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 Wednesday, January 25, 2012

­The UMTS Forum has announced that global connections to the 3GPP family of Third Generation/IMT-2000 mobile networks have passed the one billion mark.

Representing almost a fifth of all mobile connections worldwide, the one billion total spans customers of WCDMA, HPSA/HSPA+ and LTE networks. This figure also includes around 50 million subscriptions to TD-SCDMA networks -- the Chinese 3G system.

Global 3G connections are boosted by a further 225 million CDMA2000 1xEV-DO subscribers, mainly in Asia and North America. Standardised separately from 3GPP, 1xEV-DO is the technology recognized by the ITU as part of the IMT-2000 family of third generation systems.

Of almost 400 3GPP-family 3G networks worldwide, the vast majority (over 385) have now implemented HSPA that gives data speeds in the 2-14 Mbps range. Furthermore, around 140 network operators are using HSPA+ technology to deliver even higher peak theoretical speeds of up to 42 Mbps for their customers.

After the first LTE networks launched commercially in December 2009, commercial LTE deployments now number almost 50 networks, with over 150 operators committed to launch the technology. In a second step, 4G/LTE-Advanced -- recently standardised by ITU -- will be commercialised by 2015, promising theoretical peak data rates in the region of 1 Gigabit/s.

"The commercial success of 3G around the world is unarguable, with 3GPP/UMTS as the leading standard", states UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. "Capitalising on that success, 3GPP/LTE will become the global wireless standard, around which current mobile technologies will converge for the benefits of customers in terms of roaming, interoperability, and a seamless mobile broadband experience".

Taking the end of 2009 as "Year Zero" for commercial LTE deployments, there are fast approaching 10 million subscriptions to LTE networks.

"While forecasts vary, some observers predict that LTE subscriptions will ramp up faster than the birth of 3G a decade ago", notes Bienaimé. "As the classical constraints on consumer uptake are removed - notably terminal availability and pricing -- it's already looking likely that demand for LTE will hit mass market volumes from 2013."

Source: Cellular News.

3G
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:45:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 20, 2012

China is on track to surpass 1 billion mobile connections before the end of the current quarter, fuelled by growth in 3G which will soon account for a quarter of the country's connections. According to Wireless Intelligence, China ended 2011 with 973.7 million connections, up about 16 percent year-on-year. The number of 3G connections surpassed 200 million in Q4 and accounted for 22 percent of the total. Market penetration is estimated at 72 percent, up almost 10 percent from a year ago. ­3G is now accounting for almost 80 percent of new connections in the country and 3G net additions in Q4 are estimated at 26.8 million out of a total 34.2 million. China Mobile remains the country's market leader, with an estimated 648.7 million connections in Q4, giving it a 67 percent market share. However, 3G connections account for just 8 percent of China Mobile's total base. 3G accounted for 20 percent of the total at second-placed Unicom, while third-placed China Telecom had 26 percent of its base migrated to 3G.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Mobile
Friday, January 20, 2012 11:33:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tariffs for mobile broadband on laptops, netbooks and tablets have fallen slightly in the past half year in most Western European countries, according to the latest research from Telecompaper. The average monthly cost was down in ten out of the 16 countries surveyed, although prices vary significantly still across countries. The Netherlands has moved from the most expensive in Q1 2009 to seventh place in Q4 2011. Mobile broadband prices for laptops and tablets were still the lowest in Finland, the UK and Ireland, based on the average monthly rate, while Switzerland, France and Spain remain the most expensive. In the past, unlimited, affordable subscriptions were the norm in order to stimulate use of mobile data. Today the majority of operators have switched to tiered pricing, with data allowances and speed reductions after using a certain volume of data. The huge growth in mobile broadband use, both on phones and other devices, is driving­ operators to develop new pricing models, in order to support further development of their networks. This means that consumers can expect to continue to pay more for data used.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:46:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kyrgyz mobile operator Megacom has announced the commercial launch of its third-generation wireless network, offering services such as videocalling, mobile TV and high speed mobile broadband. Services are initially available in the capital Bishkek, but the company plans to expand 3G network coverage to Kant, Tokmok and Kara-Balta in Chuy province by March 2012, with other regions, including Naryn, to follow later in the year.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:43:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chile’s telecoms regulator Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel) has announced the launch of mobile number portability (MNP), which commenced on 16 January. Chilean wireless subscribers are now able to switch providers whilst retaining their phone number. Subtel encouraged customer mobility further with a ban earlier this month, forbidding the sale of carrier-locked handsets, and imposing on operators an obligation to unlock devices for free.

Subtel reported that in the first day that the service was operational, 1,190 subscribers switched provider, with Entel gaining the most new users from the service, and Telefonica Moviles Chile (Movistar) losing the most. Entel saw net additions of 333 customers, mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Grupo GTD gained nine new customers, and Nextel added just two. Claro and Movistar saw net losses of 66 and 279 respectively. All of the nation’s telcos chose to absorb the CLP377 (USD0.74) fee per number ported.

Whilst MNP was launched nationwide simultaneously, fixed number portability (FNP) is being launched region by region, having started in Arica in December last year. Santiago will be the next region to receive the service in March, with the final areas due to receive the service by the end of February next year. Subtel has launched a separate website (http://www.portabilidadnumerica.cl/) to inform customers of the changes and to assist with the porting process.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:40:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kyrgyzstan mobile operator Megacom has launched its 3G network in Bishkek. The Chuya region also will be covered with the network soon, and 3G services will be launched in other regions later. Megacom said customers will have access to data services up to 30 times faster and the cost of 1MB of traffic will be three times cheaper. Customers can choose from three types of billing: an anytime rate for 3G or GPRS at KGS 1.95 per MB, subscribe to a bundle of data and pay as little as KGS 0.23, or take the plan for tablets and USB modems and pay KGS 1.5 per MB during the day and KGS 0.75 at night. The Huawei E173 USB modem supporting speeds up to 7.2Mbps is available for KGS 1,650 and come­s with 10MB data per day free for 30 days.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:38:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Albania’s telecoms watchdog the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (Akep) has invited interested parties to bid for a third 3G concession by 24 February. The licence will authorise the use of 2×15MHz of paired spectrum in the 1950MHz-1965MHz and 2140MHz-2155MHz bands and an unpaired 5MHz spectrum block in 1910MHz-1915MHz range. Akep has set a minimum bid of EUR12.5 million (USD15.8 million) for the concession, the same amount stipulated in its previous 3G tenders. As with the existing 3G concessions, the licence requires that the operator’s network must achieve population coverage of 35% in the first six months, 65% within twelve months, and 85% in 18 months.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Akep awarded the nation’s first 3G licence to Vodafone in November 2010, with a second granted in June 2011 to Albanian Mobile Communications (AMC). Akep’s decision to issue concessions individually has been widely criticised by the country’s four cellcos, which have expressed their concern that single licences might encourage anti-competitive behaviour.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:36:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has set the date for the country's often-delayed 3G auction as the 29th March 2012.

PTA Chairman, Mohammed Yaseen told the Reuters news agency that the base price for the auction would be $210 million.

"We're expecting 10 to 15 potential investors in the initial bidding process," Yaseen told Reuters.

The 3G licenses will vary from 8 to 15 years in duration, and there will be a $31.5 million deposit for any bidders.

Any incumbent mobile networks awarded a 3G license will be able to offer services immediately, although new entrants will not be allowed into the market until March 2013. This is due to an agreement not to offer any new radio spectrum when the government sold a 26% stake in the state-owned Pakistan Telecommunications Company in 2006 to Etisalat.

Source: Cellular News.

3G
Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:34:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel, the country was home to more than 242.2 million mobile SIMs at the end of December 2011, a cellular penetration of 123.97%. Net additions for the year reached 39.3 million, it said, including 6.1 million in December alone. At the year end, Anatel reported that 191.2 million connections were for pre-paid users, equivalent to 81.8% of the total base, with the remainder (44 million, or 18.2%) on monthly contracts. Telefonica-Vivo closed out the year in top spot, with 29.54% of the market (71.55 million users), ahead of TIM Brasil with 26.46% (64.08 million), which leapfrogged Claro Brazil (24.93%, or 60.38 million) in the process. Fourth place was taken by Telemar Norte Leste (Oi) which secured 45.48 million subscribers, equivalent to 18.78% of the market, and regional operator CTBC Cellular (Algar Telecom) had a total of 653,905 subscribers, or 0.07% of the sector. Anatel also noted that 3G devices (including handsets and dongles) topped 41.1 million at 31 December 2011, up 99.3% year-on-year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:33:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Venezuela’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Intermediate Industries (MPPCTII) has given a presentation in which it points out that the country’s telecoms sector grew from 3.6 million fixed line subscribers in 2007 to 6.32 million at the end of 2011, an increase of 76.5% over five years. Overall, since the re-privatisation of national PSTN operator CANTV, the telco saw 79% growth in its fixed line base, the MPPCTII added. The ministry also stated that CANTV’s mobile division Movilnet reached 14.8 million subscribers by the end of 2011, up from 8.3 million customers over the same timeframe. Other statistics quoted included that Venezuela ended 2011 with 11,482km of fibre-optic backbone infrastructure in service, with around 6,000km expected to be added to the network in 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:30:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has announced that there were 128 million 3G subscribers in the country at the end of 2011.

Of the total, 51.2 million used China Mobile TD-SCDMA network, while 40 million were on China Unicom's WCDMA network and the remaining 37.2 million used China Telecom's CDMA network.

The Ministry also confirmed that there are 814,000 3G base stations in the country, with 220,000 being TD-SCDMA, 270,000 WCDMA and 324,500 CDMA2000 EV-DO base stations.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:29:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of subscribers using Zain Jordan’s 3G services reached 700,000 by the end of 2011, according to the company’s CEO Ahmad Al Hanandeh. The chief executive told local daily The Jordan Times that the number was likely to double in 2012, as a result of legislation exempting smartphones from tax. In August last year, the government removed the sales tax on high-end handsets, reducing the price to end users by between JOD88 and JOD100 (USD123.77 and USD140.65). Zain launched its 3G service in March last year and had signed up 41,000 subscribers by the end of that month. Jordan’s third mobile provider, Bahrain-backed Umniah, announced late last year that, having previously abstained from 3G offerings on the grounds that the market was not ready, it too would launch a foray into the 3G sector in 2012. In its announcement, Umniah noted that the increasing availability of smartphones had influenced its decision.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:08:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Hungarian telecoms watchdog the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) says the total number of mobile subscriptions in the country reached 11.642 million at 31 December 2011, although net additions only inched up marginally by 47,000 in the last month of the year. Excluding ‘inactive’ accounts, the NMHH said active mobile subscriptions (i.e. where a call was made within the past three months) topped 11.10 million at the same date – with December net additions standing at 112.000. T-Mobile Hungary’s market share based on active users stood at 45.40% by the year end, up from 45.38% in November, Telenor’s fell to 31.98% from 32.03% and Vodafone’s rose to 22.63% from 22.59%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:25:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MTN Swaziland has launched a new campaign titled ‘airtime for education’ for its prepaid subscribers enabling them to win one of the seven school fee packages. According to reports, users will need to recharge with a minimum of US$ 1.23 daily to be able to win the price worth US$ 185.

As per sources, Ambrose Dlamini, CEO, MTN has said that through this promotion they aim to offer consumers relevant rewards and better engage with them. He added that MTN is a happy brand and they are determined to fully explore this trait. They want their customers to interact more with the brand and derive a satisfactory level of fun and excitement for being MTN customers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of broadband lines worldwide grew by 17.4 million in the third quarter of 2011 to a total 581.3 million, according to latest figures from Point Topic for the Broadband Forum. This is the highest quarterly additions since early 2009 and represents annual growth of 12.9 percent in the total base. DSL remained the dominant access technology with 61.5 percent of all lines, after adding more subscribers than any other technology in Q3. However, in percentage terms both FTTH and FTTx/hybrid technologies showed the highest growth at 8 percent overall, compared to 2.2 percent for cable and 2 percent for DSL. FTTx added just under 19 million lines in Q3, more than double the number in the same period last year, bringing its market share to 16 percent, just behind cable at 19.5 percent. Asia was the biggest geographic market and showed the strongest growth, up 4.3 percent quarterly to 246.06 million lines. This was driven by China which added over 8 million lines in Q3 for a total 152.5 million at the end of September 2011. Europe grew 2.3 percent sequentially to 173.3 million lines­, and the Americas were up 1.9 percent to 144.53 million. Meanwhile the IPTV market grew by 6.1 percent to 54.4 million users. This was led by growth in France (the biggest market for IPTV), China and Russia; the latter entered the top ten markets for IPTV for the first time, in seventh place.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:39:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Free has gone for low prices, which it says are 2.5 times cheaper than the lowest priced offer at its rivals. Unlimited calls, SMS and MMS, including calls to 40 other countries, costs EUR 20 per month and also includes 3GB of data use. Existing broadband subscribers pay only EUR 16 per month for the same plan. No subscription contract is required, unless the customer opts for a handset such as the iPhone. A basic offer of 60 minutes and 60 SMS per month is also available for EUR 2, or free for existing Free customers. Free has said the prices are valid for only the first 3 million mobile customers (it already has almost 5 million broadband subscribers). This may mean the price will go up slightly later to drive ARPU growth.

Free is known for its simple business model, aimed at quickly building market share: a triple play costs EUR 30 per month, the hardware (Freebox) and software are largely developed in house and it is continually adding new services. This saves on most marketing costs. The model is similar to that of HKBN in Hong Kong (see our commentary 'City Telecom sets the good example for FTTH operators'): low prices, innovative services and a shift away from marketing to sales spending. HKBN does this through its call centre, which has as many employees as the rest of the company combined (1,500 each). The call centre actively upsells services, pro-actively targeting customers in order to sell more services per subscriber and increase ARPU.

The question is whether Iliad can reproduce this model on the mobile market. A low price is an important part of the strategy, and the company has clearly succeeded in that - there could very possibly be a flood of customers now that it has started taking on subscribers. It is also a fitting strategy for a newcomer, which has no 'burden' of legacy revenues such as voice/SMS to worry about losing, nor an existing mobile organisation or (GSM, UMTS) network to maintain. At Free, innovation is driven by its own development team and CPE. In addition there is an active external community developing apps for the Free platform. While Free is unlikely to take on developing its own handsets, the move into mobile may stimulate both its internal and external developers to step up the creation of new services and apps.

What remains is a newcomer that can credit itself with starting a price war. In this sense it's an interesting case study for the Netherlands, where there is a good chance a new fourth operator will also soon emerge. Dutch consumers can hope that Tele2 Netherlands and Ziggo4 (Ziggo/UPC) take Free Mobile's example close to heart. Even for the existing operators, Free Mobile is an operator to keep a close eye on in the coming quarters. 

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:37:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Free Mobile has announced the prices of its new service, staying true to its promise of simple tariffs and to halve consumer bills. The company started signing up new customers on the morning of 10 January, effectively launching France's fourth mobile network. For customers new to Free, the unlimited package costs EUR 19.99 a month with no contract tie-in period, for unlimited calls in France, overseas French territories and 40 international destinations in Europe and the US. The subscription also includes unlimited SMS/MMS and internet with VoIP, Wi-Fi and 3G/3G+ up to 3 GB a month. The operator states that at this price point it is 2.5 times chea­per than the best price of any competitor. Free Mobile has also introduced a EUR 2 a month, no tie-in period contract for 60 minutes of calls and 60 SMS a month. Extra SMS cost EUR 0.05, compared to EUR 0.10 at Orange France and SFR, and EUR 0.09 at Bouygues Telecom. Free Mobile also revealed advantageous pricing for sister company Free's internet customers. The unlimited mobile plan costs EUR 15.99 rather than EUR 19.99 and the 60 min/60 SMS plan is free instead of EUR 2. These prices are reserved to the first 3 million customers. Free Mobile said it offers a range of the best mobile phones on the market and choice will continue to grow with BlackBerry handsets and services still to come. The iPhone 4S will start shipping on 27 January. The 16 GB version will cost EUR 1 for the first month, then EUR 19.99 a month over 36 months. The 8 GB model will cost EUR 1 plus EUR 15 a month over three years. Free Mobile will start taking iPhone 4S orders on 20 January.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:35:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Haiti’s new national full-service telecoms operator Natcom, a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel and the Haitian government, has announced that it signed up 500,000 mobile customers after two months of its commercial cellular network launch on 7 September 2011. Viettel also revealed on its website that the number of Natcom’s sales agents and customer service outlets reached 4,000 as of November 2011, doubling the amount at launch. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, between the launch of trial services in July 2011 and its official launch two months later, Natcom attracted 140,000 2G mobile subscribers and ‘thousands’ of 3G internet subscribers, deputy director Tran Sy Tien was quoted as saying, and the company claims to have reached its target of 500,000 users by the end of 2011 early, although it is not yet known if it achieved a goal of 20,000 3G connections amongst this total. Natcom’s Vietnamese parent has invested in the rollout of approximately 1,000 2G and 3G mobile base stations as well as deploying 3,000km of fibre-optic cable, and by end-2012 is aiming for two million mobile subscribers. Haiti’s mobile market is currently led by Digicel, which competes with another GSM provider, the country’s second-largest operator, Voila.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:33:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Data published by the national regulator the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) shows that the mountain Kingdom was home to 14.75 million mobile subscribers at mid-November 2011, after net additions of 2.14 million new connections in the preceding month. At that date overall teledensity (fixed and mobile) stood at 55.41%, according to the NTA’s latest Management Information System report, as fixed lines reached 844,816 (including 228,305 WiLL lines).

Nepal Telecom (NT) added a net 130,000 mobile subscribers in the month to mid-November to boost its total to 7.18 million (including 857,981 CDMA users), while fellow GSM provider Ncell reported close to 6.69 million connections, having added a net 350,000 users in the month under review. Meanwhile, the country’s smaller players fared less well in terms of subscriber growth. United Telecom Limited reached reached 588,307 customers from 585,170 previously, Nepal Satellite Telecom upped its total from 97,280 to 98,985 and Smart Telecom had 193,064 users, up from 179,136 at mid-October.

At the same date the NTA said the total number of internet subscribers stood at 3.75 million, up from 3.59 million a month earlier, with the overwhelming majority (almost 3.44 million) arising from GPRS mobile internet connections. The number of ADSL connections topped 76,740 for NT, with cable modem and other (wireless, fibre-optic) reaching 16,898 and 30,397 respectively.

In a separate development, Nepalese newspaper MyRepublica writes that last Friday the Bills Committee of the cabinet endorsed the amendment to Telecommunication Regulations, raising the licence renewal period for all operators and ISPs to ten years. Until now, service providers have been required to renew their licences every five years. The decision came despite recommendations from both the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) that the government not effect any changes to local telecoms rules, particularly as they were investigating cases of possible anomalies concerning previous licence awards. The Bills Committee seemingly has disregarded this advice and even moved to endorse a provision that could pave the way for the introduction of a Unified Licensing Policy – a proposal still being pushed by the NTA even though the government rejected such a call four years ago.

Finally, the CIAA is also being called upon to carry out a study on the contentious allocation of frequencies for 2G and 3G mobile services, and to look into an ongoing issue of a possible ‘scam’ surrounding voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) telephony in Nepal. The Himalayan News Service reports that a sub-committee of the CIAA is being advised to bring former and current NTA board members into the spotlight of the investigation, and has also hinted it take action against government ministers. The sub-committee — formed on January 13, 2011 — has raised the issue of frequency allocation, 3G frequency distribution without charge, royalty disputes and different standards for different rural telecom service providers in its report.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:32:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco’s Maroc Telecom, part of France’s Vivendi Universal group, has started deployment of an international high speed fibre-optic submarine cable between Morocco and Spain, named ‘Loukkos’, which is scheduled to be ready for service in March this year. Moroccan newspaper Le Matin reports that the telco’s self-funded MAD143 million (USD16 million) cable linking Asilah in Morocco with Rota, Spain, is being supplied by Alcatel-Lucent unit Alcatel Submarine Networks and CanaLink. The 187km cable will have an initial capacity of 80Gbps, upgradeable to 1.28Tbps, and is designed to add diversity and redundancy to Maroc Telecom’s international traffic routes as well as cope with increasing demand from broadband service users and the trend for international offshoring activities, particularly call centres.

TeleGeography notes that Maroc Telecom part-owns the existing Spain-Morocco undersea fibre-optic cable Estepona-Tetouan, while the telco wholly owns the Atlas Offshore submarine cable linking Asilah in Morocco with Marseille, France, which was completed in April 2007 under a MAD300 million contract with Alcatel-Lucent. The partly state-owned operator also provides landing stations for the SEA-ME-WE-3 consortium cable and the legacy Eurafrica (Morocco-Portugal-France) system. It is also currently engaged in a project to link its African subsidiaries with a land-based international cable system to span Morocco, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Gabon, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:31:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Swaziland has admitted that users of its long-delayed 3G network are experiencing problems with the service due to a lack of bandwidth. Corporate affairs manager Mpumelelo Makhubu told the Times of Swaziland that the South African-owned cellco has applied for additional spectrum from the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), but has yet to receive a response from the regulator. Although Makhubu declined to elaborate on the precise details of the technical issues, the newspaper claims that the ‘network is still sluggish because there is an acute shortage of bandwidth’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, MTN’s 3G network finally launched in October 2011, following a lengthy war of words between the cellco and the SPTC, which saw the latter accuse MTN of making unreasonable demands regarding 3G exclusivity. During the launch event, chief marketing officer Phillip Besiimire confirmed that the cellco had invested nearly SZL300 million (USD37.2 million) on the network, of which SZL37 million went on the long-denied 3G licence. Besiimire added that the company is also obliged to pay the SPTC a percentage of its profits as part of the agreement.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:30:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brazil finished 2011 with more than 242.2 million mobile phone lines, after adding 39.3 million new subscribers last year. The country's mobile penetration reached 123.87 percent at the end of 2011, according to figures from market regulator Anatel. New additions were the highest in the past twelve years and totaled 6.1 million in December alone. Of the total base, 191.2 million were prepaid (81.81%) and 44 million postpaid (18.19%). Vivo finished in first place with 29.54 percent or 71.55 million subscribers. TIM Brasil surpassed rival Claro to take second place with 26.46 percent or 64.08 million customers. Claro Brasil ended the year with 24.93 percent or 60.38 million subscribers­. Oi was in fourth position with 18.78 percent or 45.48 million subscribers, and regional operator CTBC closed the year with 653,905 subscribers, accounting for 0.07 percent. 3G handsets (phones and mobile devices) totalled more than 41.1 million in Brazil last year, which means an increase of 99.31 percent compared to 2010.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:01:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 16, 2012

Some 71% of India’s total mobile subscription base is active.

TRAI, the regulator, reports that India had 884.37 million mobile subscriptions in November 2011, up by 2.97 million in the month. Rural areas accounted for 71.7% of these net additions to reach rural penetration of 36.05%, while urban penetration reached 159.92%. Of the 884.37 million mobile subscriptions, around 71.8% or 635.39 million were active (not accounting for the CDMA subscriber base of BSNL) on the basis of the peak Visitor Location Register (VLR) in November 2011.

A number of operators have said that they will start disconnecting customers who have not used their mobile phones for more than 60 days (see India: 20 November 2011: Vodafone to Disconnect Inactive Subscribers). This is the timeline the Indian authorities use to calculate operators’ numbering requirements. As a result, operators’ mobile customer bases will appear to shrink, although both ARPU and MoU levels will be boosted as a result of these calculations. The table below provides an estimate of how monthly ARPU could be lifted by a revision of Vodafone India’s customer base.

Source: IHS.

Monday, January 16, 2012 3:08:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile subscribers in Belarus totaled 10.7 million in Belarus on 1 January, accordi­ng to Belarusian Statistics. Mobile penetration is at 113 percent, from 108.6 percent the year before. The country has 14,600 base stations across the country and 4,100 UMTS base stations.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, January 16, 2012 3:07:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 13, 2012

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will begin enforcing the registration of new and existing mobile phone users on 1 March this year, according to local daily New Vision. Customers of wireless services will be given one year to register their SIM with their mobile provider, backed-up with a national identity document such as a passport or driver’s licence. Owners of multiple SIMs will need to have all of their lines registered, and those without the required documents will be able to have a family member register on their behalf. SIMs unregistered by the 1 March 2013 cut-off point will be deactivated.

 The registration drive aims to reduce phone-based crime, and follows similar projects throughout East Africa in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of September 2011 Uganda was home to some 16.1 million wireless customers, representing 47.4% of the population.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:46:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon is set to receive a third mobile operator following the launch of a new network backed by local footballer Samuel Eto’o, the Cameroon Tribune reports. Set’Mobile is scheduled to go live on 21 January 2012, the opening day of the Africa Cup of Nations, joining South Africa’s MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun of France in the local wireless market. The network, which is designed to bring cheap mobile voice and data services to the country, was unveiled last month and more than 50,000 SIM cards have already been sold, according to local press.

 Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:44:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwean state-owned cellular operator NetOne has opened up its mobile broadband service to pre-paid subscribers, having previously run a trial of the high speed internet service in October-December for a small minority of its customers – those on post-paid contracts with a minimum monthly salary of USD1,000. Local technology journal TechZim reports that 2.5G/3G data usage will be charged at USD0.10 per 1MB on a pre-paid basis – which is cheaper in comparison to the USD0.15 out-of-tariff data charge for users of cellular market leader Econet Wireless, and equal to the data tariff set by NetOne’s nearest rival Telecel Zimbabwe.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:43:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The global telecommunications industry continues to expand as spending by consumers and businesses for wireless services fuels industry revenue growth, says a new market analysis report from Insight Research. ­According to the report, telecommunications services revenue on a worldwide basis will grow from $2.1 trillion in 2012 to $2.7 trillion in 2017 at a combined average growth rate of 5.3 percent.

The report also notes that wireless subscriber growth, particularly in Asia and other emerging markets, will raise wireless revenues by 64 percent from current levels, while wireline revenues show only modest growth. Nearly all of the growth in both sectors is expected to occur in broadband services, with wireless 3G and 4G broadband services projected to grow at a compounded rate of 24 percent over the forecast period and wireline broadband services projected to grow at a 13 percent compounded rate over the same forecast horizon.

"Despite global economic uncertainty, the telecommunications industry is showing strong revenue growth, which is being driven by consumer Internet usage and business mobility solutions. These are enabling new applications," says Fran Caulfield, Research Director for Insight Research.

"Even amidst so much economic uncertainty, the fact remains that telecommunications is a key factor in economic growth. Telecommunications facilitates socio-economic advancement and is a critical utility for economic development, much like water and energy," Caulfield concluded.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:41:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Macau government launched a tender to award two new fixed line telephony concessions on 1 January, as the country takes its final step towards full market liberalisation. According to the MacauHub website, sole fixed line incumbent Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM) – which is co-owned by UK-based Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and Portuguese incumbent Portugal Telecom (PT) – is also set to have its existing wireline licence renewed following the tender. Although the new concessions are set to change hands in 1H12, the new licensees are not expected to be in a position to inaugurate their networks until 2013 – until which time they will be able to resell services over CTM’s network, and pay the established telco an undetermined fee.

According to majority owner CWC, at the end of 2010 (last available data) CTM had 178,000 fixed line customers, 132,000 broadband clients and 387,000 active mobile subscribers. Elsewhere, the cellco already competes with the likes of China Unicom, Hutchison Whampoa-owned 3 Macau and fellow Hong Kong-based firm SmarTone in the wireless sector. Macau is believed to be home to more than one million mobile subscribers, of which CTM is believed to hold the lion’s share.

Macau is situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to mainland China, approximately 60km southwest of Hong Kong. It was colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, becoming the first European settlement in the Far East in the process, but was handed back on 20 December 1999, and became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. The territory’s economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, but also includes some manufacturing.

Source: TeleGeography

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:39:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For many people today it seems difficult to live without the internet, however a decreasing, but still non-negligible, part of the EU population has never used it. In the 27 EU Member States, almost three quarters of households had access to the internet in the first quarter of 2011, compared with almost half in the first quarter of 2006. The share of households with broadband internet connections more than doubled between 2006 and 2011, to reach 68% in 2011 compared with 30% in 2006. During the same period, the share of individuals aged 16-74 in the EU27 who had never used the internet decreased from 42% to 24%.

Source: Europe's Information Society.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:35:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In 2010, there were yet 660 centers without Internet access. All other centers, that is, 88.8 per cent out of a total 6 608 Spanish libraries were already connected to the Internet, according to the report “Estadisticas de Bibliotecas 2010” published by the Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas (INE).

In 2000, four out of ten Spanish libraries had Internet access, which means that the figure has doubled in the last ten years. The number of centers with a website remains however much lower: in 2010, 34.9 per cent of Spanish libraries had a website. Their electronic addresses received 343.23 million visits, which corresponds to a 8.8 per cent increase to the previous figure from 2008.

Source: El Pais.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:33:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, welcomed figures just released which show a solid increase in the availability of both mobile internet and basic quality fixed broadband lines. At the same time the Commissioner warned that Europe risked missing out on badly needed economic growth if it does not step up a gear and increase the capacity of its broadband networks. Studies show that a 10 percentage point increase in broadband take-up boosts annual GDP growth by 1 to 1.5%.

Broadband is getting faster in Europe, but very high speed connections are not yet widely available. Although 42.2 % of fixed broadband lines were at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) in July 2011 (up from 29.2% a year ago), only 6.5 % were at least as fast as 30 Mbps and less than 1% at least 100 Mbps. The EU is not yet delivering on the 2020 high-speed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200).

Fixed broadband growing, but slowing: there were 27.2 fixed broadband lines per 100 citizens in July 2011, but take-up slowed, and grew by only 5.8 % in the last twelve months. Highest take-up was in the Netherlands (39.3 %), Denmark (38.5 %), France (33.9 %) and Germany (32.7 %), with Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovakia and Latvia still below 20%. At the end of 2011 one third of households in the EU did not have a broadband subscription (according to Eurostat's latest figures). .

Mobile broadband, fastest growing: up by 25.4 %, mobile broadband subscriptions (dedicated devices, USB keys and modems), are the fastest growing element of the broadband market. Including smart phone users, mobile broadband take-up reached 34.6 % in July 2011, up from 22.3 % twelve months earlier.

EU lagging behind competitors on ultra-fast internet: in the EU only 6.5 % of fixed broadband connections offer at least 30 Mbps, and 0.9 % at least 100 Mbps. These shares are doubled in the US, and in Korea and Japan all connections are already faster than 30 Mbps.

Best prices? Consumers in France and Sweden are among those who could benefit from the best deals for very high speed broadband, in terms of advertised maximum speeds in bundled packages. Broadband prices were on average cheapest in Latvia, Lithuania and Romania for most broadband connection speeds.

Source: European Commision.
Friday, January 13, 2012 1:29:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chile has launched the fixed number portability system. Chilean customers can currently port their fixed numbers in the Arica region. Arica has around 36,000 households with fixed telepho­ny lines. The system will be made available to the Santiago area in March 2012, to be then gradually expanded across the country. Additionally, Chile has rolled out a mobile number portability trial. The pilot will take about one month. The mobile number portability system is scheduled for commercial launch on 16 January 2012, Emol reports. Communications software and services provider Telcordia is managing Chile's number portability system.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:15:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spanish regulator CMT has launched public consultations on mobile termination rates in the Movistar, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo networks. CMT proposes a 73 percent reduction of mobile termination fees for the three main mobile operators Movistar, Vodafone Spain and Orange Spain, from the current 4 eurocents per minute to 1.09 eurocents per minute. CMT also plans to cut MTRs in the Yoigo ne­twork by 80 percent, from the current 4.98 eurocents to 1.09 eurocents per minute. The regulator proposes a two-year glide path for mobile termination rates, with cuts every six months starting in April 2012 until October 2014.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, January 13, 2012 1:13:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the first day of the International Telecommunication Union’s World Telecommunications/ICT Indicators Meeting in Port Louis, Mauritius, it was announced that the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development is expanding with a new member: the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposals.

“The inclusion of the Basel Convention Secretariat is particularly valuable at a time when growing attention is being paid to the measurement of the environmental implications for ICT, such as the growth of electronic waste “ said the current chair of the Partnership Steering Committee, Mr Torbjorn Fredriksson, Chief of the ICT Analysis Section of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

“The Secretariat of the Basel Convention will bring to the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development its expertise and experience with e-waste issues on global level, its network of national and international institutions, academics, industry and civil society” commented Mr Matthias Kern, who will be representing the Basel Convention Secretariat in the Partnership.

“Measuring e-waste is one of the emerging topics we are exploring at this year’s World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting. I am extremely pleased to announce the new membership of the UNEP Secretariat of the Basel Convention at this occasion” said Ms Susan Teltscher, Head of ITU’s ICT Data and Statistics Division.

For more information, please contact Susan Teltscher (email: indicators@itu.int).

The Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development is an international, multi-stakeholder initiative to improve the availability and quality of ICT data and indicators, particularly in developing countries. Launched in 2004, the Partnership helps measure the information society by defining a core list of ICT indicators and methodologies to collect these indicators; helping developing countries collect ICT statistics; and collecting and disseminating information society statistics.

Existing members include Eurostat, ITU, OECD, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNECA, UNECLAC, UNESCAP, UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNESCWA.

The Secretariat of the Basel Convention is administered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and is mandated to support parties in the implementation of the Convention. Electrical and electronic waste (e-waste), in particular used and end-of-life equipment from the ICT sector has been identified as a priority waste stream. See www.basel.int.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Meeting is held annually, bringing together representatives from ICT Ministries, regulatory authorities and national statistical offices to discuss pertinent issues related to information society measurements and to advance the availability of internationally comparable ICT statistics.

Source: ITU Newslog.

ITU
Friday, January 13, 2012 12:01:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
French operators added 45,000 fast broadband customers in the third quarter to reach a total of 600,000 at the end of September, according to telecommunications regulator Arcep. The customer base includes 175,000 FTTH and FTTB subscribers, up by 20,000 in the quarter and by 71,000 in one year. Most of the remaining 425,000 fast broadband customers are on fibre/co-ax cable. Their number rose by 25,000 in the third quarter and by 34 percent over one year. Overall broadband customers grew by 340,000 net customers in the third quarter to reach 22.4 million. Growth over one year was 7 percent, or 1.5 million subscribers. At 20.7 million, 93 percent of all broadband subscribers were on xDSL at the end of September. The number of homes eligible for FTTH rose by 40 percent in one year to 1.35 million. At the end of June the figure stood at 1.21 million. The number of homes that are eligible for FTTH from more than one operator rose by 210 percent in one year to 405,000. At the end of June the figure stood at 336,000. Arcep found that at the end of September there were 13,000 subscribers to a service provider other than the one who installed their building's fibre. This is up on 9,300 at the end of June and 620 percent more than at the end of September 2010.

Source:
Telecom Paper.

Friday, January 13, 2012 11:39:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain has yet to agree on the fee for a mobile licence to operate in the newly independent country of South Sudan, which seceded from the north in July 2011. Zain Sudan’s chief executive Elfatih Erwa told news agency Reuters that the company has spent USD60 million dividing its operations in two, after South Sudan acquired its own international dialling code (+211) upon gaining independence, but the cellco has not yet entered into discussions with the government on a licence fee. ‘The government of South Sudan has not engaged on the licence fee yet,’ noted Erwa, adding: ‘The government said for us not to worry. They will start discussions once they set and enhance the laws and get more experience as a regulator.’ The executive added that Zain Sudan will invest USD280 million in the improvement of its infrastructure in the north in 2012, and plans to spend between USD60 million and USD80 million in the south. ‘Our network is completely separated and we are running both the old numbers and the new numbers so that we don’t deprive our customers of being disconnected until they make a full switch,’ Erwa said. Plans to build a fibre network in the South have been delayed, Erwa noted, due to the regulator not being ready and security issues in certain areas. Zain has approximately 590,000 mobile subscribers in South Sudan, with customers and revenue in the country forecast to grow 20% and 10% respectively in 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 13, 2012 11:33:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The new regulation by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will reduce the access charges paid by mobile operators for the text messages sent by customers across all networks by as much as 57 percent. According to reports, the regulator has slashed the interconnection rates, a major revenue source for the mobile operators, from US$ 0.008 to US$ 0.0035, and expects the charge for the customers to be reduced to around US$ 0.023 per SMS.

As per sources, the revenue from text messages was US$ 648 million, almost 27 percent of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s earnings for the first nine months of 2011. Further, Globe Telecom’s revenue from mobile communications data services reportedly accounted for 39 percent of the company’s overall revenues for the same period.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, January 13, 2012 11:32:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |