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 Thursday, 16 October 2008

­The number of mobile telecom subscribers in South Korea grew 125,401 Month on Month in September to 45.3 million and the penetration rate rose to 93.1%, reports Korea Investment and Securities. Monthly net additions in September were slightly higher than in July and August but only 50.7% of the monthly average in 1H08, which shows cooled competition since July.

Overall market shares stand at 50.53% for SK Telecom (SKT), 31.49% for KTF and 17.98% for LG Telecom (LGT). SKTs slipped 0.01%p but LGTs inched up by the same measure.

Although 010 prefix additions rose 17.2% MoM in September, mobile number portability (MNP) activations and handset changes contracted 5% and 20.8%, respectively. Therefore, total handset sales slipped 2.1% to 1.85mn in September from 1.88mn in August.

By operator, lower handset sales were 6% for SKT, 20.6% for KTF and 12.5% for LGT. The research house noted though that lower handset sales usually implies fewer marketing incentives and hence higher operating margins.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:36:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Argentina posts a total of 44.4 million mobile lines by the end of August, a rise of 18.5% since last year. According to the figures by a local consultancy  only between 35 and 37 million lines were actually in service. The two operators that lead the market with nearly 14 million subscribers each are Claro Argentina and Movistar.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:34:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Romania sees the highest mobile penetration rate growth than any European Union (EU) country last year says the National Communications Authority (ANC). According to the sources, countrys penetration rate for cellular services rose by 25.5 percentage points to 106.2%, with more and more users now signing up for multiple mobile phone accounts to take advantage of special offers on individual tariffs. Around 26% of the population in urban areas have two mobile handsets where as 9% have three phones. At the end of 2007, Romania subscriber base was almost 23 million. There is net addition of 1.8 million subscribers in first half of 2008, added regulator.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:33:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Pakistan's telecoms regulator says that it has blocked some 10.5 million SIM cards after their users failed to register their ownership details with the mobile operators. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Yaseen also expressed concerns that many retailers were still flouting the rules requiring proof of id before selling new SIMs.

In first phase of the blocking procedure, of the connections sold before 30th April, 2008, 7.3 million connections found unverified have been blocked. In the second phase, PTA is endeavoring to clean subscribers data of connections sold from 1st May, 2008 to 30th May, 2008. So far, a total of 0.6 million connections which remained unverified have been blocked.

Mobile companies were also asked to block SIMs where the owner has registered more than 10 mobile phones by 30th September, 2008. A further 2.6 million of extra connections have now been blocked.

According to figures from the Mobile World database, the country ended the first half of this year with some 88 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of 51%. Doubtless this fugure will fall as the operators update their subscriber base numbers.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:32:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­France Telecom's mobile division, Orange says that it has submitted a bid for the 3rd mobile phone license in Armenia - valued at EUR51 million (US$70 million). Armenias Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) announced the tender in July and said that there will be a reserve price of US$16 million for the license and the winner will be required to invest a minimum of US$320 million in the network rollout.

Click here to see full article

Armenia currently has two mobile networks, Armentel (majority owned by Russia's VimpelCom) and VivaCell (majority owned by Russia's MTS). Russia's other main operator, Megafon had been regularly cited as the certain winner of the tender - so the shortlist had proven to be a surprise.

The two incumbent operators have confirmed that they will launch 3G services shortly.

Figures from the Mobile World show that the country ended the first half of this year with a shade under 3 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of 72%.

Source: Cellular News.

3G | CIS
Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:11:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Russian mobile operator, MTS has announced the launch of a test zone of its 3G network in Uzbekistan and technical readiness for commercial launch in late 2008. Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, became the first city in the region where MTS launched its next-generation network. The Company plans to cover the entire city and to announce the commercial launch by the end of the year. Additional cities will be launched in 2009, including Samarkand, Bukhara, and Andijan.

Click here to see full article

Development of UMTS networks is a cornerstone of MTS' strategy to provide mobile broadband in the CIS. As these markets demonstrate relatively low levels of fixed-line penetration and historic underinvestment in infrastructure, MTS views its networks as an ideal vehicle to meet the growing broadband Internet needs of its subscribers through attractive data products and services.

MTS launched its first 3G network in Russia in May 2008 and plans to launch the network in Armenia in early 2009. MTS is currently operating a CDMA-450 network in Ukraine.

Source: Cellular News.

3G | CIS
Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:09:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Kenyan government has announced plans to scrap a law which had required foreign firms to have local partners if investing in the telecoms industry. Under the current system, any investor has to allocate at least twenty percent of the company to a local partner, which has caused legal problems in the past.

Click here to see full article

The Kenyan market is dominated by Safaricom, which has a market share of 86.6% - followed by Zain and Orange. According to figures from the Mobile World, the country had 36.5 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of the first half of this year - although that still represents a population penetration level of just 39%, leaving plenty of space for a third network to enter the market.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:07:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MUMBAI: Mobile-based banking is the next frontier for banking in India. That's the one point everyone at The Economic Times Banking Technology Conclave 2008 presented by mChek agreed upon; whether they were bankers or technology providers.

Banks are not just relying on mobile based banking products to appeal to their urban clientele. They are increasingly looking at adopting the technology to reach out to the under-banked in the hinterland. "The unprecedented growth in mobile penetration in the country presents India with a unique opportunity," said Sanjay Swamy, CEO of mChek. In fact, there are almost 10 new mobile users added every second on any given working day, he added.

According to data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in June this year, the Indian population had reached 28.3% mobile phone penetration - supporting a whopping 287 million individuals. With that number rising at almost 9 million every month, the opportunity it presents banks is certainly huge.

Click here to see full article

Source: The Economic Times (India).

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:35:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Efforts to spur more Europeans to shop online and across national boundaries will be stepped up Wednesday with plans for a new law to guarantee consumer rights across the 27-nation bloc.

The proposed legislation would oblige retailers to make product information available before sale, guarantee delivery within a maximum of 30 days and allow a statutory 14-day "cooling-off" period in which purchasers could change their minds.

Consumers would also be entitled to full refunds within seven days if goods fail to arrive, and companies would be banned from using some "get-out" clauses allowing them to supply products different from those advertised.

While an estimated 150 million Europeans use the Internet to shop, just one in five of those attempts to make purchases outside the home country, according to the European Commission.

Click here to see full article

European officials argue that the regulatory regime for e-commerce is vital because the sector is forecast to generate 128 billion, or $174 billion, across the European Union in 2008. The figure could grow by 230 percent in five years, officials say.

Source: Herald Tribune.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:29:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone has dropped their mobile broadband pricing to $39.95 for 5GB in order to take market share away. They are planning to roll out a new 3G network in December. Vodafone Australia claims that they are trying to validate their position as a key player in the highly competitive mobile broadband space with several anlalyst anticipating that they will soon reach no. 2 position in Australia. Vodafone has even ripped price for its 1GB plan from $29.95 to $19.95. Vodafone customers can now save up to $10 per month. Earlier this pricing was available to Vodafone customers with a mobile phone and mobile broadband bundle. Vodafones new carry anywhere USB Internet Stick modem, will be free for new customers signing up for 5GB plan.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:26:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zain Tanzania targets to grow its subscriber base by 15%, raising the total to 3.8 million by the end of 2008. Khaled Muhtadi, MD Zain Tanzania said that the celco has spent nearly USD440 million on its network in last four years and plans to invest more than USD180 million on it next year. We have reached over 3.3 million customers today and our target is to exceed 3.8 million by the end of the year, he said. The challenges that Zain Tanzania faces are the falling subscriber revenues, high cost of handsets and the slow movement of equipment and supplies through the port and customs.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:24:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Softbank Mobile, Japans largest mobile operator, adds new subscribers more than its rivals for the 17th consecutive month. Softbank provides its subscribers with low call rates and agressively running marketing campaigns and also brings in Apple iPhone. The mobile operator added 142,800 new subscribers for the month of September, lagging behind were NTT DoCoMo with 129,700 net additions, and second placed KDDI, which added 74,900. Japans number four operator eMobile added 59,300.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:23:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Within the span of eight months this year Vietnam mobile subcribers reaches the mark of 52.4 million.The mobile penetration rate now stands at around 60 per cent. It is anticipated that the mobile subscribers will grow to 65 million by later this year and mobile penetration will increase to 70 users per 100 people.

Over the last four years cellular market of Vietnam shows fast paced growth, going from four million users by the end of 2004, to 37 million by the end of 2007. Considering its demographic trends it is anticipated that the boom will continue for at least the next five years, and probably longer. By 2012, we forecast the total 89 million mobile market is achievable in Vietnam. Mobile penetration of about 99 per cent is possible in that timeframe, said, Roger Barlow, chairman and CEO of RJB Consultants Limited. The factors that leads to growth are:

  • Lower priced handsets and service plans
  • Increased competition among five GSM networks
  • Network expansion into rural areas
  • Convergence between mobile and fixed networks
  • Broadcast capabilities and data usage through 3G deployments

Viettel adds 60,000 new mobile subscribers per day and MobiFone around 40,000 users. Viettel has captured 40% of the market and have become a strong participant.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:22:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Egypt mobile market has reached a total subscriber base of 33.86million as Q208 ends, net addition of 3.01million quaterly and 10.99 million yearly. The penetration rose from 28.5% to 41.5%, seeing a rise of 13% on y-to-y basis. The 9.8% growth in Q2 overpowered the Q1 growth of 6.6%. The annual growth rate of Egyptian mobile market fell acutely to 29.2% compared to last yearfs 61.7%.

Mobinil lead the market 16.33million subscribers, adding 1.31million subscribers in the quarter and 4.82million in past one year. Oddly, the market leader Mobinil lost itfs market share to the upcoming mobile operator Etisalat, and posted itfs lowest ever market share of 48.2% and annual growth rate of 59.2%.

Following the footprints of Mobinil, Vodafone also lost 2.7pp of itfs market share coming down to 44.3% by the end of Q2, and this dip came when Vodafone saw a perked up growth of 4.25million in subscriber base, crossing the 15million mark. The operator recorded an annual growth of 25.4%, falling to half since last year.

Etisalat, completing an year in the Egyptian market, had a subscriber base of 2.53million subscribers by the end of Q2, a rise of 94.9% since itfs launch. The mobile operator earned a market share of 7.5% in past one year, rising from 2.6%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:20:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 14 October 2008

According to data published by Japans 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, 14 October 2008 07:35:50 (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 worlds 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, 14 October 2008 07:34:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 13 October 2008

­Nigeria overtook South Africa to become the MEA regions 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 Nigerias 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 newcomers 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.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, 13 October 2008 10:18:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 08 October 2008
America Movil comfirms that its Brazilian counterpart Claro has expanded its service coverage to the states of Amapa and Roraima. The following addition has expanded its span of reach which earlier was limited to state capitals. Claro further extends its 3G services to Sergipe state, in the capital Aracaju and the city Nossa Senhora do Socorro. Currently, Claros services are available in the countrys 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, 08 October 2008 08:53:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 03 October 2008

Pakistans 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.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

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

Click here to see full article

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

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

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

Dr Tour 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 Tour. "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.

Click here to see full article

Source: ITU.

Monday, 29 September 2008 08:43:59 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 24 September 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.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008 09:30:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |