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 Friday, June 12, 2009

Malawi's Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) and the local arm of Zain have clashed over plans to lower phone tariffs in the country. The regulator wants to open the market up to more networks, while Zain blames high taxes and says increased subscribers would lead to lower tariffs.

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The country currently has two mobile networks, Zain and former incumbent, (Telekom Networks Malawi) TNM - while a two more networks have been licensed. Globally Advanced Integrated Networks (Gain) expects to launch its network within the next couple of months, while G-Mobile is still waiting to announce a launch date.

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The Mobile World subscriber database estimates that Malawi ended Q1 '09 with just over 2 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of just 15%. Zain is the market leader with 66.7% of the customer base, with Telecom Networks Malawi (TNM) taking the remainder.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:57:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a press release, France Telecom has announced that the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) submarine cable system, which was initially planned to stretch from France to Gabon, will now be extended to South Africa connecting all countries along the West coast of Africa, from Morocco to South Africa. This new cable will provide broadband interconnection to the global telecommunications network to more than 25 countries in Africa and Western Europe.

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Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:52:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Madagascar’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Orange Madagascar, has announced that it has completed its submarine cable project, LION, and has connected the cable at Tamatave in the Toamasina region. Funded by Orange Madagascar, France Telecom and Mauritius Telecom, the 1,800km broadband cable links with the existing SAT3/WASC and SAFE cable and has a capacity of 1.3Tbps. It also connects Madagascar with the islands of Reunion and Mauritius, and Orange maintains the new link will contribute to the development of regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean. However, despite the completion of the development, Orange has complained that the Malagasy government has still not completed the necessary legal framework to allow the ‘full exploitation of the cable’. It has called on the state to regulate so that it can begin to offer commercial services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, incumbent Telecom Malagasy’s (Telma’s) monopoly on the fixed line sector was due to end on 30 June 2008, but regulator OMERT has yet to legislate to officially open the market.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:50:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Filipino telco Globe Telecom has expanded its wireless broadband coverage to meet rising demand in the country. According to a report from AsiaPulse, Menchi T. Orlina, Globe's head for consumer marketing group, said the operator is spending heavily and aggressively to improve both broadband penetration and its position in the market. Orlina forecasts the country’s potential market for wireless internet broadband could top 20 million subscribers by 2012. In order to capitalise on this she says Globe is offering Globe Broadband Tatoo – a W-CDMA/HSDPA service offering download speeds of up to 2Mbps – and Globe Broadband Powered by WiMAX. The company currently has 287,000 broadband subscribers for both fixed and wireless platforms, compared with Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) with 1.84 million. Globe’s WiMAX network is based on the 802.16e standard and operates in the 2.5GHz band. It is currently available in selected areas in South Luzon, National Capital Region, Visayas and Mindanao. Around 4,000 users are signed up to the service, Orlina said.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:49:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan-Caribbean wireless group Digicel has reported its first net profit since its launch in 2001. Digicel, which comprises mobile phone operations in 31 markets across the Caribbean, Pacific and Latin America, recorded a net profit of USD41 million in the twelve months to 31 March 2009, compared to a loss of USD74 million in the previous year. ‘It is an important landmark for us,’ Digicel’s chief executive Colm Delves told The Irish Times. At a pre-tax level, Digicel posted a profit of USD113 million compared with a loss of USD48 million in the previous period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached USD680 million, a 34% increase year-on-year. Revenues rose by 11% to USD1.73 billion, while its subscriber base was up 34% to 9.2 million. The company’s net debt at the end of March was USD2.7 billion.

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Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:44:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe’s mobile market leader Econet Wireless has announced that it has sourced the necessary funding to expand its network capacity to five million subscribers by the end of 2010. At the presentation of the cellco’s 2008/09 fiscal year results, CEO Douglas Mboweni said: ‘We have secured the resources, through our parent company, Econet Wireless Group (EWG), to expand capacity further, from the current 2.5 million [users] expansion programme, to go to five million.’ Under its current plan, geographical network coverage is set to be almost doubled by extending the footprint to many smaller towns and main roads whilst improving coverage in existing urban and resort areas, whilst an upgrade to 3G services is also in the pipeline. Mboweni said Econet’s financial team had travelled around the world raising funds with ‘spectacular success.’

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Econet reported that its GSM subscriber base increased by 84% in a year from 636,000 to 1.2 million at end-February 2009. It says it is currently signing up around 5,000 new customers per day, but expects to be able to increase this rate dramatically over the next few months as it installs more new network equipment.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:42:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In the last few years, the subject of the global digital divide has received a lot of attention from the telecoms industry. Much of this interest has focused on the role that mobile networks are playing to narrow the divide, as mobile penetration rates in developing markets have been growing strongly, while those in mature markets have saturated. However, at the same time, there has been mass-market adoption of broadband in an increasing number of countries in the developed world, while take-up of broadband in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America has been negligible, causing the broadband access gap to widen considerably.

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Source: Cellular News.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:20:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Kuwait based Zain is reported to be considering an offer to sell its African mobile networks to an unnamed French company. The sale of the former Celtel assets is estimated to be worth up to US$12 billion, including debt, reports the Dow Jones Newswire, citing the Al Qabas newspaper.

Celtel was founded by Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim in 1998 and sold to Kuwiat's MTC (now Zain) in April 2005 for US$3.4 billion.

Zain is waiting for reply from the French company this week and if the deal isn't settled Zain will study bids made by other companies, the newspaper added.

No reason was given for why Zain is looking to sell the African division.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:14:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnamese military-owned telco Viettel has completed the installation of a broadband network connecting over one thousand educational institutions in Ho Chi Minh City, writes VietNamNet Bridge. Deployment of the network began in November 2008 with the aim of supporting teaching, studying, scientific research and management in colleges, universities and schools across the city. The operator has provided schools with free modems and has also installed and connected the broadband network at no charge in all schools, while colleges and universities will receive a 70% discount on monthly internet charges. The network forms part of a broader project between Viettel and the Ministry of Education and Training to link around 40,000 educational institutions nationwide.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:12:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom New Zealand has announced that sign ups to its 3G ‘XT’ network exceeded its most optimistic targets. In the first five days following the launch the company claims to have sold over 25,000 units, including handsets and SIM cards. Telecom did not reveal how many customers had subscribed to the full 3G service. Director of Mobile Operations Paul Hamburger said, ‘Visits to Telecom’s website during launch day were equivalent to the web traffic normally seen over a month and a half and phones were being ordered online at a frenetic rate of one per minute. Sales of our mid-to high-end handsets have been stronger than expected, which is very pleasing and we can also see lots of customers using mobile broadband services on their devices.’

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:11:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe's cabinet has approved a commercialisation and privatisation plan encompassing state-held assets in industries including telecoms, energy and infrastructure. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti told the Zimbabwe Independent that the approved plan took into consideration timing, overall objectives and appropriate processes to be used, whilst state enterprises had been divided into categories depending on their potential and current state. The category of high value, high potential businesses (but needing capitalisation and better management) includes national PSTN operator TelOne, power stations and the national railway operator, according to the minister. It is estimated that the country needs USD10 billion to carry out necessary transformations to revitalise its economy, but has so far raised around USD1 billion. CommsUpdate previously reported that the government intended to put state-run mobile operator NetOne up for sale, but last month it was revealed the sale attempt would be suspended until the global economy improved.

Also in the news, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology Nelson Chamisa has ordered TelOne to make heavy cuts to its fixed line tariffs and to match billing systems used in other countries in the region. On Thursday Chamisa issued a ministerial order barring the telco from cutting off any customers unable to pay their bills, until the matter is resolved by cabinet.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:10:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Oman Mobile, the wireless arm of the country’s incumbent telco Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), has announced it has introduced mobile broadband speeds of up to 14.4Mbps download on its 3.5G HSDPA network. Ali Kashoub, manager of main services at Oman Mobile, said that improving the speed from 7.2Mbps to 14.4Mbps will contribute to the creation of new applications including mobile video conferencing, adding: ‘the 3.5G network would serve all segments of the society including individuals and businesses because it would raise the work standard in these businesses through fast data and information transfer from one location to another as well as saving files at very high speeds.’ The company has expanded the coverage of its 3.5G network, launched in January 2009, to all parts of the Muscat governorate and several cities in Dhofar, Sohar, Barkaa, Al Sawadi, Sohar Port, the industrial estate in Al Batinah region, Sur, Sinaw, Jaalan Bani Bo Hassan, Jaalan Bani Bo Ali in Al Sharqia region, and the wilayats of Buraimi, Ibri, Nizwa, Manah, Al-Hamraa and Izki.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:09:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Tanzania is proposing a new set of pricing mechanisms designed to reduce the cost of information and communications technology (ICT) services in the country. The Director General of the state regulator the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), Prof. John Nkoma, is quoted as saying: ‘While the main goal is to provide ICT access to all, we should be cognisant of the fact that many people who are within coverage areas of ICT are still not served because of the high costs of services’. Although Tanzania has experienced strong growth in ICT take-up – eg cellular penetration now stands at over 33% with more than 13 million active and internet utilisation has increased to about 5% of the population – Nkoma says more needs to be done to reach underserved areas to ensure equitable access to ICT.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:08:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Globe Telecom of the Philippines last Friday launched DUO, an unlimited mobile and landline calls bundle available to pre-paid users in Metro Manila. It also offers the DUO service in service after unveiling it there on 25 May. Globe claims that DUO is the first unlimited mobile and landline call service offered anywhere in the world. The 2-in-1 package uses a single SIM and enables the user to make unlimited calls from the Globe network to any fixed line number and from any landline to Globe, as well as to and from any DUO post-paid mobile subscriber - provided they are all within the same area code. People signing up to DUO’s add-on pre-paid offer receive a special pre-paid SIM pack for PHP45 (USD0.94) allowing them to benefit from unlimited mobile and landline calling within Metro Manila and Cebu for five days for PHP125 and PHP350 for 14 days.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 9:07:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oman Mobile has announced the launch of an upgraded 3G network that supports peak download speeds of up to 14.4MBps. The Manager of Main Services at Oman Mobile Ali Kashoub noted that the company has also expanded the coverage of 3.5G network to include several regions of the Sultanate.

The network is now available in all parts of Muscat governorate and several cities in Dhofar, the wilayats of Sohar, Barkaa, Al-Sawadi, Sohar Port, the Industrial estate in Al-Batinah region, Sur, Sinaw, Ja'alan Bani Bo Hassan, Ja'alan Bani Bo Ali in Al-Sharqia Region, and the Wilayats of Buraimi, Ibri, Nizwa, Manah, Al-Hamraa and Izki.

Mr. Ali Kashoub concluded by saying that "the 3.5G network would serve all segments of the society including individuals and businesses because it would raise the work standard in these businesses through fast data and information transfer from one location to another as well as saving files in very high speeds."

Rival network operator, Nawras upgraded its network to HSPA supporting 7.2MBps last July.

According to figures from the Mobile World, Oman Mobile ended the first quarter of this year with some 1.76 million customers. Of that base, it is estimated that just 35,000 are using the 3G network.

Source: Cellular News.

3G
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:11:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia's Mobily says that it has upgraded 40 more of its base stations in the Eastern Region to support higher mobile data speeds. The upgrades included sites in Dammam, Khobar, Dhahran and the Jubail Industrial City and the Dammam Port, as well as the towns of Sihat, Qatif and Kalabia in Ahsaa.

The company has also launched a new USB modem, the Connect Plus, that can also be used as a mobile phone to make calls and send SMS messages. It can also play MP3 files, be used as a storage device, and do Bluetooth exchanges.

In related news, Mobily's CEO, Engineer Khalid Al Kaf, has told Zawya that Mobily's network is now the world's busiest in data transfer, with more than 31 terrabytes exchanged daily.

Estimates from the Mobile World analysts are that the operator ended Q1 '09 with around 15.5 million customers, of which around 7.4 million are using its 3G network.

Source: Cellular News.

3G
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:10:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Argentina operates Argentina's third largest mobile network by customer numbers, with 13.17m connections at the end of Q1 09. On an annual basis it was the fastest growing of the country's four networks with a growth rate of 21.0%, up from 16.9% for the prior twelve months. This is an impressive rate given that penetration in Argentina stood at around 110% at the end of the quarter.

Growth was driven principally by the prepaid sector, which was up 23.2% annually, compared to 13.9% for the prior twelve months. At the end of Q1 09 it had 8.82m customers. Contract growth, by contrast, dropped from 23.1% to 16.8%. This left the percentage of contract customers down 1.2pp at 33.0%, with an actual figure of 4.35m. The disparity in growth was particularly marked in Q1 09: prepaid quarterly net additions stood at 522k, the highest figure for two years, while contract gained just 85k, the lowest figure since Q3 03.

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Source: Cellular News.

 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:08:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 08, 2009

Zain, the leading mobile operator in Middle East and Africa has brought its Sierra Leone operations under the borderless ‘One Network’. The mobile service will allow the Zain subscribers in the African and Middle East nations to be a part of the mobile community.

Zain subscribers will be able to communicate between these countries and be treated as local subscribers in terms of pricing, while using their home network service.

“Today marks another milestone in the history of Zain as we launch our award winning ‘One Network’ service in another country. Now it covers 18 countries and an area larger than the United States of America and with a population of more than 500 million people,” said Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Zain’s group CEO. He said the introduction of ‘One Network’ mobile service is part of their Drive11 initiative.
The One Network service enables subscribers to make calls and SMS at local rates and will receive incoming calls and SMS for free.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, June 08, 2009 9:09:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 04, 2009

The next phase of BT Ireland’s 21CN next generation network rollout will directly link Letterkenny, Derry, Belfast and Dublin, SiliconRepublic reports, and connect them with over 1,270 cities worldwide through BT’s global network. The new fibre-optic network is expected to be operational from August 2009 and will extend from Dublin to Letterkenny, connecting Belfast and Derry along the route through Points of Presence (PoPs). Initial speeds of up to 10Gbps are available, but can be scaled up where required by customers. According to BT, more than 330,000 homes and businesses in the Republic have access to super-fast broadband speeds of up to 24Mbps, following the company’s investment in unbundling 22 telephone exchanges nationwide.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 12:50:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dutch mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Yes Telecom has announced it plans to enter the German wireless market in the summer of 2009. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, there are over 50 mobile resellers in Germany’s wireless market, but only one, freenet, provides serious competition to the facilities-based operators, following its takeover of main MVNO rival debitel in July 2008. At the end of March 2009 freenet boasted a wireless subscriber base of 18.53 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 12:49:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uruguayan state-owned telecoms operator Antel has announced its mobile unit Ancel has reached 1.5 million subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Ancel is closing the gap between itself and rival cellco America Movil-owned Claro Uruguay, which had 1.459 million wireless subscribers at 31 March 2009. Ancel launched a GSM-1800 network including GPRS in Montevideo April 2004, with an EDGE upgrade initiated in the following October. Ancel first trialled 3G services in September 2005, in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei. 3.5G services were launched in July 2007 in Montevideo and a year later its 3G network was available nationwide. Ancel plans to invest USD81 million in 2009, mainly to expand its GSM and 3G coverage.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 12:48:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to The Edge Daily, Malaysian cellco DiGi Telecommunications will set aside up to MYR150 million (USD42.4 million) of its total capital expenditure over the next three years for investment in its HSPA network and services in the Sabah and Penang regions. The plans were unveiled following the official launch of the operator’s 3G broadband services in the two regions. DiGi noted that at launch it had coverage of 44% and 31% of the population in the Kota Kinabalu region and the island of Penang respectively. However, the cellco currently only offers HSPA-based internet services via a datacard option, with Johan Dennelind, CEO of DiGi, noting: ‘While our broadband service is only available on PC and laptops for now, we look forward to start offering 3G voice and data services on mobile phones as soon as we have expanded our 3G coverage in our bid to capture our fair share of the broadband market in Malaysia’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, DiGi has forecast CAPEX for 2009 to exceed MYR1.1 billion and had earmarked around 30% of that for 3G infrastructure development. Mr Dennelind indicated that the expansion to Sabah and Penang comes following the high level of demand in the Klang Valley, where the operator launched UMTS services two months ago. DiGi aims to offer its mobile broadband services in more than 1,000 zones by the end of 2009, and the cellco will initially focus on deployment in urban areas.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 12:47:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BNamericas writes that Ecuador's telecoms council Conatel is aiming to install internet connections in around 4,600 schools by the end of this year, giving web access to about 2.5 million children. The project is being funded by universal service payments from telecoms operators, and fellow regulatory body Senatel reaffirmed its commitment to connect 100% of schools to the internet by the end of 2010.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:59:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telkom Kenya has announced that its mobile arm Orange Mobile has connected a million customers in its first eight months of operation. The company has invested over KES10 billion (USD134 million) in its network infrastructure and attributes its customer growth to its ‘value driven tariffs’. Dominique Saint-Jean, Telkom Kenya’s CEO, said, ‘The success we are celebrating today is not accidental. It has been hard won, thanks to the unceasing commitment and incredible energy of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, the support from our suppliers, the confidence from our investors and the interest from the media. So I would like to say that today is not about Telkom Kenya – it is about all of you, the people who have played such a valuable role in our shared journey to our first million customers.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:57:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AllAfrica.com is reporting that the Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme - Rwanda (RCIPRWA) has received a USD24 million grant from the World Bank to improve the country’s broadband network infrastructure. The funds will be used to establish national capacity to provide broadband connectivity and access to low-cost international connectivity and will facilitate the country's connection to global networks through undersea fiber-optic cables. The minister of science, technology, scientific research and ICT, Professor Romain Murenzi, said: ‘Coupled with the government's initiative to install a national backbone fibre-optic network, this support will boost our ambitions to become a regional ICT hub. The project will bring high speed global connectivity to Rwanda, supporting the growth of business around ICT, and effective e-services to the people of Rwanda such as e-health, e-education, e-agriculture and many other e-applications.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:46:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecoms companies, ISPs and large enterprises in North America and Western Europe have access to abundant and affordable network capacity. But companies with large international bandwidth requirements still face significant challenges elsewhere.

Data from TeleGeography’s Wholesale Bandwidth Pricing Database reveal that stark price differences persist around the globe. For example, the median price of a 2Mbps E-1 circuit between London and Johannesburg in Q4 2008 was nearly USD15,000. For the same price, a bandwidth buyer could lease a 10Gbps wavelength—500 times the capacity of an E-1—between London and New York.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Finnish triple-play provider DNA Finland has announced that its 3G services are now available in more than 250 municipalities, giving it an addressable market of more than 4.2 million Finns. The telco said that it had expanded to cover areas including Kuhmalahti, Kustavi, Lapinlahti, Lemi, Nummi-Pusula, Padasjoki, Paltamo, Pukkila, Puumala, Savitaipale, Taivassalo, Utsjoki, Uurainen and Viitasaari. The latest round of expansion has seen the telco install base stations operating in the 900MHz frequency range as it looks to benefit from the lower costs associated with the technology for rural rollouts, and DNA said it expects to construct a further 1,100 such sites by the end of 2009. Additionally, the operator said it was continuing to expand its 3G network operating on 2100MHz spectrum, but has not disclosed any further details. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database DNA’s HSPA 2100MHz network had coverage of approximately 77% of the population at December 2008.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:35:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has announced that it has signed deals for two new projects. Firstly, it reported that it had inked a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Wateen Telecom for the latter to install 900km of fibre-optic cable in Balochistan in a deal worth PKR374 million (USD4.6 million). The project will bring fibre connectivity to five unserved administrative divisions in the province, covering around 335,000 people.

The second announced venture will see incumbent Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) provide basic voice and data services in the unserved districts of Larkan and Shikarpur, in the Sindh province. The USF will provide PTCL with PKR228 million to carry out the work, and it is expected that up to 165,000 people stand to benefit from development.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:34:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A report from Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) says that the sector was worth BHD303 million (USD804 million) in service revenues in 2008, up by 6.3% from the previous year, with mobile services accounting for 50% of all turnover. Telecoms revenues generated 3.7% of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year, according to the watchdog’s figures. The number of fixed lines in service increased by 8% year-on-year to 220,386 by end-December, mainly due to the growth of fixed-wireless connections, while around 70% of domestic fixed line voice traffic was accounted for by fixed-to-mobile calls.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:32:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In its latest broadband market report, the French telecoms regulator Arcep says the country’s high speed internet providers collectively added 660,000 net new users in the first three months of this year to boost the total to 18.35 million by end-March, up 2.1 million (13%) year-on-year. The watchdog also reported that of the total connections in service, more than five million are now for fully unbundled accesses. Arcep’s broadband figures include xDSL, cable, fibre, fixed-wireless, satellite and Wi-Fi consumer and business subscribers in metropolitan France and overseas departments (DOM). The most popular access technology by far continues to be ADSL which accounted for 17.30 million connections at the end of the first quarter, up from 16.80 million at end-December 2008 and 15.47 million at 31 March 2008.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:29:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to India’s Business Standard, state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) expects to sign up 300,000 3G subscribers within its first year of offering the service. The announcement came at the launch of pre-paid 3G services, something which the operator expects to increase the rate of take-up. In just under six months of offering the service MTNL has only signed up approximately 400 customers, a low number it attributes to the lack of a pre-paid option. The new pre-paid tariff, ‘Jeevan Sathi’ will cost INR300 (USD6.38) for a card with INR15 worth of standard voice calls, while 3G calls will be charged at INR1.8 per minute to other MTNL 3G users; the card has a lifetime validity. Data downloads cost INR3 per MB, and the operator has also introduced coupons for data usage ranging in value from INR99 to INR2,500.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, MTNL was the first Indian operator to launch commercial 3G services, on 5 February 2009. The service, offered under the ‘Jadoo’ banner, initially has coverage of central Delhi, including the Connaught Place, India Gate, Pragati Madan, Delhi Gate and Minto Road areas. MTNL has set aside INR5 billion for the rollout of its UMTS network.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, June 04, 2009 8:28:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The government of Nigeria has taken back control of the country’s former telecoms monopoly NITEL and its wireless arm M-Tel, citing a lack of investment and unpaid debts in the three years since local firm Transcorp took over the telco. Reuters reports that the National Council of Privatisation has ruled that Transcorp breached its contract, having failed to meet its obligations to invest NGN8.9 billion (USD60.9 million) within 100 days of the takeover, and had an unpaid debt of NGN17 billion. The government will take control of NITEL until a new core investor is found.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the federal government sold it’s 51% stake in NITEL to Transcorp for USD750 million in November 2006, retaining a 49% interest. Since then the telco’s initial 500,000 fixed lines in service have dropped to about 45,000, its workforce has declined from 12,000 to just 2,000 and the company is USD500 million in debt. In February 2009 Transcorp agreed to divest part of its shareholding in the telco and in late March the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) announced it was offering a 51% stake in the fixed line operator and 100% of its mobile unit. Last week Nigeria’s anti-corruption police charged the head of Transcorp and two other employees with fraud for embezzling around USD110 million belonging to NITEL.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:30:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Wireless broadband technology provider Alvarion has been chosen to deploy the first mobile WiMAX network in Papua New Guinea for government-run telco Telikom PNG, which plans to provide nationwide coverage using the vendor’s end-to-end mobile WiMAX 4Motion solution in the 2.3GHz frequency band. Alvarion’s local partner for this project is Telrad Networks. Telikom PNG’s first wireless broadband network in the capital city of Port Moresby has been launched in the last few weeks and is expected to provide connectivity to approximately 1,500 users. The second network to be deployed in the city of Lae is planned to go live in the second quarter of 2009. Further expansion is expected at the end of 2009, extending the network to all regional cities as part of a master plan to achieve nationwide coverage for 55,000 end-users. According to Alvarion’s press release Papua New Guinea has a population of almost six million and an internet penetration rate below 2%, and Telikom PNG has seized on WiMAX as a method of cost-effectively expanding data and voice services over a wide area.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:29:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel intends to hold a licensing tender for voice telephony and broadband internet services in rural parts of the country, Agencia Estado reports citing the communications minister Helio Costa. The tender could take place later this year and will favour telcos that pledge to deliver broadband internet services for rural areas by offering them lower licence fees, the minister said. Costa said the government has set itself a target of providing 100% telephony coverage in rural areas by 2014, adding that it would use the 450MHz frequency for phone services in such areas.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:27:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Maroc Telecom and the Moroccan government have signed a MAD10.5 billion (USD1.3 billion) investment agreement under which the former monopoly telco will expand and upgrade its infrastructure, focusing on three key areas. Firstly, domestic network traffic capacity will be increased through the rollout of next generation network (NGN) technology, which will also facilitate the development of convergent triple- and quad-play fixed line/broadband internet/IPTV/mobile services. The second objective is to raise international transmission capacity via the Atlas Offshore submarine cable linking the country with Europe, alongside the construction of a new terrestrial fibre-optic cable between Laayoune in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara and Nouakchott, the capital of neighbouring Mauritania, which will also improve connectivity in the Western Saharan areas of Boujdour, Dakhla and Aousserd. The third tranche of investment funds will be channelled into enhancing mobile and fixed-wireless network coverage in rural and remote areas of Morocco as part of an ongoing scheme known as PACT (Programme of general Access to Telecommunications). An additional 7,300 rural locations are scheduled to receive network services by 2011. The latest investment package is the third in a series of public/private agreements; Maroc Telecom invested over MAD20 billion in the six-year period 2003-08 under the previous two agreements.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:26:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has announced that it has signed up over 10,000 customers to its IPTV service, Mozaic TV+, after extending coverage of the service to around 80% of the population. Quoted in a report from Gulf Times, a Qtel spokesperson said that Mozaic TV+ was now accessible up to 3km from either a Qtel ADSL exchange or a remote line unit (RLU). Around 170 RLUs have been rolled out to date, and the telco is adding 20 RLUs per year, whilst working to improve service quality, with the aim of giving the whole of Qatar access to IPTV in the next few years, continued the spokesperson. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Mozaic TV+ was launched in May 2007, providing broadcast and on-demand IPTV, DSL/Wi-Fi broadband internet access and fixed voice telephony over the same copper line.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:25:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

East African submarine fibre-optic cable system SEACOM has announced that it is entering the final stages of construction. According to the SEACOM website, the 15,000km, 1.28Tbps cable system is due to launch operations in early July this year. SEACOM CEO Brian Herlihy said, ‘SEACOM is in its final stretch! With the rapid progress of construction, we will soon be providing cheaper and faster bandwidth to our customers. The site acceptance testing was recently completed in Mombasa, and the terminal installation has also been completed in South Africa.’ MyBroadband.co.za has reported that construction of the physical cable system is completed and testing is due to commence in early June. Angus Hay, chief technology officer of Neotel - SEACOM’s South African ‘anchor tenant’, confirmed that the company is preparing end-to-end testing on the cable system. Hay said that this testing will involve the full system which runs from the Neotel point-of-presence in Midrand, S.A along the East African coast to India and Europe.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:24:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

North Korea has permitted a limited internet service for mobile phone users, reports AP News, citing a government website. The service allows access to the country's official news website, the Korean Central News Agency, as well as other news sites for the capital Pyongyang. The Korean Central News Agency website allows users to listen to North Korean music and read information about books, art and investment opportunities in the country, although it is unclear whether these services will be available when accessed via a mobile handset.

Mobile phones are tightly controlled in North Korea and were banned until November 2002. Two months later incumbent fixed line telco Northeast Asia Telephone and Telecommunications (NEAT&T) launched GSM-900 services under the banner SUN NET. However, cellular devices were once again banned following an explosion on a train in June 2004, which was thought to have been triggered remotely by a wireless handset. In January 2008 Egypt-based telecoms operator Orascom Telecom announced to the surprise of most that CHEO Technology, a joint venture between itself (75%) and Korea Post and Telecoms Corp (25%), had been awarded a licence to operate 3G wireless services by the government. Under the terms of its licence, CHEO is permitted to provide mobile telephony services for 25 years, the first four of which on an exclusive basis. The company launched the country's first 3G network in the capital in December 2008 under the name Koryolink. By April 2009 CHEO had reportedly signed up 20,000 subscribers and its 3G network had been expanded to include the main road running up to the northern city of Hyangsan, with national coverage expected by 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:22:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British broadsheet The Guardian is reporting that fixed line incumbent BT and cellco Hutchison 3G UK (3) have launched a joint venture to press for a reduction in mobile termination rates (MTRs). The campaign, which is being marketed under the ‘Terminate the Rate’ banner, has already won the backing of the National Union of Students, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and trade union GMB. The two operators claim that MTRs account for approximately GBP0.047 (USD0.074) of every call to a mobile voice line, and are calling for the rates to be reduced so that this drops to around GBP0.01 per call.

The inauguration of the campaign comes as regulator Ofcom begins a public consultation on charges between operators. Having set in place a programme in 2007 to reduce MTRs by around 25% by 2011, the latest review will examine the rates applicable between 2011 and 2015. Ofcom has set out six regulatory options, ranging from retaining the current system to more ‘radical alternatives’, including the complete removal of termination regulation from mobile operators. The regulator claims lower rates could allow operators to launch new, more competitive packages, and Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, noted: 'The mobile market has developed significantly with consumers increasingly using innovative services like mobile broadband. Our review will reflect these changes to ensure that future termination rates are in the best interests of consumers.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:20:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of mobile internet access subscriptions in Hungary climbed to 566,000 by 30 April 2009, up from 542,000 a month earlier, according to figures published by the regulator, the National Communications Authority (NHH). Of these, the total number classed as actively sending or receiving data rose from 458,000 to 476,000 in the same period, although the total volume of data sent dipped to 743,000GB from 840,000GB in March.

The watchdog calculates that based on levels of data transmitted, T-Mobile Hungary is the market leader in the mobile internet sector with 49.43%, ahead of Vodafone with 27.11% and Pannon with 23.46%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:18:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of mobile phones registered in Brazil reached 154.6 million at the end of last month, up 0.6% on the previous month’s figure, according to preliminary data published by the national regulator Anatel. The rise was attributed to operators increasing their focus on selling pre-paid SIMs, although Anatel noted that the total net additions of 923,000 in April fell short of the 1.3 million new users reported in March this year.

As at 30 April 2009 Vivo Participacoes, an equal joint venture of Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, continued to hold the number one position in the domestic mobile market with a 29.5% share all subscriptions. It is followed by America Movil’s Telecom Americas (Claro) unit, which claimed 25.8% at the same date, ahead of TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) in third with 23.6%. The fourth spot was claimed by Telemar Norte Leste’s Oi with 20.7%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:17:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following a feasibility study, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has concluded that mobile number portability (MNP) is not necessary until the wireless subscriber tally is higher. ‘At this stage, number portability is not something we see as a remedy in this market,’ Patrick Masambu, executive director of the UCC, said. ‘We carried out a study into this and we have the conclusion that there is a certain subscriber sum we need before we introduce number portability because of the costs involved.’ Masambu said that MNP will only make sense when there are ten million mobile subscribers in the country. At the time the UCC conducted the study Uganda had three million users, a figure which had jumped to 8.7 million by the end of 2008.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:15:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnamese state-owned mobile operator Vinaphone is set to launch its 3G network on 15 August of this year, writes VNBusinessNews. The cellco’s network will initially cover the country’s largest cities, accounting for about 20% of Vietnam’s population. At launch, Vinaphone will provide services such as video calling, mobile broadband internet, mobile TV and Video-on-Demand; e-payment and quick search services will follow in the future. The company was awarded its licence to operate 3G services by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) in April 2009, along with military-run Viettel Telecom, MobiFone and a consortium between EVN Telecom and Hanoi Telecom, which will build and develop a 3G network together. The quartet were given three months to develop 3G wireless services under the 15-year licences.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:14:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Fijian MVNO Inkk Mobile is in talks with Vodafone Fiji to offer third-generation (3G) services to end users. Although the service is currently only available to Vodafone’s post-paid users, Inkk hopes to offer the service to its pre-pay users as it looks to make itself ‘the Fijians’ choice’, says Inkk chief executive Paul O'Neile. The Inkk CEO is confident that ‘It will happen in the future,’ noting that the first phase of the company’s business rollout – to build up a solid customer base – has been completed; Inkk claims to have signed up around 250,000 subscribers. ‘The second phase is to provide data services. There has been a lot of misconception about Inkk being Vodafone … We are a separate entity but Inkk is using Vodafone's network … it is much cheaper because we don't have to invest into all the infrastructure,’ he said.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:12:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Spanish telecom regulator, the Telecommunications Market Commission (CMT), has released a report in which it predicts that between 43% and 46% of households will connect to the internet using a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connection by 2023. The feasibility study by the regulator also forecasts that by that date, up to three alternative operators could compete with incumbent Telefonica in high demand cities, including Barcelona and Madrid; the CMT highlighted the aforementioned cities as the most attractive for FTTH developments. Alternative access in smaller cities is likely to be more limited, however, with the regulator estimating that Telefonica may only face a single competitor for FTTH business in towns and cities with between 1,000 and one million residents. The CMT also highlighted the expected timelines for investment recovery on FTTH rollouts, claiming that in cities with a population larger than 50,000 alternative operators may recoup their investment in a period of between nine to twelve years. For towns and cities with a population between 5,000 and 50,000 this would increase to 13 to 14 years; the regulator does not expect a significant alternative operator presence in regions with less than 5,000 people.

The study was based on the assumption that all alternative operators will deploy FTTH networks by renting the pipeline infrastructure of Telefonica; according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, in January this year the CMT announced that it would maintain existing obligations for Telefonica to provide access to infrastructure at prices based on its own production costs for its in-deployment FTTH infrastructure.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:10:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hungarian internet service provider (ISP) EnterNet has launched an IPTV service, Broadband TV News reports. The new offering is initially available in three different flavours – Start, Home and Premium – comprising 24, 49 and 64 channels respectively. Subscribers can also take advantage of a range of additional packages, some of which include HD channels. EnterNet was set up at the turn of the millennium and is reported to have around 50,000 subscribers to its existing services.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:09:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom New Zealand has launched its new W-CDMA-based ‘XT’ network to over 97% of households nationwide. The network provides 3.5G mobile broadband services over HSDPA, HSUPA and HSPA+ technology supplied and deployed by Alcatel-Lucent. Telecom CEO, Paul Reynolds, said, ‘New Zealanders are demanding fast, ubiquitous and future-ready mobile technology at their fingertips. Alcatel-Lucent has played a central role in helping Telecom to deliver this vision. Their ability to integrate across all our platforms made them the logical choice to construct our W-CDMA network.’

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:07:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe's smallest mobile network operator, Telecel says that it is planning for a significant expansion of its network coverage. The company says that it has already boosted capacity thanks to upgrading existing base station towers. Telecel Zimbabwe is owned by Egypt's Orascom Telecom.

Click here to see full article

The country currently has three mobile network operators. According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, Telecel is estimated to have ended last year with around 232,000 subscribers - representing a market share of around 15%.

South Africa's MTN Group was recently rumoured to be interested in taking a 60% stake in Telecel.

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 9:03:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India has passed the 400 million mark for mobile phone subscribers, although growth slowed from the record breaking figures earlier this month. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stated that a total 11.75 million telephone connections (Wireline and Wireless) were added during April 2009 as compared to 15.87 million connections added in March 2009. The total number of telephone connections reaches 441.47 million at the end of April 2009 as compared to 429.72 million in March 2009.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009 8:57:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The mobile payment industry will experience steady growth, as the number of mobile payment users worldwide will total 73.4 million in 2009, up 70.4 percent from 2008 when there were 43.1 million users, reports Gartner. The research firm predicts that the number of mobile payment users will reach more than 190 million in 2012, representing more than 3 percent of total mobile users worldwide and attaining a level at which it will be considered "mainstream."

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009 7:30:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |