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 Tuesday, January 12, 2010

­Bangladesh's Grameenphone has announced that it crossed the 23 million active subscriber mark last week, which indicated resurgence in subscriber growth for the Company.

Earlier in October this year the Company had announced 22 million subscribers with the acquisition of nearly a million new subscriptions in the third quarter of 2009, driven primarily by a startup price campaign, on the occasion of Eid festival during and after the Holy month of Ramadan.

This new additional million subscribers follows on the re-introduction of the subsidized BDT 150 start-up price, in November 2009.

Commenting on the resurgence and latest growth, Grameenphone CEO, Oddvar Hesjedal said that he was happy to see such a milestone closing for Grameenphone in 2009 with a subscriber base of 23 million. "As a company with now over 23 million subscriptions we are no doubt the preferred operator in the market," he said, "but this new addition of 1 million subscribers clearly demonstrates the stranglehold to growth of tele-penetration that the BDT 800 SIM tax has on the country because of the growth we see when the SIM tax is removed from the connection cost."

As of November 2009 there were 50.5 million mobile subscribers in the country and Grameenphone, with 23 million subscribers, holds 45.5 per cent of the market share.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4:16:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The German mobile telecommunications services market reached EUR 5.0 billion in revenues in the third quarter of 2009, down 2.5 percent compared to the same period last year and up a seasonal 2.8 percent from the previous quarter, according to independent market research firm Telecompaper. The increase in non-voice (messaging and data) revenues of EUR 142 million in the last 12 months was again not able to compensate for the continued pressure on voice service revenues from cuts to mobile termination fees and fierce competition. T-Mobile Germany was able to increase its leadership position with 0.8 percent to over 36 percent market share, while Vodafone Germany's weaker performance (particularly in postpaid) contributed to a loss of 1.4 percent points to a market share below 34 percent. Growth in the prepaid segment at E-Plus and O2 Germany helped them to compensate for their drop in postpaid and slightly increase their share of total service revenues by respectively 0.4 and 0.3 percent points. In terms of mobile subscribers, the German market added around 1.0 million or 1.0 percent more customers in the three months to September 2009. During the last 12 months, the mobile industry added more than 2.2 million new subscribers to a total 108 million, mainly due to postpaid growth. Market penetration rose to 132.0 percent, from 129.0 percent a year earlier.
 
Telecompaper has updated its market outlook: For 2009, the mobile market is expected to decline 2-3 percent to around EUR 19.4 billion in total mobile service revenue and for 2010 a similar development is expected.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4:14:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Japan ended December 2009 with 110.62 million mobile subscribers, up by 440,700 from end-November, figures from the Telecommunications Carrier Association (TCA) show. Softbank Mobile again led in subscriber additions in December as it added 165,300 new subscribers, bringing its total to 21.67 million. Softbank was followed by NTT Docomo which attracted 138,800 new customers in the month to reach a total of 55.44 million subscribers.
Emobile gained 72,900 new customers, to reach a total of 2.12 million and KDDI ended December with 31.39 million mobile customers after signing-up 63,600 new customers. PHS provider Willcom shed 50,600 subscribers, bringing its total to 4.29 million. However, Willcom saw the number of customers using its 'Core 3G' service rise to 80,200 subscribers, up from 72,000 in November.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4:09:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 11, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Australian Federal Government is aiming to raise approximately AUD2 billion (USD1.83 billion) from the sale of spectrum freed up following the switch-off of analogue television signals.

The government has announced that after the switch-off has been completed, which is expected to occur by end-2013, it will make available around 126MHz of spectrum. While existing mobile network operators such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) are all expected to make a play for the extra frequencies, analysts have suggested other companies including Google and Woolworths have been mentioned as possible contenders for the spectrum. It has been claimed however that each of the cellcos will require approximately 40MHz each in order to provide 4G services, potentially leaving little for other companies.

Telstra meanwhile may face an uphill battle to take part in any auction that the government does hold, with the incumbent still facing possible restrictions on the allocation of any new spectrum in the absence of an agreement between it and the state over structural separation.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:43:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The director of communications and public relations at the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA), Twoba Koontse, has revealed that over two million of the country’s pre-paid mobile subscribers have registered their phone numbers.

Pre-paid customers of Botswana’s three wireless operators – Mascom Wireless, Orange Botswana and BTC Mobile (beMOBILE) – were given until 31 December 2009 to register their SIM cards or face the disconnection of their service. From 1 January 2010 new pay-as-you-go SIMs will be activated only after electronic registration has taken place. Koontse added that the registration of numbers will help the country better plan and expand the telecoms industry, as well as help curb crime.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:35:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indian telecoms firm Tata Communications has sealed a deal with China Telecom to jointly roll out a fibre-optic cable connecting the two countries, India’s Economic Times reports.

The twelve-month long project will see the launch of a new 500km cable to provide high speed connectivity between India and China. ‘The India-China Terrestrial Cable will go a long way in meeting the business needs of two of the world's fastest emerging economies,’ noted senior VP at Tata Communications, Byron J. Clatterbuck, adding, ‘The new route, coupled with Tata Communications' other subsea cable investments, will also provide a new high speed connectivity path between Europe and Asia by transiting India and China.’ The Tata Global Network currently provides connectivity to more than 200 countries across 400 PoPs. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, India’s Reliance Communications (RCOM) and China Telecom commercially launched the first terrestrial cable link between India and China in August 2009, connecting the northeastern Indian town of Siliguri to Yadong in China.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:31:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone Czech Republic (formerly Oskar) has signed up three million mobile subscribers, reaching the milestone shortly before the tenth anniversary of the firm’s operation in the domestic market. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the country's third operator Vodafone CR launched services in March 2000, then known as Cesky Mobile. It remains the smallest cellco but has enjoyed some success in its efforts to migrate users from pre-paid packages onto more lucrative contracts. In January 2006 Oskar's new parent Vodafone announced it planned to introduce 3G services before the end of the year, and also upgrade the network to high speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology. However in a surprising turnaround in July, it said it was putting its 3G plans on hold in the face of what it called 'excessive' rollout costs.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:28:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Obama administration called Monday for federal regulators to provide more spectrum for wireless high-speed Internet services, saying mobile broadband would bring competition to DSL, cable and fiber broadband providers.

In comments and a letter filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the White House's technology policy arm and the antitrust division of the Justice Department said that the current marketplace for broadband Internet services is not competitive enough and that wireless Internet access could serve as a more affordable way to bring service to areas that are not connected.

"Given the potential of wireless services to reach underserved areas and to provide an alternative to wireline broadband providers in other areas, the [FCC] Commission's primary tool for promoting broadband competition should be freeing up spectrum," Justice said in its comments.

Click here to see full article
 
Monday, January 11, 2010 11:25:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bulgarian news agency BTA has reported that by 31 December 2009 approximately 1.8 million users had registered their pre-paid SIM cards.

According to a new provision in the law on electronic communications, adopted in late 2009, mobile phone companies had to register the name, address and EGN – Bulgaria’s equivalent of a social security number – of their customers, who were given about two weeks at the end of the year to comply with the new rules. BTA revealed that MobilTel registered 800,000 pre-paid SIM card users, followed closely by Globul with 789,000. Vivacom meanwhile registered 200,000 users. Subscribers who did not register their SIM card before the 31 December deadline have been blocked from making outgoing calls (except for calls to the 112 emergency services number), although a grace period until 31 January 2010 means that they will continue to receive incoming calls and texts. If a customer fails to register by the end of January, the number and card will be terminated.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 11:01:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has confirmed that the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) has been delayed until the end of March 2010, the Economic Times reports. A statement from the ministry of communications confirmed the delay, noting that ‘the government has now decided to implement it [MNP] in whole of the country in one go by 31 March 2010.’ Under the original plans for the implementation of the service wireless subscribers in Category A circles and Metros were expected to be offered MNP from the beginning of January, with the rest of the country pencilled in to gain access to the service from 1 April. It is understood that the main reason for the pushing back of the deadline is that a number of telcos have informed the DoT that they need more time for upgrading their systems.

Further delays could be on the cards however, with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) having also raised concerns over the identity of shareholders of MNP Interconnection Telecom Solutions India, which has been selected to administer the service in the southern and eastern states. As reported by CommsUpdate last month the MHA claims that a number of shareholders in the company had no experience in running telecom services, whilst the ministry has also called on the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to review the clearance it has granted the company due to its presence in Pakistan.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:59:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The executive president of Venezuelan mobile operator Digitel says he expects the company to reach 300,000 3G subscribers by March this year, up from 100,000 at end-2009, reports BNamericas quoting local press. Alberto Sosa also revealed that Digitel expects to end 2010 with 8.5 million GSM/3G subscribers, up from approximately seven million at present, following investment of USD400 million over the last three years. Digitel plans to expand 3G coverage to regions such as Valle de Caracas this year, whilst it has so far deployed at least 300 HSDPA base stations operating in the 900MHz band. The 3G/3.5G network covers over 100 towns/cities in 20 states, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:55:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China’s state-backed IPTV service was launched in Beijing last week with more than 1,000 hours of programmes per day. Construction of the IPTV network started in early 2009 and cost RMB200 million (USD29.3 million), revealed the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on its web site. Shanghai Daily says that besides the new state network there are three notable regional government-run IPTV services in China: Shanghai Media Group's Bbtv.cn, Hunan Province's Eagle Broadcasting System's Mango TV (tv.hunantv.com) and Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV's IPTV Website V.ifeng.com.

Meanwhile, in separate but related news, Broadbandtvnews.com reports that China is set to roll out its proprietary mobile TV system, China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB), on a nationwide basis. The service will be made available to China seven largest regions first, with smaller regions to follow. Liu Tingjun, deputy general manager of CMMB operator China Satellite Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (CSMBC), stated that the country’s number of CMMB users exceeded one million last May, and by the end of 2010 the figure should grow to around ten million.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:52:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Malaysian government is set to examine the existing rates paid by subscribers for broadband services with a view to increasing the uptake of such services, The Star Online reports. Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim has said that the ministry plans to compare the local charges with rates in several countries including South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, noting: ‘The ministry will find a way so that the charges for internet and broadband services in Malaysia are affordable and do not pose a burden to users.’

Additionally, the minister has unveiled plans to construct around 1,000 more transmission towers across the country this year in a further bid to increase broadband penetration. The construction of the new infrastructure will be overseen by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, with regions such as Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu targeted particularly due to their current low penetration levels.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:47:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

US incumbent fixed line operator AT&T has described traditional fixed line networks such as PSTN and POTS as ‘relics of a by-gone era’ and has called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set a date to scrap the systems, Reuters reports.

The company said that the government’s aim of universal broadband service will only be achievable if resources are moved away from older services. In a filing with the FCC, AT&T said: ‘Congress's goal of universal access to broadband will not be met in a timely or efficient manner if providers are forced to continue to invest in and to maintain two networks. Due to technological advances, changes in consumer preference, and market forces, the question is when, not if, POTS service and the PSTN over which it is provided become obsolete.’

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:42:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), which trades under the banner life:), signed up its one millionth user on 28 December 2009, and reported a fourfold increase in customers over the year to give it around 11% of the overall market by the start of 2010. e-belarus.org also notes that the operator has amassed more than 100,000 3G users to its network in the first few months of operations. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 3 November 2009, life:) launched the country’s first 3G network offering high speed internet connectivity at downlink speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and providing new services such as videocalling. The operator, which is 80%-owned by Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, with the remaining 20% in the hands of the Republic of Belarus, said that its 3G/3.5G network was available to residents in the capital Minsk and other major cities at launch.

Going forward, life:) plans to capture a 70% share of the Belarusian 3G market, or around 350,000 users, and to double its overall user base to two million. To help achieve this goal the cellco has commissioned 1,100 cell sites where currently 2,500 base stations are deployed and plans to extend cell site coverage to 1,900 locations covering all significant roads in the Republic in 2010. At the start of this year the life:) network covered 99.2% of the population and 85.3% of Belarusian territory; in 2010 it plans to achieve 99.8% and 93.0% respectively.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:35:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has introduced a new set of interconnection rates for voice and SMS termination with the hope that retail tariffs will be cut by as much as NGN4 (USD4.98) per minute, local newspaper This Day reports.

From 31 December 2009 interconnection rates for mobile voice termination provided by new entrants (defined by the commission as companies which have been operating for less than four years) irrespective of originating network, will be set at NGN10.12. The rates will fall to NGN9.48 on 31 December 2010, NGN8.84 on 31 December 2011 and NGN8.20 on 31 December 2012 (from which date all termination rates will be symmetric). The NCC hopes the revised interconnection rates will encourage new entrants in the sector to offer services at more affordable rates to subscribers. Operators not defined as new entrants must set a mobile voice termination rate of NGN8.20 from 31 December 2009. Fixed voice termination rates have been set at NGN10.12 from 31 December 2009, NGN9.48 from 31 December 2010, NGN8.84 from 31 December 2011 and NGN8.20 from 31 December 2012. The SMS termination rate of new entrants will start at NGN1.94 from 31 December 2009 and fall gradually to NGN1.02 from 31 December 2012. Other mobile operators will charge NGN1.02 from the start of 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, January 11, 2010 10:29:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 08, 2010

Bhutan Telecom has announced that it has agreed deals with Indian firms Reliance Globalcom and Bharti Airtel to upgrade its international links, tripling bandwidth to 330Mbps.

The company’s fibre links to London and Hong Kong have both been upgraded from 45Mbps to 155Mbps via agreements with Reliance and Bharti respectively. Bhutan Telecom’s promotional manager, Kencho Tshering, said: ‘With more operators laying fibre-optic cables towards north India, our bargaining position has improved unlike in the past.’ Tshering Norbu, manager of Druknet, Bhutan Telecom’s ISP provider, added: ‘We are benefiting from the competition between Bharti Airtel and Reliance Globalcom.’ The company hopes that the network upgrade will help boost subscribership in the country, which is estimated to have around 30,000 internet users at present.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, January 08, 2010 12:09:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to senior figures involved in the telecoms industry, the cost of internet access in Poland is set to fall in 2010, reports the Warsaw Business Journal. The CEO of TP SA, Maciej Witucki, said that even if tariff prices remained the same, faster access will be available. Meanwhile, the head of mobile operator PTC, Klaus Hartmann, is on record as expecting lower tariffs. ‘During our negotiations, TP declared that it can lower its internet access rates by as much as 15%,’ said the head of the Office for Electronic Communication (UKE), Anna Strezynska.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, January 08, 2010 12:06:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 07, 2010

­The Tunisian telecoms market is to gain additional competition with the entry of France Telecom in early 2010. However, Onda Analytics believes the dynamics of the Tunisian telecoms market could change further, with many parties interested in the 35% stake in Tunisie Télécom held by EIT, a holding company for telecoms investments made by Dubai Holdings. The increasingly competitive environment in Tunisia may prompt EIT to consider listening to offers from operators interested in joining the market. Meanwhile, the other 65% shareholding is owned by the Tunisian government, which this week announced a privatisation drive for 2010.

Click here to see full article

The incumbent, Tunisie Télécom, is likely to suffer most from the entry of France Telecom, given that the new entrant will be present in fixed line, broadband and mobile markets. Tunisie Télécom's mobile market share is forecast to decline from 50% in 2009 to 34% by 2018. Its fixed line business is also set to be put under pressure from France Telecom, with Tunisie Télécom's fixed share to fall from a current monopoly position to 77% of fixed lines by 2018.

Tunisian mobile operators generated total mobile revenues of US$1.6 billion in 2009. As a result of relatively high mobile penetration and with tariffs set to fall with the entry of the third mobile operator, total mobile revenue is forecast to grow modestly over the coming years. Fixed line growth is expected to buck the trend of many markets with a forecast increase in lines of 30% to 2018, from 1.4 million in 2009, driven by the adoption of broadband services.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, January 07, 2010 12:25:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Vietnam has extended the deadline for PrePay subscribers to register their account details before unregistered SIM cards are disconnected by the networks. The extension has been agreed to as there are still a significant number of unregistered SIM cards active on the mobile networks.

MobiFone has extended its deadline to 5 January and VinaPhone continues the registration until January 6.According to MobiFone, it had opened 15,000 counters across the country, registering 20 million subscribers. That leaves around one million unregistered yet.

The ministry has decided that individuals will only be allowed to subscribe to three phone numbers from each mobile service provider without registering. Deputy Director of the ministry's information department, Nguyen Xuan Tru, said there are around 100 million mobile subscribers in the country, 90 per cent of them using pre-paid cards.The ministry has ordered the companies to submit the registration data on January 10, 2009.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, January 07, 2010 12:12:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobilkom Austria claims it saw the largest customer growth in the Austrian mobile market during 2009, adding 300,000 new customers to reach more than 4.8 million total.

The operator's number of mobile broadband customers increased year-on-year by more than one third to 540,000. In March 2009, Mobilkom Austria launched an HSPA+ network, which enables users to reach download speeds of up to 21 Mbps.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, January 07, 2010 12:05:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia operator Mobily announced it had one million mobile broadband subscribers.

The one million connect users represent customers subscribed to any of Mobily's three high-volume mobile broadband bundles: the 1 GB bundle for SAR 100 a month, the 5 GB bundle for SAR 200 a month and the unlimited bundle for SAR 350 a month. Mobile broadband service, based on HSPA, is available in 80 percent of all populated areas of the Kingdom to any Mobily customer using a device that supports HSPA technology, whether that be a USB modem or handset. Mobily launched the three high-volume bundles commercially on 19 May 2007.

By the end of that year, Mobily had 73,000 mobile broadband subscribers. Registering 264 percent growth Mobily closed 2008 with 266,000 mobile broadband subscribers in its three high-volume bundles, prompting the GSM World Association to describe Mobily as having the busiest mobile date network on the face of the planet. Monthly traffic, upload and downloaded by customers, has grown more than 10 times since December 2007 to date, and stood at over 50 TB for December 2009. In June 2009 Mobily reported an active mobile broadband subscriber base of 600,000 customers. Three months later, when Mobily announced its third quarter financials, the company announced it had 800,000 customers.

Source: TelecomPaper

Thursday, January 07, 2010 11:41:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
India ended November with 543.20 million telephone subscribers, up 3.34 percent from 525.65 million in October, according to data from Indian regulator Trai.
 
Teledensity reached 46.32 percent from 44.87 percent in the previous month. The wireless and mobile (GSM, CDMA, fixed wireless phone) subscriber base stood at 506.04 million, growing by 3.61 percent from 488.40 million in the previous month. Indian operator Bharti Airtel remained market leader with 116 million customers from 113.21 million in October. This was followed by Reliance with 90.987 million subscribers, Vodafone Essar with 88.607 million subscribers, BSNL with 60.78 million and Idea with 55.9 million subscribers. Tata Teleservices ended the month with 53.99 million subscribers, while MTNL saw its subscriber base reach 4.81 million. Sistema Shyam saw its subscriber base grew to 2.64 million from 2.29 million in the previous month.
 
The fixed subscriber base declined to 37.16 million from 37.25 million in October. The total broadband subscriber base rose 2.26 percent to 7.57 million from 7.40 million a month earlier.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:54:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Citing state news service Agencia Andina, BNamericas reports that mobile number portability (MNP) was officially launched in Peru on 1 January. The service has run into controversy already, however, as although it is being advertised as 'free', users have to pay PEN15 (USD5.2) for a new SIM card from their new operator. Consumer association Aspec has called on the regulator Osiptel to provide clearer information.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:44:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Armenian mobile start-up Orange Armenia, part of the France Telecom (Orange) group, has announced the signing of its 100,000th customer, barely a month after launching services in the country on 5 November. In a statement, the company said it would welcome Ejmiatsin resident Veronika Arustamyan, who bought the 100,000th SIM card, to its head office on 9 December.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Orange launched cellular services in the Republic of Armenia promising to provide mobile users across the country with ‘the quality of service and innovative offers that have become the hallmark of Orange's reputation worldwide’. The launch of the country’s third mobile operator – the market is currently a duopoly of VivaCell-MTS and ArmenTel (Beeline) – has been eagerly anticipated since Orange was awarded its licence on 19 November 2008. In its press release, the Paris-based firm said that despite the relatively high penetration rate in the country (83.8% at 30 September according to TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database), there is strong demand for its services. With a population of around 3.2 million people, including 1.1 million in the capital Yerevan, Armenia offers the FT group ‘significant growth potential’, it said. In order to get the service off the ground, Orange has invested around EUR100 million (USD148.5 million) in the land-locked country, and going forward it intends to provide the necessary expertise and investment to ensure the development of a ‘high-quality 2G and 3G+ network offering nationwide coverage’. It had population coverage of over 80%, including around 500 towns and villages, at launch.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:53:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Afghanistan ministry of communications has officially opened a USD 70 million optical fibre project. Work on the project began in April 2007 and currently is 80 percent completed, with 17 provinces and 68 towns covered. The network is also connected to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran via fibre while Pakistan and Turkmenistan are set to be connected shortly.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:25:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vietnamese mobile operators Viettel and MobiFone are hoping to launch 3G services before the end of the year. MobiFone is required to cover 100 percent of populated cities in 63 provinces with 3G services from December 2009. The company is reportedly in the final stages of rolling out 2,400 base stations. The operator plans to roll out 7,700 base stations over three years, VietNamNet writes. Rival Viettel is set to complete 3G tests in Ho Chi Minh City and plans to launch 3G services before year-end, six months ahead of schedule. Viettel is required to launch 3G services by June 2010. VinaPhone was the first Vietnamese operator to launch 3G services on 12 October this year.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
3G
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:17:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of Saudi Arabia's mobile phone subscriptions topped 41 million at the end of the third quarter, according to the country's Communications and Information Technology Commission. This compares to a mobile penetration of 162 percent. The quarterly growth is caused by increased competition between the three mobile operators in a country that has a growing population of 25 million. While subscriptions numbers have increased Mobily was the only one of the three providers to record a rise in net profit for the third quarter, posting a higher than expected SAR 807 million. STC's profits declined by 20 per cent to SAR 2.4 billion while Zain Saudi Arabia posted a 26.3 percent increase of its net loss. Broadband subscriptions rose to almost 2 million at the end of the third quarter, up from 1.3 million in 2008, the data showed. Fixed lines stood at 4.17 million with a penetration rate of 68 percent, almost unchanged compared to 2008 which the commission blamed on strong demand for mobile services.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:15:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has announced that the number of mobile phone subscriptions reached 41.1 million at the end of September 2009, up from 33.6 million a year earlier. As mobile penetration exceeded 160%, the regulator revealed that over 85% of all subscriptions were to pre-paid deals, allowing consumers to own multiple SIMs and patronise whichever of the country’s three operators represents the best deal at any given time.

Meanwhile the broadband market continues to develop, with 1.98 million customers at the end of September 2009, 1.24 million of which were contracted to DSL-based services, while the remainder were subscribed to WiMAX and HSPA networks. The CITC estimated that 31 out of 100 households across the kingdom had access to broadband services at the same date. Fixed line subscription remained stable in the nine months ended 30 September 2009, with 4.1 million accesses in service and teledensity at 16.3%.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:12:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will begin the registration process of all GSM-enabled SIM cards in March 2010, the African Press Agency reports. According to Lolia Emakpore, the director of the regulator’s Consumer Affairs Bureau, the process will start simultaneously in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and subscribers will have six months to register their details free of charge or face having their service disconnected. She added that the move will help curb crime perpetrated via mobile phones, such as fraud.

Source: Telegeography

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:04:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of active mobile virtual operators in the Netherlands at the end of Q3 was down by two compared to Q1 to a total 47. The virtual operators had 3.1 million customers at the end of September, up slightly from six months earlier, according to Telecompaper's latest report on the MVNO market. The share of VO subscribers, as a percentage of the entire mobile market, declined to 14.6 percent versus 16.9 percent a year ago, and was stable compared to March 2009.

The report finds that despite the effects of the economic crisis, regulation and competition, the VO market remains dynamic with more new entries and exits. Niche players, organisations with a large customer base and investors interested in exploiting the difference in wholesale and retail voice prices are attracted to the market, while mobile network operators see wholesale as a high-margin business and a way to sell excess capacity and target niche markets. Telecompaper sees data services as a still under-exploited area for virtual operators, but they will face high wholesale prices and will have a hard time entering the competitive market. The upcoming spectrum auction planned for early 2010 in the Netherlands may help some of the current VOs stay in business and new players enter the market.

Click here to see full article
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 4:01:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The French telecoms regulator, Arcep has finally awarded the country's fourth 3G license - to the sole bidder in the latest round, Free Mobile, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Iliad group. Free Mobile has also taken numerous commitments, on commercial, contractual and technical levels, with respect to hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). Among other things, it has committed to hosting full MVNOs on its network.Free Mobile has committed to launch its services within two years, and to cover at least 90% of the population with its 3G network within eight years.

This call for applications was a follow-up to those issued in 2000, 2001 and 2007. Three of the four 3G licences were awarded at the outcome of the first two calls for submissions: to SFR and Orange France in 2001 then to Bouygues Telecom in 2002. As the call for applications carried out in 2007 produced no results, a new procedure for awarding a licence for 5 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band was launched by the French government on August 1st 2009.

Arcep will award the frequency licence to Free Mobile in January 2010. The remaining spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band will be allocated through a new call for applications, which will be issued in the first half of 2010 and be open to all players. Finally, with a scheduled launch in the second half of 2010, Arcep is preparing the allocation procedures for the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz-band spectrum which will enable the deployment of LTE and WiMAX networks.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:52:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of cell phones in this nation of more than 192 million people reached 169.8 million last month, the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency, or Anatel, said Thursday.Some 1.7 million people acquired cell phones in Brazil in November, marking a 1 percent rise in sales compared to October, Anatel said.

The biggest subscriber growth - 29.6 percent - was registered by Vivo, a joint venture between Spain's Telefonica and Portugal Telecom.Claro, which is controlled by Telmex, ranked second, reporting growth of 25.4 percent, followed by TIM, a unit of Telecom Italia, with 23.8 percent.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 3:49:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 21, 2009

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that the government will invest EUR 4.5 billion to support the rollout of very high-speed broadband and the development of innovative services as part of a EUR 35 billion bond issue known as the "grand emprunt". Les Echos reports that Sarkozy announced five major priorities, higher education, research, digital, sustainable development and industry. Although details of how the funds will be allocated have yet to be unveiled, the public sector investment in the digital economy will be EUR 500 million more than the EUR 4 billion of funding recently sought by a commission on the digital economy. The president said "It is a matter of doing for very high-speed services what was done for fixed telephony in the 1970s".

The government will provide EUR 2 billion to enable 70 percent of the population to have access to at least 100 Mpbs services within the next 10 years. Private operators are expected to invest twice as much as the State, according to the president. While operators are ready to go it alone in densely populated areas, a national fund for the digital society will be formed to make loans to operators for shared infrastructure deployment. A public-private partnership is expected to be formed to launch a satellite offering very high-speed access within five years to 750,000 rural homes. The government will also invest EUR 2.5 billion in promoting the development of innovative content and new uses through public-private partnerships in intelligent networks, teleworking, telemedicine, health, government, justice and education. Part of the funds will go towards the constuction of large data processing and storage facilities.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 21, 2009 11:09:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange has officially inaugurated the LION (Lower Indian Ocean Network) cable in Reunion. The 1,000 km fibre optic cable connecting Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius was lit on Reunion on 16 November. France Telecom, Orange Madagascar and Mauritius Telecom financed the WDM cable offering a potential speed of 1.28 Tbps. LION connects Madagascar to the broadband internet network and to secure the connection of the France Telecom's regional sites with two new stations in Reunion and Mauritius. These two islands represent the connection points for the SAT3-WASC-SAFE cable, which links Europe to Asia via the southern tip of Africa. The development of regional co-operation in the Indian Ocean could be further strengthened thanks to a project to extend the LION cable to Mombasa, Kenya, where there are several possibilities for interconnecting with other submarine cables.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 21, 2009 10:58:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Kigali Wireless Broadband (WiBro) Network and the Kigali Metropolitan Network (KMN) have been officially launched in Rwanda after two years of work on the infrastructure development. With the two projects, which were deployed by Korea Telecom, internet users in Kigali city will be able to enjoy data connectivity and VoIP services, the New Times reported. The two projects are in line with Rwanda's strategy to promote, expand and upgrade the local ICT infrastructure. Rwanda Development Board's CEO John Gara said that a total of 46 government institutions are already enjoying the connectivity.
The government targets over 4 million Rwandans with access to high-speed internet within the next two to three years, partly facilitated by the RWF 4.5 billion WiBro project. The KMN will increase broadband availability to more than 700 Rwandan institutions including schools, health-care centres and local government administrative centres. Korea Telecom was also contracted by the government in a related project to lay the national fibre-optic cable that will be linked to the undersea cable. The national backbone is expected to consist of a high-speed fibre-optic network that will link 36 main points in Rwanda's 30 districts, with a 2,300km cable running across the country. The RWF 22.7 billion project also includes training and managing the cable installation. KT was also contracted by the government to build the National Data Centre. The project had been expected to be completed by December this year but the finalising time was extended and it not yet clear when it will be completed.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Monday, December 21, 2009 10:15:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The OECD has released a new report supporting the mass roll-out of FTTH. The report estimates the potential cost savings for four public sectors at 0.5-1.0 percent per year, suggesting sufficient reason for governments to support the deployment of FTTH nationwide.

The estimates are based on (point-to-point) FTTH only, and do not include ADSL2+, VDSL2 and Docsis 3.0. The justification is that the maximum benefits of broadband can only be achieved if such a national network provides the maximum bandwidth, and also that the bandwidth can be easily expanded. The report authors also point to the importance of good upload speeds (in effect a symmetric connection) and low latency. The network also needs to be open access, to allow competition to fully mature.

Click here to see full article
Source: TelecomPaper
Monday, December 21, 2009 9:25:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paraguay's National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has granted mobile operator Tigo the license for universal service provision, local newspaper ABC reports. Tigo will receive subsidies of PYG 5 billion from the Universal Service Fund to deploy mobile telephony lines in areas currently not covered by the network of Paraguay's state-owned operator incumbent Copaco. Over the next six months, Tigo will have to deploy mobile phone lines in the department of San Pedro. The overall subsidies for this area reach PYG 1.15 billion. Additionally, subsidies for the department of Concepcion exceed PYG 2.28 billion, while the Amambay region has been assigned PYG 1.12 billion and the Canindeyu area will receive up to PYG 377 million in universal service subsidies.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, December 21, 2009 9:15:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Spanish telecommunications regulator CMT has fined incumbent operator Telefonica for delaying the provision of naked ADSL wholesale services.
The fine reaches EUR 11 million. CMT set regulations for naked DSL wholesale access in March 2008. The regulator granted Telefonica a period of four months from that date to start offering the service to alternative operators. The current sanction against Telefonica follows a series of complaints from Vodafone. After months of investigation, CMT found that Telefonica is "directly responsible for committing a very serious infringement" against regulations for provision of naked ADSL wholesale services. According to the CMT resolution, the Spanish incumbent operator delayed by one year the implementation of the bitstream access service provision, limiting the ability of alternative operators to compete on a market dominated by Telefonica. Telefonica plans to appeal the CMT ruling, Cinco Dias reports.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Monday, December 21, 2009 9:11:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BNamericas reports that Peruvian digital trunking specialist Nextel will launch mobile broadband services over its own 3G network tomorrow, citing local newspaper reports quoting company president Miguel Rivera. The executive said that Nextel Peru has invested USD125 million to deploy the 3G network.

Nextel won 3G spectrum in the 1900MHz band in 2007 and spent much of 2009 trialling the technology before launching an operational centre for 3G services in San Borja in October. Rivera previously said the operator planned to offer 3G services across its entire area of operations, but has since clarified this by saying that it will offer mobile telephony services in just three districts during the first months of 2010, with plans to expand coverage to 100 new districts during the rest of the year. Nextel will offer the service over a network deployed by Chinese company Huawei. The monthly cost of the post-paid service will be PEN99,219 soles (USD34.76).

Source:TeleGeography

3G
Monday, December 21, 2009 9:00:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BNamericas reports that Costa Rica's state-owned telecoms monopoly ICE has signed an agreement with the environment, energy and telecommunications ministry Minaet which paves the way for a much anticipated mobile spectrum auction. Costa Rica is due to be one of the last countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to liberalise its mobile telephony market, as required by the Central America and Dominican Republic free trade agreement with the US (CAFTA-DR). President Oscar Arias is expected to now instruct telecoms regulator Sutel to launch an auction, possibly before the end of the year: Digicel, Cable & Wireless, America Movil, Millicom and Telefonica have all expressed interest in entering the market. Some 100MHz of frequencies in the 850MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands will be up for grabs. The new licences are expected to be awarded by June 2010.

In related news, ICE said it has already sold 2,377 3G connections since the new network went live last week. In addition, some 1,711 TDMA customers had migrated to the new network, retaining their numbers.

Source: TeleGeography

3G
Monday, December 21, 2009 8:58:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnamese mobile operator MobiFone has officially launched its W-CDMA/HSDPA network, local news source VietNamNet reports. MobiFone’s subscribers are now able to enjoy services such as videocalling, mobile TV offering 32 channels, and high speed internet at download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps. The company has launched a number of mobile internet packages ranging in price from VND3,000 (USD0.16) per day to VND50,000 for 30 days. MobiFone is the second cellco in the country to provide 3G services, after Vinaphone launched its offering in October this year. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MobiFone is majority-owned by state-run national PTO Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corporation (VNPT) through its Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services (VMS) division. It was awarded a licence to provide third-generation services in April 2009.

In a separate but related story, military-run cellco Viettel has launched trial 3G services in 17 cities and provinces in preparation for a commercial launch in early 2010. Viettel first launched trial 3G services in Ho Chi Minh City in October 2009, and has now expanded the service to Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Can Tho in the south, together with some northern provinces.

Source: TeleGeography

3G
Monday, December 21, 2009 8:55:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Another new player has announced its entry to the crowded Indian wireless sector, with STel, which is 49%-owned by Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco), launching commercial GSM-based services in the Himachal Pradesh circle. According to the Business Standard, STel plans to expand its areas of operation before the end of the year, and has announced plans to launch in Bihar and Orissa within the next ten days. The cellco also holds licences to offer services in Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam, and it expects to introduce its services in at least three more circles before the end of the first quarter of 2010.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Monday, December 21, 2009 8:50:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azeri mobile operator Azerfon has announced the launch of third-generation services across the country, local news source Azerbaijan Business Centre reports. The cellco’s subscribers will be able to enjoy services such as videocalling and high speed internet at download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps. Azerfon’s 3G network was launched in the cities of Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Shirvan, Nakhchivan, Mingachevir, Tovuz and Shamkir, as well as in the Absheron Peninsula. The company plans to expand services to other regions in the near future. Azerfon has also launched a new brand for its 3G products and service in cooperation with its strategic partner Vodafone, following an agreement signed with the UK-based company in July 2009. According to Azerfon’s general director, Gido Helbich, the new Azerfon-Vodafone brand signifies a fresh stage in the development of the country’s cellular communications. ‘We are glad that five months after signing of a strategic partnership document with Azerfon, we will be able to launch a joint brand and offer our global services for Azerbaijani users,’ commented Richard Daly, Vodafone’s executive director for partner markets.

As reported by CommsUpdate, Azerfon became the country’s first 3G licensee earlier this month after the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) awarded the cellco a concession for AZN11,000 (USD13,600). The company has so far invested USD20 million in its 3G network.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, December 21, 2009 8:45:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malawian telecoms operator Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) has launched its W-CDMA/HSDPA network enabling subscribers to access services such as videocalling, mobile TV and high speed internet offering download speeds of up to 3.6Mbps, local daily Nyasa Times reports. Charles Kamoto, head of TNM’s Commercial Services division, said the service is initially only available to post-paid subscribers but pre-paid customers will soon have access to the service. Kamoto added: ‘Most less developed nations do not have this service on board for their customers but in Malawi we are very aggressive, we believe that our customers need quality, they need top-notch services and that is why we had to bring [them] this 3.5G technology.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, TNM is Malawi’s second largest cellco by subscribers with a market share of 32% at 30 September 2009. The company’s sole rival in the market, Zain Malawi, took the remaining 68% share of customers at the same date, and was awarded a 3G concession last month.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, December 21, 2009 8:43:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
India ended November with 366.77 million GSM mobile subscribers, up from 355.69 million in October, according to figures from the industry association COAI.
In total, India's GSM mobile subscribers grew by 11.08 million. Bharti Airtel remained market leader with a market share of 31.63 percent and 116 million subscribers, up from 113.2 million GSM subscribers a month earlier. Vodafone Essar saw its subscriber base rise to 88.6 million, from 85.82 million in October, and its market share was 24.16 percent. BSNL ended the month with 55.18 million customers, up from 53.96 million in the previous month, and its market share was 15.05 percent. Idea Cellular was in fourth place with 55.9 million customers and a market share of 15.24 percent, while Aircel ended the month with 29.35 million customers and a market share of 8 percent. Reliance Telecom had 14.6 million customers and a market share of 3.98 percent, and MTNL grew its subscriber base to 4.5 million and its market share stood at 1.23 percent. Loop Mobile, which operates only in Mumbai, saw its subscriber base reach 2.59 million and its market share is 0.71 percent.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Monday, December 21, 2009 8:41:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Singapore’s telecoms regulator the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) is implementing new rules governing the maximum length of time any operator can lock a customer into a contract for fixed, mobile or broadband services. From March 2010, any consumer wishing to renew or sign up to a new contract for any of the above will not be locked into the contract for more than 24 months. Also from March next year, anyone signing a contract term longer than three months
and who end their contract before the end of the contract period will no longer have to pay a fixed early termination charge. Instead the IDA is putting in place new rules under which the consumer will see these charges decreased on a month-by-month basis as they serve out their contract. The IDA hopes the new rules will ensure that industry practices in the city-state are more reasonable and fair, and have been prompted by users’ concerns that contract lengths risk becoming too long and early termination charges excessively high.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, December 21, 2009 8:35:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Evaluation Committee of Solomon Islands Telecommunication has decided to award a mobile network operating licence to bemobile, a company backed by international fund GEMS in partnership with US-based telecoms investor Trilogy International Partners. bemobile, which already provides services in Papua New Guinea, beat a rival application from Digicel Group to break the monopoly of Our Telekom. The new licence requires the launch of services within six months and the provision of coverage to 81% of the population within 21 months. The Evaluation Committee said it hoped there will be other opportunities for Digicel or other interested parties to enter the Solomon Islands market in the future. Trilogy International Partners also operates mobile networks in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and New Zealand.

Source: Telegeography

Monday, December 21, 2009 8:30:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 18, 2009

According to Egypt’s Communications Minister, Tarek Kamel, the country is currently preparing a USD1 billion plan aimed at boosting internet penetration fourfold in the next four years, Reuters reports. Commenting on the proposals Mr Kamel said: ‘Most of the investments...will primarily go in local investment in increasing the local capacity.’ It is understood that such local investment will be ploughed in to a combination of wireless and wired services covering both rural and urban areas, and will follow up the country’s investment in international broadband cable systems that is expected to at least double the capacity coming into the country from the current 60Gbps. The minister also noted that the government is targeting a broadband penetration rate of 20% by end-2013, equivalent to enabling access to connections to around four million households.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as at end-2008 Egypt’s broadband penetration stood at just 0.9%, with a total of 696,305 high speed internet subscribers in the country. TE Data, a subsidiary of fixed line monopoly provider Telecom Egypt, dominates the sector, controlling more than half of all broadband subscribers at September 2009, with 479,819.

Source: Telegeography

Friday, December 18, 2009 11:00:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

KPN Telecom of the Netherlands yesterday announced plans to connect up to 1.3 million Dutch households to high speed fibre-optic networks by the end of 2012, up from the 460,000 it has currently. The telco is looking to work with joint venture partner Reggefiber to facilitate a phased rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology; KPN holds a 41% stake in the venture which was established last year. In a statement, KPN said: ‘By 2012, KPN targets some 600,000 to 800,000 active customers on fibre-to-the-home and fibre-to-the-curb combined, roughly corresponding to 10% of Dutch households.’ The former monopoly operator went on to say that it is unlikely that Reggefiber will be consolidated on the KPN balance sheet before 2012.

Source: Telegeography

Friday, December 18, 2009 10:38:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |