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 Monday, November 07, 2011

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has cut down the interconnection charges for short messaging service (SMS) among telecom operators, in an attempt to provide users with more affordable rates for sending text messages. According to reports, the regulatory authority has ordered that the interconnection charge for SMS between two separate telecommunications networks should not exceed $0.003 (15 centavos) per SMS through its Memorandum Circular No. 02-10-2011. Consequently, the new rates will come down by $0.005 (20 centavos) from $0.008 (35 centavos).

As per sources, Gamaliel Cordoba, NTC Commissioner has said that the enactment of the new SMS interconnection rates was in line  was in line with the provisions of the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines, which seeks the establishment of fair and reasonable interconnection among public operators and other telecommunications service providers at reasonable and fair cost. He further said that the reduced SMS interconnection rate would translate to lower retail price of text messaging services and make the popular telecommunication services more accessible and affordable to a greater number of people throughout the country. Currently, telecom operators charge a rate of $0.002 (10 centavos) per text message within their network, however the rates for messages sent across different operators increase with the additional cost of the network receiving the text message along with the interconnection charge of $0.008 (35 centavos) per message.

Further, under the same circular, network operators were also ordered to ensure that they have the adequate facilities required to guarantee that 99 percent of the text messages reach their destination within 30 seconds of being sent. In order to achieve this, it is proposed that all networks involved in the interconnection should provide the required links or circuits to effectively handle their SMS traffic.

Source: Wireless Federation

Monday, November 07, 2011 9:04:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil ended the month of September with 227.4 million active mobile phones, a 1.49 percent increase compared with the 224 million handsets in operation in August, according to Anatel. During the month, 3.3 million new mobile subscribers were added in the country, and the penetration rate rose from 114.88 percent in August to 116.51 percent in September.

In the first nine months of the year, the mobile service recorded more than 24.4 million new subscribers, an increase of 12.03 percent in the year. Of all mobile phones in operation in the country, 185.6 million were prepaid (81.64%) and 41.7 million postpaid (18.36%). 3G services were used by nearly 34.5 million people, representing growth of 67.19 percent in the year. 3G mobile handsets reached 27.2 million, or 11.98 percent of the market, and 3G modems numbered 7.25 million. Vivo ended September with 67.03 million subscribers, followed by TIM Brasil with 59.20 million, Claro with 57.61 million, and Oi with 42.84 million.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, November 07, 2011 9:03:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Morocco’s telecoms regulator, the ANRT, mobile subscribers in the country reached a total of 36.15 million at the end of September 2011, up by 3.4% quarter-on-quarter and 18.5% in twelve months. In terms of market share, at that date the watchdog reported that Maroc Telecom accounted for 46.9% of subscribers, Meditel 32.8% and Wana nearly 20.3%. Also at 30 September, the ANRT said that Moroccan 3G mobile internet services had 2.33 million subscribers, up from 1.82 million the previous quarter and 1.16 million a year earlier.

At the end of the third quarter Maroc Telecom claimed 39.9% of the 3G broadband market, giving it 929,500 subscribers, followed by Meditel with 829,000 (35.6%) and Wana with 24.5%, or 570,000 3G mobile internet accounts.

The figures include combined 3G voice and data mobile package users (handsets, computers and other devices). Subscriptions to data-only 3G mobile broadband services (e.g. via USB dongle modem) at end-September amounted to 1.403 million (60.2% of the 3G internet total), up by 9.5% quarter-on-quarter, while combined voice-plus-data package users reportedly reached 926,000 (39.8% of the 3G total), a growth rate of 73.1% from the end of June 2011. Fixed ADSL broadband lines in Morocco (nearly all operated by Maroc Telecom) saw a quarterly increase in 3Q11 of 4.5% to reach a total of 550,500.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 9:00:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
South Korean communications provider KT will stop investing in its fixed-line telephony services as mobile and internet communications are growing. The company will instead focus on smartphones and other mobile internet devices, the Korea Times reports. Seo Yu-yeol, head of KT's home customers division, said there was "no future" in fixed-line telephony services. "In just over a year, KT added 10 million smartphone customers and I think that's very inspiring. Fixed-line voice services have been KT's bread-and-butter business for a long period and have contributed greatly to the nation's economic development. However, it's clearly a thing of the past," Seo said.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:58:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The US Federal Communications Commission has approved major changes in the country's Universal Service Fund aimed at focusing more on broadband expansion. The move will set aside USD 4.5 billion of the annual USF budget for the Connect America Fund, to award funding for broadband expansion in underserved areas. Carriers will start receiving the new funding by early 2012 and will be required to provide at least 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, with latency low-enough to support streaming and VoIP. Starting from 2013, the FCC will also change its cost model for determining the level of funding, adopt a competitive bidding system for awarding the funds, and tighten controls to ensure subsidised operators meet the coverage promised.
 
The FCC will also start a Mobility Fund to support mobile voice and broadband coverage in outlying areas. This will award an initial USD 350 million via a reverse auction planned for Q3 2012 and is expected to have a further annual budget of around USD 500 million. At the same time the FCC announced plans to move the industry away from interconnection fees and towards a bill-and-keep system. In the near term, it plans new rules to prevent traffic-pumping, a technique used by operators to increase terminatation revenue.
 
Over the next ten years, operators will be forced to gradually reduce terminate rates to zero, a move the FCC also expects to encourage the move to IP networks. The FCC expects the USF reforms will bring broadband to another 7 million Americans over the next six years. While consumers may see a small increase in their phone bills as a result of the changes, the FCC expects for every USD 1 extra charged, there will be USD 3 in benefits. The plans were largely welcomed by the telecoms industry, although mobile payers called for a bigger role for the Mobility Fund, and the cable industry saw too big a focus on copper networks.
 
Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:56:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Croatian Parliament has decided to abolish the 6% tax on mobile network service revenues as of 1 January 2012.

On 1 August 2009 a 6% tax was introduced for all mobile operators in Croatia as a measure against the economic crisis. The tax was applicable on revenues generated by mobile services, i.e. voice, SMS and MMS, and was payable by the mobile operator.

Vipnet, the Croatian subsidiary of Telekom Austria Group, recorded a mobile tax expense of EUR 15.2 million in the full year 2010.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:54:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Tests at a school beside an informal electronic waste salvage site in Ghana's capital Accra reveal contamination due to lead, cadmium and other health-threatening pollutants over 50 times higher than risk-free levels.

A produce market, a church headquarters and a soccer field are likewise polluted to varying degrees, all neighbours of the Agbogbloshie scrap metal site, where electronic trash is scavenged for valuable metals - especially copper. Schoolchildren as young as six work around bonfires of circuitry, plastic and other leftover high-tech trash.

Ironically, experts say critical metals and other elements in all that destroyed equipment -- much of it castoffs from Europe and North America -- may soon be in short supply, which threatens to drive up the cost of products ranging from flat-screen TVs and mobile phones to electric cars and wind turbines.

The contamination test results were shared by Ghana researcher Atiemo Sampson at this year's Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP-Initiative) Summer School, hosted in Europe by Philips and Umicore for 20 of the field's most promising international graduate researchers.

The sampling -- for iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, cadmium, chromium, nickel and lead -- showed dangerous contamination at the school and market; both had levels roughly half those measured at the site where the e-waste is incinerated. In soil around the school site alone, measurements of lead were 12 times higher and cadmium 2.5 times higher than the levels at which intervention is required.

Mr. Sampson adds that similar e-waste sites are being created elsewhere in Ghana.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:48:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has threatened to fine the country’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers – MTN Nigeria, Globacom and Airtel Nigeria – if they fail to improve the quality of their services by the end of November, local newspaper This Day reports. Following an independent monitoring exercise carried out by the NCC across the country, the regulator determined that the trio failed to measure up to key performance indicators, including call setup success rate and call completion rate.

The NCC has subsequently given the three GSM operators a 30-day deadline, effective 1 November 2011, to improve their service quality. If they fail to do so, the cellcos face a fine of NGN5 million (USD31,000) and an additional penalty of NGN500,000 per day if the provision of poor quality services persists. In addition, any of the three operators that fail to meet the targets from 30 November 2011 will be barred from the further sale of SIM cards or addition of any new subscribers to its network.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:43:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Having bagged what its parent company noted was its first third-generation concession in Central Africa, Airtel Congo, a subsidiary of Indian telecoms giant Bharti Airtel, has announced the launch of 3.5G services in the country. According to IT News Africa, the cellco has rolled out HSPA technology, offering theoretical downlink speeds of up to 21Mbps, with Beston Tshinsele, managing director at Airtel Congo stating of the development: ‘We are grateful to the Republic of Congo, represented by The Honorable Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and New Technology of Communications Thierry Moungalla today, for issuing the licence through the country’s regulator – [the] Agence de Regulation des Postes et des Communications Electroniques – and sharing our vision of enhancing the country’s telecommunication platform … Our 3G platform will allow subscribers to combine the enormous potential of the internet with the convenience of cellular phones and other devices.’

Tiemoko Coulibaly, CEO of Airtel Africa Francophone, meanwhile outlined the Indian company’s wider expectations for 3G deployment across Africa, noting: ‘3G technology will give our customers the opportunity to interact with data in a different way … This is why Airtel doesn’t see 3G as a product but a platform that enables the community expand its social and commercial horizons, alongside the rest of the world.’ According to the executive Airtel expects to continue rolling out 3G technology across all regions of operation in Africa with the objective of building the largest 3G network on the continent.

In order to achieve these goals, and as previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month it was revealed that Finnish telecommunications equipment vendor Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) had inked a deal with Bharti Airtel to expand the operator’s 2G infrastructure and deploy 3G networks in seven African countries. Under the agreement, NSN agreed to manage end-to-end network operations, including planning, designing and implementing the 2G and 3G networks for Airtel in the markets of Madagascar, Malawi, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The vendor will provide its energy-efficient Flexi Multiradio Base Stations to expand network coverage to underserved areas, including smaller towns and villages in the seven countries. NSN is using its FlexiHybrid microwave radio to address growing data traffic and provide the platform for a cost-effective transition to 3G, and potentially 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks in the future. The company will also provide its NetAct network management system for effective network monitoring and management.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:40:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mississippi-based mobile operator C Spire Wireless (formerly known as Cellular South) has announced that it plans to expand CDMA2000 1xEV-DO mobile broadband coverage to 238 additional cell sites in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee by the end of 2011, as part of its continuing network expansion initiative. The commitment to extending 3G coverage will see services offered to 61 new cities in an estimated USD10 million upgrade. The improvements mean that, going forward, advanced mobile broadband services will be available to approximately 4.7 million consumers and businesses.

Kevin Hankins, chief operating officer for C Spire Wireless, commented: ‘Wireless devices are only as good as the network on which they work, which is why we are aggressively expanding our advanced mobile broadband coverage. We want consumers and businesses to have the best possible wireless experience, whether they are making a phone call, sending a text message, sharing videos and photos, checking the latest scores or making their business mobile’. Hankins claims that the cellco has invested in excess of USD1 billion in network improvements since 2003.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:36:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The UN's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has agreed on a set of four "ambitious but achievable" new targets for countries to target in broadband policy, affordability and uptake. The first aims to make broadband policy universal and targets a national broadband plan or strategy in all countries by 2015. This can also mean the inclusion of broadband in their universal access/service definitions. To make broadband affordable, the commission called for developing countries to take steps to ensure regulation and market forces provide for entry-level broadband services, for example, at a cost of less than 5 percent of average monthly income. This should support the third goal of 40 percent of households in developing countries with internet access by 2015. The final goal is 60 percent worldwide internet user penetration by 2015, including 50 percent in developing countries and 15 percent in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). 


The targets were unveiled at the ITU Telecom World event in Geneva. The commission set up last year is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Helu, chairman and CEO of Telmex and America Movil. The ITU will undertake responsibility for measuring each country’s progress towards the targets, producing an annual broadband report with rankings of nations worldwide in terms of broadband policy, affordability and uptake. 


The 'Broadband Challenge' endorsed by the commission recognizes communication as "a human need and a right", and calls on governments and private industry to work together to develop the innovative policy frameworks, business models and financing arrangements needed to facilitate growth in access to broadband worldwide. It urges governments to avoid limiting market entry and taxing ICT services unnecessarily to enable broadband markets to realize their full growth potential, and encourages governments to promote coordinated international standards for interoperability and to address the availability of adequate radio frequency spectrum. The Challenge stresses the need to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital revolution.

Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:34:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Botswana, the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, has expanded its third-generation network to the cities of Lobatse and Serowe, reports cellular-news. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Orange Botswana commercially launched its 3G network in July 2009, with services initially available in the country’s two largest cities, Gaborone and Francistown.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:30:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UK-based Virgin Media has announced that it will launch wireless services in Chile as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the first quarter of 2012. Late last month Virgin received approval to offer services from the telecoms regulator Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel).

Virgin will use the network of Spanish-based Telefonica Moviles Chile, which operates under the Movistar brand. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the UK group is expecting to invest between USD20 million and USD25 million into its Chilean operations, and has its eyes on expansion elsewhere in the region with Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Colombia and Mexico high on the list of target markets.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:29:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Lebanon's government has announced that the country's two mobile networks will be formally permitted to launch 3G services following several delays. Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui also announced that the service would be fixed at the equivalent of US$19 for 500Mb of data downloads.

Lebanon's two state-owned - but francished operators, Alfra and MTC, will offer 3G subscriptions and will announce the rates for other packages in early November. There had been concerns earlier this summer that legal action from an ISP, Cedarcom could delay the launch as it is claiming that the government doesn't have the authority to issue the 3G licenses.

The company also claimed that the regulatory regime is blocking it from selling landline DSL based services, which it considers to be unfair and unjust competition. The two networks, which while state-owned, are managed by two private companies, Zain and Orascom Telecom, recently awarded contracts to deploy HSPA enabled 3G networks. The managing companies have renewing one-year contracts to look after the networks - which the government has repeatedly attempted to privatise but the sale has been blocked by political problems.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:27:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azercell and Bakcell, the two largest mobile operators in terms of subscribers in Azerbaijan, have been awarded 3G licences by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). As per reports, both the operators have rolled out the required infrastructure are may introduce the 3G services in the coming months. Prior to this, Azerfon was the only telecom operator in the country licensed to provide 3G services. The company received the license in December 2009 for $ 13,900 and launched its 3G network across Baku and other man cities in the same month. As per sources, the ministry has also asked all three mobile operators to submit proposals for providing Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband services.

As per reports,  communications and IT minister Ali Abbasov had said a couple of months back that the procedure for issuing licenses to these operators was in its last phase and only few  minor technical issues were remaining for the operators to resolve to fulfill all the licensing requirements.

Source: Wireless Federation

Monday, November 07, 2011 8:20:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 21, 2011

Industry sources claim that owing to rapid technology upgradation and the increase in the number of smartphone users, British consumers are likely to spend as much as $30.5 billion by 2021 on purchases through their mobile handsets. As per reports, the mobile purchases currently account for $1.8 billion, with almost $417 million comprising of mobile sales from the food and groceries category.

Sources claim that mobile commerce is expected to grow by 55 percent over the next five years. Innovations such as Near Field Communications (NFC) and faster mobile data transmission play an important role in the success of mobile commerce, by offering users a more secure and convenient way to pay for goods and services.  In order to better provide mobile payment services to their customers, network operators O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone joined forces to offer users a single system of paying for goods and services via mobile phones.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, October 21, 2011 1:04:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

US mobile operators have agreed new guidelines to send customers free alerts before and after they exceed their monthly limits on voice, data and texts. Customers will also get alerts on roaming charges when they travel abroad. The alerts will apply automatically unless subscribers opt out. The measures were agreed by the industry group CTIA and the FCC, as part of the CTIA 'Consumer Code for Wireless Service'. Operators will need to provide two out of the four alerts by 17 October 2012 and all four by 17 April 2013. As a result of the agreement, the FCC has agreed to suspend its regulatory proposal for making the alerts mandatory.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, October 21, 2011 1:01:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

EriTel, Eritrea’s state-owned incumbent telecoms operator, has expanded its wireless network to the town of Afabet, local newspaper Shabait reports. EriTel was established by the government in October 2003, replacing Eritrea Telecommunications Service (ETS) as the national telecoms operator. It holds a monopoly on the provision of fixed line and mobile services and also operates as an internet service provider (ISP).

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 21, 2011 12:59:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Croatia’s government is seeking parliamentary approval to scrap the country’s ‘special tax’ on mobile phone services, reports Reuters. The 6% tax was introduced in 2009 as a measure to help plug the public deficit, but the government has proposed removing it from 1 January 2012. Finance Minister Martina Dalic told a cabinet session: ‘Such a tax does not exist in the countries whose companies own the operators in Croatia [Swedish Tele2, Germany’s T-Mobile and Telekom Austria-backed VIPnet] and one of its consequences was a reduction of investments in the telecom industry. Scrapping the tax paves way for lower prices and more investments in this area.’

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 21, 2011 12:55:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The European Commission has proposed to spend almost €9.2 billion from 2014 to 2020 on pan-European projects to give EU citizens and businesses access to high-speed broadband networks and the services that run on them. The funding, part of the proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), would take the form of both equity and debt instruments and grants. It would complement private investment and public money at local, regional and national level and EU structural or cohesion funds. At least €7 billion would be available for investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure.

The Commission considers that this money could leverage a total of between €50 and 100 billion of public and private investment – i.e. a substantial proportion of the estimated €270 billion of broadband investment needed to meet Digital Agenda targets on broadband. The remaining CEF funding for digital infrastructure would support public interest digital service infrastructure such as electronic health records, electronic identification and electronic procurement. The proposed financial support is complemented by proposed new guidelines for trans-European telecommunications networks and services. These guidelines would establish new objectives, priorities, projects of common interest and criteria for identifying further projects of common interest.

Money for broadband infrastructure

In the case of broadband infrastructure, EU funding from the CEF would leverage other private and public money by giving projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. The money would be largely in the form of equity, debt or guarantees. This would then attract capital market financing from investors; the Commission and international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank would absorb part of the risk and improve projects' credit rating.

Projects are likely to be proposed by established telecoms operators as well as new players such as water, sewage, electricity utilities, cooperative investment projects or construction firms. Many projects are likely to involve several of these investors clubbing together. The Commission also expects public authorities to join projects as part of public-private partnerships.

Source: European Commission

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 1:19:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 17, 2011

­The mobile subscribe base in Armenia has been reduced by 680,000 customers to 3.27 million, a member of the Committee regulating public service of Armenia Samvel Arabajyan has announced.

The change is a clarification of what constitutes an active subscriber on a network - and this has been tightened to a three month limit, after which if the SIM card is not being used, the account is deemed to be dormant. As a result of the changes, Vivacell subscribers' decreased by 450,000 to just over 2 million. Orange's subscriber base decreased by 230,000 to 520,000 customer

ArmenTel did not change its statistics, as it already used the 3-month limit for its calculations. It has around 750,000 customers.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, October 17, 2011 8:21:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Fixed broadband service revenue will generate over USD 182 billion this year end, according to a study by ABI Research. Despite uncertainty of the global economic situation, fixed broadband subscriber numbers are continuing to grow steadily. The availability of mobile broadband services is also causing a slight decline in the growth of fixed broadband net addition. Net broadband subscriber additions are increasing in the markets. China and India in the Asia-Pacific, Russia in Eastern Europe and Brazil in Latin America are the markets with potential for growth. These countries will be the major contributors to fixed broadband subscriber growth over the next five years.
 
However, net subscriber additions are declining slowly in some of the mature markets such as Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands. Over the past few years, increasing competition in the market has pressured broadband operators to lower subscription prices. Affordable pricing plans attract more customers and enable broadband operators in market expansion. Broadband operators are trying to provide access to maintain Arpu growth. Subscriber migration to access options including FTTH, VDSL, and Docsis 3.0 technologies will enable operators to raise broadband Arpu. Overall, fixed broadband penetration across each region of the world is expected to grow over the next few years. Revenue from worldwide fixed broadband will surpass USD 216 billion in 2016.
 
Source: TelecomPaper

Monday, October 17, 2011 8:09:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Gabon’s Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ARTEL) has awarded a 3G mobile licence to the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Airtel Gabon (formerly Zain), which is aiming to launch the country’s first W-CDMA/HSPA network and high speed mobile internet/data services. ‘Official sources’ quoted by Afrique Info and reported by Telecompaper said that the 3G licence is the first of its kind awarded in the country, although TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Gabon’s fourth cellular licensee, Azur, was awarded a combined 2G and 3G concession in February 2009. However, Azur, which launched a commercial network in October 2009, currently offers only 2.5G GSM/GPRS services.

According to GlobalComms, Gabon’s government launched a 3G licence tender in July 2010, but the deadline for submissions to ARTEL passed two months later with no announcement of winners, and the next development did not occur until December that year when Airtel began discussions with the regulator with the aim of obtaining an UMTS concession. In the same month rival Libertis declared that it would be seeking to acquire a 3G licence ‘early in 2011’, following the finalisation of the cellcos’ parent Gabon Telecom’s 100% privatisation. Airtel and its competitors are keen to deploy third-generation services ahead of the January-February 2012 African Nations football tournament co-hosted by Gabon.

Source: TeleGeography

Monday, October 17, 2011 8:07:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The GSMA has published research that shows that the number of total connected wireless devices is expected to increase from approximately 9 billion today to more than 24 billion in 2020, and within that, mobile phones and tablets will double from more than 6 billion today to 12 billion in 2020.

This explosive growth will support an addressable revenue opportunity for mobile operators of nearly US$1.2 trillion by 2020, a sevenfold increase from expected revenues in 2011.

"We are entering the next phase in the development of the mobile industry, one where we will see mobile connect everything in our lives," said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer, GSMA. "In this new Connected Life, mobile will transform society and will have a profound effect on the way we interact not only with each other, but also with our surroundings. However, capitalising on this enormous opportunity requires collaboration across the entire ecosystem to demonstrate how mobile technology in everything from tablet PCs to new healthcare devices can enhance people's personal and business lives."

Mobile operators can benefit from this important revenue opportunity by addressing key areas of the value chain such as service provision and system integration, as well as collaborating more closely with vertical industry sectors to provide compelling new services to their customers.

The sectors that will benefit from this collaboration include the consumer electronics industry, which could generate direct revenues of US$445 billion; the automotive sector, which could generate US$202 billion in revenues; the health sector, which could see growth of US$69 billion; and the utilities sector, which could see an additional US$36 billion in revenue by 2020.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, October 17, 2011 8:05:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­For the first time, the semi-annual survey conducted by the USA wireless industry trade association, the CTIA shows the number of wireless subscriber connections (327.6 million) has surpassed the population (315.5 million) in the United States and its territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands), putting wireless penetration rate in the USA at 103.9 percent.

The survey -- which tracks US wireless trends including subscribership, usage, revenue and investment from January 2011 to June 2011 -- also showed a 111% increase in wireless data traffic.

From June 2010-June 2011, the annual capital investment increased by 28 percent to $27.5 billion. Since 2001, wireless companies have reported a cumulative total investment of $223 billion. These figures do not include the billions CTIA members paid to the U.S. government for spectrum.

Wireless annual service revenue was $164.6 billion in the 12 months ending June 2011, up 6 percent from the same period in 2010.

"Clearly, we're using wireless more every day, and the consensus of experts is that demand will continue to skyrocket by more than 50 times within the next five years. These are the reasons why our members need more spectrum," said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA. "By making underutilized or unused spectrum available for auction, carriers will continue to invest billions of dollars in their infrastructure, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in benefit to our economy and create up to a half a million new jobs while ensuring the U.S. maintains its position as the world's wireless leader."

The January 2011-June 2011 wireless survey results are:

  • Wireless subscriber connections: 327.6 million; mid-year 2010: 300.5 million (9% increase).
  • Wireless network data traffic: 341.2 billion megabytes; mid-year 2010: 161.5 billion megabytes (111% increase).
  • Average local monthly wireless bill (includes voice and data service): $47.23; mid-year 2010: $47.47 (less than 1 percent decrease).
  • Number of active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 95.8 million; mid-year 2010: 61.2 million (57% increase).
  • Number of active data-capable devices: 278.3 million; mid-year 2010: 264.5 million (5% increase).
  • Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 15.2 million; mid-year 2010: 12.9 million (17% increase).
  • Minutes of Use (MOU): 1.148 trillion; mid-year 2010: 1.138 trillion (1 % increase).
  • SMS sent and received: 1.138 trillion; mid-year 2010: 982.9 billion (16 % increase).
  • MMS sent and received: 28.2 billion; mid-year 2010: 32.1 billion.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, October 17, 2011 8:00:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The Indian government has launched a new low-cost Android based tablet device that will be distributed to schools in the country.

The device will cost the government US$49.98, but will then be subsidised to US$35 per unit.

This current phase was a pilot to procure 100,000 devices. These devices are now being distributed to students all over the country so that they can be extensively tested in various climatic and usage conditions. The feedback obtained from the testing will form an input into the design of the next version of the device.

The Aakash UbiSlate 7 Tablet comes with a 366 Mhz processor and 256MB of RAM along with a 2GB Flash Memory. The screen is a 7-inch display with 800x480 pixel resolution and connectivity is Wi-Fi only. The OS is Android version 2.2.

Source: Cellular News

Monday, October 17, 2011 7:57:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has published its latest market development report – Management Information System Issue 33, Vol. 81 – for the month ended 14 August 2011 (Shrawan, 2068). At that date the total number of fixed and mobile lines in service exceeded 13.513 million, a penetration rate of 47.27% of the Nepalese population. Of the total, mobile accounted for the lion’s share of lines, at 11.919 million – including 11.061 million GSM and 858,273 CDMA connections. On top of this the country’s fixed service providers accounted for 840,000 lines, including wireless in the local loop (WiLL), broken down as 610,840 and 229,988 users. Furthermore, the NTA reported a total of 751,471 land mobile service (LMS) and 1,742 global mobile personal communications by satellite (GMPCS) connections.

As at 14 August Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (Nepal Telecom, or NT) was the biggest player in the domestic mobile market with 6.073 million registered SIMs (including 5.214 million for GSM), just ahead of Ncell with 5.846 million. NT also leads the fixed line segment with a total of 761,838 main lines in service (including 156,690 WiLL users), putting it far in front of UTL with 70,832 WiLL lines, STM with 5,094 PSTN connections, NSTPL (2,466, WiLL) and Smart (598, PSTN).

Nepal’s internet/data services market continues to be dominated by mobile internet (GPRS and CDMA2000 1x) sub-broadband speed connections, which accounted for 3.144 million of the total 3.276 million lines registered by NTA at the end of the period under review. Ncell leads NT here however, with a total of 1.957 million people accessing the internet via its GPRS service, while NT had 1.131 million GPRS/CDMA users and UTL counted 54,175 (CDMA) lines. By contrast, broadband ADSL, cable and wireless modem/fibre-optic connections make up a small proportion of the total. State-owned NT had 71,664 ADSL lines and licensed ISPs collectively controlled 24,555 wireless/fibre-optic and 16,039 cable modem lines, respectively. Dial-up accounted for a further 20,039 connections at the same date.

A total of 293 licences had been issued by the regulator as at 14 August 2011, including three basic telecommunications concessions, two for cellular mobile, nine network service provider, and 100 VSAT user licences. On top of this the NTA had issued permits for internet (48), GMPCS (three), rural telecom (two), limited mobility (108), international trunk telephone (three), rural VSAT (nine) and rural ISP (six) services.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 1:27:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The number of mobile subscriptions in Egypt grew to 70.66 million at the end of 2010, up 27.7 percent from a year earlier, according to government figures. In December 2009, Egypt's three mobile operators Etisalat Egypt, Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt had 55.352 million subscribers. The total increased from 66.87 million at the end of November 2010.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8:11:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the end of June, there were approximately 173 thousand Internet access customers in Portugal using optical fibre (FTTH/B), 14.2% more than in the previous quarter, with 95% of these customers reported as residential. Internet access supported over optical fibre (FTTH/B) represented 8.1% of total customers and during the quarter, and it was taken up by three out of every four new fixed broadband customers.

In total, the number of fixed broadband customers rose to 2.13 million, bringing the total number of users with fixed Internet access up to 2.15 million, 1% more than reported in the previous quarter and 7.1% than in 2nd quarter 2010.

In the same period, there were 2.6 million mobile broadband users registering actual use of the service, a decline of 0.6% compared to the previous quarter but an increase of 12% compared to 2nd quarter 2010. Of this number, 1.2 million users accessed the Internet via cards/modem.

The main technology used for fixed broadband Internet access continues to be ADSL, which represents 49.8% of the total. For the first time since the end of 2004, the number of ADSL accesses fell below 50% of total broadband accesses. For the third consecutive quarter, ADSL is showing signs of softness, declining 0.7% in the 2nd quarter.

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Source: Anacom
Tuesday, October 11, 2011 8:08:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Acording to Anatel's data, Brazil ended Aug/11 with 30.5 million 3G mobile accesses, 24.6 million of them were WCDMA and 5.9 million were 3G data terminals (13.6% of the cellulars in Brazil are 3G).

From the net adds gotten in August (2,075 thousand), 1,863 thousand were via WCDMA devices and 212 thousand via 3G data terminals.

Anatel considers as mobile broadband all the WCDMA accesses and all the data terminals, 3G or not. By Anatel's criteria, there were 31.6 million mobile broadband accesses in Aug/11, being 24.6 million WCDMA handsets and 7.0 million data terminals, which presented net adds of 150 thousand accesses in aug/11.

Claro is market share leader in accesses via handsets WCDMA and Vivo via Data Terminals.

Source: Teleco.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 7:59:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The average UK download speed was 7.99 Mbps in September, according to the latest speed test results from broadband.co.uk. Virgin Media came top with 14.79 Mbps, followed by BT with 7.84 Mbps, Eclipse with 7.30 Mbps, Be/O2 with 6.69 Mbps, TalkTalk with 5.50 Mbps, Sky with 4.49 Mbps, Tiscali with 3.98 Mbps, Plusnet with 3.89 Mbps, Orange with 3.70 Mbps and AOL with 3.42 Mbps. TalkTalk and Tiscali had a combined average download speed of 5.10 Mbps in September.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 7:56:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2011

Azerbaijan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Azercell, is set to receive a licence to provide third-generation services in the country. According to a report by Azerbaijan Business Center, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies is discussing the allocation of 3G radio spectrum to the cellco. Ulviyya Hasanzadeh, head of Azerbaijan’s Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility Department, has said that the operator will make an official statement regarding the receipt of 3G spectrum in the near future.

‘We have long been technically ready to provide 3G services, and the only obstacle for us was to obtain the required frequencies, the question of allotting of which is currently at final stage of discussion. Upon receiving a licence for 3G services we intend to proceed their rendering in Baku, Absheron and major cities of Azerbaijan, and may cover 80% of the country,’ she commented.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) began reviewing an appeal by Azercell and Bakcell earlier this year over the award of UMTS concessions, after the pair initially failed to submit the relevant documents required by law detailing network rollout progress and planned coverage. Last month the ministry said it was in the final phase of completing the necessary documentation and procedures concerning the award of 3G licences to Azercell and Bakcell. Azerfon is currently the only cellco in the country to hold a concession to provide third-generation services. The company was awarded its licence in December 2009, launching its 3G network in Baku and other main cities the same month.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 07, 2011 1:13:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Colombia’s telecoms watchdog the Communication Regulation Commission (CRC) has approved new measures that will improve competition in the wireless market. The provisions focus on regulating more closely the relationships between telcos. No mobile network operator will be allowed to block a device, meaning that customers can connect through any network. In addition the CRC will decrease interconnection rates for calls between operators from the current rate of COP98 (USD0.05) per minute to COP42 per minute by 2015, and investigate the possibility of reducing SMS interconnection rates from COP59 to a single figure by the same date.

Going forward, by April 2012 the watchdog plans to have completed work on a website that will allow customers to view and compare the rates offered by different providers.

Colombia’s wireless market consists of three players, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. Comunicacion Celular is the dominant provider with 67.8% share of the mobile market, whilst Mexico’s Telefonica Moviles Colombia (Movistar) and Luxembourg’s Colombia Movil (Tigo) represent 22.0% and 10.2% of the sector respectively.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 07, 2011 1:10:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Republic of Congo’s Regulatory Agency Post and Electronic Communications (ARPCE) has announced the closure of a campaign aimed at registering mobile subscriber data. According to the watchdog, at the end of the process the percentage of subscribers that had handed over their details had risen to 92% as at 30 September 2011, up from the 82% that the regulator had registered at 25 June. ARPCE director general Yves Castanou noted that the country’s mobile network operators will now be given seven days to integrate all of the subscriber data into their respective databases. From 7 October those subscribers that have not provided their information will no longer be able to make outgoing calls, although they will be able to receive incoming connections. Such a setup will not last long however, with APRCE also confirming that from 21 October those mobile users that have still not provided their personal data to their provider will have their access suspended.

The Congolese mobile sector comprises four operators, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, with those being MTN Congo, Airtel Congo, Warid Congo and Equateur Telecomo Group (Azur Congo). MTN is the market leader by subscribers, claiming around 43% of the market at end-2011 with a customer base of 1.731 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, October 07, 2011 1:08:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
French mobile and broadband operator Bouygues Telecom will increase its 3G+ network speed to up to 42 Mbps, ten times its current maximum, CEO Olivier Roussat told journalists. 01net reports that the upgrade will start in Paris, Lyon and Marseille before the end of the year, followed by ski resorts in February 2012 and all of France's large cities by the middle of 2012. Within 18 months two-thirds of data traffic will be carried over this new technology, he said.
 
The move is an interim measure until the launch of LTE services. Roussat expects delays in obtaining authorisations to install new LTE base stations, especially in Paris. The first LTE base stations are not expected to be up and running until the end of 2012. The operator also said it was working on a femtocell to extend mobile internet coverage in homes for LTE. Unlike its rival SFR, Bouygues will not use femtocell for 3G+.

Source: TelecomPaper

Friday, October 07, 2011 1:02:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Colombia's ICT ministry has received four bids in the tender for its National Fibre Optic Project. The programme aims to deploy fibre connections in 400 municipalities across the country. The bidders are Telmex Colombia; the Fibra Optica Colombiana consortium comprising Total Play and TV Azteca; the Conectividad Para Todos temporary consortium comprising Media Commerce Partners, ZTE, Exicom, and Andinatel; and a temporary consortium comprising Colombia Telecomunicaciones and Telefonica Moviles).
 
The government plans to invest over COP 415.8 million in the project, via a public-private partnership. The project is expected to expand internet penetration to over 90 percent of the Colombian population. The initiative is part of the Colombian government's Vive Digital Plan which aims to reach over 8.8 million broadband connections across the country by 2014. Colombia's National Fibre Optic Project will be developed in 30 months, and will include various phases.
 
As part of the first phase, the government plans to connect at least 120 municipalities by end-2012, while in the second phase an additional 120 municipalities will receive broadband connections.
 
Source: TelecomPaper


Friday, October 07, 2011 12:45:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Guam based telco, GTA TeleGuam has announced that it is scrapping the current unlimited mobile data tariffs and will replace it with a range of tariffs for new and existing subscribers.

Currently, GTA TeleGuam's customers pay $29.95 a month for unlimited smartphone data.

Under the new tariffs, GTA TeleGuam will offer three tiered pricing options. These include 5GB for $29.95, 10GB for $49.95, and unlimited monthly usage for $99.95. Overage charges will be billed at $10 per additional Gigabyte. "Moving to usage-based pricing is among multiple steps GTA TeleGuam is taking to better manage explosive wireless network usage and preserve its position as the smartphone leader in Guam," said Roland Certeza, executive vice president of sales and marketing for GTA TeleGuam.

According to GTA TeleGuam mobile data usage reports, more than 90 percent of the company's Mpulse wireless data users use less than 3GB per month.

Source: Cellular News

Friday, October 07, 2011 12:42:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doubling the broadband speed for the economy of an OECD country increases its GDP by 0.3 percent, according to a report conducted jointly by Ericsson, Arthur D. Little and Chalmers University of Technology in 33 OECD countries. The report quantified the isolated impact of broadband speed. A 0.3 percent GDP growth (one-directional, isolated effect) in the OECD region is equivalent to USD 126 billion.

This corresponds to more than one seventh of the average annual OECD growth rate in the last decade. The study also shows that additional doublings of speed can yield growth in excess of 0.3 percent (e.g. quadrupling of speed equals 0.6 percent GDP growth stimulus). Both broadband availability and speed are strong drivers in an economy. Last year, Ericsson and Arthur D. Little concluded that for every 10 percentage point increase in broadband penetration GDP increases by 1 percent. This growth stems from a combination of direct, indirect and induced effects. Direct and indirect effects provide a short to medium term stimulus to the economy.

The induced effect, which includes the creation of new services and businesses, is the most sustainable dimension and could represent as much as one third of the mentioned GDP growth. The study quantifies the economic impact of increases in broadband speed in a comprehensive scientific method using publicly available data. The economic impact of average attained broadband speed, both fixed and mobile, has been analysed using panel data regression analysis with quarterly data points from 2008-2010 for 33 OECD countries. The average achieved broadband speed data was provided by Ookla.

Source: Telecom Paper

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:35:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The three major operators in China signed-up 5.27 million new mobile customers in August to bring the joint total to 999.83 million, figures from the operators show. China Mobile led in subscriber additions as it signed-up 5.78 million new customers in the month to bring its total to 627.63 million mobile subscribers. China Mobile also reported that it had 40.32 million 3G customers.
 
Meanwhile, China Telecom signed up 2.59 million mobile customers in August to bring its total to 113.53 million, which includes 25.61 million 3G users. China Telecom also ended the month with 72.48 million fixed broadband customers as it signed-up 1.07 million new subscribers in the month.
 
The company continued to see its local access line subscriber base fall as it lost 480,000 customers in August, bringing its total to 171.45 million. China Unicom had 186.10 million mobile customers, including 27.87 million 3G subscribers, as the operator gained 2.36 million new subscribers in August. Unicom also had 53.76 million fixed broadband subscribers, up by 767,000, and 94.70 million local access line subscribers, down by 268,000.

Source: Telecom Paper

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:29:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Algeria has invited bids from operators for the country's first 3G licences. According to the terms of the tender outlined by state telecoms regulator ARPT, bids are due on 7 October and it will announced the winners on 23 October. The winners will be able to launch commercial services by the first quarter of 2012.
 
Further details on the pricing and spectrum available were not released. Algeria counts three mobile operators: Mobilis, owned by incumbent Algerie Telecom; Nedjma, controlled by Qatar Telecom; and Djezzy, started by Orascom Telecom.

Source: Telecom Paper

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:25:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­India's Bharti Airtel has announced that it has been awarded a GSM and 3G license in Rwanda, expanding its African continental footprint to 17 countries.

The company added that it plans to invest over US$100 million in the country over the next three years. According to the statement, this also marks the largest investment out of India into Rwanda. Sunil Bharti Mittal, CMD, Bharti Airtel said, "Rwanda is a key telecom market with immense growth potential and will strengthen Bharti Airtel's footprint in East Africa."

According to the National Statistics Institute of Rwanda, the mobile penetration in the country was 38.4%, as of July 2011.

Last year, the regulator, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) said that it would award a fourth mobile license when conditions were correct. However, last month, the regulator cancelled the mobile network operating license held by another network operator, Rwandatel for allegedly failing to meet its license conditions. The market now has just two networks, until Airtel launches its network.

The company may have the option of buying the defunct Rwandatel network to speed its launch into the country.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:23:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The NeutrINX internet exchange, which operates as a neutral and non-profit organisation, independent of affiliations with internet and data centre service providers, has opened for business in South Africa.
 
It's sole objective is facilitating the interconnection of data and voice networks by building and operating open access, carrier-neutral internet exchanges and associated infrastructure. NeutrINX said customers may connect directly to the exchange without taking up hosting space in the host data centre via multiple access options including Telkom, Dark Fibre Africa, other metro Ethernet operators and self-provisioned wireless to a tower facility on the roof. The first NeutrINX peering point to go live is hosted in the Ambronex data centre in Centurion.
 
The Centurion location is geographically situated in close proximity to the technology dense Midrand and Highveld Technopark areas as well as serving as a convenient middle ground for peering partners in Pretoria and Johannesburg to meet. Further NeutrINX sites will go live in due course with the next geographic location under investigation in Sandton. NeutrINX pricing starts at ZAR 1,500 per month for a 100Mbps port. As an introductory offer to seed the peering point, the company is providing 100Mbps ports at no charge during the first six months of their operation with reduced rates remaining in effect for the balance of the first year.
Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:16:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telefo­nica Czech Republic says that its 3G network now covers 61% of the Czech population, in 1,016 towns and cities. Telefonica plans to cover 66 % of the Czech population by the end of the year.

"We want to make high-speed data available to as many people as possible. Only during summer our engineers commissioned 127 3G transmitters," says Dvorjancanský, marketing director of Telefonica Czech Republic. "Following our network sharing agreement with T-Mobile, we have already covered 228 sites with the 3G signal from the beginning of our cooperation," adds Jirí Dvorjancanský.

The 3G network sharing with T-Mobile was launched at the beginning of the second quarter, as planned. The coverage roll out is in line with the plans of the two operators and precisely follows their agreement.

High speed data in the O2 network is currently used by 1.3 million customers. 900,000 of them use Internet in their mobiles and 400,000 use Internet in their laptops. These numbers represent customers who actively use data services, i.e. they download at least 50 kb in a month.

Source: Cellular News

 

Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:12:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |