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 Tuesday, June 15, 2010

­Myanmar's telecommunication authorities are planning to expand GSM coverage to the border areas next to its Southeast neighbours, aimed at providing better GSM phone line services to link the region, the local Myanmar Newsweek reported.

The pilot project to link Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore as well as China is underway.

Meanwhile, the authorities has also planned to add 33 more GSM radio stations in the biggest city of Yangon to expand GSM coverage which will be launched by local private companies on competitive tender system, an earlier report said.

At present, GSM mobile phones can be used in 80 towns in the country and the country has around 500,000 subscribers, mostly within the military or business elite. Government and military contacts tend to find it easier to get the paperwork to own a mobile phone - but often then rent out those phones to business users.

The country has both GSM and CDMA networks. A WCDMA network was launched last year, with very limited availability.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:16:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Le satellite, une technologie incontournable pour l'accès final ?

Après avoir rencontré un succès mitigé au début des années 2000, l'accès bidirectionnel par satellite fait son grand retour depuis deux ans, notamment en Amérique du Nord, en Asie, et désormais en Europe. Les actions pour la réduction de fracture numérique et la migration vers le très haut débit permettent à la technologie satellitaire de jouer un rôle de plus en plus important.

"Sur la période 2010-2014, l'IDATE estime que le nombre d'abonnés haut débit par satellite sur la zone Europe et Afrique du Nord devrait croître au rythme annualisé de 45 % pour atteindre 610 000 abonnés en 2014 contre près de 138 000 fin 2010.", commente Maxime Baudry, chef de projet.

Les principaux tendances pour le satellite très haut débit
• Les plans de réduction de la fracture numérique se généralisant en Europe, le satellite doit mettre en avant ses atouts pour figurer parmi les solutions technologiques possibles.
• Plus que la réduction de la fracture numérique, c’est la course au très haut débit qui est désormais lancée en Europe.
• Dans la bataille qui va l'opposer aux technologies terrestres, principalement sans-fil (3G et LTE), la technologie satellitaire devra mettre en avant ses atouts, le principal étant certainement une disponibilité immédiate pour un coût modéré.
• L’IDATE estime que le très haut débit par satellite devrait croître fortement au cours des prochaines années, notamment via les plans de réduction de fracture numérique, mais aussi via la course au très haut débit qui l’avantage sur les zones rurales par rapport aux technologies LTE et FTTx qui ne sont pas compétitives économiquement.
• Alors que la bande Ka se développe en Europe et ailleurs dans le monde, le futur du très haut débit par satellite pourrait se faire dans des bandes de fréquences encore plus élevées pour permettre des débits de plus de 100 Mbps à l’horizon 2020.

Face à la concurrence des technologies terrestres, qu'elles soient filaires ou sans-fil, quelles sont les perspectives de marché réelles pour la technologie satellitaire ? Par ailleurs, quels scénarios de positionnement s'avéreront les plus pertinents pour un opérateur satellite compte tenu des caractéristiques du marché du haut débit dans les différentes zones géographiques ciblées ? Quelles nouvelles technologies satellitaires sont prévues à long terme ?

L'étude "Très haut débit par Satellite", publié par l'IDATE, donne, entre autres, les réponses à ces questions clés et présente des chiffres actuels du marché de satellite et des marchés concurrents.

Source: IDATE

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:14:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In 2009, growth in terms of subscribers and Homes/Buildings passed has accelerated in Europe, with respectively 19% and 29% rate between June and December 2009. In EU36 (including Russia), there were nearly 3.5 million FTTH/B subscribers and more than 25 million Homes/Buildings Passed.

Because of its specific demographic characteristics, Russia is the heaviest country in terms of subscribers and Homes/Buildings Passed even if the FTTH/B market is still in its infancy in the country. The potential of the Russian market is huge and might convince new players to get involved in FTTH/B deployments in the near future.

Click here to see full article
Source: IDATE
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:09:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil's largest mobile operator by subscribers, Vivo Participacoes, yesterday announced ambitious plans to extend its broadband coverage to 85% of the population by the end of 2011. The cellco intends to reach 2,832 municipalities by that date, up from the current 600, by using monies set aside in this year’s BRL2.49 billion (USD1.37 billion) CAPEX fund. In a press release Vivo CEO Roberto Lima said: ‘The plan is ambitious but will be completed. Our objective is to rapidly expand our third-generation coverage.’

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:04:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s Bharti Airtel has announced that it has finalised the acquisition of the African assets of Kuwait-based Zain Group, with the deal valued at USD10.7 billion, the Economic Times reports. Under the terms of the deal, first announced in March 2010, Bharti will pay USD8.3 billion upfront, followed by a further cash payment of USD700 million after one year, while it will also take over approximately USD1.7 billion of Zain’s debt. Commenting on the closure of the deal, Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal said: ‘We are delighted at the closure of this transformational deal for India and Bharti Airtel. The transaction is the largest ever cross-border deal in an emerging market and will result in combined revenues of about USD13 billion.’

Bharti has taken over Zain’s operations in 15 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Kuwaiti company’s subsidiaries in Morocco and Sudan were not included in the sale. Zain has also agreed to licence its name and related trademarks to Bharti in all of the new countries for an interim period; the Airtel brand is expected to be introduced across its news units by October 2010.

Click here to see full article
Source: TeleGeography
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 2:02:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malaysian fixed line incumbent Telekom Malaysia (TM) has announced that it is expanding the coverage of its high speed broadband network (HSBB), according to Bernama. The telco has said that it is launching commercial HSBB services at a further 18 exchanges by the end of next month, adding to the four exchanges where it already offers speeds of up to 20Mbps, and both residential and industrial zones are included in the new regions of operation. Residential areas to be covered include Wangsa Maju, Sungai Buloh, Melawat and Kepong in Selangor, and Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and Damansara in the Federal Territory. Meanwhile industrial zones set to gain access to HSBB products include Kulim Hi-Tech Park (Kedah), Bayan Baru (Penang), Senai and Permas (Johor).

Alongside the announcement of expanded coverage TM also revealed that to date it has spent a total of MYR2.3 billion (USD695 million) on the HSBB project, and it said that the network rollout currently reached around 375,000 premises, with around 3,200 having signed up for high speed services so far.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:53:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French broadband internet provider and would-be mobile start-up Iliad (Free) has secured a EUR1.4 billion (USD1.7 billion) five-year credit facility from a group of eight European banks to help refinance its debt ahead of its launch of mobile services in the country. Dow Jones Newswires reports the firm as saying that the agreement, along with its existing cash flow, will enable Iliad to fund its medium-term growth strategy. The statement went on to say that the credit line illustrates the company enjoys a healthy position as one a European operators with a very low level of debt.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that the French telecoms regulator Arcep concluded the formal handover of the country’s fourth 3G licence to Iliad’s Free Mobile unit in January this year. The Iliad group subsequently committed to launching its network within two years of the award of the licence, which took place on 18 December 2009. The newcomer has pledged to cover at least 90% of the population with its 3G network within eight years of launch, and its promise to deliver ‘competitive prices’ should spur growth in the mobile internet access segment. Free Mobile has also committed to hosting mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Industry watchers are in broad agreement that Iliad could realistically garner a roughly 5% share of the EUR25 billion (USD36 billion) French mobile market by 2015. The operator has a strong fixed line presence and comprehensive broadband portfolio, and has been actively trying to secure a toehold in the mobile market since it failed in its first application attempt in 2007.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:51:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has  issued a consultation paper on a National Broadband Plan for the country. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has also made a reference to TRAI seeking its recommendations on the need to review the definition of Broadband connectivity in view of future growth in internet/broadband driven by wireless technologies.

It is a matter of concern that broadband penetration in India is low in spite of the fact that 104 telecom service providers are providing broadband services. The broadband penetration is just 0.74% when compared with teledensity of 52.74%. A need is being felt to identify impediments and create an environment to encourage broadband growth. The net broadband addition per month is just 0.1 to 0.2 million in contrast to approximately 18 million mobile connections per month.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:46:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Jordan is the Arab World's most competitive cellular market, according to the Arab Advisors Group. Saudi Arabia came in second, followed by Palestine.

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index results for June 2010 revealed that Jordan tops the score -as the most competitive Arab market- with an 80.7% mark followed by Saudi Arabia (75.3%), Palestine (69.3%), Oman (67.1%), Egypt (65.7%), Morocco (64.9%), Iraq (63.4%), Tunisia (62.7%), Yemen (61.1%), Bahrain (59.9%), Algeria (59.5%), Sudan (59.4%), Mauritania (56.8%), Kuwait (49.8%), Qatar (46.4%), UAE (45.4%), Syria (38.0%), Libya (34.3%), and finally Lebanon (31.2%).

The 2010 index results revealed that eight countries ranked higher than their June 2009 index ranks, these are: Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Oman, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar. Meanwhile, a total of eight countries ranked lower compared to June 2009 index, namely: Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Kuwait, UAE, Libya and Lebanon. The remaining three countries of Egypt, Morocco and Syria maintained their June 2009 ranks.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:42:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­A pilot medical study by the University of California, Los Angeles, or UCLA, uses mobile phones to help diabetes patients in South Africa. Our correspondent spoke with the physician behind the study, Neal Kaufman, about the expanding role of technology in personalized health care.

The UCLA project uses texting on mobile phones to encourage patients with type 2 diabetes to adopt more healthful lifestyles.

Dr. Kaufman, a professor of pediatrics and public health at UCLA, says this form of the disease, called adult-onset diabetes, is becoming common, even among children. He says the problem is in our genes.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:31:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms 110 operators in 48 countries are currently investing in LTE networks.

80 operators have made firm commitments to deploy LTE networks in 33 countries (compared to 64 network commitments identified two months ago). LTE networks are now being installed or planned for commercial service in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, USA, and Uzbekistan.

GSA anticipates that up to 22 LTE networks will be in service by end 2010, and at least 45 are expected to be in service by end 2012. The first LTE networks entered commercial service in December 2009 in Norway and Sweden.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News
Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:28:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The long running process to sell a majority stake in Zambia's state-owned Zambia Telecommunications (Zamtel) has concluded with the winning bid of US$257 million being placed by Libya's Lap Green Networks. The government retains a 25% stake in the company, and may float the stake on the local stock exchange in the future.

The company beat Angola's Unitel and Russia's Altimo to gain control of Zamtel."The government of Zambia has today paved the way for completing the most significant privatization in the history of Zambia," said Situmbeko Musokotwane, minister of finance and national planning.

Lap Green Networks will also invest US$127 million into the company, partly as recapitalisation and partly on network upgrades.The country currently has three mobile network operators with the following market shares; Zain (70%), MTN (20%) and Zamtel (10%) - based on statistics from the Mobile World subscriber database.

Zamtel's new owner could revitalise the company, gaining a 19% share of the mobile market by 2015, up from its current 4% share, according to an Onda Analytics report last November.Although the privatisation will result in the liberalisation of the international call gateway, to the benefit of the other private operators, no new operator license will be offered in the country until Zamtel has returned to economic viability.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:13:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following an appeal by mobile network operator Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil) against a September 2008 regulatory decision to lower interconnection rates, a Cairo court has overturned the original ruling, Reuters reports. The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) had originally said that the fee which Telecom Egypt (TE) paid to connect fixed line calls to mobile phones must be lowered, after the fixed line incumbent complained that the rates at the time were making it less competitive. However, the latest ruling by the Administrative Court at the State Council has effectively nullified the lower fee, prompting the NTRA to say that it would not take any action until it had studied the details of the court’s decision in more detail.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MobiNil said that under the September 2008 regulatory ruling TE requested that MobiNil drop its interconnection rates to below EGP0.15 (USD0.03) for termination on MobiNil’s network, and EGP0.10 to terminate on the fixed line network. MobiNil for its part claimed that it was willing to accept reductions in the interconnection rates, but only as part of a package including measures in the leased line sector, which the cellco argued was priced higher than its international counterparts.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:11:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Zain Iraq is hoping to add a further two million wireless subscribers during this year to increase its customer base to 13 million by the end of 2010. An unnamed company official told Zawya Dow Jones that Zain is expanding its mobile network to the northern Kurdish governorates of Erbil, Dohuk and Suleimaniya. The official added that Zain will spend around USD900 million in 2010 on new projects and operating expenses. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zain is Iraq’s largest cellco by subscribers with 10.07 million users at 31 March 2010 (a market share of 48.4%), followed by Asiacell with 7.74 million customers (37.2%), Korek Telecom with 2.49 million (12%) and regional operator SanaTel with 500,000 subscribers (2.4%).

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:09:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Digicel Suriname says that it has expanded its network to cover an additional 4,000 people by boosting coverage at Nieuw Jacobkondre on the Saramacca river and at Antino on the Lawa (near Benzdorp). Up to this moment, Nieuw Jacobkondre had been completely devoid of telecommunication whilst the provisions of another provider at Antino can be considered rather poor.

"The people living in these areas are thrilled that Digicel brings them a piece of development. It is an undisputed fact that telecommunication provisions bring significant development economically and socially for the local communities. Urgent messages can be sent via telephone saving costs and energy. The overall safety will also improve since social control is strengthened through people's ability to have easy access to mobile calls", says Philip van Dalsen.

If all preparations go as planned, the new masts will be made operational this month. In April last, the Digicel mast at Makoe became operational. Makoe is located near Sarakreek.

Source: Cellular News

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:07:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The global FTTH/B market grew by 16 percent to almost 41 million subscribers at the end of 2009, compared with the end of June 2009, according to a study by Idate. Over the next five years, this momentum is likely to translate into a significant increase in the number of homes passed: by the end of 2014, there will be close to 306 million homes passed for FTTH/B around the globe, of which more than half will still be located in Asia and 18 percent in Western Europe. The study also found that Eastern Europe, which has already pulled ahead of Western Europe, with 3.5 million FTTH/B customers, compared to around 2 million. In 2014, 18 countries will have deployed optical fibre networks to more than 50 percent of homes, which is 10 more than at the end of 2009. Japan is still leading with 17.14 million FTTH/B subscribers followed by South Korea with 9.23 million, the US with 5.7 million, Russia with 3.04 million and Taiwan with 1.675 million.

The top ten further includes Hong Kong, China, Sweden, Italy and France. Japanese fixed network operator NTT is the largest operator with 12.78 million customers, followed by KT from South Korea with 4.63 million, Verizon with 3.43 million, and SK Broadband from South Korea with 3.03 million.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:04:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |