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 Tuesday, October 14, 2008

According to data published by Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) as reported by Japan Today, mobile calls accounted for 44.8% of total hours of telecommunications traffic in the fiscal year ending 31 March 2007, eclipsing fixed line phone traffic for the first time ever. The MIC reported fixed line phone calls, excluding calls made via IP, was 43.3%. In fiscal 2006 the share of mobile phone calls was 5.7 percentage points below that for fixed line calls, but leapfrogged it a year later after Softbank Mobile introduced free call services and other rivals cut call rates in a competitive market.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 7:35:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Mobile penetration rates are forecast to rise from 46% in 2008 to 95% by 2013 according to a new survey of 34 emerging market countries published by Tariff Consultancy. Already subscribers in the 34 countries total over 2.1 billion users (based on operator statistics as of mid-2008) which accounts for half of the world’s mobile users (based on ITU estimates). By 2013 the 34 countries will have grown to 4.3 billion mobile users and will account for around two thirds of global mobile users.

The report notes that although China and India will remain the two single largest markets throughout the period due to their large populations, the fastest growth in new mobile subscribers over the next 5 years is set to come from Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambodia and Indonesia. By 2013 Iraq is forecast to have the highest mobile penetration rate of all of the 34 countries.

Another striking feature is the deployment of 3G and HSDPA mobile networks across all regions which is likely to continue. Although 3G handset costs are currently prohibitively expensive for the mass market there is evidence of adoption by high spending user groups who are using 3G for VoIP and peer-to-peer applications as an alternative to fixed line broadband.

The use of inclusive call minutes is also increasing. Inclusive call minutes are being used as a short term customer acquisition tool, with unlimited on-net SMS or calls offered for a 24 or 48 hour period. They are being used as a retention tool with low on-net calls to particular user communities, and finally as a flat rate price differentiator across all networks where competition is severe.

The availability of new mobile licences and spectrum is continuing to attract investors as Governments seek to raise new revenue with licence auctions and existing providers look for foreign investors. New mobile operator investment is taking place in India, Cambodia, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Vietnam among others.

The report also noted that as markets approach maturity, mobile operators are attempting to develop new forms of distribution channel to attract the low income subscriber with lower denomination top-up cards and door to door sales and sub-agents.

“The rapid growth of mobile penetration across the world indicates that these markets will approach maturity more quickly than previously thought,” commented Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy. “By the end of 2013 we are likely to see one SIM card for every person as the norm in most countries,” she added. “However we should be careful to over-emphasise the significance of this trend, as the incidence of multiple SIM ownership - particularly in the cites - has long been common in emerging markets as there is such a large difference between on net and off net tariffs.”

Over time pricing policies pursued by the mobile operator will need to change in order to promote greater mobile operators. Operators who continue to promote multiple SIM ownership with large differences between on-net and off-net tariffs will ironically contribute to relatively low levels of operator loyalty.

Emerging market mobile operators are likely to find that growth will come from inclusive flat rate deals for both voice and data which will drive usage as has been the case in developed markets.

“The imminent launch of mobile broadband data services provides an exciting new revenue stream as users are able to break free of low speed fixed or dial up access which will continue to have relatively poor levels of penetration. Mobile is going to become the standard for accessing the internet in many of these countries from now on,” adds Margrit Sessions.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 7:34:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 13, 2008

­Nigeria overtook South Africa to become the MEA region’s largest market in Q1 and it has further stretched its lead in the latest period, passing the 50m milestone and ending the quarter with 51.7m mobile connections. This makes it the 18th largest market in the world. South Africa – which is now nearly 100% penetrated – has less than one third of Nigeria’s population (44m v 138m) and is likely to drop into third place soon. Iran – with a population of more than 70m – has moved from sixth to third over the course of the last year and is adding customers four times as quickly as the RSA.

Egypt retains fourth position, with a total of 30.8m, up from 29.4m in March. The market here has been boosted by the arrival of a third entrant, though as is so often the way, the newcomer’s advertising budget merely serves to strengthen the incumbents. In the 13 months since Etisalat Misr launched, it has built a base of 2.5m customers, but both Vodafone and Mobinil have comfortably exceeded this with additions of 4.25m and 5.62m respectively.

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Source: Cellular News.

Monday, October 13, 2008 10:18:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 08, 2008
America Movil comfirms that it’s Brazilian counterpart Claro has expanded it’s service coverage to the states of Amapa and Roraima. The following addition has expanded it’s span of reach which earlier was limited to state capitals. Claro further extends it’s 3G services to Sergipe state, in the capital Aracaju and the city Nossa Senhora do Socorro. Currently, Claro’s services are available in the country’s 26 states and the Distrito Federal. The 3G network is available in 20 states and reaches 67 million people.

Source: Wireless Federation.

3G | Americas
Wednesday, October 08, 2008 8:53:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 03, 2008

Pakistan’s quarterly customer growth rate stood at 6.7% in Q2, the lowest level recorded since the first quarter of 2000, when there was a fledgling market of just 0.3m customers. On an annual basis growth fell to 39.4%, down 45.1pp compared to the prior twelve months. The total market stood at 88.05m customers at the end of Q2 with penetration at 51.0%, and one possible explanation for the slowdown is that the market is approaching the natural limit for potential customers at the current price points. Certainly the slowdown is a long-term one, as the graph on the left demonstrates.

The decline in growth was widespread, with only one operator recording double-digit growth in Q2 08 compared to four in Q2 07. Market leader Mobilink (Orascom) was particularly hard hit, with a quarterly uplift of just 0.8% in Q2 08, down from 7.4% a year earlier. Telenor saw its worst ever figure for quarterly growth with a gain of 8.5%, down from 18.0% in Q2 07, although this did not prevent it from seizing second place in the market from Ufone, which grew by 5.2% in the quarter compared to 20.8% a year earlier. The two operators were separated by just 25k customers at the end of Q2 08 with Ufone on 18.10m and Telenor on 18.13m, and in fact Ufone managed to reclaim the lead in July and open up a gap of 274k by the end of August. More than 2.6m adrift in fourth place was Warid, which was only 80k behind Telenor at the end of Q2 07. It saw quarterly growth of 7.6%, down from 18.6%, to finish on 15.49m.

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Source: Cellular News.

Friday, October 03, 2008 12:31:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The mobile market in the Caribbean & Latin America further polarised towards GSM technology in Q2 2008, as the total number of customers using the technology and its 3G derivative W-CDMA increased by 6.9% to almost 360m. At the end of June 2008, the GSM/W-CDMA base made up 86.3% of the regional total, up from 84.6% three months earlier.

Most of the ground was given up by the CDMA base, which decreased in size by more than 5% in the quarter to under 48m.

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The last 12 months have seen the advent of W-CDMA-based 3G networks across Latin America, with services now commercial in 12 markets in the region. Launches took place in three new markets in the quarter, including Brazil, where numbers were already almost 1m at the end of August after just three months. As far as Q2 is concerned, total customer numbers increased by 67.5% to almost 1.25m (the majority at this time coming from Mexico) which represents an annual improvement of over 1000%.

The introduction of W-CDMA has added to the effect of the continued rise of GSM and slowed the increase in numbers of 3G CDMA EV-DO connections considerably, the base levelling out at around 2.8m across the region.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 10:57:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 29, 2008

ITU estimates over 60 per cent penetration driven mainly by BRIC economies

Geneva, 25 September 2008 — ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré announced in New York that worldwide mobile cellular subscribers are likely to reach the 4 billion mark before the end of this year.

Dr Touré was speaking at the high-level events on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in New York, where he also participated in UN Private Sector Forums addressing the global food crisis and the role of technological innovation in meeting the MDGs.

The MDGs were adopted following the United Nations Millennium Declaration by UN Member states in 2000, representing an international commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat epidemics such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development that would include making available the benefits of information and communication technologies. ICTs have been recognized as an important tool to achieve the MDGs.

Since the turn of the century, the growth of mobile cellular subscribers has been impressive, with year-on-year growth averaging 24 per cent between 2000 and 2008. While in 2000, mobile penetration stood at only 12 per cent, it surpassed the 50 per cent mark by early 2008. It is estimated to reach about 61 per cent by the end of 2008.

"The fact that 4 billion subscribers have been registered worldwide indicates that it is technically feasible to connect the world to the benefits of ICT and that it is a viable business opportunity," said Dr Touré. "Clearly, ICTs have the potential to act as catalysts to achieve the 2015 targets of the MDGs."

While the data shows impressive growth, ITU stresses that the figures need to be carefully interpreted. Although in theory a 61 per cent penetration rate suggests that at least every second person could be using a mobile phone, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, the statistics reflect the number of subscriptions, not persons.

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Source: ITU.

Monday, September 29, 2008 8:43:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mexico has the second largest customer base in South America behind Brazil with 73.45m customers at the end of Q2 08. This is approximately the same size as the UK customer base, although the population of Mexico is almost twice that of the UK, with a figure of just under 110m. This yields a penetration figure of 66.8% at the end of the quarter, up from 57.1% a year earlier. Penetration has been increasing at a steady rate, and if there is no significant slowdown then the 75% mark should be reached during Q2 09.

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Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 9:30:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 23, 2008

As bandwidth consumption continues to grow, communications revenues over the next few years are expected see a 10% annual growth rate in the US reaching $1.3 trillion by 2011. However wireless technology will realize up to 34% annual growth in that same time period according to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA).

"The most significant telecommunications growth area will be in wireless over the next several years and this segment will more than triple annual the growth rate of telecommunications in general," said Tom Hemingway, CEO of NextPhase Wireless.

Meanwhile US landline revenues have fallen significantly from $228.4 billion in 2000 to $174.7 billion in 2007 and are expected to drop to $153 billion by the end of 2011, according to TIA in its published Market Review and Forecast. The TIA study combines the efforts of 100 market researchers across numerous fronts to deliver a forecast of the global telecommunications industry.

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Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 3:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |