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 Friday, June 04, 2010
On 7 June, AT&T will introduce new metered mobile data plans, a change from its previous all-you-can-use USD 30 plan. For people who use less than 200 megabytes of data a month, the price of the new DataPlus plan is cut in half to USD 15. The DataPro plan provides 2 GB of data for USD 25 per month. Those going over their data quota can receive an extra 1 GB for an additional USD 10 per billing month. AT&T also announced a new service that lets smartphone users tether their devices, including the iPhone, to a computer and use the phone to access the internet as a modem.
 
The tethering feature, which is only available to DataPro customers, costs an additional USD 20 a month. With the new mobile data plans, pricing for a smartphone voice and data bundle starts at USD 54.99 per month for an individual plan, or USD 24.99 per month for an additional line on a FamilyTalk plan. For new iPad customers, the USD 25 per month 2 GB plan will replace the existing USD 29.99 unlimited plan. iPad customers will continue to pre-pay for their mobile data plan and no contract is required. Existing iPad customers who have the USD 29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new 2 GB data plan.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:58:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Orange France has officially announced that it would upgrade some of its internet offers on 10 June. 'La Fibre', costing EUR 34.90 per month, includes unlimited telephony to fixed phones in mainland France, excluding premium numbers, overseas departement, some overseas territories and over 100 destinations, 1 hour of calls to mobiles in metropolitan France, up to 100 Mbps downstream internet speeds, and Orange TV, with over 100 channels, including 10 in HD and now 3D. 'La Fibre Plus', which costs an additional EUR 10 per month, includes simultaneous calls, the gigamail function and 16 extra channels. Orange will also add services and reduce prices on its ADSL triple-play subscriptions.
'Net Plus' plans, which do not include line rental, and 'Formule Plus', with line rental, allow customers to make unlimited calls to fixed numbers in mainland France (excluding premium numbers), overseas departements, some overseas territories and over 100 international destinations, plus 1 hour of calls to mobiles in mainland France, up to 20 Mbps internet access and Orange TV, with up to 100 channels in the basic package. The monthly price of Net Plus will be reduced from EUR 39.90 to EUR 34.90 and Formule Plus from EUR 34.90 to EUR 29.90. For another EUR 5 per month, Orange customers can take up the 'Cle 3G+' subscription, which offers 2 hours of internet connection via a 3G+ dongle or the Domino device, which allows users to share their 3G connection with up to 5 people simultaneously.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:55:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

During the three months ended 31 March 2010 175 million new subscribers or revenue sources were added, some 70% of which came from the Asia/Pacific region.

China and India continue to dominate the wireless subscriber numbers, accounting for 54% of all net new subscribers in the quarter. However, they are not the sole drivers of regional growth. During the first quarter both Indonesia and Vietnam joined India and China in the top six group of wireless growth markets, the only non-Asian countries in the half dozen being Brazil and the United States. Together these six countries added 112 million mobile subscribers during the three-month period. Meanwhile Western Europe hit an unwanted milestone: for the first time it saw a decline in its wireless subscriber base, albeit by a small amount.

Broadband subscriber growth was distributed more evenly across the regions, with Asia/Pacific 'only' accounting for 41% of quarterly additions. Even the more mature markets of Western Europe and North America are continuing to add substantial numbers of subscribers each quarter, each region contributing 16% of the quarterly additions. The top five growth countries were China, the United States, Russia, India and the Philippines, with France, Brazil and Germany all close behind.

While such robust growth in subscribers should be good news for service providers, in truth there was not a lot for CFOs and investors to cheer about. While global annual subscriber growth has continued at a very steady pace, even during the worst of the recession, service provider revenue growth has gradually dwindled. The 1.1% annual revenue growth includes the positive impact of merger and acquisitions. Take away the acquisitions, and revenues are flat.

The 2.1% revenue decline over the previous quarter is also significant. There is some seasonal cyclicality in the market and a drop in Q1 is not unusual, but this drop is substantially bigger than that seen twelve months ago. The recession has not helped, but the main problem is that the big subscriber growth numbers are coming from countries where ARPUs are low and intense competition is pushing them even lower. India has seen an amazing 50% growth in wireless subscribers over the last twelve months, and now has almost 600 million subscribers. However, there is not a single Indian operator in the list of top 30 service providers by revenue. Fierce price competition has had a sharply negative impact on Indian service providers’ revenue growth. For example, Bharti Airtel, the largest Indian operator, achieved subscriber growth of 36% in the past 12 months, but only a 2% increase in revenues. Revenue growth will not return to the global market until companies start to compete on factors other than pricing.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, June 04, 2010 9:52:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Tanzania is adamant that the deadline for registering SIM cards in the country is 30 June and warned yesterday that anyone failing to comply with the order will see their service cut off. Local newspaper The Citizen quotes the Communications, Science and Technology Minister Peter Msolla as saying that after the deadline, all new mobile SIM connections will be registered at the point of purchase. Tanzania launched its registration scheme in mid-2009 with a view to completing the process by 31 December, however the scheme was subsequently extended to 30 June 2010. The minister confirmed too that, some 10.2 million people had successfully registered their SIM cards by March.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Tanzania was home to 16.592 million mobile subscribers by the end of March 2010, with the country's five cellcos collectively adding 328,820 net new subscribers in the first three months of this year. Market leader Vodacom claimed a market share of 35.3% at that date, while second-placed Zain had 30.4% of the pie. Third place operator Tigo commanded a further 24.6% of users, and Zantel Mobile — once the nation's fastest growing cellco — had 9.0%. Trailing far behind the big four, the mobile arm of fixed line operator TTCL had 0.7%.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, June 04, 2010 9:45:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nigeria-based Globalcom (Glo Mobile) has reportedly been issued with a mobile operator’s licence in Senegal. If confirmed, the concession, the fourth to be awarded in the West African country, will also allow Globacom to land its Glo 1 trans-Atlantic submarine cable in Senegal, with opportunities to extend the infrastructure to Mali. Local newspaper This Day quotes the Nigerian firm’s chairman Mike Adenuga Jr as saying that the licence would enable his company to offer ‘world class telecommunications services’ to the government and people of Senegal.

‘In line with our vision, Glo will continue to play a major role in stimulating a new era of prosperity in the sub-continent and build facilities that will offer Africa advanced telecoms services such as teleconferencing, distance learning, disaster recovery, telemedicine, on-line diagnosis and video conferencing during surgery and research,’ Globacom added in a statement. The Nigerian company also holds operating licences in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic and Cote d'Ivoire, but as reported recently by CommsUpdate, has threatened to exit the Ghanaian market citing sabotage as the reason.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, June 04, 2010 9:42:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
France had over 20 million broadband and ultra high-speed subscribers in the first quarter, according to telecommunications regulator Arcep. The country added 369,000 such customers in the quarter, taking the total to 20.05 million at the end of March. Year-on-year, the high-speed and ultra high-speed subscriber base grew by 9 percent in the first quarter, compared to 10.5 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 10.8 percent in the third quarter of that year. Broadband subscribers accounted for 98 percent of the total as of 31 March. Ultra high-speed subscribers grew by 14.6 percent to 330,000 in the period.
 
There were 40,000 new fibre customers. Of all high-speed subscribers at the end of the first quarter, 77 percent were with cable operator Numericable, which runs fibre to the building, then co-ax to flats. The remainder had fibre to the home. According to Arcep around 40 municipalities are involved in fibre rollouts, with networks passing over 4.5 million homes.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:36:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An investment of more than US$60 million has been planned by Vodacom Mozambique over the next two years to expand its network. 43% increase in the number of customers last year to 2.3 million has resulted in the decision for expansion.

100 new transmission towers has been planned to be set up by the network mainly in the centre and north of the country – which is around double its expansion rate last year. Expansion of its own microwave and fibre-optic backhaul is also in consideration to reduce reliance on the national landline operator, which the firm blames for repeated network outages.

The move to improve the network comes as the country’s regulator announced plans to award a third mobile license later this year.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, June 04, 2010 9:32:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China's 3G users have exceeded 20 million and are estimated to reach 150 million by the end of next year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), China's offical news agency, Xinhua reported, citing the Economic Daily.

The recent MIIT report shows that in the first quarter of 2010, the China Mobile's TD-SCDMA network has covered over 238 cities, and its rival, China Unicom, has covered 335 cities with its WCDMA network, while China Telecom covered 342 cities with its CDMA based network. In all, China's 3G base-stations have reached over 367,000 in number.

In contrast with the rapid growth of 3G users, the 3G mobile phone prices have declined dramatically. Prices vary from 3,000 yuan to 1,000 yuan, which is in the same level as traditional 2G mobile phones.

Source: Cellular News

3G
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:28:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­MTS says that it has launched its 3G network in Belarus, offering peak download speeds of up to 21Mbps. The network is currently available in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, and will be expanded to the major cities and regional centers of the country by the end of the year.

In addition, the company has now fulfilled its 3G license requirement for the commercial 3G network in Russia following the launch of the network in the last remaining federal subject, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. MTS now has commercial 3G networks in all Russian federal subjects.

The conditions of the 3G license that the firm was granted in April 2007 stipulated that the mobile network operator had to launch commercial 3G networks in all Russian federal subjects by May 2010.

During the first quarter of 2010, 3G traffic on MTS' network in Russia grew 10.9 times year-on-year. The share of 3G in total traffic has increased to 59% in Q1 2010 from 28% in Q1 2009. The most avid 3G users reside in Sochi, Krasnodar, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk, Novorossiysk, Surgut, Kemerovo, Samara, Kazan and Vladivostok, where 3G was launched for some time now.

Source: Cellular News

3G
Friday, June 04, 2010 9:22:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 28, 2010

Around 30 million Americans or one in six mobile users have experienced “bill shock,” a sudden increase in their monthly bill that is not caused by a change in service plan, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s survey of consumers, conducted by Abt/SRBI and Princeton Survey Research Associates, International. The survey also shows that nearly half of mobile phone users who have plans with early termination fees and almost two-thirds of home broadband users with ETFs do not know the amount of the fees they are accountable for. The survey notes that 83 percent of adults in this country have a mobile phone, and 80 percent have a personal mobile phone. The survey finds that of the 30 million Americans who have experienced bill shock 84 percent said their mobile carrier did not contact them when they were about to exceed their allowed minutes, text messages, or data downloads. About 88 percent said their carrier did not contact them after their bill suddenly increased. The amount of bill shock varies widely but is often sizeable. In the survey, more than a third of people who experienced bill shock said their bills jumped by at least USD 50, and 23 percent said the increase was USD 100 or more. Of the respondents with personal mobile phones, 54 percent said they would have to pay an ETF should they terminate their contracts before the expiration date, and 18 percent did not know whether they would have to pay or not. Of those who are subject to an ETF, 43 percent said it was USD 150 or more, but 47 percent didn’t know how much it was. One reason for the confusion is billing practices, where only 36 percent of customers who are familiar with their bills said that they include “very clear” information on ETFs.

Only 21 percent of home broadband users say that their contracts include an early termination fee. Of those consumers, however, fully 64 percent do not know what the fee is, a higher level of confusion than for mobile phone service. The survey shows that ETFs are one factor that can keep customers from switching carriers even when their service is not ideal. Forty-three percent of these customers said ETFs were a major reason they would stay with their current service, almost exactly the same number who said they would be deterred from switching by the cost of setting up a new service or by paying a deposit on a new service.

Source: Telecom Paper

Friday, May 28, 2010 1:20:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The UAE’s incumbent telecoms operator Etisalat is set to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology by the end of 2010, LteWorld reports. Abdulla Al Ahmad, vice president of Enterprise Sales at Etisalat said that the company will be able to provide theoretical download speeds of up to 140Mbps and maximum uplink rates of 50Mbps. He added that Etisalat has been conducting successful LTE trials, designed to increase the capacity and speed of mobile networks.

In a separate story, Etisalat has announced the launch of a triple-play service over its fibre-optic infrastructure. ‘eLife Triple Play’ bundles landline telephony, broadband and television services. ‘By introducing TV on our fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, we launch today the second phase of ‘eLife' that opens doors for unmatched applications and adds significant value to our customers' lifestyles, providing them numerous entertainment options that are both customisable as well as convenient,’ noted the operator’s senior vice-president of marketing, Khalifa Al Shamsi. The new bundle is available to all homes connected to Etisalat’s ‘eLife’ FTTH network. As well as the capital Abu Dhabi, the company is rolling out ‘eLife’ in Dubai and Sharjah and plans to connect all of the UAE’s households by 2011, including 1.4 million homes and offices. Prices for the new triple-play package range from AED299 (USD81.38) to AED539 per month.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, May 28, 2010 1:17:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The European Commission has presented its Digital Agenda, part of the Europe 2020 strategy. The most important elements for the telecom sector are the target for increasing access to broadband services, including possible state aid for remote areas, and spectrum harmonisation.

On the surface, the plans present no surprises. ICT commissioner Neelies Kroes has already shown a willingness for a certain amount of government intervention. Furthermore countries like the Netherlands are already well on the way to meeting the goals. Broadband is maybe not 100 percent available, but it's not far off. The other target of universal access to at least 30Mbps by 2020, with at least half of households on 100Mbps, is also not especially ambitious. In the Netherlands, 50Mbps is already available to around 90 percent of the population (see our research brief 'Netherlands most homes passed with 50+Mbps').

The most startling element of the press statement was the emphasis on international roaming prices. By 2015 these should be so low that a mobile user doesn't even notice when he crosses a border - at least, not from the mobile prices. Combined with the ongoing push for mobile termination rates to reach fixed network levels by 2012, it's clear that the mobile sector needs to quickly mature. Artificially high tariffs and subsidising mobile with fixed networks soon will be things of the past.

At its Q1 results, KPN estimated that mobile termination rate cuts cost the company EUR 55 million in revenues and EUR 20 million in EBITDA. It's not surprising then that KPN didn't say a word about sales growth. Market expectations centre on a small revenue decline this year for KPN, to EUR 13.4 billion from EUR 13.5 billion in 2009, but the "market" is currently estimating small increases in 2011 and 2012 to EUR 13.45 billion (both years). Given the actions by national regulators and the EC, it's highly questionable whether this growth will materialise already in 2011.
 
Source: Telecom Paper
Friday, May 28, 2010 1:13:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom New Zealand has confirmed that it is fully investigating structural separation in order to participate in the government’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. However, “in making a thorough assessment of structural separation we need to have a detailed understanding of the regulatory environment, and this warrants detailed discussion and analysis with Government before any decisions regarding its viability can be made,” CEO Paul Reynolds said in a statement. Telecom has asked the telecommunications minister to consider a variation on three components of Telecom’s undertakings that will no longer be relevant in a fibre future.


The proposed changes are to:

  • Suspend the forced bulk migration of existing broadband customers onto a new copper-based broadband service. However, the company will continue to supply this new broadband service to all new customers;
  • Remove the requirement for Telecom to migrate 17,000 customers onto a new VoIP over copper service by the end of this year; and
  • Remove the requirement for Telecom to build a new set of wholesale systems that are not consistent with the industry structure implied by UFB.

Source: Telecom Paper

Friday, May 28, 2010 1:07:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Orange launched its mobile payment service Orange Money in Madagascar in early May in partnership with Banque Malgache de l'Ocean Indien (BMOI) and post office Paositra Malagasy (PAOMA). The service allows mobile customers to deposit, withdraw and transfer money, to easily buy call credit, to pay for goods at certain retail partners and to pay bills. As previously reported, the operator introduced Orange Money to two West African countries in the last few weeks, Senegal and Mali. Orange is studying customer needs in each market, with the intention of developing additional, more advanced mobile payment services such as international money transfers. Orange Money is available to all Orange customers whether or not they have a bank account, and is activated free of charge and with no minimum deposit. Orange's mobile-payment service is built around partnerships with local banks, which are responsible for issuing and guaranteeing the electronic money. The introduction of Orange Money in Senegal, Mali and Madagascar follows the initial launch of the service in Cote d'Ivoire in December 2008.
 
Source: Telecom Paper
Friday, May 28, 2010 12:59:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

­Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are set to take off in Latin America as mobile markets mature, new regulations come into force and more network operators open to MVNOs to fuel growth. "MVNO subscriptions in Latin America will grow at a CAGR of 28% to 6.6 million by 2013," says Júlio Püschel, senior analyst and head of mobile operator strategy at Informa Telecoms & Media.Püschel is presenting Informa Telecoms & Media's latest research on MVNOs at Informa's MVNO Forum 2010, which is being held in SãoPaulo, Brazil on May 26. "The MVNO market is at an early stage in Latin America, with only around 20 active MVNOs in the region, out of 550 MVNOs or resellers worldwide," Püschel says."However mobile growth is slowing in Latin America, with mobile penetration rates already above 100% in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, and at close to 90% in Brazil. "Forward-looking operators now see MVNOs as a good opportunity to grow subscriptions and revenues in new market segments."

The MVNO market is a particularly hot topic in Brazil, where regulator ANATEL plans to launch new MVNO regulations this year. "This is an important step in Latin America's largest mobile telecoms market," Püschel says. "The regulation will open the door to MVNOs in Brazil, which will force all operators to review their MVNO strategies and plans. Some operators are reluctant to open to what they consider new competitors, but others are embracing MVNOs as a growth opportunity. Our research on the global MVNO market shows that operators that open to MVNOs will be the winners."

Püschel will provide an overview of the MVNO market in Latin America and globally. "Latin America represented a small share of the world's 104 million MVNO subscriptions in 2009, but will play a bigger role going forward," notes Püschel. "The MVNO market is already a reality in Latin America, with MVNOs including Fecosur in Argentina, Cablevision and Maxcable in Mexico, and Telefonica del Sur in Chile. But the number of MVNO operators and subscriptions is set to jump as mobile markets mature and new MVNO regulations come into force," Püschel says. "Mobile network operators in Latin America need to develop the right wholesale strategies now or risk losing subscriptions and revenues to competitors."

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:12:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Bolivian telecoms regulator, La Autoridad de Telecomunicaciones y Transportes (ATT), has said that it expects approximately 90% of the country’s mobile voice subscribers to have registered their mobile phone by 30 May, according to BNamericas. The watchdog, citing ATT technical chief Andres Zambrana, noted that as of 17 May 2010 87% of subscribers had registered their mobile numbers. Initially, having opened the registry database in November 2009, the cut-off date had been set as February 2010, but this was subsequently pushed back in order to allow mobile network operators to implement initiatives designed to focus on ensuring rural users had registered their details. Under the government’s plans, all those subscribers that have not provided their personal details by 1 June will have their service cut off, with the ATT claiming that the move will help curb the use of mobile phones in criminal activity.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:09:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Macedonia’s national telecoms regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has cut the wholesale prices that domestic cellcos pay for the use of each other’s networks. Local news journal Kanal5 notes the move should pave the way for a reduction in retail prices for mobile services too. AEC head Petar Ivanovski said that analysis carried out by the watchdog found there to be room to cut the wholesale rates for all three operators – T-Mobile, Cosmofon (ONE) and VIP Mobile – by between 10% to 15%. In addition, the AEC is ushering in another condition for domestic cellcos, under which they will have to rent out their infrastructure under previously determined prices. It is thought the move is designed to make the market more attractive to a fourth mobile operator – something the government has been pursuing for more than 18 months. None of the Macedonian incumbents have as yet commented on the plan, and none has announced any cut in prices yet.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:06:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cable & Wireless Communications (C&W) has revealed plans to roll out a new Caribbean submarine cable, in the process more than doubling its carrier capacity in the region. It is understood the new cable, dubbed the ‘East-West’ link, will connect Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in the west of the Caribbean, to the British Virgin Islands (Tortola) in the east. The East-West cable will also land in the Dominican Republic, one of the operator’s key markets in the region. C&W’s mobile operations in the Caribbean, which are offered under the banner LIME, have already commenced work on deploying the cable which is expected to be operational by early 2011. The new cable is the third such submarine link constructed by Cable & Wireless Communications in the region since 2008, adding to the CBUS cable between Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands and the Gemini-Bermuda cable between Bermuda and the east coast of the US.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:04:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Moldovan state-owned incumbent telecoms operator Moldtelecom has announced the commercial launch of W-CDMA/HSDPA services under the brand ‘Unite 3G’, following total network investment of MDL250 million (USD19.2 million). The operator already provides mobile CDMA2000 1x and 1xEV-DO services, first introduced in the capital Chisinau in March 2007 under the 'Unite' banner. Moldtelecom’s new 3G offering provides services such as mobile broadband at download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps, videocalling and high quality voice services. At launch, the third-generation network covers 68% of the population, including all the country’s major cities and regional centres, as well as many rural regions. In the near future the company plans to increase maximum downlink speeds to 21Mbps and add television to its portfolio of services on offer. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Moldtelecom was awarded a licence for the provision of 3G mobile services in December 2008 by the country’s telecoms regulator ANRCETI, after paying USD8 million. Chinese equipment vendor Huawei won a tender held in May 2009 to supply the 3G infrastructure, beating off competition from Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent Romania and SIS Solutions & Services.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:00:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest fixed-line penetration rate in the world. Incumbent operators mainly attribute this to low investments in copper-wire network infrastructure in the past. However, ­a series of fibre-optic cables that are being placed along the east and west coasts of the continent are expected to give a second life to fixed-line telecommunications and cater to the rising demand for data and broadband Internet services.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of $6.78 billion in 2008 and estimates this to reach $12.25 billion in 2015. The fixed-line technologies covered in this research include copper-wire network, fibre-optic network, dial-up, asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), integrated serial digital network (ISDN), worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX), code division multiple access (CDMA) and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS).

"The key growth drivers for wire-line telecommunications are the increasing demand for data and Internet services, cost-effective deployment of fixed-wireless technologies, and the introduction of fibre-optic cables," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jiaqi Sun. "Corporate customers are the major revenue contributor for fixed-line services, particularly data and Internet services and fixed-wireless technologies."

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:58:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Serbian telecoms regulator RATEL has announced that the telecoms sector generated EUR1.5 billion (USD1.85 billion) in revenue in 2009, equivalent to 4.8% of GDP. RATEL executive director Milan Jankovic said that the number of fixed lines numbered 3,145,920 at the end of 2009, while the total number of mobile telephony users was 9.9 million. The regulator said it has issued 199 internet service provider licences, 77 cable operator licences, 44 voice over internet protocol (VoIP) concessions, 137 television and 307 radio broadcasting licences.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:53:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Preliminary results from the USA's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) covering the second half of last year, indicates that the number of American homes with only wireless telephones continues to grow.

In the last 6 months of 2009, one of every four households (24.5%) did not have a landline telephone but did have at least one wireless telephone. Approximately 22.9% of all adults (approximately 52 million adults) lived in households with only wireless telephones; 25.9% of all children (more than 19 million children) lived in households with only wireless telephones.

The percentage of households that are wireless-only has been steadily increasing. The 4.3-percentage-point increase from the last 6 months of 2008 through the last 6 months of 2009 is nearly equivalent to the 4.4-percentage-point increase observed from the last 6 months of 2007 through the last 6 months of 2008.

The percentage of adults living in wireless-only households has also been increasing steadily. During the last 6 months of 2009, more than two of every nine adults lived in wireless-only households. One year before that (i.e., during the last 6 months of 2008), 2 of every 11 adults lived in wireless-only households. And 2 years before that (i.e., during the last 6 months of 2006), only 2 of every 17 adults lived in wireless-only households.

The percentage of children living in wireless-only households is also growing. In fact, for this population, the 4.6-percentage-point increase from the first 6 months of 2009 is the largest 6-month increase observed since 2003, when NHIS began collecting data on children living in wireless-only households.

The percentages of adults and children living without any telephone service have remained relatively unchanged over the past 3 years. Approximately 2.0% of households had no telephone service (neither wireless nor landline). Nearly 4 million adults (1.7%) and 1.4 million children (1.9%) lived in these households.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has signed a MVNO agreement with Richard Branson's Virgin Group offering prepaid services. The service offers a simple all-day tariff, sweeping away the confusion of peak and off-peak rates and also provides 180-day airtime - the longest-lasting mobile airtime validity in Qatar.

With this launch, Virgin Mobile Qatar will be the eighth Virgin Mobile branded operation in the world, following on from launches in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, and India.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman and Founder of the Virgin Group of Companies, said: "Virgin Mobile is the fastest-growing and most successful business in Virgin's history, with more than fifteen million customers around the world. Virgin Mobile Qatar is an entirely new type of mobile experience, which everybody can start enjoying from today. I am proud to have partnered with Qtel to make Virgin Mobile Qatar our first mobile launch in the Middle East, and I would like to invite the people of Qatar to come on in and enjoy the fun. We're open!"

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:34:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The oft-delayed sale of Indian 3G spectrum has finally been concluded, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced, revealing that the auction raised more than double the expected amount for the government. After 34 days of bidding, seven of the nine operators that had successfully applied to take part in the sale process came away with 3G licences, although no single operator was able to lay claim to a pan-India concession, with the most that any cellco managed to win being frequencies in 13 of the country’s 22 telecoms circles.

Three of the participants – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Aircel – acquired 2x5MHz paired spectrum in 13 circles, although due to the manner of the bidding the trio paid significantly different amounts for their respective concessions, with licence prices decided on a circle-by-circle basis. Bharti’s 13 licence areas will cost it INR122.95 billion (USD2.66 billion), the highest paid by any of the seven 3G auction winners, while Aircel will pay just over half of that, INR64.99 billion, for its 13 licences; RCOM meanwhile will be charged INR85.85 billion. Idea Cellular bagged the next highest number of circles – eleven – paying INR57.69 billion, while both Tata Teleservices (TTSL) and Vodafone Essar will be permitted to offer third-generation services in nine circles, paying INR58.64 billion and INR116.18 billion respectively for their concessions. STel, which only launched 2G services in December 2009, rounded out the successful bidders, claiming three circles for a total of INR731 million. The two operators that came away empty-handed were Etisalat and Videocon.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:32:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Moroccan telecommunications regulator ANRT has set a 65 percent reduction target for voice termination interconnection tariffs for fixed and mobile calls between 2010-2013 for Maroc Telecom (IAM) and Medi Telecom, and by 70 percent for Wana Corporate. The regulator's management committee has also set the end of asymmetric interconnection tariffs for 2013. The average target reduction for fixed termination by that year is between 24 and 40 percent. The measure is intended to stimulate competition on the fixed and mobile markets in the interest of end users. During the second half of 2011, the body will evaluate the impact of regulated tariffs in place on market dynamics and will readjust them if necessary.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:27:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Dutch mobile broadband use is growing quickly but still remains a niche service for a small group of users, according to Telecompaper's latest report 'Dutch Mobile Broadband 2010'. The report revealed that 6 percent of respondents in Telecompaper's Consumer Panel had a mobile broadband subscription for laptop or netbook use in the first quarter. Young people and men were more likely to use the service, while consumers who already have smartphones are also keen on mobile broadband. Telecompaper data showed smartphone penetration up from 10 to 25 percent over the last two years, with growth expected to continue at at least similar rates. Most consumers still see mobile broadband as a supplementary service to their fixed broadband connection, rather than as a substitute.

They see little reason to get a mobile broadband subscription, citing high prices, bad network coverage and low speeds as the main problems. Among Dutch market parties, market leader KPN and unit Telfort had the highest percentages of mobile broadband customers and Tele2 the lowest, although this may change once the operator rolls out its own mobile network with its recently acquired radio frequencies licence.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:25:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian broadband access provider UCOM LLC plans to launch fixed line telephony services in the country – possibly before the end of the summer – according to its head of marketing, Manushak Melkumyan, as quoted by PanARMENIAN.Net. Ms Melkumyan told reporters that ‘Currently, works on the net[work’s] construction are [being] implemented, as well as negotiations with international operators of phone communication [services]’. UCOM is ready to begin offering reduced cost tariff plans for end users, saying its wholly owned fibre-optic network ‘should secure its competitiveness’ and allow its to offer competitively priced tariff plans for its services. At launch, UCOM intends to offer fixed line voice telephony in the capital Yerevan, before extending its reach to include other regions where its fibre-optic infrastructure is present. It has already secured the code ‘6045’ to operate voice telephony services and is looking at the possibility of having capacity for 10,000 telephone numbers, she said.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UCOM LLC was founded in 2007 to deliver a range of traditional and innovative high quality services in the Armenian telecommunications market. Having partnered with equipment vendor Ericsson, Yerevan-based UCOM has built a fibre-optic network based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON) technology and today offers telecoms services through its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, with prices for basic internet access costing AMD12,000 per month for a 256kbps/256kbps connection.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:01:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Arab nations are leading a "historic" charge to make the world wide web live up to its name. Net regulator Icann has switched on a system that allows full web addresses that contain no Latin characters. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the first countries to have so-called "country codes" written in Arabic scripts. The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil. More than 20 countries have requested approval for international domains from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann). It said the new domains were "available for use now" although it admitted there was still some work to do before they worked correctly for everyone. However, it said these were "mostly formalities".

Icann's senior director for internationalised domain names, Tina Dam, told BBC News that this has been "the most significant day" since the launch of the internet, adding that "it's been a very big day for Icann, more so for the three Arabic countries that were the first to be introduced". Icann president Rod Beckstrom described the change as "historic". The introduction of the first web names using so-called country code top-level domains (CCTLDs) is the culmination of several years of work by the organisation. Previously, websites could use some non-Latin letters, but the country codes such as .eg for Egypt had to be written in Latin script. The three new suffixes will allow web addresses to be completely written in native characters.

Click here to see full article
Source: BBC News
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:54:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Israeli government has proposed a reduction in mobile interconnection fees. The ministry of communications issued a 30-day notice to operators to respond to the proposal. The fees are expected to drop from the current ILS 0.251 per minute to ILS 0.0414 from 1 August 2010, to ILS 0.0354 from 1 January 2011, to ILS 0.0311 from 1 January 2012, to ILS 0.0280 from 1 January 2013 and to ILS 0.0257 from January 2014. The ministry also wants a cut in SMS termination rates, from ILS 0.0285 currently to ILS 0.0019 in August and down to ILS 0.0013 by 2014.
 
Source: TelecomPaper
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:43:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) has launched the second phase of its rural telephony project, dubbed ‘Nteletsa II’, aimed at providing telecoms services to almost 200 villages for the first time, local news source Mmegi Online reports. The project forms part of the government’s Rural Telecommunications Development Programme, which hopes to boost the nation’s teledensity by improving access to voice and data services in rural areas. Under Nteletsa II, telecoms infrastructure and services were extended to 197 villages in the districts of Chobe, Ghantsi, Kgalagadi, Central, Kgatleng, North West and Kweneng. ‘The fulfilment of the Nteletsa project will bring remote areas in Botswana together through telecommunications services,’ noted Keabetswe Segole, acting CEO of BTC, adding, ‘Funding this project is a promising sign of the government's dedication to bringing all of Botswana into 21st century communications. BTC is glad to be the vehicle driving the country towards improved telecommunication availability.’

The Nteletsa project began in 1999, when BTC was awarded an exclusive contract for the rural telephony project. The first areas to be connected were Tuli Block and Barolong, followed by Tswapong, Ngwaketse, Kweneng, and the Southern and North East districts. In 2008 the government awarded contracts for Nteletsa II to BTC, as well as mobile operator Mascom Wireless and local consortium Kuto Lamworld Telenet.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:37:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A mobile network has been launched by France Telecom’s Orange in the North African country of Tunisia. The venture has been launched in co operation with Investec, a Tunisian subsidiary of the Mabrouk group and Orange holds 49% in the joint venture.

One billion dinars (around EUR500 million) will be invested by Orange Tunisia to set up the network and to launch the operations. Majority of Tunisia’s major cities is already covered by this network and it will be doubled by the end of the year.

According to Didier Lombard, Chairman of France Telecom, Orange is proud to associate itself with Marwan Mabrouk to build Tunisia’s first genuine convergent telecoms operator and together they are committed to a project that will transform the Tunisian telecommunications market, and which in turn will help the country on its way to joining the world’s most competitive economies.

A network of nine shops and 400 distribution outlets will benefit Orange Tunisia. Almost 1,500 people will be hired by the company by the end of this year.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:34:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnam’s largest mobile network operator, Viettel and World Bank’s IFC have signed a public-private partnership under which the operator will upgrade Haiti’s fixed line network in the country’s largest foreign direct investment after the earthquake.

US$59 million will be invested initially and upgrade services offered by fixed line operator Télécommunications d’Haiti (Teleco) and later an investment of an additional US$40 million over four years. A new company will be created for this purpose in which Viettel will hold a 60 percent stake and Banque de la République d’Haiti (BRH), Teleco and their affiliates will control the remaining 40 percent.

Haitian government had IFC as an advisor while structuring the international bidding process for the partnership since June 2007. According to Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, agreement reflects the extraordinary commitment of the Government of Haiti and Viettel to ensuring a safer and more sustainable future for the Haitian people and Economic growth is easier to achieve when people have the basic tools they need to communicate and connect with the world.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:31:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Data published by the Hungarian telecoms watchdog the National Communications Authority of Hungary (NHH) shows that the country was home to 11.883 million registered mobile contracts at the end of March, although the three incumbent operators failed to record much growth despite increases in January and February 210. The fall in demand in March this year was mirrored by a dramatic fall in the number of customers generating data traffic. As at 31 March 2010 T-Mobile controlled 43.09% of the total market, down from 43.10% in February, Vodafone's share dropped from 22.09% to 22.03%, while Pannon's market share increased from 34.81% to 34.88%.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:30:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ictQATAR, Qatar’s telecoms regulator has announced that it has issued the country’s second fixed line network operating licence to Vodafone Qatar, allowing the company to provide fixed access services nationwide, effective 29 April 2010. The UK-backed firm, which broke the mobile telephony monopoly of Qatar Telecom last year, was originally announced as the winner of the second national operator (SNO) licence in September 2008. ictQATAR’s statement added that Vodafone Qatar will be able to provide fixed telephony and data services to consumers, businesses and government in Qatar as well as other services such as leased lines, international connectivity and VSAT services. As the holder of fixed and mobile licences, it will also be able to provide converged services involving both mobile and fixed networks such as fixed/mobile data packages. Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, ictQATAR’s Secretary General, said, ‘The issuing of the second fixed licence concludes the first major phase of liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Qatar. Consumers and businesses have already seen the benefits of competition, and the choices available in mobile markets, and now they can look forward to this in respect to fixed networks and services. I also expect significant competition with converged fixed and mobile services.’

Vodafone Qatar's concession carries certain obligations to provide services to specific areas, namely to offer full service coverage to the Pearl Development (internet services within three months and voice services within twelve months), the West Bay CBD area (within 30 months) and the rest of the State of Qatar (within 48 months). The licence award remains contingent on the company completing necessary changes to its articles of association within the next three months, a company official confirmed. Once the amendment is approved by shareholders, Vodafone Qatar must pay a licence fee of QAR10 million (USD2.75 million).

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:20:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­France Telecom's Orange has launched a mobile network in the North African country of Tunisia, in cooperation with Investec, a Tunisian subsidiary of the Mabrouk group. Orange holds 49% of the joint venture.

Commenting on the launch, Didier Lombard, Chairman of France Telecom said: "Today, Orange is proud to associate itself with Marwan Mabrouk to build Tunisia's first genuine convergent telecoms operator. I have full confidence in this kind of partnership, which brings together a strong local actor with a global operator. Together we are committed to a project that will transform the Tunisian telecommunications market, and which in turn will help the country on its way to joining the world's most competitive economies. Our commitment to this partnership also enjoys a particular intensity thanks to the historic, cultural and economic ties that traditionally exist between France and Tunisia." The company was awarded its operating license in June 2009.

Orange Tunisia will invest one billion dinars (around EUR500 million) to launch operations and install the country's first 3G network. This network, which will be operational from day one, already covers the majority of Tunisia's major cities. Overall coverage will be doubled by the end of the year. From its launch, Orange Tunisia will benefit from a network of nine shops and 400 distribution outlets. In addition, the operator will employ 1,500 people by the end of the year.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:12:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Vietnam's largest mobile network operator, Viettel has signed a deal to upgrade Haiti's fixed line network in the country's largest foreign direct investment after the earthquake. Under a public-private partnership structured by World Bank's IFC, Viettel will initially invest US$59 million, and an additional US$40 million over four years, to upgrade services offered by fixed line operator Télécommunications d'Haiti (Teleco), creating a new company in which Viettel will hold a 60 percent stake and Banque de la République d'Haiti (BRH), Teleco and their affiliates will control the remaining 40 percent.

The IFC served as the advisor to the Haitian government in structuring the international bidding process for the partnership since June 2007.

Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, noted: ""The agreement reflects the extraordinary commitment of the Government of Haiti and Viettel to ensuring a safer and more sustainable future for the Haitian people. Economic growth is easier to achieve when people have the basic tools they need to communicate and connect with the world."Viettel's investment comes at a critical time. Even prior to the devastating earthquake on January 12, Haiti's fixed-line penetration was only 1.8 percent - the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mobile density was emerging at around 35 percent while Internet penetration remained below 1 percent. The earthquake caused significant damage to existing telecom operators' networks, including those of Teleco and other local providers.

"Enhancing telecommunications infrastructure at this time is an essential component of Haiti's reconstruction efforts," said Charles Castel, Governor of BRH. "We welcome Viettel's commitment which shows confidence in Haiti and sends a signal to other potential private investors who want to support the country's recovery and development."IFC's infrastructure advisory services in the Teleco project received donor support from DevCo, a multidonor facility affiliated with the Private Infrastructure Development Group. DevCo is funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Agency, and the Austrian Development Agency. Additional support for IFC's advisory work was provided by the United States Treasury Department.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:09:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The 9th edition of the ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report (WTDR 2010) focuses on Monitoring the WSIS Targets. The year 2010 marks the midpoint between the 2005 Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and 2015, the deadline for achieving the ten targets that governments agreed upon at the WSIS. The Report is a mid-term review, and provides policy makers with a comprehensive assessment of what has been achieved so far, and what remains to be done. 

The Report has been prepared specifically for the WSIS Forum 2010 and the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), both to be held in May 2010.

The Report is available for free at: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/publications/wtdr_10/index.html 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 3:24:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 03, 2010

­The mobile communications markets of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have all experienced subscriber growth over ten percent in the last five years. This has created a powerful network effect, which continues to drive market growth, albeit at lower levels. Value-added and data services are increasingly becoming revenue drivers, particularly in competitive markets such as Botswana and Namibia, which have high mobile penetration levels.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that Zambia currently contributes almost half of all revenues in these four countries, followed by Botswana with 26 per cent. This is expected to change by 2015 when Zambia's share will reduce to 38 per cent, but Zimbabwe will contribute one third of the total revenues.

"These countries differ significantly in the state of their mobile communication markets," notes Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Protea Hirschel. "Botswana and Namibia are characterised by high mobile penetration rates, which is more than 100 per cent in the case of Botswana. The small addressable markets in these two countries constrain long-term growth and the average revenue per user (ARPU) for voice is declining due to greater competition. Therefore, mobile operators are focused on retention strategies and extending data offerings to protect their market shares."

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Monday, May 03, 2010 3:04:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has announced that it expects to reach the milestone of 50,000 mobile broadband subscribers on its 3.5G network within the next week. TeleGeography's GlobalComms Database says that although Qtel launched 3G W-CDMA services in July 2006 and a 3.5G HSDPA upgrade in December 2007, it did not launch mobile broadband internet packages for laptop/PC users until early 2008, with a HSUPA upload boost following in the first quarter of 2009. Qtel says the popularity of the service took off significantly when it launched a pre-paid mobile broadband option in December 2009. The company claims users can expect to receive actual internet speeds ranging from 1Mbps to 3Mbps, depending on their proximity to a Qtel 3G tower.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 3:01:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Minister of Communications and Informatisation for the Republic of Belarus, Nicolai Pantelei, is quoted as saying the country will be home to 1.8 million broadband internet subscribers by the end of this year, up from the 500,000 currently subscribed to national PTO Beltelcom’s network. The minister’s announcement comes in the wake of a statement from Andrey Kononov, the deputy head of Belarusian public corporation Gyprosvyaz, that broadband internet penetration in the country will top 34% in 2015, broken down as 38% in cities and 25% in rural areas. Online news journal e-Belarus.org goes on to say that the Belarusian authorities are targeting three million high speed internet connections by 31 December 2015, of which half will be using mobile broadband as their means of access. For its part, Beltelecom is targeting a minimum two million broadband internet subscribers by 2015, on top of which it believes it will have between 400,000-500,000 dial-up users – broadly the same as today.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:58:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­ETECSA, Cuba's state telecommunications company, is predicting that the number of wireless subscribers on the island will exceed 1 million by the end of this year. Cuba has invested some $150 million since 2003 to develop the island's cellular phone industry, ETECSA's vice president of mobile services, Maximo Lafuente, told the official Prensa Latina news agency."This year, ETECSA will make the necessary investments to end 2010 with 1 million subscribers," the executive said, adding that the projection for 2015 is that the number of wireless subscribers will climb to 2.4 million.Lafuente said that beginning June 1 cell phone users will enjoy significant cost savings on calls made between 11:00 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. A new "caller pays" system will also go into effect on that date, although cell phone users also will have the option of a collect-call service.

The executive also said that rates for national and international calls will fall by between 42 percent and 75 percent depending on the destination.He also added that activation costs for cell phones have fallen from an original price tag of $120 to a current cost of $43.Of the communist-ruled island's 169 municipalities, 23 are still without mobile phone coverage, in some cases because they are located in mountainous or swampy areas.Gen. Raul Castro's government in 2008 allowed cell phone service for ordinary Cubans, a luxury previously reserved for foreigners, companies and state agencies.

The lifting of that restriction was one of the first measures he adopted after formally succeeding ailing older brother Fidel in February 2008, along with others allowing the unrestricted sale of computers, DVD players and other consumer goods.

Since then, ETECSA has gradually reduced the cost of activating cell phone lines and the use of mobile phones among ordinary Cubans has visibly increased.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:56:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Increased competition in New Zealand's mobile market has improved pricing in the local market, but voice call usage still remains low by international standards, concludes the annual report from New Zealand's Commerce Commission. As well as looking at developments in 2009, the report also assesses the progress seen since the 2006 amendments to the Telecommunications Act came into effect.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Monday, May 03, 2010 2:52:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­According to a new research report by Berg Insight, the worldwide number of users of mobile banking and related services is forecasted to grow from 55 million users in 2009 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 59.2 percent to reach 894 million users in 2015.

Over the past year many of the leading players in both the telecom industry and the financial sector have intensified their efforts to bring financial services to the world's unbanked population. Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for more than half of the total user base. Mobile banking is also anticipated to play a key role in bringing financial services to people in the Middle East and Africa. In Europe and North America, the technology will mainly serve as an extension of existing online banks as mobile handsets become more widely used for Internet access. By 2015, Berg Insight forecasts that mobile banking will attract 115 million users in Europe and 86 million users in North America.

"The global number of mobile banking users more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, and is expected to almost double again in 2010. Mobile handsets are in an excellent position to become the primary digital channel for providers of banking and related financial services on emerging markets," said Marcus Persson, Telecom Analyst, Berg Insight. "People who sign up for their first mobile subscription today will likely open their first bank account in the coming years and thus join the modern financial system. Mobile operators can play a vital role in this development and will have the opportunity to take an active part in the creation of some of tomorrow's most important financial institutions based in Asia and Africa."

In addition to traditional retail banking, the report also identifies international money transfer as an important revenue source for mobile industry players. Berg Insight forecasts that 3-15 percent of the international money transfers currently handled by various formal or informal agent networks will be carried out using a mobile handset by 2015, generating US$ 1.2-6.2 billion in service revenues.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:43:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Romania's Cosmote has announced the commercial launch of its 3G network. The 3G services are available in 11 cities of the country: Bucharest, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca,Timisoara, Constanta, Galati, Craiova, Brasov, Moinesti, Oltenita, Orastie, plus almost 300 localities.

Covering almost 58% of the population, the 3G network offers Internet access with speeds of up to 21.6 Mbps. In addition to 3G, Cosmote offers mobile internet services with speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps on its existing CDMA network.

Also, recently the company upgraded its existing GPRS data network to EDGE.

Upon the 3G mobile broadband services launch by Cosmote Romania, company CEO, Mr Stefanos Theocharopoulos, commented: "We are very pleased to offer 3G services to our customers. Mobile broadband is already demonstrating its enormous market potential and Cosmote is fast establishing its position as a strong player in Romania. Through faster data speeds, a high quality network fully aligned to all communication needs and best traffic volume at the most advantageous tariff plans, Mobile Internet users can now enjoy the Cosmote 3G experience. This is another step forward in our development plans that confirms our promise to keep offering relevant propositions to our customers".

Source: Cellular News

3G
Monday, May 03, 2010 2:39:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Where are the best deals for mobile broadband? Comparing mobile data pricing in a number of countries, ABI Research found that the UK, France and India have among the world's lowest prices for mobile broadband plans. In India for example, where 3G mobile broadband services launched in the middle of 2009, an unlimited download plan costs just over US$17 per month.

"ABI Research expects emerging markets with low Internet penetration to price mobile broadband aggressively to drive usage," says ABI Research analyst Bhavya Khanna. "However, in developed markets the widespread use of data dongles has created strains on mobile networks; and one could see data plans change to throttle data consumption."

Operators in some countries are already using this approach, limiting data to 5 GB or even as low as 3 GB per month, even for their most expensive plans.

Vice President of Forecasting Jake Saunders, adds, "Another consumer concern is confusing overage charges for data plans: consumers often do not know how many megabytes of data they are downloading. Once again, there is room for innovation here from operators by simplifying overage costs and educating consumers to encourage uptake of such services. For example, operators in Singapore have a fixed "cap" on overage costs per month; ensuring that users do not get 'bill-shock'."

Source: Cellular News

 

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:36:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The total number of mobile internet subscriptions in Hungary increased by 13,000 connections to 972,000 in March this year, of which the total number of ‘active’ mobile internet lines climbed 22,000 month-on-month to 760,000, according to data published by the National Telecommunications Authority (NHH), as reported by news agency MTI on Monday. T-Mobile’s local unit controlled 47.66% of total mobile internet subscriptions as at 31 March 2010, and 49.08% of active connections. Pannon claimed a total market share of 27.81%, and controlled 25.47% of the active mobile internet user base in the country. Meanwhile Vodafone Hungary had a total share of 24.53%, and 25.45% of active users.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:33:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzania’s main mobile operators are embroiled in a fierce price war to win more subscribers, although the regulator, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), believes this will ultimately only be to the benefit of end users. The cellcos’ moves to cut call charges follow years of competition in which they vied for customers based on their coverage, service quality and innovative products and services. According to the TCRA’s acting corporate communications manager, Victor Nkya, the domestic price war will continue to the benefit of customers with all operators spreading their services to rural areas to further boost their subscriber bases. The official notes that the country’s communications market is now a multimillion dollar industry, led by mobile telephony, generating over USD1.54 billion revenues annually.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:12:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

State-owned Indian telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has announced the launch of a 3G mobile TV service, Telecom Talk reports. The new service it is claimed will offer MPEG4 picture quality and will be available in both the Delhi and Mumbai circles. MTNL has partnered with content provider Apalya Technology to offer the service, alongside vendor Alcatel-Lucent and IPTV service provider Aksh Optifibre, the latter of which already offers a fixed IPTV product, ‘iControl’, via the telco. Commenting on the launch, Dr Kailash Choudhari, managing director at Aksh, said: ‘We are proud to launch India’s first 3G mobile TV in Delhi and Mumbai. 3G Mobile TV as a value added feature epitomises convergence in technology realising ... live television viewing on the move.’ The new service utilises Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Streaming Server, which supports all types of standard-based media formats and dynamic switching from high-bit rate to low-bit rate streaming based on network coverage and bandwidth availability.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:10:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced plans to cap the amount mobile operators can charge for calls and text messages later this year in a bid to lower call charges in the country, Reuters reports. Mary Uduma, director of policy and competition at the NCC, said the regulator was working to determine the appropriate cap, adding that the last review almost ten years ago fixed rates of NGN50 (USD0.33) for mobile calls and NGN15 for text messages. ‘We are trying to place a cap above which operators cannot price their services. We are taking into consideration macro, micro and market factors in determining this,’ she noted. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Nigeria is Africa’s largest mobile market by subscribers; the country was home to over 73 million cellular users at the end of 2009.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:07:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

 

New data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service show that international network operators have weathered the recession surprisingly well. International bandwidth usage increased 60% in 2009, in line with the past two years, and well ahead of the trend of 2002-2006. Growth has been particularly rapid in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. However, capacity requirements to seemingly mature markets, such as Europe and the US, have also grown at a compounded annual rate of more than 50% since 2002.

Over the past seven years, aggregate international capacity requirements have grown more than 22-fold. Providers have kept pace with high demand by rapidly upgrading their fibre-optic networks with additional wavelengths. Nearly 90% of US terrestrial network operators surveyed by TeleGeography plan on lighting extra wavelengths in 2010, and just under 70% of European carriers plan on doing so.

The scope to expand submarine cable capacity is far more limited than that of terrestrial networks. High demand has combined with a relative scarcity of bandwidth to drive technological innovation, according to TeleGeography analyst Tim Stronge. 'Some undersea cable operators have managed to install far more wavelengths on existing cables than thought possible even just a few years ago,' noted Stronge. 'Providers are also exploring ways to squeeze additional capacity out of their cables by replacing 10Gbps wavelengths with 40Gbps wavelengths.'

Growing capacity requirements, combined with carriers’ desire for improved route diversity, have also spurred a boom in submarine cable construction. 17 new cables were built in 2009, and investment in submarine cable construction in 2010 is projected to top last year’s levels.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, May 03, 2010 2:06:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |