carrier capex has roughly doubled each year since 2004, and will continue to increase its share in the near term, driven by major WiMAX projects in the US, India, and Latin America.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 2:42:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 07, 2008

The global BWA/WiMAX subscriber base increased by 260,246 in the first quarter of 2008, reaching a total of 1,988,246 subscribers according to figures from Maravedis.

“Even with an increase of more than 19% in WiMAX subscribers in the first quarter of 2008, operators are still waiting for the tipping point that will lead to acceleration of WiMAX adoption and deployments,” said Adlane Fellah, CEO and founder of Maravedis. “The key factors mainly centre on certification of mobile WiMAX equipment, a reduction in CPE pricing and the emergence of a device ecosystem.”

“Many operators have held back their network expansion pending the mobile WiMAX 802.16e equipment certification, which was announced in June 2008. Mobile WiMAX is a key enabler of a wider range of value-added services and product flexibility.” added Cintia Garza, co-author of the WiMAXCounts Quarterly Report.

“Of the 264 operators tracked in WiMAXCounts, approximately 50% of them are providing HIS (High Speed Internet) services only. The remaining percentage corresponds to operators that are offering different applications, such as VoIP, Video, VPN , in addition to HIS. We expect however double/triple play to become the norm in the next two years” said Robert Syputa, Maravedis Partner and Senior Analyst.

This Quarter's Key Findings:

  • 65% of Operators are already commercial, 14% are trialing, 9% are planning their launch, 10% have idle spectrum and 2% have returned/lost spectrum.
  • Clearwire USA remains the top operator in number of subscribers, with an estimated 443,000 subscribers in the United States at the end of Q1 2008, an increase of 12.5% compared to the 394,000 subscribers reported in Q4 2007.
  • The split by subscriber type among WiMAXCounts operators was 65% residential and 35% business.
  • The 3.3–3.8 GHz band is the most widely deployed, with 63% of WiMAXCounts operators deploying their WiMAX networks in this band in Q1 2008, compared to 70% of the Operators deploying in this band during Q4 2007.
  • Q1 2008 BWA/WiMAX service revenue among WiMAXCounts operators totaled US$ 366 million, as compared to $US 303.65 million during the previous quarter, an increase of 20%.
  • Q1 2008 recorded ARPU was US$ 48 and US$ 146 for residential and business subscribers.
  • Motorola remains the leader in equipment deployed for both BWA/WiMAX CPEs

Source: Cellular Nesws.

Monday, July 07, 2008 2:55:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 04, 2008

Israel was dumped from third to fifth position in the Middle-East & Africa (MEA) penetration rankings in Q1 2008 as both the Seychelles and Qatar overtook it to line up behind the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have held the top two places for the last year. If the second quarter even came close to matching the first in the UAE, then that market will have finished June with a penetration rate in excess of 200%, the rate having stood at 192.5% at the end of March.

MEA: Number of markets in each penetration band

The ownership in Bahrain was more than 20pp behind, at 172.2%, although in the last two quarters at least, the rate has been growing noticeably quicker than in the UAE. The rate in Qatar and the Seychelles has been progressing much more steadily, but both overtook Israel as penetration fell for the first time ever from 127.1% to 126.3% in Q1 08. Four other markets - Kuwait, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Libya - boasted penetration rates in excess of 100% at the end of March 2008.

Libya became the first mainland African market to join this elite club in the quarter, as the quite remarkable rise of mobility in the country continues.

South Africa was the tenth most penetrated market at the end of Q1 08 with a rate of 96.6%, after also suffering a decline in penetration (although in this case not its first) from 97.9% in the quarter. The penetration rates of a further seven markets also lay within the fourth quartile at the end of March, these being Botswana (90%), Algeria (87%), Oman (83%), Gabon (80%), Jordan (79%), Tunisia (78%) and new entrant Mauritius (76%). Perhaps surprisingly, only three markets - Morocco, Gambia and Mauritania - finished Q1 with penetration rates between 50% and 75%. However, Iran joined them just a few days after the end of the quarter, the mobile ownership rate there having stood at 49.6% at the end of March.

Iran breaking the 50% barrier would have taken the total number of markets with penetration rates in excess of 50% to 21, after Mauritania and Gambia took the total from 18 to 20 in the first quarter. Including Iran, 50 of the 70 markets in the MEA region finished Q1 08 with penetration rates below 50%. However, progress is clear to see. At the end of Q1 07, 36 of markets had penetration rates of 25% or below, a number which fell to 25 a year layer.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, July 04, 2008 3:32:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

WELLINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Vodafone New Zealand Friday said it will extend its third generation mobile network to cover 97% of the population, taking total spending on 3G infrastructure investment to NZ$500 million. The local unit of U.K.-based Vodafone PLC said its advanced mobile network would cover 97% of the places New Zealanders live and work in by 2010, up from the 63% coverage currently.

"The network extension means we'll be able to offer true broadband speeds to almost every New Zealander, and especially our rural customers, by April 2010," said Vodafone General Manager Corporate Affairs Tom Chignell. "This means broadband will be available on customers' mobiles and it can be used as a cost effective home solution, especially in areas where no land line-based broadband is available," he said. Vodafone said an enhancement of its downlink speed to 7.2 Megabits per second is currently being rolled out. In the future, peak downlink speeds will go up to 28.8 Mbps and uplink speeds 11.5 Mbps using High Speed Packet Access protocols.

Responding to the announcement, Communications Minister David Cunliffe said the country's regulatory regime has given telecommunications companies the flexibility to bring broadband to rural areas. "This announcement means that more New Zealanders will have access to high-speed internet via their home computers, laptops and on their mobile phones," Cunliffe said. "While many countries are still struggling with the removal of outdated restrictions on the use of lower frequency bands for HSPA, the flexible spectrum regulatory arrangements in New Zealand mean that the benefits of this technology can be delivered to New Zealanders now."

Vodafone is currently also ramping up competitive pressure on Telecom Corp. of New Zealand by aggressively rolling out new broadband and home phone products following regulation that split the former state-owned monopoly into three separate companies and gave rivals access to its network.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, July 04, 2008 2:44:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A survey carried out in Nigeria's capital, Abuja has indicated a growing demand in the GSM dominated market for CDMA based mobile phones. The survey, carried out by local newspaper The Tide cited the regular problems with network congestion on the GSM networks in the city for the increased interest in CDMA operators. Currently there are four CDMA operators in the city, Multi-links, Visafone, Starcomms and Reltel.

The respondents hinged their optimism on clarity of communication and affordability of CDMA phones, when compared with GSM phones.

"For instance, with as little as N1,500, you can get a phone and a line on the CDMA network, while for a GSM line, a subscriber may need to pay at least twice that amount," claimed respondents to the survey.

Mr Wakili Shehu, a telecommunications consultant said that "the technology also provides the capacity for quicker transmission of data and Internet, unlike the GSM which has limited capacity," but he warned that the use of the CDMA technology in the country was also fraught with challenges, such as limited coverage of cities and towns, unlike the GSM.

According to figures from the Mobile World database, Nigeria ended Q1 '08 with some 567,000 active CDMA subscribers - compared to some 43 million GSM users.

Source: Cellular News.

 

Friday, July 04, 2008 1:06:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BNamericas is reporting that the Dominican Republic ended May 2008 with a fixed and mobile teledensity of 70.4%. Indotel, the country’s telecoms regulator, announced there were 6.35 million wireless subscribers at the end of May, up from 2.5 million in December 2004. Internet usage penetration is reported at 21%, with a total of 2.28 million users, more than four times the figure recorded at December 2004.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, July 04, 2008 1:01:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 03, 2008

At the end of Q1 08, there were 42.3m mobile customers in South Africa, meaning it was surpassed by Nigeria as Africa’s largest market. This was mostly due to a strong quarter in Nigeria, but the loss of 0.61m South African customers in Q1 certainly helped. This decline also meant that South Africa failed to break the 100% penetration barrier, having reached 97.9% at the end of 2007; the loss of customers saw it slide to 96.6%.

3G customers: Vodacom and MTN

This still makes it the highest-penetrated sub-Saharan market, although having reached 104.9% at the end of Q1 08, Libya has become the first African market to surpass the 100% mark.

Vodacom suffered the greatest loss in real terms, shedding 0.79m active customers to slide back to 22.27m, lower even than the Q3 07 figure of 22.50m. Year on year it gained 1.70m. It remains the country’s clear market leader with 52.6% of the total, although this is its lowest figure since Q4 04. Cell C also saw a decline in customers - perhaps inevitably, given its dramatic gain in Q4 07. It lost 0.19m to slide back below 5m to 4.91m, with net annual additions totalling 1.68m. In terms of market share, it lost 0.3pp quarter on quarter but still recorded a rise compared to Q1 07, ending Q1 08 on 11.6%. Third player MTN was the only operator to gain customers on a net basis in the first quarter, finishing up 0.37m on 15.17m. Combined with the other operators’ losses, this saw it reach its highest market share figure for three years, with 35.8% of the total.

MTN has also seen its share of the 3G market rise, a 10pp year on year gain taking its Q1 08 figure to 46.2% of the total. It went through the 1m barrier during Q1 to finish on 1.12m thanks to a record-breaking 211k quarterly net additions. Vodacom finished on 1.30m. In total, the number of W-CDMA handsets grew by 163.6% year on year, from 0.9m to 2.4m.

Because of the loss of customers in Q1 - the first such quarterly decline in more than six years - annual growth slumped to 14.4%, the lowest figure since Q2 02.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 8:03:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The chart shows the fastest growing businesses in the MEA region over a twelve month view. The list includes nine of the names that feature in the Q1 08 list, with Zain Iraq coming in at Algerie Telecom Mobile’s expense. The top two places are the same in the year as they are in the quarter, with TCI’s 9.12m just shading Irancell’s 7.95m. The other really strong performances in the region were spread across five main markets - with Mobily in Saudi Arabia taking third place ahead of two Egyptian companies, three from Nigeria and one each from Iraq and Kenya.

Leading MNOs by Net Additions, year to 31st March 08

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 8:00:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 02, 2008

China Telecom has revealed that it has in excess of 940,000 subscribers for its IPTV service, and expects to pass a million subscribers very soon. The service, provided in cooperation with Shanghai Media Group (SMG), has been available in Shanghai, Jiangxu, Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shaanxi since 2005 and offers broadcast and on-demand content, as well as information services. The telco recently issued a tender for the supply of 574,000 set-top boxes, including 536,000 high-definition units.

Fixed line rival China Netcom, meanwhile, offers IPTV services in six cities including Beijing, Harbin and Shenyang, with a reported 100,000 subscribers as of May 2008. It intends to expand coverage to a further ten cities by the end of this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008 2:42:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A new analysis of the mobile payments opportunity forecasts that the gross transaction value of payments made via mobile phone for digital goods (such as music, tickets and games) and physical goods (typically gifts and books) will exceed $300bn globally by 2013.

A region by region analysis by Juniper Research found that there is a significant and immediate opportunity for mobile payment services, systems, software and supporting services to underpin the processing of this value of payment transactions by 2013. With applications and service case studies, the study explores how the mobile phone is developing into a payment tool that will be used by more and more people, more and more often in future.

Report author Howard Wilcox noted: "Merchants in North America and Western Europe are just starting to realise the potential of a mobile web presence as a fourth channel to market. Retailers should be evaluating the benefits of the mobile web, and be mindful of the success of regular ecommerce sites in generating sales. They need to move quickly to exploit the opportunity presented, and ensure that they maintain ease of use for their customers who are already familiar with web shopping from their PCs."

Highlights from the report include:

  • Global annual gross transaction value will grow over 5 times by 2013
  • The ticketing segment will be driven by consumer usage on rail, air and bus networks as well as sports and entertainment events. This will represent over 40% of the global transaction value by 2013
  • The top 2 regions (Far East and W. Europe) will represent over 60% of the $300bn p.a. global mobile payment gross transaction value by 2013 for digital and physical goods

Western Europe is currently dominated by digital goods and services sold via SMS, whereas the Far East & China region (specifically Japan) is already well established in physical goods sales over the mobile web, and has been for a number of years.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 3:03:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |