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 Thursday, January 14, 2010
Serbia's telecommunications agency Ratel announced that Telenor was the only company to present a bid for the country's second fixed-line operator licence. Another three companies had qualified for the bidding - mobile operator VIP, Cyprus-based Kerseyco Trading and Serbian-American Konsing Group. However, Telenor was the only bidder to submit all the necessary documents and its financial bid will be opened by 18 January. The licence for a second landline operator is granted for a period of ten years. Telenor already holds one of Serbia's three mobile telephony licences.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:10:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A total of 4.2 million people requested number portability (NP) in Brazil last year, according to data published by the body managing number portability in the country, ABR Telecom. The agency also reported that of the total, 3.2 million people actually completed their switch to a new provider – equivalent to 1.56% of the 210 million fixed and mobile lines in the country. ABR Telecom said that 2.28 million lines were mobile phones and around one million were fixed line connections. NP began to be introduced in Brazil in September 2008, and it was available throughout the country by March 2009. To date, a total of 4.52 million people have requested to switch, of whom 3.48 million have been successfully ported.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indian state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has announced that it hopes to have attracted around one million 3G subscribers by the end of the current fiscal year, according to the Economic Times. Despite signing up just 35,000 3G subscribers at end-June 2009 having launched commercial services in February 2009 interest has climbed significantly, with SS Sirohi, BSNL’s principal general manager (Value Added Services), noting: ‘We have received good response and have about 700,000 3G users and by the end of this fiscal, we should have crossed a million.’

With the auction process for 3G spectrum in India still having yet to take place, BSNL and fellow state-owned telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) are the only two operators to have received frequencies, and are looking to take advantage of the head start. ‘We are present in 300 cities and towns, which will be increased to 760 over the next three to four months,’ Sirohi said, while also adding that BSNL is focusing on introducing a variety of Value Added Service (VAS) offerings to drive its 3G tariffs: ‘Apart from cheap calling rates, we are also offering cheap video calling, video streaming and full track download. We will soon offer videoconferencing and other interesting applications.’

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11:05:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Outremer Telecom, which provides telecoms services in the French overseas territories, has announced the commercial launch of its 3G networks in Guadeloupe and French Guiana. The new offering, launched under the ‘Only’ brand, will enable customers to access services such as mobile broadband via laptop or wireless handset.

The company already operates third-generation networks in the territories of Martinique and Reunion.

Source: TeleGeography

3G
Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:47:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Latvia’s three largest mobile network operators by subscribers – Tele2 (Latvia), Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) and Bite Latvia – have agreed to reduce the time taken to port mobile numbers, Delfi.lv reports. It is understood that the three cellcos, in line with instructions issued by the European Commission, will speed up the number porting process from the ten days it currently takes to just five from 1 March 2010.

‘We are pleased with the agreement, but we believe that operators are now technically ready to provide number portability within one day. Therefore...we argued for the need to reduce the time of transfer rates to one day. Reducing the transfer time will favourably influence the number of choices for mobile users,’ said Zita Zilgalve, director of Bite Latvia. According to European Commission directives, prior to 11 May 2011 mobile number portability timeframes should be reduced to no longer than one day in all eurozone countries.

 

Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:42:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belarusian national PTO Beltelecom says it is looking to more than double its broadband internet subscriber base to one million by the end of this year, up from the 400,000 it reported at the end of 2009. Local online news portal e-belarus.org says that in addition to its ADSL user base, Beltelecom also boasts a network of 480 ‘active’ Wi-Fi hotspots across 220 regions in the country.

Last year the national fixed line operator expanded the external internet gateway from 5.2Gbps to 22Gbps, of which the Russian gateway to Rostelecom and Transtelecom accounts for 20Gbps, and the remaining 2Gbps is accounted for through its western link with Tata Communications.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:31:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Slovakian incumbent PSTN operator Slovak Telekom’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network now covers over 315,000 households, an increase of 100,000 in twelve months, Broadband TV News reported. The network reaches 19 cities including Banska Bystrica, Kosice and the capital, Bratislava, delivering services including ‘Magio TV’ IPTV channels and internet access at speeds of up to 80Mbps, and Telekom says it will roll out FTTH to additional areas in these cities, as well as to other towns, during this year.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, January 14, 2010 9:29:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The British government has begun a twelve-week consultation on the proposed broadband tax that is expected to help fund the rollout of superfast broadband services across the country, Reuters reports. It has been widely claimed that the current government is keen to sign the new levy into law prior to the upcoming general election, which is expected in May 2010.

Under the proposals, which were unveiled as part of the Digital Britain report released in June 2009, the state plans to raise approximately GBP150 million to GBP175 million (USD225 million to USD263 million) per year by introducing a GBP0.50 per month levy on every fixed line voice and/or broadband connection. This extra charge is to be paid in to a Next Generation Fund (NGF), which will be managed by regulator Ofcom. The consultation launched has called on telecoms and internet industry players to put forward views on how the funds raised should be spent. Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said that the investment was essential to preserve Britain's international competitiveness and prevent a new digital divide emerging between those with fast and those with slow connections, noting: ‘Already the market is delivering superfast Internet speeds of 50Mbps to half the country but we cannot be certain that it will reach the communities that are not currently served.’

The government has estimated that as the result of private investment already being undertaken by providers such as fixed line incumbent BT and cableco Virgin Media, superfast broadband will reach around 70% of the population by 2017, but the state is keen to boost this figure to 90%.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:58:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BNamericas reports that Ecuadorian state-owned national PSTN operator Corporacion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT) added 135,000 new fixed lines during its first year of operation since the merger of regional telcos Andinatel and Pacifictel in November 2008. The company currently has approximately 1.8 million subscribers nationwide, after spending CAPEX of around USD258 million in 2009 and focusing on increasing coverage in areas including the Austro and Amazonia regions, according to local reports.

CNT’s overall aim is to increase fixed line penetration to 18% of the population by the end of 2010, up from 13.5% at end-2007.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:54:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Taiwanese regulator the National Communications Commission (NCC) has announced plans to implement a 5.87% cut on mobile service rates from 1 April 2010. The regulator, citing ITU figures, revealed that the country’s mobile charges as a percentage of per capita income rank as the 26th highest in the world, and are currently three times higher than Hong Kong. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Taiwan’s mobile industry has flourished despite the apparent high charges, with a cellular penetration rate of 116% at the end of September 2009.

Meanwhile, ADSL charges will also be subject to a similar reduction, with rates being cut by 5.68%, benefiting the country’s 15.47 million ADSL users.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:49:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zia Ahmed, the head of the Bangladesh Telecommunications and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has announced that guidelines for 3G licensing will be complete by June 2010, ahead of an open auction of at least four UMTS network operating concessions by the end of the year. A number of major international telecoms companies have already indicated their interest, Ahmed added, whilst other BTRC officials were quoted in a report from AFP saying that UK-based mobile giant Vodafone Group had approached the regulator for permission to apply for a licence. India’s Airtel also seems likely to place a bid, after its proposed offer for a majority stake in the Bangladeshi mobile unit of Warid Telecom recently received regulatory approval.

Source: TeleGeography

3G
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:46:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that at the end of 2009 voice telephony services were available to 99.86% of the country’s administrative villages (up from 98% a year earlier), while internet access covered 91.5% (up from 89%), according to data from the regulator MIIT. Between them, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom raised RMB10.3 billion (USD1.5 billion) to help deploy telephone and internet networks in mountainous regions and plateau areas last year.

Meanwhile, China Mobile is reported to have finished 2009 with more than five million 3G subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database the cellco launched its 3G TD-SCDMA network in April 2008.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:42:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The UK government is seeking comments on how to spend its planned GBP 1 billion Next Generation Fund.
 
First unveiled last summer, the fund will be used to bring next-generation broadband services to rural and under-served areas of the country, with the goal of 90 percent of the population able to access the faster services by 2017. The fund will be financed by a tax of GBP 0.50 on fixed-line subscriptions, for which legislation is pending. The government expects the market will deliver the faster broadband to around 60-70 percent of the country, and wants the public fund to support the roll-out of fast networks in other areas.
 
The consultation published by the department for business innovation and skills is seeking feedback on a number of issues, with responses due by 1 April. Questions include minimum requirements for next-generation access and services, estimated costs of roll-out for different technologies, whether to distribute funds on a regional or national level and in what areas of the country, models for distributing the state aid, possible market-distorting effects of the aid, and obligations on deployed networks such as clawback of funds or open access.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, January 13, 2010 11:40:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzania’s communications sector was the top performer in terms of the country’s national economic growth in the financial year 2008/09, with a strong increase in the mobile phone user base being the main driver. Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mustafa Mkulo, said the overall mobile subscriber base total grew from 9.5 million people in 2008 to 15 million last year, in the process increasing airtime revenues. The communications sector expanded by 19.2% in 2009 he went on to say, eclipsing the next best performance from the mining sector (15.6%), the financial sector (11.9%) and trade and construction, which grew by one percentage point to 10.5%.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 10:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Moov Togo has resumed the provision of wireless services in the country after the suspension of its operations for four months, African news agency Pana Press reports. In August 2009 Atlantique Telecom, which manages Moov’s operations in Togo and five other countries in Africa, failed to renew its operating licence in the West African country.

The concession expired in June 2008, after which the company was given until 10 August 2009 to pay a CFA20 billion (USD44 million) renewal fee. Negotiations between the cellco and regulator broke down close to the deadline and Moov’s network was shut down, leaving around 600,000 subscribers without a mobile service and sparking protests involving over 2,000 people. Under the terms of the new agreement, Moov will pay CFA25.75 billion over a period of twelve years, instead of the CFA20 billion previously required over a ten-year period. The company has reportedly already made a down payment of CFA11.75 billion, and will pay the remainder over the required time-span.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 10:51:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |