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 Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In an interview with East Africa Business Week, MTN Rwanda’s CEO Khaled Makkawi has revealed that the government’s decision to increase excise duty on airtime from 3% to 5% commencing 1 July will effect the mobile operator’s projected growth for 2009. ‘That increase was a surprise to us, especially such increase coming in the middle of the year,’ Makkawi said, adding: ‘Such increment was not budgeted and has to go through my budget. When any amount comes suddenly out of the budget, I have to get this money from other areas. Surely, it will affect our promotions and expansion.’ The report states that MTN Rwanda, which generates 90% of its revenue from airtime sales, will be forced to cut the additional 2% from other areas where it had planned to use it to boost penetration, introduce new products and promotions in order to boost sales.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 2:09:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Bangkok Post quotes a spokesperson for Thailand’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) as saying that the issuing of 2.1GHz 3G mobile licences is likely to be delayed until the first quarter of next year. A public auction of four 3G licences had been expected by the end of this year, and potentially as early as October, following preparation work to be concluded by a US consultancy in the third quarter. However, Suranand Wongwittayakamjorn, secretary-general of the Office of the NTC, said that a new plan with a delayed timetable is being submitted to the NTC’s board for approval, whilst adding that regulations and policy guidelines, including the base price, terms and conditions for the auctions, should be released by mid-September. Suranand indicated that January 2010 would be the new target for beginning the auction, which is open to foreign bidders via local registered companies, but the exact timing would depend on the selection of new board members at the regulator.

The country’s three privately-owned GSM operators AIS, DTAC and True are hoping to roll out commercial 2.1GHz W-CDMA/HSPA services in the first half of 2010 but the possible delay would push this date back until later in the year. President of AIS, Wichian Mektrakarn, said that if 3G licensing is delayed further, AIS will incur a loan commitment fee for unused credit from banks, as it applied for THB10 billion (USD294 million) in loans to invest in 3G by the year-end. Vice-chairman of True Corp, Athueck Asvanund, said that commercial 3G services would be introduced around seven months after an auction. All three private operators are trialling 3G on a small-scale using 800MHz-900MHz frequencies, whilst state-owned TOT, the only 2.1GHz spectrum holder via subsidiary Thai Mobile, is planning to offer wholesale 3G capacity to the trio by the end of this year.

3G
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 2:07:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Grameen Foundation has announced the launch of a suite of mobile phone applications developed with Google and MTN Uganda for Uganda's poor and disadvantaged communities, writes TelecomPaper. The suite of five mobile services, provided using Google SMS Search technology and the MTN network, includes Farmer's Friend, a searchable database with both agricultural advice and targeted weather forecasts; Health Tips, which provides sexual and reproductive health information, paired with Clinic Finder, which helps locate nearby health clinics and their services; and Google Trader, which matches buyers and sellers of agricultural produce and commodities as well as other products. The services are SMS-based and designed to work with basic mobile phones to reach the broadest possible audience. The launch makes available the first suite of applications resulting from an endeavour initiated by Grameen Foundation 18 months ago called the Application Laboratory (AppLab). AppLab Uganda, which is located in Kampala and directed by Grameen Foundation's Technology Center, focuses on creating opportunities for poor people to share and access essential information through innovative uses of mobile phones. The new services in Uganda can be accessed by existing Village Phone Operators (VPOs) who extend service to people without mobile phones as well as by people who have their own phones.

Source: Telegeography.

 

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:18:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The World Bank has agreed to give Tanzania USD100 million to improve telecoms infrastructure in governmental buildings, improve access in rural parts of the country and boost registration systems, Reuters reports citing bank officials as saying. The funding forms part of a total of USD151 million approved to boost telecoms access in Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique. Although Tanzania was home to a total of 14 million mobile and fixed line users at the end of March this year, up from 13.1 million at 31 December 2008, access to the internet, especially in rural areas, is patchy at best.

Source: Telegeography.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 1:05:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 26, 2009

The Hungarian mobile market continued to shrink in May, though at a lesser rate than in April. At the end of the month, the three Hungarian mobile operators had a total of 11.912 million subscribers, which is nearly 79,000 lower than in April. The National Communications Authority (NHH) also noted that in May, the number of subscriptions per 100 people dropped to 118.9 from the 119.6 recorded one month before.

At the end of May 2008, the number of subscriptions per 100 people was 114.1, while the highest recorded value until today was 121.8 at the end of December 2008.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, June 26, 2009 11:07:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Americans value broadband more than ever with home broadband adoption rates up 15 percent in 2009 and consumers favoring Internet over cell phone and cable TV, according to new research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

"We found that broadband is now in the 'must keep' category for Americans, even when economic times are tough," said Horrigan, principal author of the report. "Many consumers view their home broadband connection as a conduit for connecting to community and economic opportunities."

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

 

Friday, June 26, 2009 11:05:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the end of March 2009 global wireless subscribers reached 4.16 billion, an impressive 19% increase from a year earlier and not that far off the pace from what has been experienced over the last five years. However, TeleGeography's GlobalComms Insight forecasts that the average annual growth rate over the next five years will drop to 10%, and the fact that growth from 4Q 2008 to 1Q 2009 was just 4%, is one indicator of that slowdown.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 26, 2009 11:01:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of people signed up for mobile internet services with one of Hungary’s three mobile operators T-Mobile, Pannon and Vodafone – reached 607,479 at the end of May 2009, up from 565,510 the previous month. According to national regulator the NHH, Hungarian mobile users sent a total of 763,178GB of data last month, compared with 743,254GB in April, while average traffic per subscriber was 1.52GB down from 1.56GB in the previous month. T-Mobile's share of mobile data subscribers was 48.51% at the end of the month, while Pannon and Vodafone recorded market shares of 23.27% and 28.22%, respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 26, 2009 10:59:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Despite the balancing of supply, demand, and price since the turmoil of the early 2000s, the market for trans-Atlantic bandwidth faces a looming supply hurdle. The trans-Atlantic submarine cable market was a stark example of the capacity glut in the early 2000s. Six new cables entered service between 2000 and 2003, greatly exceeding near-term requirements. The excess capacity and competition crushed prices, resulting in a wave of bankruptcies and financial restructuring.

The bandwidth glut now lies well in the past: rapidly growing international bandwidth requirements restored the balance of supply and demand, and cable operators have been adding capacity to their networks since 2004. Superficially, the trans-Atlantic market now appears sound: prices have stabilized, and demand grew 38% in 2008. However, clouds loom on the horizon.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 26, 2009 10:58:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Some of the world’s largest service providers have beaten the recession blues and out-performed overall market growth, either by being focused on high growth markets or by merger and acquisition activities. China Mobile, Vodafone and America Movil fit into the first camp while China Unicom, Vivendi, China Telecom and Verizon are in the latter. All of these companies reported Q1 2009 revenues that were at least 10% higher than their respective Q1 2008 turnover. In aggregate, the seven recorded 16% revenue growth in the latest quarter (when measured in their local currencies).

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 26, 2009 10:55:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lord Stephen Carter, the UK’s communication minister, has released the final version of his Digital Britain report, which details proposals for improving and expanding the nation’s digital infrastructure. Echoing the previous indications in the interim report, which was published in January 2009, one of the main proposals is for the universal provision of broadband services at speeds of 2Mbps, which is expected to be delivered through a combination of fixed and mobile technologies. Approximately 15% of British homes are not currently able to receive 2Mbps services, and the government will release approximately GBP200 million (USD328 million) from unused funds previously set aside to assist elderly people with the switch from analogue to digital TV. To manage the process a Network Design and Procurement Group will be created, and will be responsible for structuring and running the procurement process, overseeing delivery, ensuring active stakeholder engagement, and accountability for the value for money use of the direct public contribution to the Universal Service Commitment.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:08:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil has added nearly 2.09 million mobile subscribers in the month of May, ending the month with a total mobile subscriber base of 157.502 million, up 1.88%. The prepaid subscriber base accounted for 81.75% of the total subscriber base whereas postpaid held 18.25%. The teledensity across the nation grew to 82.44% up from 68.23% in May 2008. Anatel reports that Vivo led the Brazilian mobile market with 29.38% of the total subscriber base, followed by Claro with 25.51%, TIM Brasil with 23.59% and Oi with 21.14%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:06:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Vietnamese mobile subscribers are still enjoying lower tariffs as the operators face intense competition among each other, the Ministry of Information and Communications reportedly reveal.The country is experiencing among world’s lowest tariffs, Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop said.

The Vietnamese mobile market, according to Hop, has seen some big changes in past two years. “Through the economic crisis and, earlier, high inflation, the industry’s revenues have continued to grow and the market has been expanding with the entry of many new players”, he added.

The statistics reveal, the country has added 10.4 million new subscribers in 2009, 30% more than it did in the same period in 2008.

Recently the four mobile operators in the country, Vinaphone, MobiFone, Viettel Telecom and EVN Telecom had reduced tariffs by an average of 20%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:05:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Greece, has introduced a new roaming service dubbed as Vodafone Europe.  The offer comprises of the Vodafone Europe Voice or Vodafone Europe Data subscriptions. Priced at EUR 18 per month, the package offers national rates for outgoing calls from EU to Vodafone networks in 11 countries in the EU as well as for international calls from Greece to EU networks. Moreover, receiving calls in Vodafone networks is free.  Vodafone Europe Data is priced at EUR 70 per month and offers 1 GB of data transfer in Greece and 11 Vodafone networks in EU. The 11 Vodafone networks where the two services can be used include Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:03:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan mobile subscriber base has reached 93.138 million in May, from 91.978 million in April, as per the figures from PTA. Mobilink leads the market with a subscriber base of 28.812 million from 28.381 million in April. Telenor Pakistan has extended its second place position to 20.481 million customers, from 20.107 million. Ufone secures third place with 19.853 million subscribers, up from 19.712 million in April. Followed to this Warid with 17.651 million customers and Zong had 6.263 million at the end of May. The subscribers of Istaphone dropped to 75,662 in May from 137,568 in April. Mobile density is reportedly 57.90 %, up from 57.10% in April.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:02:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Switzerland based mobile operator Swisscom anticipates to have nearly 300,000 iPhone subscribers, after the operator launches iPhone 3G S across the nation next week. According to the prediction it is estimated that by 2009-end around 500,000 Swiss mobile subscribers will have an iPhone with Swisscom’s competitors Sunrise and Orange Switzerland currently having 20,000 and 100,000 iPhone subscribers. It is also expected that the number of smartphone users will reach 1 million mark by 2009-end as the sales of smartphone handsets will grow.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 3:00:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has invited Caribbean countries to use the country’s Simon Bolivar (Venesat-1) satellite, which entered operations in January and covers the island region, reports BNamericas. Chavez added that, in partnership with his close ally Cuba, it was his aim to implement satellite-based tele-medicine, tele-education, internet access, social services, and mobile telephony programmes covering the whole region. Science and technology minister Jesse Chacon emphasised that Venesat-1 will enable the provision of telephony, high speed internet and TV services in isolated areas in Venezuela and will also be instrumental in the implementation of tele-medicine and tele-education programmes. The minister said work had begun to connect all university branches in the country with their main campuses via the satellite, and there were plans to connect hospitals in Caracas with small medical centres in remote southern areas. Uruguay is also entitled to use Venesat-1 for research purposes.

Chacon also announced that the state is undertaking a project to deploy a free public Wi-Fi mesh network covering 50 square kilometres in the city of Barquisimeto, the Lara state capital. Hotspots would initially be used principally by students and for tracing vehicles. Chacon inaugurated one of 50 digital access centres planned for Lara this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:23:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Mozambican government is reported to be planning a partial privatization of the state owned mobile network operator Moçambique Celular (mCel) the Mozambican Minister for Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula told the local O País newspaper.

The initial sale will be for just a five percent stake, which will be offered to Mozambicans. Later sales may be opened up to overseas investors, said Zucula.

The government had planned a partial sale last year, although this was cancelled due to "organizational difficulties"

According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the country ended last year with a shade under 5 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 24.3%. mCel is the dominant operator, with a market share of 71% - compared to 29% for rival, Vodacom.

A third mobile licenses is expected to be offered later this year, and Portugal Telecom has already expressed an interest in bidding.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:21:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The cost of buying a mobile phone in Kenya has dropped sharply after the government waived the import duty on mobile phones. Kenya's Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta cut the 16% VAT on new phone handsets in the government's budget statement - along with reducing import duties on a whole range of other products.

Click here to see full article

A recent report from the GSMA said that mobile subscribers across East Africa are taxed at some of the highest levels world-wide. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania impose mobile-specific taxes which when added to VAT can result in their respective consumers facing taxes as high as 30% in Uganda and Tanzania, and 27% in Kenya, considerably the highest rates in Africa (and the among the highest across the world as a whole).

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:19:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Irish former fixed line monopoly Eircom intends to enter the Republic’s 3G mobile broadband arena next week using its mobile arm Meteor’s network to launch an own-brand commercial service initially in Dublin and Cork, but with services to follow in Galway, Limerick, Waterford and other cities during the course of the year. The Sunday Business Post quotes an Eircom official as saying: ‘We expect to cover half the country’s population by the end of the year … This is a very fast growing market, and our customers want a combination of fixed and mobile services.’ The paper questioned whether the launch of an Eircom product would undermine Meteor’s own 3G offering ‘Broadband to Go’ – launched in March this year – but the spokesman dismissed the suggestion, saying ‘Nobody’s out to eat each other’s lunch’. Nevertheless he conceded it was the first time the telco had operated a ‘two-brand’ strategy for a single product.

The new service will offer download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, with expected average speeds of between 2.5Mbps and 3Mbps. Eircom faces a challenge from the Republic’s largest 3G broadband providers 3 Ireland, with 133,000 customers, Vodafone (121,000 customers) and O2 (98,000 customers). Meanwhile, Eircom’s Meteor subsidiary has just under 10,000 mobile broadband customers.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:17:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Handel reports that the German Bundesrat (Federal Council) has approved a proposal to use digital dividend for mobile broadband services. Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (FNA), can now begin to prepare an auction of digital dividend licences, which is expected to take place by Q1 2010. The approval will help the federal government work towards its broadband strategy, which calls for broadband with download speeds of at least 1Mbps to be available nationwide by 2010, and coverage of 50Mbps internet to reach 75% of German households by 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:15:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
  • The Top 20 global service providers generated USD251 billion in revenues during the first three months of 2009; 3% up on Q108 but 1% down on Q408
  • The Top 10 telecoms technology vendors generated USD59 billion in revenues during the quarter; 5% down from Q108 and a whopping 15% down from the last quarter
  • Wireless subscriber additions in the quarter fell off the pace a little as 153 million net new subscribers were added, 10 million fewer than in Q408
  • No less than 48% of Q1 wireless growth came from India and China which enjoyed an exceptional quarter; growth slowed in many other markets with Western and Eastern Europe being particularly slow
  • Countries like France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ukraine and the UK were all essentially flat in terms of mobile user growth, or even in slight decline
  • Broadband subscriber additions during the quarter came in at 14 million, in line with Q408 additions. China accounted for 30% of global growth; the US was the only other country to add more than 1 million subscribers in the quarter

 

Many may see bad news above, but reaction ought to be tempered in light of the cyclical nature of the market; the final quarter of any year tends to be the biggest quarter for sales and there is often a drop-off experienced in the first quarter of a new year. That said, in 2009 the global recession has clearly affected the market.

The global telecoms service market is experiencing a gradual slowdown in growth, caused not by the world economy but by near saturation in many well-developed markets. Historic growth in this market has been over 6% but TeleGeography forecasts that will drop to an average 3.5% over the next five years. Against this backdrop, the 3% year-on-year revenue growth for the Top 20 service providers can be seen as too sharp a fall, happening too soon. It should also be noted that the 3% growth is bolstered from mergers and acquisitions, and is not just organic growth. The best organic growth performance came from China Mobile, Vodafone and America Movil.

Set against the longer-term trends the quarterly growth for wireless and broadband subscribers were a bit on the soft side, but they are still reporting decent growth despite a trying economic environment.

The biggest hit in the quarter was clearly on the telecoms equipment vendors, which have been hit with a treble whammy of reduced spending by consumers, service providers and enterprises alike. Huawei, Samsung, RIM and LGE had at least some cause to be pleased with their Q1 revenues, while Nokia, Cisco, Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent will be struggling to take any good news from theirs. Bottom of the class Nortel, meanwhile, dropped out of the Top 10 ranking altogether.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:14:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azerbaijan Business Center writes that Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) is planning to distribute frequencies required for the provision of third generation services soon, with the aim of enabling cellcos to launch commercially by the end of 2009. The report states that the country’s Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov said all three of Azerbaijan’s GSM operators - Azercell, Bakcell and Azerfon (Nar Mobile) - have already applied for a licence to launch 3G services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the MCIT submitted a 3G frequency use proposal to the three cellcos in July 2008, but few developments have emerged since.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:12:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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.

Click here to see full article

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.

Click here to see full article

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.

Click here to see full article

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.

Click here to see full article

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.’

Click here to see full article

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.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Click here to see full article
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.

Click here to see full article

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)  #     |