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 Friday, 12 March 2010

Telecom Argentina reported revenues of ARS 12.26 billion in 2009, up 15 percent year-on-year. Net income for the period reached ARS 1.4 billion, up by 46 percent versus 2008. Mobile revenues rose 16 percent to ARS 8.06 billion, while fixed-line revenues increased 14 percent to ARS 4.1 billion. OIBDA improved 17 percent to ARS 3.9 billion. The operator's mobile unit Personal gained 1.9 million new customers in the year, for a total of 14.5 million at the end of December. Of the total 69 percent are prepaid and 31 percent are postpaid. Nucleo, the company's mobile unit in Paraguay, had 1.8 million customers at the end of the period, down 1 percent from a year earlier. The fixed division increased the number of lines in service by 2 percent from a year earlier to 4.36 million, and the number of ADSL customers rose 17 percent year-on-year to 1.2 million users at end-December. ARPU for fixed customers climbed 1 percent in 2009 to ARS 40.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:51:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Polish regulator UKE announced the launch of the project to support broadband networks construction. On 4 March UKE received information that the Ministry of Interior and Administration approving the project to support construction of broadband internet access networks, as part of the Operational Programme Innovative Economy - POIG). UKE will advise on the investments within the Regional Operational Programme, the Operational Programme Development of Eastern Poland and the objectives 8.3 and 8.4 of POIG concerning digital inclusion and last-mile internet access. In the years 2007-2013 Poland can use about EUR 1 billion for local and regional broadband networks. After 30 months only 2 percent of the amount (EUR 18 million) has been spent. The regulator urged that the financing is used efficiently even though there are no tools to pressure investors to focus on particular regions. Although the regulator does not have decision-making powers (relevant ministries do), it wants to provide advice and assist in implementation of investment projects. The UKE chairman also provided information on the status of operational programmes. Within the Regional Operational Programme six contracts were signed and EUR 16.6 million was spent, which represents 3 percent of available resources (EUR 579 million).

Within the measure 8.3 digital inclusion, 50 contracts were signed on co-financing for approximately EUR 21.5 million, which represents 5.9 percent of available resources (EUR 364 million). Within the measure 8.4 last mile, eleven contracts were signed amounting to EUR 1.4 million, which is 0.7 percent of available resources of EUR 200 million. Within the Operational Programme Development of Eastern Poland no contract has been signed yet and the project is at the stage of feasibility assessment. Total available funds are EUR 300 million. For the Rural Development Programme EUR 59 million shall be allocated. Municipalities and their associations shall be the beneficiaries. The measures are available since December 2009.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:49:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telefonica's research and development unit is currently developing a mobile phone that enables users to send SMS, as well as make and receive voice calls in areas without mobile network coverage. Mobile communication is made possible via an application installed on the mobile device. All mobile phone owners using this application form a network in which their phones would serve as signal repeaters, El Mundo reports. The connectivity application would establish direct wireless data connections between two mobile devices that are relatively close to each other. The devices would form a network in which two phones that are 100 meters away from each other could share data and voice calls without requiring coverage.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:46:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­A U.S.-based organization that promotes the use of the Internet is urging leaders in east Africa to make the Internet accessible and affordable to all of their citizens. The leaders are gathering in Nairobi for a regional summit due to begin Tuesday.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) says by expanding the reach and affordability of the Internet, African countries can vastly help improve the economic future of the people on the continent. Speaking at an ICANN-hosted Internet conference in Nairobi Monday, CEO Rod Beckstrom noted that Africa, which has 15 percent of the world's population, is home to less than seven percent of Internet users worldwide.

Click here to see full article

"We hope the African heads of state of IGAD will walk across the hallway and join our meeting because that is a few small steps for them, but a huge leap for Africa - for more visibility and leadership of the heads of state in the Internet policy area - because the Internet is truly the developmental platform for the future," he added. Last July, a fiber optic cable went live off the Kenyan coast, putting the countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda on the global information superhighway for the first time.East Africa had been the only region in the world not connected through fiber optic cables. For years, businesses suffered because they had to rely on expensive satellites to connect to the Internet. Many passed down those costs to consumers, hurting the poor in the region.

This article was originally published by Voice of America.

Source:Cellular News

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:42:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paraguay's mobile network operators achieved a 12% year-on-year rise in overall service revenues in 2009 to USD604 million, reports BNamericas quoting figures from the economy ministry. In 2008 mobile firms Claro, Tigo, Personal and Hola billed USD517 million, up 16.6% compared to 2007, according to previous reports.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:36:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A number of Burundian telecoms operators have joined forces to build out a national fibre-optic backbone network in the small African country, aided by the World Bank. The so-called ‘Burundi Backbone Systems’ group, which includes incumbent PTO Onatel, mobile operator Leo (formerly U-Com), Africell (owned by V-Tel and Palestinian Paltel), Econet Burundi and domestic ISP CBI Net. Balancing Act reports that Burundi Backbone Systems will oversee the development of a 1,200km backbone and several international fibre links connecting the country to its neighbours in the next 18 months. The World Bank is contributing money to the scheme which will provide coverage throughout Burundi with cables laid alongside road routes, with 26 different nodes.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:33:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazilian mobile operator TIM Brasil plans to extend its 3G mobile network coverage to around 60% of the population by 2012, BNamericas quotes the company’s chief executive Luca Luciani as saying. In an interview, the CEO went on to say he expects the country’s overall telecoms market to expand by more than 5% per annum, in revenue terms, over the three-year period.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, TIM Brasil is controlled by European telecoms operator Telecom Italia and ended 2009 with 41.1 million subscribers, up 12.9% from the end of 2008, and representing a market share of 23.6%. Total net additions in the fourth quarter came to 4.7 million lines, or 20.2% of total market net additions. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was BRL27.0 in 4Q09, a growth of 1.7% when compared to the previous quarter. The cellco’s GSM network covered 94% of the country’s urban population, serving around 2,958 cities, as at 31 December 2009. As for data coverage, TIM provides GPRS technology to 100% of its footprint, while 77% is covered through EDGE technology, it said. In addition, TIM’s 3G coverage included more than 57 cities at the end of 2009 – reaching 30% of the urban population in Brazil.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:30:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Moroccan operator Wana has launched its GSM mobile services under the name Inwi. The third mobile operator said its network covers three-quarters of the population. Wana, which already offers CDMA fixed wireless and mobile voice and internet services under the name Bayn, was awarded the GSM licence in early 2009. The new mobile services include a prepaid offering with per-second billing as well as four postpaid plans with free on-net calls and a range of corporate offers.

Inwi also offers daily and weekly unlimited SMS plans, BlackBerry services, prepaid and postpaid 3G mobile internet using a USB modem, a Windows Live Messenger service, roaming and a wide range of handsets from Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. The company will compete against incumbent Maroc Telecom and Meditel on the GSM market.

Source: TelecomPaper

3G | Mobile
Friday, 12 March 2010 14:28:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Over 71 million Europeans use their mobile phones to access the internet in a typical week. Europeans spend almost an hour a day and 6.4 hours per week going online via their mobile, according to a study by the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA). Almost a quarter (24%) of 16-24 year olds and 21 percent of 25-34 year olds access mobile internet services, spending 7.2 and 6.6 hours on it respectively each week. The internet continues to prove a popular source of entertainment with one quarter of Europeans (25%) gaming or listening to the radio online (25%), and one third watching films, TV or video clips online (32%) at least once a month. Of the overall users of internet-enabled handsets, nearly 49 percent claim to receive video clips, websites or images on their mobile and 80 percent say that they pass on the content they receive. Additionally, over 71 percent of European internet users admit that they stay in touch with friends and relatives more as a result of the internet. Around 16 percent of them communicate using social media via their mobile, while 16 percent also use mobile IM services. The study also found that 36 percent of European use the internet while watching TV. Some 46 percent of European households own at least one laptop and 121 million or 52 percent of Europeans use wireless broadband connections.

According to the Mediascope Europe study from the EIAA, Poland tops the chart of markets that spend the most time on mobile internet with 10.3 hours spent online each week, followed by Italy (7.9 hours), Belgium and Portugal (7.7 hours), and Russia (7.1 hours). There are more mobile internet users in Turkey compared to those that access internet via their PC (21% versus 20%), which indicates that consumers will engage with new platforms if it makes the internet more accessible for their everyday lives.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 14:07:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Commission has proposed extending broadband access to the entire EU by 2013 and providing the whole region with access to speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020. The targets form part of its 'Digital Agenda for Europe'. The EC would also like to see 50 percent or more of European households taking internet at over 100Mbps. In order to realise the goals, the EU will continue to work on encouraging investments in broadband infrastructure and developing an efficient spectrum policy, as well as devoting structural funds to broadband expansion. The EC also wants to create a single market for online content and services, including multi-territorial licences for copyrighted material, a European stake in global internet governance and further digitisation of Europe's cultural heritage. Additional measures may include a reform of research and innovation funds in order to increase support for the ICT sector in key strategic fields, support high-growth SMEs and stimulate ICT innovation across all business sectors.

The EC also wants more work on promoting internet use and digital literacy among Europeans. The proposals are part of the much broader EU 2020 plan presented by the commission, which proposes a range of strategies to get the EU out of the economic crisis and back on a growth path. The EC asked the member states to ensdorse the plans at the spring European Council meeting.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:59:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Jordan has launched its 3G+ network, expecting that some two million Jordanians will be covered by the service by the summer of this year. The 3G services will be offered in the market in three phases, Orange Jordan's CEO Nayla Khawam said during the launch in Amman. Under the first phase, the services will initially cover west Amman, Irbid and Zarqa, while in April the network coverage will expand to cover the entire capital. Orange also plans to cover Aqaba with 3G services by late April. During the summer, network coverage will have reached most urban locations in Jordan, delivering services to approximately 70 per cent of populated areas, which translates to around two million people, she said.

In August last year, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission granted the group a JOD 50 million licence to introduce 3G services. The group will enjoy a year of exclusivity from the date when the service becomes commercially operational, after which other mobile operators will be allowed to introduce 3G services should they meet the same conditions met by the group. Khawam said the 3G network will deliver a host of new services, such as video calling, mobile broadband, access to exclusive personalised and live TV - all of which will be reasonably priced in accordance with regional standards.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:53:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japanese mobile operators added 488,600 new subscribers in February to reach a total of 111.52 million mobile subscribers, figures from the Telecommunications Carrier Association (TCA) show. NTT Docomo led in subscriber additions in February as it added 148,300 new customers to bring its total to 55.69 million. Softbank Mobile gained 145,800 new subscribers during the month to reach a total of 21.99 million, while KDDI ended February with 31.57 million subscribers after adding 121,400 new customers. Emobile won 73,100 new customers and ended the month with 2.26 million customers in total. PHS provider Willcom shed 69,600 customers, which brings the company's total to 4.17 million. Willcom recently filed for bankruptcy and has begun a rehabilitation process.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:51:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Peru's minister of transport and communications Enrique Cornejo has announced that, for the rest of his term of office, the ministry will focus on laying the foundations for sustained development of data transmission via broadband networks across the country. For this purpose, the minister set up a temporary committee that will develop the National Plan for Broadband Development in Peru. The commission has 120 days to develop the strategy.

The committee will initially assess the level of broadband access in Peru, as well as the technology used and the infrastructure deployed at national level, and will identify the barriers that limit broadband deployments. The group will then propose the guidelines, strategies and actions to be taken to support the development of the national broadband network. At 30 September 2009, Peru had 852,900 broadband connections.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:49:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The US Federal Communications Commission has unveiled plans to extend the country's universal service fund to broadband services.

The proposals will form part of the National Broadband Plan, to be presented to Congress on 17 March. The proposal would create a Connect America fund inside the Universal Service programme to subsidize broadband, and a Mobility Fund to expand the reach of 3G mobile networks, Blair Levin, the FCC official overseeing the broadband plan, told a press briefing. The Universal Service Fund currently subsidizes phone service for the poor and in remote areas, funds internet access in schools and libraries and pays for high-speed connections for rural health clinics. Funding for the USD 8-billion-a-year programme comes from a surcharge that businesses and consumers pay on their long-distance bills. The agency's plan will lay out several options to pay for the proposals, including one that would require no additional money from Congress and one that would accelerate the construction of broadband networks if Congress approves a one-time injection of USD 9 billion, AP reported from the briefing. Either way, Levin said, the proposal would not increase the annual size of the Universal Service Fund, but rather would take money from subsidies now used for voice services. The FCC would also seek to save money by subsidizing no more than one broadband provider in an area. Levin said Connect America would not favor one technology over another, be it cable, DSL or wireless.

The FCC proposal also envisions revamping the multibillion-dollar "intercarrier compensation" system for interconnection. Changes to the USF would affect revenues for rural carriers dependent on the funding, so changes would also be needed in the interconnection regime. The operators' industry group USTelecom said it welcomed the progress towards reform and plans to work with the commission on details of the plan.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:46:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telkom Kenya has announced that it will shift its strategic focus in 2010 as it attempts to recover following a net loss of KES10 billion (USD124.6 million) in 2009, reports Business Daily. Telkom Kenya generated revenues of KES11 billion but turned the net loss as higher levels of competition saw industry profit levels plummet as operators dropped their prices to gain market share. Telkom Kenya CEO, Mickael Ghossein, said the company had encountered severe conditions in the last trading year that had affected its ability to generate profits. He added: ‘We are now focusing on providing quality services, innovating and providing value for money. Our grand plan is to move the market towards true broadband connectivity, offering speeds of up to 8Mbps.’

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 12 March 2010 13:25:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The new government body responsible for rolling out next-generation broadband across the UK will begin its work on 4 March, Digital Britain minister Stephen Timms announced. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) will be responsible for the 2 Mbps universal service commitment for 90 percent of the country by 2017, with GBP 1 billion allocated for the job. The group was launched as the UK government published a report by Analysys Mason on next generation broadband across the UK, which will be used by BDUK to priorite communities who could benefit from the Next Generation Fund.
The report looks at three scenarios, a purely market-led approach, a network subsidised by the Digital Britain Next Generation Fund and, local interventions supplementing a subsidised network. The research supports the government's idea of a Next Generation Fund levy, which is seen increasing coverage by 20 percent more than if left entirely to a market led approach. The report also illustrates the comparative costs of providing high speed broadband in rural and urban areas. The research sets out strategies for public authorities, and partner organisations to provide next-generation networks in those areas that would otherwise not be commercially viable.
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, 12 March 2010 10:56:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Bahrain's telecoms regulator, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has decided that it is time to start regulating the mobile termination rates of both the country's mobile networks. Although Batelco's rates are currently regulated, the rates applied by rival operator, Zain had been untouched.

The TRA said that it considers that it is now time to address this differential treatment between Batelco and Zain, given the significant growth of Zain since its entry 6 years ago, and at a time when the third mobile operator is expected to launch soon. This will provide additional certainty to existing licensed operators as well as the third mobile operator with regards to mobile termination rates.Dr. Mohammed Al Amer TRA's Chairman and Acting General Director said "This determination is not only important to operators who terminate communications on the mobile networks but also to consumers of one network trying to communicate with consumers on other mobile networks. In fact, termination rates are ultimately recovered through retail prices charged to consumers. Regulating termination rates are consistent with TRA's mission to protect the interest of consumers and to promote competition."

Dr. Mohammed went on to say "Regulators have the duty to step in when the normal operation of market forces is deficient. Termination on mobile networks is one such example of market failure. Termination constitutes a bottleneck on which there is structurally limited room for competitive pressures. If left unregulated, mobile termination rates would be set above the competitive level which will be detrimental to consumers. The Determination launched recently will pave the way for equal treatment between Batelco and Zain, and provides clear direction for the third mobile operator."

The Determination on Mobile Termination can be viewed on TRA's website

Source: Cellular News

Friday, 12 March 2010 10:52:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Peru's Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC) plans to relaunch the project to attract a fourth mobile operator on the local market, reports El Comercio, citing vice-minister of communications Jorge Cuba. According to the government representative, the Agency for Promotion of Private Investment (ProInversion) and MTC have prepared a redefinition of a mobile licence in the 1900 MHz frequency band, also known as the C-band. The new licence will enable the entry of a fourth mobile operator on the local market, currently served by Claro, Movistar and Nextel. ProInversion plans to appoint an investment bank to find leading operators in Europe and Asia, so as to attract around six bidders for the process. The second option is to launch an open tender, which would allow the participation of any operator, including existing operators Movistar, Claro and Nextel. The government plans to launch the tender in March.
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, 12 March 2010 10:35:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 05 March 2010

According to local newspaper JoongAng Daily, citing the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), a bill passed last week by South Korea’s National Assembly will pave the way for the entry of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). ‘Any company can pursue such a business if it meets the criteria,’ said Shin Yong-seop, communications policy director at the KCC. ‘The bill will take effect in September, and we will be drawing up criteria to select new operators.’ The report says that regulator has been working to reform South Korea’s mobile market for some time, criticizing KDDI, SK Telecom and LG Telecom for charging excessively high prices and spending too much on marketing efforts that do not add quality to their services.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 11:02:13 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Jordan has launched its 3G network and has said that some two million Jordanians will be covered by the network by the end of the summer. The W-CDMA network will be rolled out in three phases, according to Orange Jordan's CEO Nayla Khawam. Under the first phase roll out will include west Amman, Irbid and Zarqa, while in April coverage will be expanded to cover the entire capital and Aqaba. By summer 2010 network coverage will include most urban locations, delivering services to approximately 70% of populated areas, equivalent to around two million people.

In August last year the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) granted Orange a JOD50 million (USD70 million) licence to introduce 3G services. The company will enjoy a year of exclusivity, beginning today, after which other mobile operators will be allowed to introduce 3G services should they agree to the same licence conditions.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 11:00:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bahrain's third mobile network launched commercial services yesterday as Saudi Telecom Company (STC) subsidiary Viva Bahrain opened its doors to customers. Trade Arabia News Service reports that Viva’s services are available across Bahrain, and include mobile broadband access at speeds of up to 21Mbps, packaged with unlimited downloads, whilst up to five people can enjoy wireless broadband at peak speeds of 7.2Mbps via a single router. For the next three months, Viva is offering free calls and SMS within its Bahraini network and free calls to STC numbers in Saudi Arabia. It is also offering up to 90% discounts on calls made to 18 popular international destinations. Viva’s post-paid handset bundles come with up to 200MB of inclusive data usage per month, whilst its 3G-enabled pre-paid SIM cards are available for BHD2 (USD5.3), with an additional offer of 24% more credit each time the SIM is recharged, the company announced.

STC has invested USD200 million in Bahrain to date and expects to spend ‘several hundred million’ dollars in the next few years. Viva Bahrain CEO Abdulrahman Al Omar commented on the launch: ‘We plan to compete in the Bahraini market by providing innovative services that meet the needs of the market and enrich the level of services, whether voice or data transmission or even high speed broadband.’

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:49:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Portugal Telecom has posted net profit of EUR683.9 million (USD934.3 million) for the year ended 31 December 2009, up 18.7% year-on-year from EUR576.1 million in 2008. Revenues grew from EUR6.72 billion in 2008 to EUR6.78 billion a year later as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed 0.9% from EUR2.48 billion in FY08 to EUR2.5 billion at end-2009. The telco also saw its domestic fixed line customer base grow from 4.29 million at year-end 2008 to 4.58 million a year later as ADSL subscribership topped 862,000 at the same date, up from 710,000 in 2008. The company did however report a continued decline in PSTN connections over the year, down to 2.75 million from 2.84 million in 2008. The company’s wireless arm Telecomunicacoes Moveis Nacionais (TMN) added 319,000 net new customers over the twelve-month period, ending 2009 with 7.25 million mobile subscribers in total.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:47:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

As part of its latest round of service provider benchmarking analysis, TeleGeography has found that 16 leading service providers have grown their revenues by an average of 45% over the last three years, equating to some 13% per annum. As could be expected, those achieving the highest growth have been focused on wireless markets in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, India and China. Leading the growth charge are MTN, Bharti and Zain which have all more than doubled their revenues in the last three years. Despite being substantially larger companies than the top ranked three, America Movil, China Mobile and Vodafone have all recorded growth in the 45%-70% range. Of the companies covered in this research the only other to achieve similar growth is AT&T, which has achieved this via acquisition and reconsolidation of US service providers, rather than organic growth

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Friday, 05 March 2010 10:45:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) in India looks set to face further delays, according to the Economic Times, on the back of security concerns raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). It is understood that the ministry’s worries over the MNP proposals have forced the Foreign Investment Promotion Board to defer its earlier approval of MNP Interconnection Solution as one of the two companies selected by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to oversee the introduction of the service. Concerns have been raised over the ownership structure of MNP Interconnection Solutions, with the MHA first voicing its objections in December 2009, with the ministry claiming that a number of shareholders in the company had no experience in running telecom services.

Nonetheless, in a separate but related report by Dow Jones Newswires, it was noted that Andimuthu Raja, the Indian communications minister, said that, even with the expected delays, MNP should be launched by the first week of May. The introduction of MNP has seen a number of delays, having first been scheduled for implementation by 31 December 2009 in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai, as well as in the Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu circles. This deadline was subsequently pushed back to 31 March 2010, but again this now looks unlikely to be met.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:32:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Angola had a relatively modest total of 303,000 fixed line telephone connections at the end of 2009, but representing significant growth from a figure of 218,000 at end-2008, according to the National Communication Institute (INACOM), which made its statistics available to the Angola Press Agency (ANGOP). Meanwhile, the mobile market in the country continued to grow steadily, with the number of subscriptions reaching 8.7 million at the end of December 2009, up from 6.8 million twelve months previously.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:30:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bangladesh's telecom minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju has told journalists that 3G licences will be awarded via a qualitative ‘beauty contest’ procedure rather than a straightforward monetary auction, local newspaper The Daily Star reports. The minister said the state did not want to repeat mistakes made in the country’s WiMAX auctions, where licence prices were pushed up too high. Ahmed Abou Doma,CEO of the country’s second largest cellco by subscribers, Banglalink, agreed, saying: ‘We welcome the telecom minister's comment on arranging a beauty contest to award the 3G licence, rather than monetary bidding... [which] ensures fastest and widest 3G coverage along with the highest service levels and quality for the customers.’ Market leader GrameenPhone, though, raised concerns about the potential for non-transparency when using selection methods other than a highest bidder auction.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:27:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A total of 1.141 million Hungarian households were receiving digital TV broadcast signals from one of the country’s 14 leading service providers at the end of 2009, a significant increase on the same time a year earlier, Broadband TV News reports citing data published by the National Communications Authority (NHH). In December alone, more than 23,000 homes signed up to one or other of the main digital TV suppliers, which between them account for 80%-85% of the total domestic market. As at 31 December, UPC’s local unit was the leading digital TV provider by subscribers with a 31.9% market share, down from 32.1% in November. Second spot was claimed by Digi with 23.4% (23.9% in November) and Magyar Telekom’s T-Home took 21.5% (20.8%). Previously, the watchdog estimated that of the country’s roughly 3.8 million homes with a TV, around three million take some form of television subscription.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:25:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Etisalat Afghanistan has celebrated the addition of its three millionth subscriber, and by its own calculation now controls 24% of the market share. With network coverage of 27 provinces, the company claims to have invested USD300 million in the country to date. Kheyal Mohammed, head of the Afghan telecommunications and information technology committee, said: ‘The telecommunications sector of Afghanistan needed a strong player such as Etisalat. Etisalat Afghanistan has been worthy of our confidence. Etisalat has managed to accomplish in a short period of time what took other operators years to achieve. Now we see that the company’s network has reached approximately 90% of Afghanistan, despite the security issues and geographical conditions’. Without giving details Etisalat said its Afghani operation tripled revenues in 2009. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Etisalat competes with Afghan Wireless Communications Company, MTN Afghanistan and Telecom Development Company Afghanistan (Roshan).

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:18:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), which trades under the banner life:), has signed up more than 200,000 3G mobile users and is aiming to increase this to 500,000 by the end of the year, e-Belarus reports citing its CEO Ozcan Ermis as saying. Of the total, between 90,000 and 95,000 subscribers are classed as subscribing to plans which include mobile internet, while the remainder are using 3G services on an ad hoc basis. To date, life:) is the only Belarusian GSM-operator to have deployed a commercial 3G network. It hopes the head start will enable it to secure a roughly 70% market share of the UMTS segment.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BeST 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. 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.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:14:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a method for mobile phones to convert silent mouth movements into speech. The technology is based on the principle of electromyography, that is the acquisition and recording of electrical potentials generated by muscle activity. This muscle activity is measured in the face and converted into speech.

An example is soundless calling.

The user can speak into the phone soundlessly, but is still understood by the conversation partner on the other end of the line. As a result, it is possible to communicate in silent environments, at the cinema or theater, without disturbing others. Another field of use is the transmission of confidential information.

For the transmission of passwords and PINs, for example, users can change seamlessly to soundless language and, hence, transmit confidential information in a tap-proof manner.

On the web: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Source: Cellular News

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:13:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Growth in fibre services delivered directly to homes and buildings accelerated n Europe in 2009. According to a report by market researcher Idate for the FTTH Council Europe, the number of FTTH/B subscribers rose 19 percent over the six months to December 2009 to 3.5 million and the number of homes and buildings passed increased 29 percent to over 25 million. The survey covered 36 countries in Europe, including Russia, which accounted for around 1 million of the subscribers. Excluding Russia, the majority of subscribers (77 percent) are concentrated in seven countries, in the following order: Sweden, Italy, France, Lithuania, Norway, The Netherlands and Denmark. Amongst them five countries now have more than 200,000 subscribers connected.

Idate identified 249 FTTH/B projects in Europe, of which 136 are new initiatives since June 2005. Municipalities and utilities are still the main players in FTTH/B deployments, representing 55.7 percent of the total number of projects. Alternative operators represent 28.7 percent of the total number of projects, but over 74 percent of homes/buildings passed. They also account for most of the subscribers, led by FastWeb in Italy, B2 of Sweden, Illiad/Free, Numericable and SFR in France, Orange Slovensko and T2 in Slovenia, which together had 841,500 subscribers, or around 24 percent of Europe's FTTH/B subscriber base (including Russia). Regarding technology deployed, Ethernet is still the first choice and represents 84 percent of total FTTH/B rollouts at end 2009.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, 05 March 2010 10:05:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 02 March 2010

The total number of registered SIM cards in Brazil jumped 1.64 million to 175.6 million last month, the second largest January hike ever recorded, as the nation’s cellcos continue to slug it out for new customers. According to data published by the industry regulator Anatel, the 50/50 joint venture between Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, Vivo Participacoes, maintained its leading position at the end of January with a 29.87% market share, up from 29.75% in December. Second spot was claimed by Telecom Americas (Claro), the local subsidiary of Mexico's America Movil, with 25.52% share, unchanged on the previous month. Third place was taken by TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) with 23.63%, also the same as for December, and ahead on Telemar Norte Leste’s Oi with 20.61%, down from 20.73%.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:27:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Turkcell, Turkey’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has announced that since launching its first 3G service on 30 July 2009 it has attracted over five million subscribers to the network. As reported by CommsUpdate on 30 July 2009, Turkcell deployed its 3G networks to all 81 Turkish provinces, covering over 60% of the population at launch. The network has since been expanded to cover 70% of the population.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:25:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Venezuela’s telecoms regulator Conatel has reported that the country’s number of fixed lines in service grew by 7% in the twelve months to the end of December 2009, taking the total to 6.9 million. The watchdog also said that total mobile subscriptions increased by 3% in the year to 28.1 million, continuing a slowdown in the growth rate from the 14% rise seen in 2008, and a 27% increase two years earlier. According to Conatel’s figures, cellular penetration reached 99.2% at end-2009. However, the standout development in the report was a 40% year-on-year increase in total fixed broadband internet customers to 1.9 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:23:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazilian mobile operator TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) today reported its financial results for the last quarter of 2009, revealing that net profits at the firm dropped 14% on the same period of 2008 due a drop in call minutes booked and its decision to use fewer tax credits. The country’s third largest wireless operator by subscribers posted net income of BRL330 million (USD 181 million) in the period under review, down from BRL384 million previously. In its regulatory filing the operator said gross revenue dipped 4% from 4Q08, due in part to a 40% drop in ancillary product sales and an 11% decline in average revenue per user (ARPU). The filing went on to say that the company used about 64% less in available tax credits, or BRL47.8 million, helping drive down its bottom line. Fourth-quarter net revenue dropped 4.4% y-o-y to BRL3.4 billion and operating costs fell 7% to BRL2.45 billion. EBITDA was up 3% to BRL958.5 million in 4Q09, compared to BRL931 million previously.

TIM Brasil ended 2009 with 41.1 million subscribers, up 12.9% from the end of 2008, and representing a market share of 23.6%. Total net additions in the fourth quarter came to 4.7 million lines, or 20.2% of total market net additions. Average revenue per user (ARPU) came at BRL27.0 in 4Q09, a growth of 1.7% when compared to the previous quarter. The cellco’s GSM network covered 94% of the country’s urban population, serving around 2,958 cities, as at 31 December 2009. As for data coverage, TIM provides GPRS technology to 100% of its footprint, while 77% is covered through EDGE technology, it said. In addition, TIM’s 3G coverage was present in more than 57 cities at the end of 2009 – reaching 30% of urban population in Brazil.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:20:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Syria’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, SyriaTel, reported a 4.7% year-on-year rise in revenues last year to SYP48.2 billion (USD1.07 billion), according to its unaudited financial statements published yesterday. Net profits were up 15% y-o-y at SYP7.3 billion, it added, while the company’s total equity value increased by 15% to SYP19.6 billion as at 31 December 2009.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database SyriaTel has been Syria's leading mobile operator by subscribers since it was established by Orascom Telecom of Egypt and holding company Drex Technologies, in 2000. Having been awarded a 15-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract at the start of 2001 by the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE), the company launched services over its GSM-900/1800 network in April in Damascus, Allepo, Homs, Hamah, Tartous and Latakieh, and soon captured 120,000 subscribers. By 30 September 2009, the cellco, which is now 51%-owned by Syrian businessman Rami Makhlouf via Drex Technologies, had a total of 4.92 million customers, a market share of 55.16%.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:18:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sources in Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies (MCIT) have revealed that third-generation base stations in the autonomous republic of Nakhchivan will provide 21,000 mobile subscribers with 3G network coverage by May, according to News.Az. It is hoped the expansion of 3G infrastructure to towns and villages in the area will help promote the use of broadband internet, mobile TV and videocalling services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Azerfon is the only wireless operator in Azerbaijan to have been awarded a licence from the MCIT to provide 3G services. Shortly after receiving its concession in December 2009, Azerfon launched its 3G network in Baku, Sumgait, Ganja, Shirvan, Nakhchivan, Mingachevir, Tovuz and Shamkir, as well as in the Absheron Peninsula.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:17:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The oldest mobile operator in Azerbaijan, Bakcell, has announced that for the first time since its formation in 1994 it has achieved network coverage in all regions of the country, reports. Bakcell, which according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database operates across a nationwide GSM platform with GPRS and EDGE evolution, said that it had worked hard to improve its networks in the twelve months ended 31 December 2009, adding that: ‘As a result, coverage in every region of Azerbaijan has more than doubled.’ As reported by CommsUpdate on 15 October 2009 Bakcell has pledged to continue to develop its network in 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:16:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Togo Telecom has contracted Xtera Communications, a global provider of optical and IP networking solutions, to deploy a high capacity fibre-optic network across Togo. Phase I of the work was completed in January 2010. When completed, the deployment will migrate the current Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) long-distance domestic network to a new optical layer relying on advanced broadband optical amplification technology for higher capacity, providing enhanced network resilience and availability. The new network will also create a high-capacity, reliable backhaul system, connecting landlocked countries in the west sub-Saharan area to international submarine cable systems via Togo Telecom's cable landing station, which is part of the West African Cable System (WACS).

‘Togo Telecom's advanced nationwide optical network combined with the WACS infrastructure will offer landlocked countries in the sub-region and Togo access to the rest of the world,’ said Sam Bikassam, general manager of Togo Telecom. 'This will free landlocked countries from the exclusive use of microwave radio systems and satellite connectivity for international communications, enabling them to offer more reliable, higher capacity broadband services to their residential and business customers’ he added.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:06:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

It appears that there could be some light at the end of the tunnel, with the Indian government having unveiled a new timetable for the long-delayed auction of third-generation spectrum, the Economic Times is reporting. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has revealed that the sale process itself will now commence on 9 April 2010, with the regulator adding that it would issue the notice inviting application (NIA) for bids today, 25 February 2010. Under the revised schedule applications are due by 19 March, and pre-qualification of bidders is to take place on 30 March 2010, with mock auctions following on 5 April and 6 April.

However, according to the Business Standard, in an official statement the DoT has confirmed that it is now only planning to auction off three UMTS licences, rather than the four originally planned. The fourth is not expected to offered until an undetermined later date, due in part to the fact that spectrum is unlikely to be available until at least 2013, according to the regulator. The reserve price for 3G spectrum has been set at INR35 billion (USD750 million), although it is widely expected that with competition for the licences so fierce the winning bids will eclipse that. State-owned telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) have both already been given spectrum to roll out services in their respective circles of operation.

Alongside the 3G development, the government has also clarified the timeframe for the sale of wireless broadband spectrum, noting that the auction for such frequencies will commence two days after the 3G sale has closed. The reserve price for WiMAX spectrum has been set at INR17.5 billion, and it is understood that two concessions will be offered.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:03:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Macedonia’s third mobile operator Mobilkom Macedonia (VIP), owned by Telekom Austria via its wireless arm mobilkom Austria, reported a 25.5% increase in net users last year, reaching a total of 303,700 by the year-end. The gains helped the cellco increase its market share from 10.7% at end-2008 to 15.9% a year later.

VIP posted FY2009 revenue of EUR6.4 million (USD8.6 million), up 70% year-on-year on the back of strong subscriber gains. EBITDA decreased from EUR3.9 million in 2008 to EUR2.2 million last year, Dnevnik reports.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 15:00:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo yesterday notified the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications that it is cutting the fees it charges other telecommunications operators to interconnect with its network. The new rates, which will be effective from 4 March, will be applied retroactively to all interconnections made since April 2009, it said. The revised fees for calls made within the same service area have been cut 15.6% from JPY0.160 (USD0.00179) per-second to JPY0.135, while interconnection fees for calls between different service areas have been reduced by 13.3% from JPY0.180 per-second to JPY0.156.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 14:54:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Moroccan communications group Maroc Telecom has reached 60% completion in the first phase of a plan to roll out a fibre-optic backbone network linking Morocco with West African countries, reports Dow Jones Newswires quoting Middle Eastern daily Asharq Al Awsat. Phase one of the network will link the capital of Mauritania, Nouakchott, to El Ouyoun in Western Sahara, revealed Maroc Telecom's president Abdulsalam Ahizoune, whilst the finished route will link Mauritania, Gabon, Mali and Burkina Faso, he said.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 14:52:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The planned Seahorse-1 submarine fibre-optic cable linking Miami, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and potentially Cuba, has had its rollout schedule rearranged, BNamericas was told by Cobian International, the parent of the system’s developer Triton Telecom. Cobian acquired the rights to what is now the Seahorse project that was originally being developed by the Trans-Caribbean Cable Company (TCCC) consortium. Phase one of the rollout has been repeatedly pushed back from 2009 and is now due to be completed in January 2011, when a direct route will connect Miami to Kingston, Jamaica. From there the optical ring will continue from Ocho Rios in Jamaica to the Dominican Republic, and then on to Puerto Rico and Miami, with completion set for early 2013. Additionally, Cobian is looking to deploy a branch leg from Jamaica to Cuba in the future.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 14:49:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
South African fixed-line operator Telkom has pledged to pass on to customers 100 percent of the proposed cut in mobile termination rates from 1 March. This will see Telkom dropping its peak rate for fixed-to-mobile calls by ZAR 0.36 or 22 percent to ZAR 1.475 per minute. Telkom has filed its new fixed-to-mobile retail rates with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. Telkom noted however that it's still awaiting notification from Cell C on finalisation of an amendment to the Cell C interconnection agreement.
Source: TelecomPaper
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 13:50:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­UAE based Etisalat has announced that its subscriber base has exceeded 100 million subscribers across its 18 markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This comes shortly after Etisalat announced it has acquired an additional share equal to 18% in "Atlantic Telecom" thus increasing the shareholding to 100%.

Added to that is its application to the Indian Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), to obtain approval to raise its 45% stake in its Indian subsidiary Etisalat DB to 50% plus one share. Etisalat targets majority stakes in its subsidiaries and associates for more operational and financial synergy.

Recently Etisalat reported annual Net Revenues of AED 30.83 billion and Net Profits of AED 8.836 billion marking a 5% and 16% increase respectively, compared to 2008.

Etisalat has operations and investments in 18 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Togo, Republic of Central Africa, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 13:49:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to recent findings by Dataxis Intelligence, Mobile broadband subscribers in Africa - users of data cards and USB dongles through cellular 3G networks- reached 3.3 million in September 2009 and are expected to break the 4 million milestone in the first quarter of 2010.

In the same time fixed br­oadband subscribers that stood at 3.4 million in September 2009 are forecasted to be around 3.8 million by March 2010, thereby being outpaced by 3G internet usage.

In fact, according to Dataxis, mobile broadband adoption grows 2 times faster than fixed broadband with an average net adds of over 400,000 new subscribers on a quarterly basis. This euphoria is mainly due to the flexibility of the service  with both prepaid and postpaid offerings marketed by operators as well as its user-friendly aspects -mobility, top-up to name a few.


Broadband subscribers (million)

  Q109 Q209 Q309 Q409 E Q1010 E
Mobile 2.41 2.84 3.4 3.8 4.2
Fixed 3 3.2 3.43 3.7 3.9
Total 5.41 6.04 6.83 7.5 8.1


Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 13:45:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rica's telecoms regulator Sutel has said it will implement price ceilings for all telecoms providers. According to a statement on the regulator’s website, the legislation is designed to allow service providers flexibility in lowering their prices, if needed in a market which is in the process of liberalisation. Currently, the prices of state telecoms incumbent ICE are fixed. The watchdog has not yet decided what the price ceilings will be, but they will apply for all services including mobile telephony, fixed line telephony, international long distance, internet, virtual private networks, VSAT services and text messages.

Currently ICE charges USD19 per month for a 256kbps internet connection. Mobile calls costs CRC30 (USD0.05) per minute at peak rate and CRC23 at the reduced rate.

In related news, by end January 2010 Sutel had authorised 65 operators to offer different types of telecoms services, local daily El Financiero reported.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 12:07:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Australian fixed line incumbent Telstra has claimed that, as a result of increased competition from mobile and internet voice services, existing restrictions on the price that can be charged for fixed line calls should be removed. However, according to The Age, the telco is facing stiff opposition to such a move from The Australia Institute, a think tank which claims that the removal of such limits would harm lower-income households.

Under the existing legislation Telstra is unable to charge more than AUD0.22 (USD0.19) for a local call, while the telco is also restricted in that it may not increase line rental costs by more than the rate of inflation. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently conducting a review of the restrictions, and in a submission to the review Telstra has argued that increased competition effectively negates the need for price regulation, noting: ‘Although price controls may have been necessary during the transition to full market liberalisation, they are no longer necessary.’ Telstra has, however, said that it would back requirements for both untimed local calls and for a single price for local calls nationwide. Meanwhile, the Australia Institute in its submission to the ACCC said: ‘Low-income households are already spending 6% of their income on telephones, compared with only 1.6% for the wealthiest 20% of households. Removing price caps would only exacerbate this inequity.'

The ACCC is expected to report its findings to the government by 12 March 2010, with any new pricing rules to come in to force from July this year for a two-year period.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 11:59:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Algerie Telecom has launched ‘SAFIR’, the country’s first IPTV service, equipment supplier Netgem revealed. The service was rolled out across the telco’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in collaboration with Netgem and the telco’s systems integration partner SPEC-COM Algerie. Netgem’s NetgemTV software and set-top boxes will allow the operator to deliver triple-play services and a choice of 60 IP-delivered TV channels. Moussa Benhamadi, CEO of Algerie Telecom, said: ‘SAFIR is a key initiative in the rollout of our FTTH network and evidence of our commitment to offer six million broadband connections by the end of 2013.’

The deployment of SAFIR has received strong backing from the Algerian government which is investing in its national telecoms infrastructure and broadband networks in an effort to accelerate economic development.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 02 March 2010 11:57:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |