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 Thursday, February 16, 2012

In its latest quarterly report, to the end of September 2011, Netherlands regulator Independent Post & Telecommunications Authority (OPTA) says that the number of mobile connections which include mobile broadband-speed internet access (with or without voice services and with any end-user device) reached 7.2 million at the close of the third quarter, up from 5.6 million at the start of the year. According to the watchdog, dedicated (data-only) subscriptions to mobile broadband services stood at a little over one million at end-September, up by around 300,000 in nine months. Other statistics reported by OPTA included the percentage of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) connections amongst the total retail end-user mobile accounts – 13.7% at 30 September 2011, down from 14.3% at the beginning of the year. The number of MVNO customer accounts reported by OPTA has varied very little over the last year and indeed has come down since end-2008 – from 3.1 million to 2.9 million. OPTA also recorded that aside from end-user connections, there were 924,000 machine-to-machine cellular network connections at end-September 2011, up from 736,000 at 1 January.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 4:28:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Bahrain Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has told the country's mobile operators to reduce roaming charges by up to 75 percent, Trade Arabia reported. This follows the decision of the ministerial committee of the GCC Council to introduce maximum prices. Some regional operators have already implemented the decision. The TRA decision sets the maximum charge for international ca­lls at BHD 0.249 per minute from within Gulf countries made by a Bahraini mobile user. Currently, Bahraini consumers pay as much as BHD 1 per minute for calls to Bahrain while roaming in some Gulf states. The maximum rates will only apply to voice calls made within and between GCC countries and not to data services at this point. The TRA decision also limits the cost of local calls within a GCC country by a Bahraini mobile to BHD 0.104 per minute, whether it is to a fixed or a mobile number.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:45:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Austrian telecom regulator RTR announced that it has introduced a monthly ceiling of EUR 60 for the use of mobile data services, starting from 01 May. RTR director general Georg Serentschy said that the regulator found an increased need for customer protection in the use of mobile data services in recent months. From 01 May, customers will be protected from high costs they may encounter with expensive downloads. The billing ceiling will also apply to legacy contracts.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 2:44:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Uzbekistan national operator Uztelecom reported that­ a more than doubling in revenues for 2011 to UZS 4.518 billion. Income from retail services grew by 15 percent. The broadband subscriber base, based on xDSL and FTTx, jumped by 181 percent to 72,856. The mobile subscriber base of Uzmobile, a subsidiary of Uztelecom, grew by 1.84 times, to 94,110. Uzmobile provides services under the CDMA 450 technology.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:21:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Mobile number portability (MNP) will be available to Bangladeshi cellphone users in around a year, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Zia Ahmed. The regulatory chief told Bdnews24.com that MNP is expected to be introduced after the BTRC and the telecoms ministry set out guidelines and implement some new technological solutions. Ahmed said that the regulator had begun initiatives to introduce the service after ‘resolving some technological issues.’ The parliamentary standing committee on the telecoms ministry recommended that the industry watchdog introduce MNP within the current year, at a meeting on 8 January. The issue was included in the 2G mobile licence renewal guidelines, and a four-member committee led by a director was formed to prepare guidelines on number portability – which are nearly finished, according to the report. Aside from technical issues, cost/revenue sharing agreements between operators related to MNP must be settled.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:51:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Australian government has opened the Darwin fibre-optic link which stretches more than 3,800km from Darwin to Toowoomba, passing through more than 30 towns. The link will benefit more than 160,000 people across Queensland and the Northern Territory. The opening of the Darwin fibre link also marks the completion of the entire network construction phase of the government's AUD 250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP). The programme has now delivered over 6,000 km of fibre backbone across regional Australia, benefiting around 400,000 people and more than 100 regional locations. This also forms part of th­e National Broadband Network. Nextgen Networks was responsible for the roll-out of approximately 6,000km of backbone infrastructure, as well as operating and maintaining the backbone transmission links for an initial five-year period.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:50:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The EU Parliament is pushing for much steeper reductions in roaming fees than those proposed last year by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes. According to a draft proposal seen by Reuters, the parliament is aiming for a rate of EUR 0.15 per minute, compared with Kroes's plan for a one-third cut to EUR 0.24. Mobile data would be capped at EUR 0.20 per MB, rather than EUR 0.50 under the European Commission's proposal. Angelika Niebler, a German politician steering the proposed regulation through parliament, said mobile operators should not charge customers differently depending on where they are. "There should really be no roaming (fees) at a time when we are supposed to have a single market," Niebler said in an interview. The two sides are set to debate the measures in the coming months with the aim of arriving at a compromise law that would be phased in over three years. Under the parliament's proposal, the caps proposed by Kroes would come into force in July 2012, with its steeper cuts implemented in 2013 and 2014. Niebler's draft proposal would lower the cost of incoming calls to 5 cents per minute by 2014, half the rate proposed by Kroes, and c­ut the price of a text message by 50 percent to EUR 0.05. The current caps are EUR 0.35 per minute for outgoing calls and EUR 0.11 for incoming calls.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:49:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French telecoms regulator Arcep has published a press release reminding all mobile operators who are members of the EGP-EIG (the body responsible for managing mobile number portability [MNP] in the country) of their non-discrimination and transparency obligations regarding portability. The regulator notes that since the arrival of fresh competition in the shape of Free Mobile on 12 January, EGP-EIG and mobile operators alike have been contending with an upsurge in MNP requests, which have increased from an average 12,000 a day in 2011, to 40,000 today – the current system’s maximum capacity. Indeed, Arcep reports that on 13 January it informed EGP-EIG of ‘the urgent need to implement all of the means necessary to handle this exceptional surge in the number of portability requests’.

The regulator has therefore welcomed a joint announcement from the cellcos and EGP-EIG on Friday 27 January that they have agreed in principle to increase the system’s processing capacity to 80,000 portability requests per day, in an incremental fashion to avoid putting the MNP system in France in peril. Arcep has also invited operators to increase the capacity of their respective information systems proportionately. Furthermore, the chairman of the regulatory authority has sent a memo to all concerned, reminding them that, in accordance with the applicable rules, they must ‘ensure compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and provide consumers with clear and transparent information on how mobile number portability requests are processed’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:47:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Mexican government aims to promote high speed internet adoption in part by the sale of concessions which will allow the winning bidders to utilise state-owned fibre-optic lines and to build networks in those areas that currently do not have access to broadband services. According to Bloomberg, the initiative will see the government conduct auctions that will include contracts to use two fibre-optic lines from state-owned powerco Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), while bids will also be taken on the use of fibre links running on along the federal highway network. Mexican president Felipe Calderon is pushing the move with a view to boosting the country’s standings in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in terms of broadband uptake; as per the group’s recent report, Mexico had 10.5 broadband subscriptions per 100 residents at the end of 2010, a figure placing it 32 out of the 34 countries in the organisation. Commenting on the plans, President Calderon noted: ‘We’re promoting social connectivity with broadband.’

The move is not the government’s first in the fibre sector; as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Mexico announced plans to auction off access to two unused portions of a nationwide fibre-optic network in May 2009, in order to boost broadband competition. Subsequently, in June 2009 the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) announced that CFE had formally requested the regulator auction the two fibre portions on its behalf, but some industry figures criticised the proposals as not going far enough, claiming that the CFE had 36 fibre strands suitable for sale, and calling on the state-run entities to consider expanding the scope of the auction. Despite the calls for an extended tender, bidding for the two fibre strands started on 27 January 2010, with a minimum combined bid for all three sections of MXN858.6 million (USD66.13 million). With the state having set a 5 April 2010 deadline for bids, a joint venture between Megacable, Telefonica and Televisa JV emerged as the sole bidder for the fibre links in May 2010. The following month the SCT confirmed the consortium had been awarded the licence allowing access to the two strands of dark fibre, and having bid MXN884 million in the auction, the trio also revealed that they plan to spend a combined MXN1.3 billion on upgrading the infrastructure for future use.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:46:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s national regulator Anatel has ordered local telecoms operators to reduce tariffs by 10.78% starting from 24 February, Dow Jones reports. In a statement published yesterday, the watchdog is looking to reduce prices of calls from fixed to mobile numbers and also for mobile to mobile calls, it said. It hopes the move will further boost consumer take-up and in so doing compensate for any initial losses to operators revenues. Under the plan the cost of a call from a fixed line to a mobile phone will come down from BRL0.546 (USD0.311) per minute to BRL0.487. The regulator has also ordered similar reductions from the start of 2013 and 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:45:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ukraine’s Ukrtelecom reports that its 3G mobile subscriber base increased in December 2011 by 4.5% or 34,000 users, to reach 790,200 active SIMs as of 1 January 2012. As reported by CommsUpdate, Ukrtelecom is in the process of selecting a buyer for its W-CDMA/HSPA-based cellular operations, after accepting second-round bid proposals up to a deadline of 25 November 2011. In September Ukrtelecom announced it was transferring all assets of its mobile business from its internal Utel division into a newly formed company, TriMob, for sale, effective from 1 January.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:44:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Argentina will launch the mobile number portability system in March this year. Mobile operator Personal has already launched an informative campaign on its website instructing users how to use the new service. Argentina approved the introduction of the number portability system in August 2010, but the system launch has been delayed until now. The number portabil­ity service will be available for individual and business customers across Argentina, using either postpaid or prepay mobile services. Customers will be able to port their number free of charge for the first time. Further number portings will be charged, Infobae reports. Customers who port their number will be required to remain in the recipient operator's network for a minimum of 60 days.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:43:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Direction to all telecom operators on the publication of tariff plans, in a bid to offer greater transparency for telecom subscribers in choosing their tariff plans.

According to the report, the Direction asks for all tariff plans meant for pre-paid and post-paid subscribers to be published in separate formats. Further, in order to facilitate easy comparison across tariff plans, these formats should contain all the tariff plans offered by the telecom access service provider in a service area inclusive of all tariff items along with the respective tariff in tabular formats at one place.

The Direction also states that all the tariff plans should be made available to the subscribers in the prescribed formats at the customer care centres, points of sale/retail outlets as well as on the website of the telecom access service provider. Also, the telecom access service provider is required to ensure that the tariff plans published in the prescribed formats are updated on their website and customer care centre every time there is a change in any of the tariff plans, and make available the updated tariff plans in these formats by the 7th day of January, April, July and October at their points of sale and retail outlets.

As per the Direction, it is mandatory for the telecom access service provider to publish all the tariff plans in prescribed formats in at least one regional language and one English newspaper at an interval of not more than six months, and provide compliance to the regulatory authority.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012 11:41:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 07, 2012

News agency ARKA reports Armenia’s National Statistical Service (NSO) as saying that the country’s communications services sector generated earnings of AMD158 billion (USD408.5 million) last year, broadly unchanged on the total for 2010. The NSO’s report said revenue from fixed telephony services fell by 14.6% last year to AMD29.3 billion, while earning from mobile phone services dipped by 2.6% year-on-year to AMD96.1 billion. The statistics bureau went on to add that overall revenues from telecoms, TV and radio broadcasting rose by 0.5% to more than AMD172.2 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 2:58:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Figures published by the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) show that the country was home to 15.034 million fixed and mobile telephony users at 14 December 2011 (Nepal calendar: Magh, 2068), up from 13.762 million three months earlier (Bharda, 2068), a combined teledensity of 56.46% (up from 48.14%). At that date the regulator said there were more than 13.354 million mobile connections – broken down as 12.498 million (GSM) and 856,234 (CDMA) – and 845,542 fixed lines in service (618,426 PSTN and 227,116 WiLL). Furthermore, the watchdog noted that some 832,366 people were using Land Mobile Services (LMS) and 1,742 had a Global Mobile Personal Communication System (GMPCS) satellite phone. In addition, the total number of broadband connections in the mountain Kingdom at 14 December 2011 stood at 125,151, including 77,737 (ADSL), 30,495 (wireless or fibre-optic) and 16,919 (cable modem) lines. More than a million people were also hooked up to the internet via a (sub-broadband) GPRS or CDMA2000 1x link and 19,671 were using dial-up.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 2:56:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco’s Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT) reports that the country had 36.554 million mobile subscribers at the end of December 2011, an increase of 404,000 in the fourth quarter and up from 31.982 million twelve months earlier. According to the regulator’s calculations this gives the country a cellular penetration of 113.6%. The ANRT claimed that Maroc Telecom held onto a 46.9% share of subscribers at the end of 2011, down from 52.8% a year previously, while Medi Telecom (Meditel) had 32.9% (down from 33.7%) and Wana (Inwi) accounted for 20.2% (up from 13.5%). In the 3G mobile internet sector, data-only subscriptions reached 1.499 million at the end of December 2011, a growth rate of 6.83% over the previous quarter, while the number of mobile voice-plus-data subscriptions reached 1.091 million, up by 17.83% quarter-on-quarter. Total 3G mobile broadband subscribers stood at 2.591 million as of 31 December 2011, representing an 11.2% growth rate in the fourth quarter, and 89.58% on an annual basis. At the end of the year, the mobile broadband market shares were: Maroc Telecom 42.53%, Meditel 34.99% and Wana 22.48%.

The watchdog also reported that mobile voice traffic leapt up by 65.6% in 2011, to 23.315 billion minutes, reflecting price reductions. In contrast, in the fixed line sector, voice traffic was down by 9.4% in the year to 5.487 billion minutes. In terms of subscribers, too, the fixed line market shrunk slightly in 2011, with 3.566 million lines in service at the end of December, down from 3.749 million year-on-year. 61% (2.295 million) of the total connections were based on limited mobility CDMA technology, a large majority of which are provided by Wana. This was the first time since 2006 that the total fixed line subscriber market had declined. In terms of overall market share in the fixed line (including limited mobility) sector, Wana accounted for 64.59% of customers at end-2011, Maroc Telecom claimed 34.79% and Meditel 0.62%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 2:55:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ecuadorian regulator Supertel reports that the country’s mobile operators reached 15.8 million telephony subscribers between them at the end of 2011, compared to 15 million a year earlier. Market shares were only fractionally changed from a year ago: Claro, the local subsidiary of America Movil, claimed around 70% of the total, with Telefonica unit Movistar Ecuador serving around 28% of users and state-backed CNT bringing up the rear with a 2% share.

Growth of the total market is being affected by the implementation of compulsory pre-paid mobile user registration; Ecuadorian SIM card owners were given nine months from 5 July 2011 to register their details on a national database or have their services limited from 5 April 2012 to incoming calls or messages only. In July 2012 all remaining unregistered SIMs will be disconnected.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:58:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2012

The number of Brazilian municipalities covered by the country’s national fixed broadband plan (Plano Nacional de Banda Larga, or PNBL), now stands at 692, the communications ministry reports on its website. A total of 471 municipalities were covered in 2011, but the footprint has increased significantly through the addition of 221 new cities in January, it said. The goal is to reach a total of 4,424 cities by 2017. The ministry has published a full list of the cities covered by low-cost services from TNL (Oi), Telefonica Brazil and Sercomtel (Algar Telecom) – each of which is offering internet access capped at BRL35 (USD19.9) per month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, January 27, 2012 9:30:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Equatorial Guinea has launched a telecoms operator called Gecomsa (Guinea Ecuatorial Comunicaciones Sociedad Anonima). Equatorial Guinea is currently served by two telecoms operators – Getesa and Hits. Gecomsa will provide mobile voice and internet services across Equatorial Guinea. Gecomsa is a joint venture between the government of Equatorial Guinea, which owns a 51 pe­rcent stake in the company, and the government of China with the remaining 49 percent.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, January 27, 2012 9:30:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |