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 Monday, December 07, 2009

France Telecom and Denmark’s TDC are set to merge their Swiss operations — Orange Switzerland and Sunrise, respectively — in a move that would create a powerful rival to the market leader – Swisscom. France Telecom said it will pay 1.5 billion EUR to TDC to become a 75% shareholder in the combined entity, while TDC will hold the remaining 25%.

The new firm will have approximately 3.4 million mobile and 1.1 million fixed and broadband customers, accounting for a 38% share of the Swiss mobile market and 13% of the fixed broadband connections. At the same time, the merger is expected to generate synergies to the tune of 2.1 billion EUR.

According to France Telecom’s Gervais Pellissier: “The planned merger of Sunrise and Orange Switzerland marks a new significant step in the long-term investment by France Telecom-Orange in Switzerland. Following the UK joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile ,France Telecom completes another major in-market consolidation, consistent with its M&A policy.”

At the moment, Swisscom dominates the Swiss mobile market with an estimated 62% marketshare (5.5 million connections) in Q3 2009. Sunrise holds the second position with 1.9 million users (a 21% market share), while Orange is third with 1.6 million users (18%).

Source: Intomobile via GSMA


Monday, December 07, 2009 5:28:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cell phones have cut dramatically the number of women dying during childbirth in Amensie village in south-central Ghana, according to local health officials.

Health and aid workers say while other improvements in primary healthcare in Amensie - as part of the Millennium Villages project - have contributed to the drop, the availability of cell phones has been pivotal.

"When we did not have mobile telecommunication, women were dying," district nurse Madam Lydia Owusu told IRIN. "It was horrifying to be pregnant here before this project came along...Mothers used to bleed to death while waiting in their homes, hoping a health worker would come to help them."

"We have not recorded a single maternal death in Amensie village since 2006 when this project started," she said.

Before cell phone and internet technology were introduced to Amensie, some 20 women died in childbirth each year, according to Owusu. In 2008 none did.

On average 560 women die during childbirth or from pregnancy complications per 100,000 live births in Ghana, according to the UN.

Click here to see full article

Source: allAfrica.com

Monday, December 07, 2009 5:20:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Venezuelan state-owned telecoms operator CANTV aims to launch pay-TV services over both IPTV and satellite technology next year, the government said in a statement, quoted by BNamericas.

CANTV has already deployed 1,666 satellite stations nationwide through which the company expects to provide new communications services to the national market and other countries across the region, via Venezuela’s own Venesat-1 satellite, company president Franco Silva said, adding that the telco has doubled its average annual investment since its renationalisation in May 2007. Meanwhile, CANTV has increased the number of fixed telephony subscribers three times over since that date, the country's science and technology minister Jesse Chacon said, whilst it offers ADSL broadband connectivity nationwide.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, December 07, 2009 5:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) prepares to enter the telecoms market in 2010 as the country’s seventh fibre operator, incumbent telcos are increasingly concerned that network sabotage will become more prevalent as competition intensifies, Business Daily reports.

Telkom Kenya and Kenya Data Networks (KDN) have been the most vocal about the alleged acts of sabotage, with each saying their networks are now attacked around ten times per month, up from around four instances six months ago. Mickael Ghossein, Telkom Kenya CEO, said: ‘There are too many fibres and competition is becoming stiff. We would urge the government to step in and resolve these issues to protect our national resources and investments.’ It is estimated that each instance of sabotage costs up to KES500,000 (USD6,640) to repair. KPLC, meanwhile, is in the midst of preparations to launch its network in the next month, joining Telkom, KDN, Jamii Telecom, Wananchi, Access Kenya and the government in the country’s fibre market.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, December 07, 2009 4:40:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Honduran telecoms regulator Conatel will reportedly publish its decision on establishing new asymmetric interconnection rates between incumbent operator Hondutel and private fixed line and mobile operators this Friday. However, Hondutel is thought to be unhappy at the plan having argued long and hard for the implementation of symmetrical interconnection rates. Jorge Aguilar, the managing director of Hondutel, is quoted as saying that his firm has made every effort to convince Conatel that it would be unfair to impose asymmetric rates on the telco.

Hondutel’s problem is that under the watchdog’s plan, it would be required to pay six cents to mobile operators for terminating calls, whereas they would only be required to pay three cents to use the fixed PSTN. Aguilar argues that ‘this can not continue like this, that's an injustice and we believe the interconnection charges should be symmetric’.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, December 07, 2009 4:35:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ukrainian telecommunications regulator NKRZ announced that the tender for 3G frequencies has been cancelled. The NKRZ will repay the tender guarantees posted by the three Ukrainian mobile operators who qualified for the tender, scheduled for 30 November. The regulator took the decision after Ukraine's president issued an order blocking the release of radio frequencies held by the military for the 3G auction.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 07, 2009 4:31:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Companies across the globe are planning opposing strategies as their companies emerge from the recession reports a study from RONIN. In the U.S., 58% are employing tactical, short-term initiatives that stress cost cutting and deferred investments and longer-term planning. The other 42% are taking a more strategic view by re-engineering their business models, making acquisitions, and forging new relationships.

­In past recessions a similar pattern has emerged and McKinsey and Co. has studied this, concluding that the "strategic" companies emerge stronger while the "short term" companies emerge with weaker competitive positions.

The current study from RONIN links the behaviors of these two types of companies with the role of Information Technology and clearly shows that the "strategic" companies are investing more in IT, have more advanced technology in place and regard IT as more strategically important than their "short term" counterparts.

Outside the U.S., the percentage of "strategic" companies is higher, except in Japan, and the emerging markets covered in the study - China, Brazil and Mexico - show an even higher percentage of "strategic" companies.

During 2009, overall spending on IT will fall by 5.1% over 2008 levels as the decreased level of spending in "short term" companies outstrips the gains in the "strategic" companies. This is, however, an improvement since just three months ago when the previous Wave of the research was completed, when a decrease of 8.1% was expected for 2009.

The recession has caused a change in what IT buyers look for from vendors. While there was a significant emphasis on "low cost" in the early days of the recession, the emphasis has now shifted to a desire to work with vendors that have a long-term strategic vision, best-in-class and innovative solutions and are easy to do business with. Lowest cost is well down the list of priorities.

When this is coupled with the admission by most that their technology implementation is mainstream or behind mainstream, 2010 could shape up as a bumper year for vendors, particularly if they are targeting the "strategic" companies.

Methodology

RONIN conducted this third phase of the ongoing program studying the impact that the current worldwide recession had on companies' IT initiatives in early October, 2009. Over 4,900 surveys were completed over the three waves by IT decision-makers both in IT Departments and in the lines of business (e.g. finance, marketing) across 12 countries - U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, China, Japan, and Australia. Respondents were members of RONIN global IT Decision-Maker Panel.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:08:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Malaysian telecoms regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), has reportedly set aside MYR500 million (USD147.8 million) for the development of broadband penetration in the Sarawak region, according to Bernama.

The funds have been allocated from the national universal service provision (USP) fund, and are expected to assist in the expansion of broadband services in the region for the three years 2008-2010. Of the money earmarked, approximately MYR100 million has already been spent, with more likely to follow soon as a number of new contracts have recently been awarded. Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang has said that there are 482 MCMC-sponsored telecommunication towers in the Sarawak state, while a further 203 are in the process of being constructed, noting: ‘My ministry, through the MCMC, pledges to continue to work together with the state government towards achieving 50% household national broadband penetration rate by the end of 2010. The penetration in Sarawak now is at 16.7%. Although the state still has a long way to go, it is certainly not at the bottom of the table nationwide.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:05:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Tigo has launched commercial mobile phone services in Rwanda, reports East African Business Week.
 
The service will operate using the 072 prefix code. Technical Director Mohamed Dembele said the network currently has 111 base stations, with 26 in the capital Kigali and the rest in the provinces. Currently, Tigo has 53 percent population coverage, and around 30,000 customers have already registered for services. The network is live in 13 out of 30 districts in the country, with coverage expected to increase to 24 districts by next year and the entire country by 2011. Tigo is a brand of Millicom International Cellular (MIC). The company will compete against leading mobile operator MTN Rwanda, and incumbent Rwandatel, which switched to GSM technology a year ago.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:24:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Libyan government has announced plans to sell small stakes in the country's two mobile phone networks as part of a wider plan to sell off state owned corporations. The IPOs will offer shares in the government's two mobile telephone operators, al Madar and Libyana, as well as in Iron and Steel Company and National Commercial Bank.

The government also announced details of tax breaks to make trading on the local stock exchange more appealing to investors.

"The trading volume remains small because we are still at the start, but I expect that with new regulations ... the Libyan stock market will become one of the most active in North Africa and the Arab region," Seleem Naas, chairman of Libyan brokerage Sarab Foreign Exchange and Financial Services told the Reuters news agency.

Earlier this year, Etisalat said it had submitted a bid for Libya's third mobile phone license, although nothing further has been heard.

According to figures from the Mobile World, Libyana is the dominant operator with 83% of the market, followed by Al Madar. The country has a population penetration level of 134%.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:22:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The cost of sending an SMS in India may be set for a substantial reduction if the telecoms regulator, TRAI decides it needs to regulate the tariffs. The regulator has long been wary of regulating tariffs, but recent media fuss over the cost of sending an SMS has pushed it into a review of the policy.

"We are going to issue a consultation paper to review telecom tariffs within 20 days to a month.", a TRAI official told The Economic Times newspaper. If regulated, then it is expected that subscribers can see the new tariff rates coming into effect by the end of Q1 2010.

According to the official, the move would have come sooner had the regulator not had its hands full with a consultation process on controversial 3G spectrum issues.

It is widely expected that plunging costs for sending SMS would lead to a huge spike in usage, much as happened in The Philippines, which has one of the highest usages of SMS in the mobile world. Such a move would also be a boon for SMSC vendors as the networks rush to upgrade their messaging capacity.

The newspaper claimed that the true cost of sending an SMS would never have come to light if new entrants into the Indian market had not been forced to sign interconnection agreements with existing operators at a price that is far higher than the actual cost.

Source: Cellular News

SMS
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:18:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Mobile phone penetration levels in Chile has passed the 100% mark, according to information released by Undersecretary of Telecommunications Pablo Bello. There are now 16.6 million registered phone accounts in the country.

Chile is the third country to reach saturation in Latin America.

Bello added that further competition between Chile's three biggest providers - Movistar, Entel and Claro - will keep prices low for consumers. Prices are set to fall over the next five years as part of a pricing regime agreed earlier this year with the regulator.

"The intense competition we now see between providers will continue to keep the costs low for users," he said. "The providers will also extend their coverage and develop better service standards as they fight for a bigger market share."

Based on figures from the Mobile World analysts, the market shares of the three main operators at the end of June were: Movistar (43.7%), Entel (36.6%) and Claro (19.6%).

Land line subscribers have fallen to just over 2.3 million lines.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:15:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The deadline for the submission of bids for a 60% stake in state-owned Telecommunications d'Haiti (Teleco) has been extended from 9 November to 30 November. The Haitian monopoly fixed line operator is determined to attract an international strategic investor from the telecoms sector to inject capital and expertise to help upgrade and expand its networks and return the company to profitability. An international tender was originally announced in June, with applications from financial groups in consortium with telecoms operators also being accepted. The revised timetable, published on the telco’s public-private partnership website (www.haititelecoppp.org) is as follows: 30 November–4 December 2009 ‘Evaluation of bidders' eligibility and qualification statements and technical offers’; 4 December ‘Notification [on the] evaluation’; 7 December ‘Opening of financial offers, final evaluation and identification of Preferred Bidder’; 9 December ‘Notification of award’; 21 December ‘Remittance of the Payment Guarantee and execution of the Share Subscription Agreement by Central Bank of Haiti (Banque de la Republique d’Haiti [BRH])’; 15 January 2010 ‘Closing of the transaction’.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Teleco recently shed approximately two-thirds of its workforce in preparation for privatisation, whilst a major factor in attracting a suitable private sector partner could be the incumbent's wireless spectrum assets: it holds 900MHz and 1900MHz GSM mobile frequencies and has permission to launch 3G services, as well as nationwide WiMAX wireless broadband spectrum. Teleco also operates a fibre-optic network in the capital Port-au-Prince, and jointly controls an international fibre-optic submarine cable link to the US via the Bahamas Domestic Submarine Network. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the commercial arm of the World Bank, is acting as adviser for the public-private partnership project, aided by several international consultancies.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 10:11:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 19, 2009

­A UK bus company, Arriva has launched a mobile ticketing service, which the company says is believed to be the largest deployment of its kind in the world, covering approximately 1,000 routes served by Arriva's regional fleet of 4,500 buses. It will enable passengers to use their mobile phones to purchase tickets and then display them to the driver.

Arriva has worked in partnership with Concept Data Technologies and mBlox to create the m-ticketing service, which is a free to download mobile phone application. Once downloaded it allows people to purchase a range of tickets. Tickets can be bought either directly through the application via a registered card or by purchasing credit from any PayPoint outlet either by cash or card.

People using the m-ticketing service can save also 10 per cent off Arriva four-weekly saver tickets.

The m-ticketing technology can be operated on any GPRS enabled phone. The service also works on BlackBerry smartphones and from early 2010 will be iPhone compatible as well. Phones with black & white screens, which are typically four or more years old, cannot be used.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:56:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Caribbean mobile operator Digicel has ended the first half of this financial year with10.3 million customers worldwide, up by 35 percent from 7.6 million at 30 September 2008. Digicel operates in 32 markets across the Caribbean, Central America and the South Pacific. Digicel's revenues for the six months to September reached USD 857 million across its 24 markets in the Caribbean and in El Salvador.
This represents a 3 percent increase year-on-year. EBITDA for the six months to September rose by 10 percent to USD 364, with the EBITDA margin at 44 percent. Digicel served around 7.3 million subscribers in the in the Caribbean and in El Salvador at 30 September, up by 7 percent year-on-year. In the three months to September, the operator added around 98,000 subscribers in the region.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:51:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom (DT) has announced the launch of a new double-play package bundling its IPTV service ‘T-Home Entertain’ and fixed line telephony.

The new ‘Entertain Pur’ package is the first time DT has offered IPTV without also providing an internet connection. It is priced at EUR27.95 (USD41.7) per month, or EUR39.95 with a flat rate for domestic fixed line calls. ‘With Entertain Pur we offer telephone and TV from a single source, reaching new user groups for our Entertain service,’ noted Christian P. Illek, T-Home board member, adding, ‘Customers who are not interested in internet services do not have to miss out on the innovative possibilities of Entertain any longer.’ The package includes over 120 TV channels, as well as access to an online video store, TV archive, time-shift function and HD content. At 30 September 2009 the company recorded a total of 678,000 IPTV subscribers, up from 333,000 a year earlier.

Source: Telegeography

Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:45:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of France is looking to inject up to EUR4 billion (USD6 billion) into high-tech infrastructure projects through its national loan programme, with the lion’s share of the funding going towards subsidising the deployment of broadband telecoms networks in smaller cities and rural areas, Reuters quotes unnamed government sources as saying.

It is understood that as a result of the levels of investment being considered (EUR2 billion-EUR3 billion), the government hopes to stimulate the building of fibre-optic broadband networks capable of offering high speed connections at four times those currently offered by existing technology. The proposed national loan programme, which aims to fund strategic investments and boost the development of the wider French economy, is apparently in the early stages of planning within Nicolas Sarkozy's government. The president is expected to decide the final plan in early December.

Source: Telegeography

Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:40:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 18, 2009

­Pakistan based mobile network operator, Mobilink has reported that its subscriber base grew by 900,000 net additions in Q3 2009 to reach just over 30 million. The customer base was down 4.2% year on year, as a result of the subscriber base clean-up undertaken throughout 2008 and early 2009, but has been growing throughout Q2 and Q3 09.

According to its internal reporting, Mobilink's market share increased from 40.62% in Q2 2009 to 40.70% by the end of Q3. According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Mobilink's market share in Q3 was 30.9%. This market share is based on information disclosed by other operators which use different subscriber recognition polices.

Revenues during the quarter rose by 15.7% to US$934.6 million.

At the end of Q3, several changes in the tax structure were implemented as approved by the government. These include reduction in the federal excise duty (FED) on mobile usage from 21% to 19.5% and reduction in new SIM activation tax from PKR 500 to PKR 250. The new taxes were applicable from 1st July, 2009.

For the sales channels multiple retailer engagement activities were executed throughout the year including retailer promotion, franchise competition and sales blitz activities. Keeping in mind the vast geography of Pakistan, Mobilink introduced the concept of Jazz service points (JSP) to increase its reach to the remotest villages and towns. In addition to providing easy access to basic products and services, these service points also help in the up-selling of existing services.

During 2009, Mobilink continued its network expansion with investment of US$128 million till end of Q3. This Capex has enhanced the network's infrastructure, quality and coverage. Total cell sites stand at 8,025 till end of Q3.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:10:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Madagascan incumbent Telecom Malagasy (Telma) has announced the commercial launch of 3G services through its mobile subsidiary Telma Mobile, with the company’s chief executive officer Patrick Pisal Hamida noting: ‘Today [is] a new era in Madagascar for telecommunications. Telma crosses a major step by being the first operator to offer 3G [in] Madagascar.’ The telco will offer downlink speeds of up to 3.6Mbps over its network, although it has not officially revealed where the new services will initially be available. It has, however, said that both pre- and post-paid mobile 3G options will be available, and no change of SIM card for existing subscribers will be necessary.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at end-June 2009 Telma Mobile trailed both Orange Madagascar and Zain Madagascar in terms of subscribers, claiming 25.3% market share with around 1.2 million customers.

Source: Telegeography

3G
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:05:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of mobile broadband users has doubled to 419,000 on 30 June of this year, according to a report from the Danish regulator IT and Telecom agency.

The report also shows that mobile data usage has grown from 1.3 billion MB in H1 2008 to 3.5 billion MB in H1 2009. This represents a growth of just over 160 percent in one year. In addition, 876,000 Danes used their phones for internet services. At the same time, the number of internet subscriptions via fixed broadband access rose 24,000 or a little more than 1 percent in the first half including 16,000 FTTH connections, 2,000 cable connections and 3,000 FTTO connections. On 30 June 2009, the number of fixed broadband connections amounted to 2.05 million. At the end of June 27 percent of all internet subscriptions via broadband access had declared downstream speeds of at least 10 Mbps growing from 10 percent in H1 2008 and the number of broadband subscriptions with less than 4 Mbps decreased from 45 percent to 23 percent during the same period. Other findings include that the number of of Danes subscribing to bundled services, with two or more services – telephony, TV and/or internet – bundled together, grew to 303,000 at the end of June, up 86 percent.

At the same time, the number of triple play subscribers grew almost 80 percent to 110,000.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 9:58:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 17, 2009

­Spanish operators have blocked some three million prepay SIM cards from making or receiving phone calls pending their owners registering their ownership details. Users of the unregistered SIMs will get an automatic message played when trying to make a phone call instructing them to visit a local retailer.

The operators were due to completely cut off the phones, but a last minute agreement by Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, gives the SIM card owners up to six months to register their ownership before the lines go dead - and losing any prepay credit they may contain.

The government considered a law to require all mobile phone users to register their ownership details with the network operators following the Madrid terrorist attack, which involved the use of anonymous SIM cards. The current legislation came into effect in 2007.

Earlier this year, the Interior Ministry launched a media campaign to remind mobile phone users to register their details.

According to statistics from the Mobile World analysts, the country had 54 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of June - representing a population penetration level of 133%.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 4:21:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Digicel Bermuda has announced plans to offer a HSPA+ upgrade early next year - with the network deployment already under way.

Making the announcement on stage on the final night of the Bermuda Music Festival to a capacity crowd Wayne Caines, CEO of Digicel Bermuda said; "From next year, Digicel's Bigger, Better 3G+ Network will be the fastest network available in Bermuda. Digicel always sets new standards in everything it does - and this move is no different.

"Our 3G+ network will use the very latest in 3G technology which deliver speeds that are a number of times faster than the standard 3G speeds that customers in Bermuda have available. To ensure our customers always get the best, we have chosen what is known as "Evolved HSPA technology" - which is only in use by twelve other networks across the globe. That means Digicel customers will enjoy ground breaking internet speeds on their handsets and access to the biggest and best network wherever they are on the island and at an affordable price."

In addition to launching its 3G+ network, Digicel will continue to maintain and enhance its data-enabled island-wide EDGE network.

Source: Cellular News

3G
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 4:13:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The number of worldwide mobile subscribers will reach 5.9 billion by 2013, reports Infonetics Research. The firm notes that there were nearly 4 times more mobile subscribers than access line subscribers worldwide in 2008 (3.9 billion vs. 1 billion). In addition, the number of mobile subscribers grew 17.4% in 2008 over 2007, while access line subscribers declined 5.5%.

The global recession did not prevent people from using communication services, but it clearly accelerated the pace of wireline-to-mobile substitution. China, which had half a billion mobile subscribers in 2008, and India together make Asia Pacific the world's largest mobile subscriber region, now and into the future. The EMEA region is next, with strong growth driven by Africa. Mobile subscriptions will continue to grow strongly over at least the next five years, driven mainly by basic voice service needs in these regions, particularly in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China)," projects Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.

Access lines are disappearing fastest in North America and China, due to the move to fixed-to-mobile substitutions, the switch from copper to fiber lines, and the recession, during which many people ditch their landlines and keep only their mobile or smartphone.

The number of PON FTTH subscribers worldwide is expected to soar at a compound annual growth rate of 32% from 2008 to 2013.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 4:11:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­ITU has announced plans to set up a global database that will log products declaring conformity to ITU standards (ITU-T Recommendations) - specifically around interoperability issues.

The programme will support much more informed purchasing decisions for end users - be they companies or consumers - and has the potential to widen markets, increase competition and decrease costs. It will allow purchasers to freely consult a comprehensive global database to check whether a product conforms to ITU standards, or will work with other network elements.

Lack of conformity and interoperability of ICT equipment is a major concern, especially in developing countries. Addressing interoperability is one of the founding principles of the ITU, and the new programme seeks to significantly reduce the problems that have faced service providers and others and bring renewed confidence to the market.

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: "A dizzying array of similar products can sometimes make purchasing decisions difficult. Interoperability is at the heart of what ITU does, so we have put in place procedures that will greatly assist those faced with often complex buying decisions. This new programme will significantly reduce the problems telcos, ICT service providers, businesses and consumers face, including unwittingly being locked into proprietary solutions. I believe this initiative is of great significance in our efforts to bridge the digital divide, but will be equally beneficial to those in the developed world."

The new ITU programme will also focus on skills training and the development of regional testing centres for developing countries. It will be voluntary and open to ITU members and non-members alike.

Conformity to ITU-T Recommendations will be declared only via accredited laboratories or certifiers; testing will not carried out by ITU itself. Once accepted and entered into the new database, products will be given a unique identifier which can be referenced by the manufacturing company.

ITU-T Study Groups are actively developing standards for conformity and interoperability testing - for example, test suites for IPTV - which can be used by external certifiers.

As part of the new programme ITU will also organize a series of interoperability events that will allow two or more vendors to get together to verify that their equipment interoperates satisfactorily. An interoperability declaration can then be added to the database. ITU will also hold regional workshops and tutorials on conformity assessment and interoperability.

Research on how to implement a standards conformity and interoperability programme was initiated with the adoption of Resolution 76 at ITU's World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08). The recent session of ITU's governing council (20-30 October, 2009) has now given the formal go-ahead.

Source: Cellular News

ITU
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:24:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The UAE based Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (trading as du) has reported a 51% rise in its subscriber base over the past year to 3.14 million customers at the end of Q3 2009.

Revenues for the quarter were AED1.33 billion (US$362 million) consistent with the previous quarter and up 25.8% vs Q3 2008. EBITDA was AED297.3 million (US$81 million), representing an increase of 22.8% vs Q2 09, and 192.9% vs Q3 08.

Revenue performance across the fixed and mobile segments was positive with mobile providing the largest gains with increased subscriber numbers. Revenue growth was seen across all business segments, with the exception of the wholesale which was highlighted in Q2 09 as being exceptional.

Net profit (before royalty) was AED157.1 million (US$42.8 million) for the quarter a 398% outperformance vs Q3 08 and up 36% vs Q2 09.

Commenting on the results, Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman of du, said, "In a challenging economic environment, du continues to focus on its core business objectives, our customers, by providing continual upgrades to our network infrastructure and product range in order to bring continued customer satisfaction on all interactions with the company. Both profit and subscriber number growth is a clear indication that we have a robust business strategy".

During the third quarter du's pre and post paid mobile subscriber numbers saw continued growth with the addition of 25,900 post-paid mobile subscribers, representing a 55% increase in subscriber additions over the second quarter as a result of continued marketing strategy to increase market share. Post-paid customers represent 3.6% of du's mobile business. Pre-paid mobile subscribers also increased with an additional 207,300 subscribers added for the quarter.

du's ongoing capital expenditure (CAPEX) programme is on track to exceed AED 2 billion (US$545 million) in 2009, with AED 424 million accounted for during Q3 2009 bringing year to date expenditure to AED 1466.7 million. du expects to continue with its CAPEX programme and expects to commit an additional AED 2 billion during 2010.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:17:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The body managing the tender for the Solomon Island's first competitive mobile license tender has announced that it has received three applications. The applicants are Digicel, bemobile and Milestone Developments.The Evaluation Committee has begun reviewing the applications and will be making further announcements in due course as provided in the Request for Applications.

The country currently has just the one telecoms operator, Solomon Telekom (trading as Breeze GSM).Solomon Telekom is estimated by the Mobile World subscriber database to have ended Q1 '09 with just over 35,000 subscribers - representing a population penetration level of just 6%.

Digicel was granted a license in 2006, but Solomon Telekom successfully sued to block the network launch pending a review of its monopoly status.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 3:07:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­South Africa's MTN Group has announced that it had a shade under 108.5 million subscribers at the end of September. This is a 5% increase for the quarter from 103.2 million subscribers recorded at the end of  June 2009 and a 19.6% increase for the year to date.

The South and East Africa (SEA) region increased its subscriber base by a very modest 0.5% for the quarter. This was primarily due to the disappointing negative movement of the South Africa subscriber base which contributes 64% to the region. South Africa's subscriber base declined from 17.23 million at the end of June 2009 to 16.42 million at the end of September. The main reason for the movement is the significantly lower number of gross connections following the implementation of RICA in August, which requires PrePay SIM cards to be registered with the operators. Given the current market uncertainty following the RICA implementation there are challenges with South Africa achieving its revised target of zero net additions for the full year.

Uganda increased its subscriber base by 11% in the quarter following the continued success of MTN Zone which now constitutes 95% of the total prepaid base.

The West and Central Africa (WECA) region increased its subscriber base by 5% for the quarter driven mainly by Nigeria which accounts for 58% of the region's subscribers. Nigeria recorded a 5% increase in its subscriber base to 28.76 million mainly due to continued network rollout, innovative product offerings and the effectiveness of the distribution channels implemented earlier in 2009. Ghana maintained its market share and increased its subscriber base by 2,6% despite aggressive competitor activity. Both Cameroon and Cote d'Ivoire increased their subscriber bases by 4% and 5% to 4.19 million and 4.21 million, respectively.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region recorded a 9% increase in subscribers for the quarter. This was largely due to continued growth from the Iran operation, which contributes 62% to the region's subscribers and increased its base by 8% to 20.7 million. Iran's growth was attributable mainly to expanded network coverage and continued promotional activity. Syria increased its subscriber base by 13% to 4 million, well above expectations. Afghanistan, although a relatively smaller operation, has been steadily contributing positively to the region's growth and has gained No. 1 position in the market from No 3 at the beginning of 2009.

MTN has revised its subscriber net addition guidance for the year for South Africa to zero and for Syria to 550,000 while other individually disclosed country guidance remains the same. MTN expects to achieve the total group subscriber net addition guidance for 2009 of 22.6 million.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2:52:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Bangladesh based mobile network operator, Grameenphone (GP) says that it added almost 1 million new subscriptions in the third quarter of 2009, pushing the total subscription base near to 22 million. However, GP crossed 22 million subscription base mark on 1st October.

Grameenphone CEO Oddvar Hesjedal, expressed his satisfaction with the subscription growth posted for the third quarter, "the market has just crossed the 50 million subscription mark and GP serves the largest share of that market (44%) among the operators. It pleases me that we have been successful in adding a significant amount of the new subscriptions to the market in the last quarter, which indicates that Grameenphone is the preferred service provider."

Average revenue per user (ARPU) increased by 6% compared to same period of last year mainly as a result of a raised tariff floor.

"A rising ARPU is a good indicator for both the industry and a sign of slow economic recovery," said the Grameenphone CEO. "However, reduction or removal of the BDT 800 SIM tax will help the economy recover sooner because internet and telecommunication penetration generates faster economic activity and community development," he added.

EBITDA margin has also improved to 57% compared to the same period of last year of 48.9% due to higher revenue, combined with lower network operation and maintenance costs. Capital expenditure was also lower during this quarter, in accordance with the current traffic demand.

Following the formal approval for Grameenphone's initial public offering (IPO), trading of the Grameenphone shares at the Chittagong and Dhaka stock exchanges is anticipated to commence in November. This is subject to approval from the regulators and stock exchanges.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 2:45:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mobile broadband connections will exceed fixed-line broadband connections in 2011, according to a report to be released by mobileSQUARED later this week. ­By 2011 the number of active 3G devices in the UK will be 36.3 million, as well as 6.4 million dongles/embedded devices, taking the total number of mobile broadband connections to 42.7 million versus expected broadband internet users of 42.5 million.

While the analyst house predicts internet usage over the mobile phone will remain below traditional fixed-line usage during the forecast period of 2009-2014, the company's research has revealed that between 1-10% of a company's internet traffic is already being generated from a mobile device.

"Mobile will become the primary access point for brands and businesses communicating with its consumers within two years," said Nick Lane, chief analyst at mobileSQUARED, and author of the report. "Mobile is always-on, and the average user carries their device for an average of 16 hours a day. So if a company or brand is not already considering how to use mobile, then they need to because their customers are."

However, not all of the 3G broadband connections in 2011 will be used for surfing by UK consumers. The report forecasts the number of mobile internet users in the UK will top 32 million by 2014 (equating to 90% of 3G broadband subscribers), but believes the 32 million figure could be reached faster with clearer data pricing from UK operators as well as the introduction of variable data pricing.

"Data pricing in the UK is still confusing," adds Lane. "Mobile operators and high-street retailers produce monthly magazines dedicated to handsets and tariffs, how can that not be confusing to the consumer? The number of mobile internet users would expand even faster if mobile data pricing reflected existing models, such as variable pricing to appeal to the different demographics. The cash-poor, time-rich youth democratic cannot afford the flat-rata plans, so why not offer a data pricing concession to encourage adoption?"

During the forecast period 2009-2014, mobileSQUARED predicts mobile content and services revenues (including apps) in the UK will almost treble from revenues of £242.1 million in 2009. Similarly, the analyst house forecasts that revenue from the core internet-based mobile advertising models of banners and links, search and tenancy, will be worth £83.7 million in 2014.

To find out how to attend the Roadshow and receive a complimentary copy of the Taking Internet Mobile: UK report visit www.mobilesquaredroadshow.com

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, November 03, 2009 10:58:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, has announced the launch of a new national internet project designed to bring free internet access to the country’s population in a bid to reduce the digital divide.

The first phase of the ‘Internet For All’ project will see access points installed in 500 locations across eleven of the country’s cities; Penonome, Colon, Columbus, David, Chitre, Arraijan, La Chorrera, Santiago, Sona, Pese and the capital, Panama City. The announcement comes four days after the government inked a deal with local vendor Liberty Technologies which will see the latter deploy a combination of Wi-Fi and WiMAX technologies for this free internet access. Download speeds for the connections are expected to be up to 512kbps, and a number of access centres will be set up in locations such as schools, parks and libraries. While no date has been announced for the second phase of the project, it has been revealed that it will cover cities Changuinola, Aguadulce, Meteti, Ocu and Los Santos.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:28:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The UAE’s incumbent telco Etisalat has launched a new 30Mbps broadband package over its new fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network. ‘Etisalat is committed to provide the best of technology to its customers by introducing advanced technologies like FTTH in the UAE,’ said Mohammed Khalfan Al Qamzi, CEO of Etisalat, adding, ‘Our FTTH network is on a fast track roll-out; Etisalat is getting ready to announce Abu Dhabi as the first connected capital in the world in the coming months and aims to connect all the UAE households and premises through its FTTH network by 2011, which will become yet another milestone in its own right.’

The telco has reportedly already connected over 550,000 households to its FTTH network. The 30Mbps package is priced at AED699 (USD190.35) per month, and includes free installation, one month's rental waiver, five free email addresses with 5GB capacity, and eight hours of free access each month to over 350 Etisalat wireless hotspots.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:24:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Millicom International Cellular (MIC), the telecoms group with operations in twelve countries across Africa and Latin America, has posted revenues of USD856.2 million for the third quarter of 2009, a 7% increase year-on-year.

The growth is partly attributable to strong performance at Amnet, the company’s cable and broadband unit, as well as its African subsidiaries. Net income, however, slipped 11.5% to USD142.7 million on the back of higher interest expense and taxes. The results exclude operations in Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka, which Millicom agreed to sell earlier this month. The full divestment of all three subsidiaries is expected to take place by the end of 2009, generating approximately USD565 million in cash for the company.

Chief Financial Officer Francois-Xavier Roger said the company was looking at acquisitions and bidding for new licences in Africa and Latin America. ‘We have nothing well advanced at this stage, but we have a few opportunities that we continue to discuss with third parties,’ he stated.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:20:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Fiji has announced new SMS charges for its prepaid subscribers. The on-net tariff has been slashed to FJD 0.15/SMS compared to FJD 0.20 previously. Vodafone will also continue to offer FJD 0.05 on-net promotional text offer from 00:00 to 5:00 daily.

Source: Wireless Federation

SMS | Tariffs
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:13:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vodafone Ghana said yesterday it is pushing for the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) in the country.

The company’s head of corporate communications, Albert Don-Chebe, said: ‘The claims and counter claims by network operators on which one has the best network quality will all be put to rest when MNP is implemented to give the subscriber the power to decide which network is best.’ The Minister of Communications Haruna Iddrisu had earlier confirmed his commitment to MNP during his vetting in parliament, saying: ‘With as many as six mobile operators in Ghana it has become necessary for MNP to be implemented to give customers the choice and flexibility to be on any network they want and I can assure you that I am committed to its implementation.’ However, he noted at the time that the introduction of MNP was dependent on the setting up of the appropriate regulatory and technical environment ready to use it. The national telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority, said about a year ago that it was standardising the national numbering system before the implementation of MNP, possibly in 2011.

Source: Telegeography

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 3:57:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |