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 Tuesday, 13 December 2011
Enterprises use the internet for a variety of purposes: to present information on a website, to offer online shopping facilities to customers and to interact with public authorities. In the 27 EU Member States, 95% of enterprises had access to the internet in January 2011. The share of enterprises having a fixed broadband connection to access the internet grew slightly from 84% in 2010 to 87% in 2011. On the other hand, the use of mobile broadband connections increased significantly in the same period, from 27% to 47%.

Source: European Commission

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 13:22:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 07 December 2011

From today, incumbent fixed line operator Mauritius Telecom is cutting the cost of its residential ADSL Home tariffs by between 12% and 46%, and halving access prices on its ADSL Business plans, L’Express reports. The announcement was made by the Minister of Information Technology and Communication (ICT), Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, on 25 November during a press briefing. As a result of the reduction, the cost of the telco’s 256kbps ADSL Home package will come down to MUR349 (USD12.35) per month from MUR399, the 512kbps service will be trimmed to MUR699 from MUR759, while the cost of its 1Mbps plan will be cut by 46% to MUR799.

Meanwhile ADSL Business users will see their rates cut by 50%, while call centres and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms will experience cuts of between 10% and 46%. Mauritius Telecom will not however, be cutting the cost of its triple-play service, My.T.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 09:14:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 02 December 2011

According to research unveiled by industry association GSMA, the number of mobile connected devices in the world is set to grow 100 per cent from more than 6 billion today to 12 billion in 2020. This trend will provide a significant growth potential for the entire M2M ecosystem. Mobile operators are uniquely placed to work in partnership with other industries to enable this opportunity.

Source: Fitce

Friday, 02 December 2011 08:38:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Africa’s leading telecommunication provider, MTN, has launched a promotion for new prepaid subscribers by offering them free airtime. According to reports, the operator will offer customers purchasing the MTN Pay As You Go starter kit, free airtime worth US$ 14.2 for an entire year, on every recharge of US$ 7.13 or more.  Apart from this, the operator also offers the users various benefits such as ten free daily call-backs, five free text messages for every fifteen messages sent along with thirty free SMS every month.

As per sources, the operator says that the US$ 14.2 free airtime is spread across the year, enabling users to receive US$ 1.2 each month. However, in order to receive the monthly airtime, the users need to have a minimum recharge of US$ 7.13 every month. Further, the offer is considered to be valid for a year from purchase of the starter kit, and any customer migrating out of this price plan within the 12 months will lose this benefit.

The promotion is said to be valid from 1 December 2011 to 20 May 2012.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:56:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has so far registered around 93 million mobile lines over the course of its SIM registration campaign, local newspaper BusinessDay cites the regulator’s executive vice chairman, Eugene Juwah, as saying. Following the successful completion of the scheme, Juwah said that the commission will begin to implement mobile number portability (MNP) next year to enhance competition in the market and improve the quality of wireless services.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the six-month SIM registration exercise was scheduled to conclude on 28 September 2011, but the deadline was subsequently extended during the harmonisation process for an unspecified period to allow any remaining subscribers to register their details. The final deadline has since been announced as 31 December 2011, after which all unregistered SIM cards will be disconnected without further notice, The Nation reports.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:51:21 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The number of mobile subscriptions in the Middle East (see note) will cross the 250-million mark during 2012, reaching 271.27 million at end-2012 and rising to 352 million at end-2016, according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Additionally, the average mobile penetration rate for the Middle East will cross the 100% mark in 2012: It will rise from 97.72% at end-2011 to 107.09% at end-2012, exceeding the mobile penetration rate in North America (US/Canada) for the first time. (The mobile penetration rate in North America at end-2012 will be 102.77%.)

Iran will continue to be the biggest mobile market in the Middle East by subscriptions with 82.91 million subscriptions forecast for end-2011, rising to 122.13 million at end-2016. Saudi Arabia has the next biggest mobile market in the region by subscriptions, with a 50.8 million active mobile subscriptions forecast for end-2011, rising to 71.32 million at end-2016.

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:48:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Broadband penetration in Peru is expected to double from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 9.3 percent in 2016, driven by the government's national broadband plan to bring Internet connectivity via fiber-optic cables to isolated regions, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

"In 2011, broadband penetration will reach 4.7 percent, still among the lowest in the region just ahead of Ecuador, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala and Nicaragua," says Pyramid Research Analyst, Juliana Gomez.

Broadband penetration will be driven by the government's national broadband plan, which aims to bring Internet connectivity via fiber-optic cables to isolated regions such as the Sierra and Selva. As economic development touches cities outside Lima in the Sierra region of the country, competition for new subscribers will expand the reach of fixed networks. Telefonica and Telmex are both offering double- and triple-play bundles, including fixed telephony, broadband Internet and pay-TV services.

"Given the low penetration of Internet services and the government support for developing broadband networks, broadband has great potential to fuel bundles," she indicates.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:40:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Comcel, a leading mobile phone operator in Colombia, has reportedly announced the launch of the new HSPA+ (High Speed Packet Access) technology in the main cities of the country, in an attempt to provide users access to high speed internet on their mobile phones.

According to reports, the new technology will enable users to browse mobile internet at speeds up to four times faster, between 1 and 1.2 megabytes per second. Further, Juan Carlos, President, Comcel has reportedly said that the service will initially be offered in Bogota, Cali, Medellín, Barranquilla and Pereira.

Further, as per sources, mobile operator Tigo’s internet services are currently limited to USB modems, but the operator has hinted at plans to make this service available to users on their mobile phones in the near future. 

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:37:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

With the increase in saturation of mobile services in urban markets across the world, mobile operators have shifted their focus to towards the relatively untapped rural markets for better business opportunities and a chance at increasing revenues.

According to reports, industry analysts predict Nigeria the largest mobile market in the continent, to be home to over 90 million subscribers by this year end. Further, improvements in broadband connectivity along with the emergence of new generation smartphones are expected to drive mobile data growth in the economy.

In most rural economies, the lack of adequate infrastructure has been a grave cause of concern for mobile operators as it reduces their profits and drives up costs for customers. Currently, industry reports suggest that a fully functioning network grid could help operators cut their mobile tariffs by 50 percent, which is higher than those being offered in developed countries.

Changes have been observed in the investment environment as well. With operators offering discounted services to low income users in order to expand their reach, the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) has witnessed a decline. Bharti Airtel, which had acquired Africa’s Zain, slashed its prices by significant amounts in a bid to increase its market share, which increased the pressure across the industry. Further, sources reveal that Etisalat (Saudi Arabia) and Globacom have also been increasingly gaining customers, giving strong competition to market leader MTN.

The next big thing in the economy is being considered to be mobile banking services. With a large portion of the population being unbanked but gaining access to mobile devices, more and more consumers are using their phone to transfer money and pay for goods, in a more convenient and secure manner.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:29:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iran has reportedly received a third mobile phone operator by the name of Ritel to offer users in the country with mobile services. Prior to this, Iran played host to two mobile phone operators, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI) and South African-owned MTN Irancell.

According to reports, the government had awarded a third licence to Tamin Telecom in October 2009, however the operator is not yet operational, but has however revealed plans to cover 60 percent of the population with its 2G network and 40 percent with its 3G network by 2014.

Sources claim that there have been speculations regarding whether the licence awarded to Ritel is a new licence or the one issued to Tamin Telecom. Details regarding Ritel’s coverage area or the ownership structure are yet to be disclosed.

Source: Wireless Federation

3G | Mobile
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:15:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The European Commission has written to sixteen Member States which have failed to fully implement new EU telecoms rules into national law, six months after the deadline to do so.

The new rules give EU customers new rights regarding fixed telephony, mobile services and Internet access. For instance, the right to switch telecoms operators in one day without changing their phone number and the right to clarity about data traffic management practices employed by Internet Service Providers. There is now also better protection of privacy and personal data online.

The Commission's requests today take the form of "reasoned opinions." Member States which do not fully implement the new laws risk referral to the EU's Court of Justice and potential financial penalties. The 16 Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:12:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 24 November 2011

According to preliminary data from Lithuania’s Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT), the number of broadband customers in the country stood at 956,000 at the end of the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 12% year-on-year and up 4% quarter-on-quarter. Of that total, 716,000 were fixed high speed internet subscribers (an increase of 2.2% over Q3 2010) and the remaining 240,000 were mobile broadband subscribers (up 8%). Revenues from retail broadband access services grew only 0.05% quarter-on-quarter to LTL91.4 million (USD35.8 million).

The regulator reports that fixed telephony subscriber dropped 3% during the third quarter of 2011 to reach 718,000 at the end of September, while revenue generated by fixed telephony services also declined by 3% during the period to LTL65.7 million. Mobile telephony turnover also fell to LTL239.3 million during 3Q11, down 1.1% compared to the second quarter. The RRT’s preliminary data states that 3G network subscribers totalled 1.077 million at 30 September 2011, accounting for 22% of the overall active mobile customer base. Overall, Lithuania’s telecommunications market generated revenue of LTL598.9 million in Q3 2011, down 1.1% quarter-on-quarter and a drop of 9% year-on-year. Capital expenditure on telecoms infrastructure totalled LTL80.9 million, down 14% over the previous quarter Q2 but up 20% from the year-ago period.

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:28:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iran has officially introduced a third national mobile phone operator, named Ritel, the Tehran Times reports, without citing any additional information. Ritel was reportedly unveiled in a ceremony held in Tehran on Monday. The brief news item makes no mention of network coverage details or the cellco’s ownership structure.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Iran is home to two active national mobile phone operators, Mobile Communication Company of Iran (MCI) and South African-owned MTN Irancell. In October 2009 the government awarded a third national concession to a consortium headed by Tamin Telecom. The licence was officially handed over to Tamin in April 2010, but at the time of writing – and in spite of its licence terms (which stipulated 2G network coverage of eight main cities and 1,421km of roads within nine months) – Tamin is not yet believed to be operational. It has said it plans to cover 60% of the population with its 2G network and 40% with its 3G network by 2014.

At this stage it is unclear whether Ritel’s operating licence is a brand new concession or the revoked licence previously issued to Tamin Telecom. The latter seems unlikely, as in October 2010, despite its lack of progress, telecoms watchdog the Communication Regulation Agency (CRA) announced that the country would not be offering another 3G licence until Tamin’s exclusivity expires in 2013.

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:21:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cable & Wireless Communications today published a press release confirming that its business in Macau, CTM, has launched a 250Mbps residential broadband service, providing local inhabitants with one of the fastest internet download speeds anywhere in the world. The statement notes that the new service more than doubles the previous top speed available from CTM’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network.

The fibre-optic network, which was launched in October 2010, has been rolled out to the most densely populated areas of Macau. Commenting on today’s announcement, CTM chief executive, Vandy Poon, said: ‘The people of Macau are very technologically sophisticated and so we are delighted to be able to deliver truly world-class broadband speeds. This is a great demonstration of the capability of our engineering team at CTM and our commitment to quality. This ultra high speed internet connection will allow residents to access interactive services such as HD TV, video games and communications services, to get the most out of their digital life.’

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:19:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Indian operators Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices have demanded their 3G licence fees be returned if their intra-circle roaming pacts are considered illegal, reports the Business Standard. In a letter to India's telecommunication minister Kapil Sibal, top executives of these companies said they were assured by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that bidding in the 3G auction took place with the clear understanding that such agreements were legal and permissible.
Any determination now that this might not be the case would fundamentally alter the legal and economic basis on which the business case for 3G bids were evaluated, according to the operators' letter. The letter was signed by Sanjay Kapoor, Bharti Airtel's chief executive for India and South Asia; Himanshu Kapania, managing director of Idea Cellular; Srinath N, Tata Teleservices' managing director; and Vodafone India's managing director and chief executive, Marten Pieters.
The top three companies, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea, have signed a pact to mutually provide 3G services in areas where they do not hold 3G spectrum rights. However, part of the DoT and the telecoms regulator Trai have since questioned the legality of the roaming agreement, as it may allow the operators to provide 3G services without paying the necessary fees for the spectrum. The government is currently seeking legal advice before taking a final decision on the agreement's legality. In the letter, the companies quoted the DoT's answer to the operators regarding roaming, that the roaming policy is applicable to the licences and not to the specific spectrum bands, and roaming will be permitted.
Source: Telecom Paper

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:16:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Italian telecoms regulator Autorita per le Garanzie Comunicazioni (AGCOM) has confirmed that the country’s four mobile network operators – Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), Vodafone Italy, Wind Telecomunicazioni (Wind Italy) and 3 Italia (H3G Italia) – have been instructed to cut mobile termination rates (MTRs) by 40%, following a request by the European Commission (EC).

As such, the telecoms watchdog has indicated that tariffs must drop from EUR0.025 (USD0.034) to EUR0.035 by 1 July 2012, with a further reduction, to EUR0.0098 by 1 July 2013.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:12:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uganda’s cellcos have been warned that quality of service (QoS) will, from next year, form the basis of licence renewal applications and also represent a key condition for the issuance of future concessions, reports local paper Daily Monitor. State Minister for Information Technology, Nyombi Thembo, said that although there has been progress in the accessibility of mobile services, the government’s aim is to guarantee value for money by driving improvements in QoS: ‘There is no way we will renew a licence for a player offering poor services, that has to stop.’

As reported by CommsUpdate, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) last week released details of its most recent QoS survey, which showed that none of the operators were meeting the target for blocked and dropped calls. MTN Uganda dismissed its poor performance in the survey – roughly on par with rivals Airtel Uganda, and Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) – saying: ‘We don’t agree with the report. We have commissioned our own studies, some of which we shall soon share with the public.’

In response to the comments, Thembo remarked: ‘The habit of telecoms [operators] denying and dismissing the findings should stop. We do not want the survey to victimise a particular provider. It is for their benefit because we want them to improve.’

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:11:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azerbaijan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Azercell, launched 3G services on Friday, just over two weeks after receiving its concession from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). The TeliaSonera subsidiary becomes the second operator in Azerbaijan to offer next-generation services.

‘The launch of 3G services in Azerbaijan will provide our customers with mobile broadband that is up to 20 times faster than the current 2G technology,’ said Tero Kivisaari, TeliaSonera’s President of Business Area Eurasia. The Swedish company now offers 3G across its entire European footprint.

Source: TeleGeography

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:09:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­The audience for mobile social networking in the EU5 region (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK) grew 44 percent in the last year with 55.1 million mobile users in the EU5 accessing social networking sites or blogs via their mobile devices during September 2011, according to comScore statistics.

"Over the past year we have seen social networking use grow rapidly among mobile users across Europe, driven largely by the growth in smartphone adoption, making it easier than ever for users to stay connected and engage in social activities while on-the-go," said Jeremy Copp, comScore Europe vice president for Mobile.

1 in 4 EU5 Mobile Users Access Social Media

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:06:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

France Telecom’s subsidiary Orange has reportedly entered into an agreement with telecom operator SFR in order to provide optical fibre technology across many households in the scarcely populated regions of France. According to company reports, the agreement between the two operators is expected to cover as many as 9.8 million homes.

As per sources, SFR will be required to serve 2.3 million of these households while Orange will serve the remaining 7.5 million according to the terms of the agreement.  Industry reports suggest that this investment is a part of Orange’s aim to expand fibre technology to reach as much as 60 percent of the French households by 2020, for which the operator reportedly plans to spend US$ 2.7 billion.

Source: Wireless Federation

Thursday, 24 November 2011 15:01:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Saudi Arabia has no plans to license any more mobile networks in the country, but will permit the launch of MVNO based services from next year.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Muhammad Jameel Mulla announced the plans for MVNOs at a press conference. Mulla also underscored the efforts made by the Ministry to improve communications services during the Haj season in order to meet the growing requirements of the millions of pilgrims who visit the country.

He also refuted complaints that the mobile networks were struggling financially in the country due to competition. He said the license value paid by the three mobile phone companies was almost similar and there is no point in blaming either the ministry or the Communications and Information Technology Commission on it.

Whether the mobile networks will be forced to allow MVNOs onto their network was not however clarified.

Source: Cellular News

Thursday, 24 November 2011 14:59:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 23 November 2011

MTS, a unit of Sistema Syam TeleServices Limited (SSTL), has reportedly added around 800,000 customers in the month of October alone, with the launch of two low cost Android smartphones – MTS MTag 3.1 and MTS Livewire priced under US$ 100.

According to reports, a spokesperson for MTS has said that they were able to get 7,95,523 customers in the festive month of October because they gave the CDMA consumers the option to choose from a variety of Android phones at different price points and they also initiated a lot of awareness campaign across the country. He added that the launch of the two smartphones in the festive season helped propel their growth.

As per sources, pre-paid users received 150 minutes of calls, 150 SMSs and 150 MB of data free every month for 12 months, with the smartphone. Whereas postpaid users were offered a 12 month contract during which users had to pay Rs 250 each month, against which they received 250 minutes of calls, 250 SMSs and 250 MB of data free each month.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 09:57:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uganda’s telecom companies have reportedly been issued a warning that the licence renewal applications will be considered on the basis of the quality of service (QoS) offered. According to reports, Nyombi Thembo, State Minister (Information Technology), has said that there is no way they will renew a licence for a player offering poor services. He added that the government’s aim is to guarantee value for money by driving improvements in the quality of the services offered to the customers.

As per sources, the report on QoS released by the Uganda Communication Commission last week reflected the poor performance of all the mobile network operators in the region wherein all six operators exceeded the maximum 2 percent rate of calls blocked or dropped. A blocked call is a failed call attempt due to network failure, where as a dropped call is one which gets connected successfully but is terminated ahead of time by the provider. MTN Uganda had the highest number of blocked at 11.1 percent while Airtel Uganda had the highest number of blocked calls at 15.2 percent.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 09:55:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mozambican mobile operators mCel and Vodacom Mozambique (VM) have been formally issued with national 3G licence extensions, which are valid for 15 years apiece. Under the terms of the licences, as set out by the National Communications Institute of Mozambique (INCM), the pair are obliged to expand their 3G networks to all districts of the country by 31 December 2015, with a particular focus on the so-called ‘development corridors’ and tourist resorts, as well as improving their existing networks in areas which are considered to be strategic locations. INCM president Isidoro da Silva confirmed that the licences encompass frequencies in the 1900MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands. mCel CEO Mamudo Ibraimo indicated that the first cities to benefit from his company’s nationwide 3G focus will be Quelimane, Chimoio and Mocuba.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in September 2006 state-owned mCel was awarded the country’s first UMTS 3G concession, while its sole rival at that date, VM, opted not to submit an application at that time. In 2008, however, VM had a change of heart and successfully acquired a 3G licence from the INCM; its W-CDMA network had been expected to launch in the third quarter of 2009, but eventually began offering commercial services in February 2010. The latest move effectively brings mCel and Vodacom in line with yet-to-launch third player Movitel, which received its own 15-year UMTS concession in January 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:43:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

France Telecom-Orange has announced an agreement with fellow operator SFR to deploy optical fibre technology covering millions of households in less densely-populated areas of mainland France. The fibre-optic deployment agreement drawn up by France Telecom-Orange and SFR covers around 9.8 million homes in agglomerations where ‘both operators have redundant deployment projects’, the statement read. Under the terms of the agreement, SFR will serve 2.3 million of these households and France Telecom-Orange will serve 7.5 million.

A spokeswoman for Orange confirmed the plan, Reuters reports, but declined to confirm whether or not the two carriers would share the investment of nearly EUR5 billion (USD6.8 billion). The fibre investment forms part of France Telecom-Orange’s plan to spend EUR2 billion by 2015 on fibre expansion to reach 60% of French households (target date 2020) – aided by private-operator investment. SFR declined to comment on the release.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:41:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecom Italia has launched fibre-optic services in areas of Milan, Rome, Turin and Bari. The service requires an activation fee of EUR 121, which can be paid in installments over 24 months. The basic service offering speeds of 100/10Mbps costs EUR 75.63 per month, but is offered for customers signing up before year-end at EUR 45.38 per month. Including unlimited calls to fixed lines and calls to mobiles at EUR 0.16 per minute, the fibre service is priced at EUR 71.59 per month.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:38:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to industry research reports, the mobile data usage in India has gone up by almost 35 percent between June 2011 and September 2011. Sources suggest that analysts have credited the rise in data usage to increased availability and affordable pricing, not just for people living in urban areas, but for people from different income segments.

As per reports, there were a total of 26 million mobile internet users in March 2011 which went up to 35 million in September 2011. Industry analysts predict tremendous growth in mobile data usage and expect this number to increase to 41 million users by the year end.

India saw the introduction of the 3G services towards the end of last year, which has increased the use of the internet on mobile handsets, due to increased speeds and better features. Further, easy accessibility and competitive pricing are significant in contributing towards the increased adoption of the mobile phone in the country.

Source: Wireless Federation

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:37:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uganda’s wireless operators are all failing to meet minimum quality of service (QoS) requirements, according to a report published by the telecoms watchdog the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC). The UCC survey was carried out between 30 May 2011 and 2 September 2011, and during this period all six operators exceeded the maximum 2% rate of calls blocked or dropped. A blocked call is a failed call attempt due to network failure, whilst dropped calls are those which have connected successfully but are terminated prematurely by the provider. The country’s largest provider by subscribers, South African-owned MTN Uganda blocked 11.1% of calls, and dropped 4.5%. Meanwhile, Indian-owned Airtel Uganda blocked the highest proportion of calls, with 15.2% failing to connect, although it was far more successful once calls were connected, dropping only 3.2%. Uganda Telecom fared slightly better with 11.4% of calls blocked, and 3.4% dropped. French-owned Orange Uganda, the country’s second-youngest cellco, having launched in March 2009, came the closest to reaching UCC targets, with 3.8% of calls blocked and 2.8% dropped. The UCC did not report results for the smallest cellco by subscribers and most recent market entrant, i-Tel.

During the UCC’s previous QoS survey, in December 2010, Warid Telecom performed the worst of all the country’s telcos; the most recent analysis indicated significant improvement from the UAE-backed company, reducing the proportion of blocked calls from 25.8% to 8.8% whilst dropped calls were reduced from 8.0% to 4.2%. Warid’s progress was the result of improvements to capacity and coverage carried out by Chinese vendor Huawei in June 2011.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:35:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Tech Central, MTN South Africa plans to double the number of 3G base stations in service across the country during the next two years to 6,000, extending wireless broadband access to previously underserved parts of the country. However, in order to do so, the cellco must re-farm a block of pre-existing spectrum in the 900MHz band. Chief technology officer Lambo Kanagaratnam said that MTN hopes to have 150 900MHz 3G base transceiver stations (BTS) in service by the end of 2011, with 900MHz services extended to around 1,000 BTS within the next twelve months. Within two years the operator hopes to cover between 80% and 85% of the South African population with its 3G network. Rural areas earmarked for coverage include: Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.

In related news, Kanagaratnam said that the cellco will continue to press ahead with its trials of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, despite the lack of available frequencies in the country. As such, MTN intends to demonstrate the 4G service – which it piloted in Gauteng in July – in Cape Town at the AfricaCom conference this week.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:34:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has announced plans to roll out its own independent fibre-optic network, in a bid to secure a larger share of the data market, and reduce its reliance on the voice market. The move will see the operator following in the footsteps of rival Telkom Kenya which signposted its intention to shift strategic focus in 2010; in March 2011 Telkom’s plan started to bear fruit, when it launched fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services in Muthaiga and Parklands, two of Nairobi’s most affluent suburbs. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told Business Daily Africa: ‘This is in support of our strategic direction to be the regional leader in broadband provision; the new direction will give us greater control of the quality of service offered to our customers’. The cellco has now started its search for company to build and maintain the inland network, which is expected to cost in the region of KES1 billion (USD10.22 million).

Whilst the bulk of its broadband coverage is provided by WiMAX connectivity, in February 2010 – alongside rival telcos Jamii Telecom Ltd (JTL) and Wananchi Online – Safaricom activated a fibre-optic link between Nairobi and Mombasa, using infrastructure leased from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). Safaricom signed up for a pair of the fibres in a 20-year lease on the Nairobi-Mombasa line for KES288 million.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:33:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Union Temporal Fibra Optica Colombia, a joint venture between TV Azteca and Total Play has been selected by Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MTIC) to deploy and maintain a nationwide fibre-optic network. The network will connect 1,078 municipalities, and consist of 15,000km of optical fibre. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the project is a public-private partnership, allocated COP415.8 billion (USD216.6 million) by the government; it aims to increase the number of internet connections in the country to 8.8 million by 2014. Expected to take 30 months to deploy, the MTIC claims that the network will increase the proportion of the population with broadband access to 90%.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:31:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ghana’s telecoms watchdog the National Communications Authority (NCA) has imposed fines totalling GHC1.2 million (USD751,990) on five domestic mobile network operators – MTN, Vodafone, Airtel, Expresso and Tigo – for delivering poor services to end users. The penalties, which cover the third quarter of this year, are part of measures introduced by the NCA to improve overall quality of services and ensure end users have value for money. Airtel was fined the most – GHC350,000 – after it experienced high levels of network congestion (particularly in Tamale, Sekondi-Takoradi and the Upper East and West, and Greater Accra regions), while MTN and Expresso were each fined GHC300,000. Vodafone was fined GHC150,000 and Tigo received the lowest fine of GHC100,000, the NCA said.

Source: TeleGeography

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:30:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Global public Wi-Fi hotspot numbers are set to grow from 1.3 million in 2011, to 5.8 million by 2015, a 350 percent increase. The number does not include 'community hotspots', where users share their own Wi-Fi access point with others, which add an additional 4.5 million worldwide, according to a report released by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) and compiled by Informa. The findings show that 58 percent of operators - including 47 percent of mobile operators - believe Wi-Fi hotspots are either very important or crucial to their customers' experience; offload busy mobile broadband networks; and provide a value-added services platform. The survey found that smartphone connections to Wi-Fi hotspots will soon overtake laptops globally. Laptops now represent less than half (48%) of the connections to hotspots, smartphones account for 36 percent and tablets 10 percent.

Source: TelecomPaper

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:28:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tigo Ghana has reduced its on-net and off-net call rates even further ahead of Glo mobile’s launch in Ghana on 17 November 2011. According to reports, Tigo Ghana is offering customers new call rates of US$ 0.02 per minute for on-net calls and $ 0.058 per minute for off-net calls. As per sources, Carlos Caceres, CEO, Tigo Ghana has said that the new rates will replace all other promotional call rates on Tigo. He added that the many call tariff plans and promotions in the telecom market are very complex for the average phone user to understand and they make it difficult for customers to know how much they are spending.

Mr. Caceres also said that for those who were on more than one network, the several tariff plans becomes even more confusing because it is difficult to monitor the different charges for different locations at any point in time. He said the new rates Tigo had announced were straight forward and they remain unchanged for 24 hours every day, no matter the location or time of day, so customers do not have to get confused about different charges at different times of the day. The CEO has also hinted that Tigo may also be reviewing their data packages to better suit the customers’ needs.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:17:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Danish telecoms regulator, the National IT and Telecom Agency (Telestyrelsen), has announced that mobile termination rates for the country’s four mobile network operators – TDC, Telia Denmark, Telenor Denmark and Hi3G Access Denmark (3) – will be lowered from 1 March 2012. Telestyrelsen has confirmed that the mobile termination rate for voice calls will drop from the current rate of DKK0.33 (USD0.061) per minute to DKK0.22 per minute, while the rate for text messaging will fall from DKK0.16 per SMS to DKK0.12. The regulator has also submitted a draft decision which seeks to impose the same mobile termination rates on mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Lycamobile as the country’s four network operators. Lycamobile launched mobile services over the network of TDC in July 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:16:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lebanon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has presented a study showing that prices for consumer and corporate ADSL broadband internet packages with capped data usage are now cheaper than the average across Arab countries, following the recent connection to additional international bandwidth and a state decree which mandated price drops and speed increases. Although a significant number of areas in the country are still awaiting the full implementation of new speeds via DSL access network upgrades and domestic fibre backbone rollouts, the retail price reductions have been experienced nationwide, whilst wholesale international bandwidth costs are also now lower than the Arab country average. The TRA’s presentation showed that new ADSL tariffs for low data usage customers, capped at 2GB per month, were priced at 23% below the Arab average, while ‘high-usage’ (6GB) ADSL tariffs were priced at the regional average (USD28), although data speeds were not compared. In the corporate broadband segment, Lebanon’s prices came out as significantly lower than average using the same comparison criteria: by 59% in the case of 2GB plans and 75% lower for a 6GB monthly tariff. International bandwidth and international leased circuits are now ‘significantly’ lower than the Arab average, the regulator added. Prior to the market shake-up, a similar regional study published by Bahrain’s national telecoms regulator showed that Lebanon had the highest-priced broadband in the Middle East for low-speed (256kbps), ‘high’ usage (6GB a month) services, as of March 2011.

In July 2011 the Lebanese communications ministry announced that ISPs were to be granted retail and wholesale access to increased international internet capacity via the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) submarine cable, and the promise was formalised by decree in September, which mandated an 80% reduction in the cost of DSL bandwidth to the consumer, an increase in retail broadband speeds by between four and eight times – up to 8Mbps – and a rise in monthly download limits. On 1 October 2011 state-run incumbent telco Ogero announced the launch of new internet packages, including a minimum 1Mbps ADSL service across ‘the majority’ of the country for its retail end-users and wholesale ISP customers. Upgrades to another cable system, Cadmos, will also boost the country’s available bandwidth, helping to raise speeds and lower prices.

Meanwhile, in the same presentation, the TRA revealed that the price of 3G mobile services in Lebanon is between 23% and 25% higher than average across the Arab world. The official launch of commercial 3G mobile broadband services took place in the country on 1 November 2011, courtesy of the two state-owned cellcos Alfa and MTC Touch. In subsequent stages of 3G development, the TRA said, the two cellcos will leverage economies of scale to significantly reduce prices as 3G device ownership increases.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:14:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Royal Gazette Online reports that domestic internet service providers (ISPs) in Bermuda intend to increase end-user broadband access speeds without making them pay for the upgrade. Late last week a number of local providers confirmed plans to offer customers free upgrades on their DSL services from 6Mbps (download) to 8Mbps. Incumbent Bermuda Telephone Company (BTC) confirmed that the upgrade will be underway by the end of this month, and added that it is also looking to introduce a 10Mbps service. Meanwhile, ISP North Rock says it will honour BTC’s ‘free’ upgrade. ‘North Rock’s 6Mbps DSL rate is BMD119.95 per month and BTC is offering these customers to upgrade to 8Mbps DSL at no additional charge. We will also honour this and move them from 6Mbps DSL to 8Mbps DSL for the same BMD119.95 [USD119.95] per month price,’ it said. The ISP is also looking to offer the 10Mbps service from BTC, which will be priced at BMD129.95 per month, it added.

BTC has been looking to launch higher speed services for some time and in the summer received approval from the government to launch the new 8Mbps and 10Mbps options. At the time, critics expressed concern that the incumbent was looking to forge ahead with higher speed services, rather than upgrade slower services – as is the trend in other countries.

Meanwhile, Bermudan cable services provider CableVision says it has also applied to increase its broadband internet access speeds. The firm’s manager Terry Roberson says that the group has recently submitted a request to the Telecommunications Communications vis a vis approval for a 20Mbps service. Although the price of the new service has not been disclosed, the paper notes that CableVision’s Ultimate High Speed Internet package costs BMD55 per month for an 8Mbps connection, excluding the ISP’s charge.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:12:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Claro has activated its first mobile lines in Costa Rica. Claro has also opened its first mobile shops at six local shopping centres located in Heredia, Alajuela, Escazu and Tres Rios (La Union), Inside Costa Rica reports, citing Ricardo Taylor, head of Claro's operations in Costa Rica. Claro's network currently covers the Greater Metropolitan Area, and will be gradually expanded across the country.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:11:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has signed a bill which aims to create a Superintendency of Telecommunications to better protect consumer’s rights and resolve issues between companies and consumers, reports the country’s telecoms regulator Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel). The new office’s responsibilities were listed as: monitoring compliance with regulations and, where necessary, administering punitive measures; participating in the delivery and removal of licences; ensuring proper use of spectrum; and collecting information on the sector and regulating tariffs. It will also be given greater powers, including an increase of 1000% to the maximum fines that can be issued to telcos that break regulations. The Superintendency will not replace Subtel, but exist alongside the current watchdog. Having been given presidential approval, the bill will now pass to congress for discussion before being passed into law.

The signing of the bill was marked by the completion of the first stage of Chile’s move to remove charges for domestic long-distance (DLD) calls. The regions of Los Lagos and Los Rios joined Valparaiso, Maule, Biobio, Atacama and Coquimbo, where the policy has already been implemented. The second and final phase is due to be completed by the end of 2013 and will complete the removal of DLD charges.

Source: TeleGeography

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:09:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Chile has completed the first phase of the process of elimination of domestic long-distance charges. The process will see the number of calling zones reduced initially to 13 from 24, and in a second stage will eliminate all zones for a single nationwide calling area. According to Chilean telecoms regulator Subtel, this first stage has benefitted around 6 million customers in the regions of Valparaiso, El Maule, Bio Bio, Atacama, Coquimbo, Los Lagos, and Los Rios. The charges are expected to be completely eliminated by 2013.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:04:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Asia-Pacific is forecast to become the largest market for machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriptions in volume terms in 2013, and in 2016 is expected to account for 37 percent of the total market, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

"China is the key market in the region, where the government is driving the adoption of smart meters in order to better manage the growth in demand for energy," says Pyramid Research Analyst at Large, Jan ten Sythoff. However, adoption in most other large, emerging countries in the region is more limited, with operators focused on cost reduction, capacity management and subscription acquisition.

"Total subscriptions are expected to increase from 18.4 million in 2010 to 104.8 million in 2016. During this time, revenues are expected to increase from $423 million to $1.80 billion, representing a CAGR of 27.3 percent," he notes.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:01:35 (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

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:55:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN South Africa has reportedly entered into agreements with other operators in an attempt to increase its fibre footprint. As per reports, Africa’s leading telecom operator has signed agreements with Metro Fibre Networx in Gauteng and Neotel and Ethekweni Metroconnect in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regions.

Justin Colyn, General Manager, MTN Business has reportedly said that the firm will also use capacity from Telkom South Africa Wholesale to connect businesses in areas that do not have a fibre footprint. He also said that as a provider focused on offering customers the best when it comes to technology innovation and standards, MTN Business has been and continues to remain focused on building their own solid fibre network infrastructure. Having recognised that the last mile fibre access is still proving to be a barrier for many businesses, particularly smaller ones, MTN Business have developed further strategic partnerships with various fibre providers in an attempt to continually offer the customer a 360 degree communications service that has no restrictions in terms of location.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:52:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodafone UK has launched a new marketing campaign worth $3.2 million in an attempt to increase mobile internet usage. According to reports, the campaign targets both postpaid as well as prepaid segments and focuses on the simple services that help improve a user’s daily life.

The campaign reportedly features four service elements which include Vodafone’s unlimited data offer for the first three months on new contract plans; a service that transfers customers’ contacts and media on to their new phones; the Buyback scheme allowing customers to trade in their old phones; and the Sure Signal, that enables customers to boost the mobile signal in their homes. According to industry reports, as much as half of the population in UK owns a smartphone, which is beneficial for mobile operators as date services generate higher margins as compared to regular phones and voice plans.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:50:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

SMS | Tariffs
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:49:10 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Fin­land's telecoms regulator, Ficora has issued instructions that consumer contracts will have to carry more accurate information about mobile and landline based broadband speeds.

The speed included in the contract must depict the True speed range of the connection with sufficient precision. The regulator said that it is not sufficient to only express the maximum speed or theoretical maximum speed of the broadband connection. In the future, the speed range must be expressed either by using the average data transmission speed or the range of data transmission speed with unambiguous minimum and maximum caps. The speed must be defined so that the promised quality can also be delivered during rush hour or during any sequence of maximum of four hours.

For mobile broadband, Ficora stresses the importance of up-to-date coverage maps and access to information on how different network technologies affect the connection speed.Telecom operator contract terms must be updated

Ficora's statement is related to the amendment to the Communications Market Act, which entered into force in early 2011. The Act requires that consumer contracts on broadband services must always include the speed range of data transmission.

Source: Cellular News

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:42:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Despite having slightly over 600,000 inhabitants, Montenegro has decided to call a tender for a fourth mobile telephony operator. The tender was announced by Montenegro's Agency for Electronic Communications which said it expects Arab, Chinese, Austrian and British companies to participate in the tender. Bids can be submitted until 15 December. Offers will be evaluated based on the financial bid (70 points), the technical solution and plan for network implementation (20 points), and the contribution to market competition (10 points). Spectrum in the 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands is available with the licence.

Source: TelecomPaper

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 11:39:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to industry research reports, the mobile data usage in India has gone up by almost 35 percent between June 2011 and September 2011. Sources suggest that analysts have credited the rise in data usage to increased availability and affordable pricing, not just for people living in urban areas, but for people from different income segments.

As per reports, there were a total of 26 million mobile internet users in March 2011 which went up to 35 million in September 2011. Industry analysts predict tremendous growth in mobile data usage and expect this number to increase to 41 million users by the year end.

India saw the introduction of the 3G services towards the end of last year, which has increased the use of the internet on mobile handsets, due to increased speeds and better features. Further, easy accessibility and competitive pricing are significant in contributing towards the increased adoption of the mobile phone in the country.

Source: Wireless Federation

Wednesday, 16 November 2011 10:49:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |