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 Friday, 22 June 2012

France’s telecoms industry regulator Arcep has published its findings on the mobile communications market in France and its overseas territories for the period ended 31 March 2012, showing strong growth since the arrival of Iliad’s Free Mobile start-up in January. The watchdog reported that the total number of mobile service customers in metropolitan France and the overseas territories stood at 69.5 million, thanks to net additions of close to 900,000 SIMs in the quarter, a cellular penetration of 106.5% of the national population. Net growth in Q1 2012 far outstripped the average for the preceding five years (of 300,000 SIMs) it said, as Free Mobile made an instant impact on the mainland. Arcep added that in January-March the total number of gross sales (7.8 million) and account cancellations (6.9 million) both reached ‘exceptionally high levels’ in the past quarter.

Arcep said that the total number of mobile customers in mainland France stood at 66.8 million at the end of March 2012, up 6.1% on the same time in 2011, of which roughly three quarters (74%) were on monthly subscriptions. The increase in the number of flat rate plans was much stronger in the first quarter of 2012 it said – rising by 1.6 million in January-March, compared to 900,000 in 4Q11. Metropolitan France mobile network operators (MNOs) Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange France and SFR collectively reported a total 59.4 million mobile subscribers, up 940,000 quarter-on quarter. Meanwhile, the number of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) customers decreased by around 90,000 to 7.5 million by the end of March 2012 – equivalent to 11.15% of the market, down from 11.43% three months earlier. The use of mobile number portability (MNP) also leapt during the first quarter of the year, with 2.6 million numbers being ported, compared to one million in Q4 2011.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:12:15 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Golan Telecom and HOT Mobile, the wireless unit of Israeli cable operator HOT Telecommunication Systems, have separately announced the commercial launch of mobile services in Israel, reports Haaretz. Both companies are offering services over third-generation networks, having emerged as the two winners of 3G concessions auctioned by Israeli authorities last year. Golan, which was awarded its 3G permit after a number of other would-be players failed to meet the financial obligations of the licence, has struck a deal with existing cellco Cellcom in order to ensure wide network coverage at launch, while HOT Telecommunication Systems, which acquired iDEN wireless trunking operator MIRS Communications in July 2011, is partly utilising Pelephone’s infrastructure. The new network launches come a day after Alon Holdings Blue Square Israel introduced its low-cost mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) YouPhone.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Broadband | MVNO | Operators
Friday, 22 June 2012 15:10:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to a recent report by Nielsen, in March 2012 smartphones as many as by 50.4 percent of consumers in US were using smartphones over basic devices, with Android maintaining its dominant position, accounting for 48.5 percent of all smartphone handsets. Apple follows at 32 percent remaining the single-biggest smartphone handset brand.
However, the smartphone growth in US has been slow in the past three months, with a growth of only 3 percent from 47.8 percent in December 2011. The report also highlights that Asian Americans have the highest usage, at 67.3 percent, using a smartphone device.
Hispanics were in second place with 57.3 percent of the group using smartphones, with African Americans closely following with 54.4 percent. Whites had the lowest penetration of all, with 44.7 percent. A gender analysis revealed that in the U.S. 50.9 percent of females had smartphones, while among men it was 50.1 percent.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:09:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Jordan, a subsidiary of Jordan Telecom Group, said that its fixed and wireless broadband Internet represents around 55 percent of the kingdom’s total market share.
Orange Jordan’s Chief Executive Sami Smeirat told Dow Jones Newswires that they have around 400,000 subscribers in both the wire and wireless broadband.
As per the report, Smeirat said Orange, in which France Telecom (FTE) owns a 51 percent stake, has currently over 34 percent market penetration as far as the mobile services are concerned, or around 2.6 million subscribers.
Jordan currently has three mobile operators, including Zain Jordan, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, Orange Jordan, and Batelco’s unit Umniah.
Orange Jordan saw growth in broadband 3G services boosting the 2011 bottom line in a sector which has seen a fierce turf war among the three operators and is hit by sluggish economic growth.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:07:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In an attempt to counter the increasing roaming charges for Canadian mobile-phone users, Roam Mobility Inc is offering consumers a better alternative.
According to a report by Globe and Mail, the Vancouver-based upstart, marketing itself as a rogue mobile company, is aggressively ramping up its rollout of cellphones, SIM cards and other devices to entice Canadians looking for cheaper alternatives to high roaming rates the major wireless companies charge when customers travel to the United States with their smartphones in tow.
Roam Mobility’s chief executive officer Emir Aboulhosn, said that they will not tell users to switch from Rogers, Telus and Bell – they’re just asking users to stop using them when they cross the border. Roam estimates that Canadians spend $800-million a year on international roaming fees, with roughly $450-million spent on U.S. roaming alone.
As per the report, Roam Mobility launched its service in January, competing with the major carriers by offering Canadian travellers unlimited talk and text plans from $3 a day, including free calls to Canada. Its data rates start as low as 2 cents a megabyte.
With the summer travel season just around the corner, Roam is in expansion mode. It will announce a new partnership with Allegiant Air to sell its products during flights starting June 1. Allegiant is a U.S. airline that services border airports such as Niagara Falls, N.Y., and offers discounted fares to popular U.S. destinations.
Roam’s products are already available at a number of Canadian and U.S. airports and at major land border duty-free shops. They will also be sold at Future Shop starting next month. Its product line includes a cellphone for talk and text; SIM cards that can be used in a consumer’s own unlocked phone; and personal “hotspot” devices that provide a high-speed data connection for up to five wireless devices (like smartphones, tablet computers or laptops) at the same time.
The report reveals that Roam has already attracted close to 20,000 customers and is on track to hit the 100,000-subscriber mark in the second quarter of 2013. Even though the vast majority of its customers are people who travel to the U.S. in short spurts, Aboulhosn says Roam can afford to be aggressive with its pricing because its capital expenditures and overhead costs are relatively low.

Source: Wireless Federation

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:05:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean telecoms regulator the Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel) has announced the completion of its public-private initiative, to deliver broadband services to remote rural communities. The project, which saw Subtel partner with local operator Entel and was launched December 2009, rolled out wireless broadband networks to 1,474 towns and villages allowing around three million Chileans to access the internet more easily. The project cost USD110 million, with Entel providing USD65 million, and USD45 million coming from the Fund for the Development of Telecommunications (FDT) and the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications (MTT). As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the first stage of the project was completed in September 2010, having connected 451 communities, consisting of around 1.7 million people.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:02:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pan-African telecoms service supplier Gateway Communications has announced that it has brought additional capacity from submarine cable SAT-3 to landlocked Botswana via South Africa, under its Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiative. Customers can now access high speed, reliable connectivity, which will help to improve Botswana’s economic sectors, including mining, tourism and agriculture. Gateway has also revealed that more routes are being added to the networks already created in Zambia and Malawi during the initial phase of its terrestrial network initiative. A new path, utilising both SAT-3 and SEACOM connectivity, has been developed to provide Zambia with a fully redundant path through Zimbabwe. During the next few months Gateway will be extending its terrestrial network by deploying another link into Malawi through the eastern border town of Mulanji. Under the next step of the project, Gateway aims to bring additional capacity to Mauritius by connecting the island via SAFE to a neutral data centre facility in South Africa and then onward to Europe via EASSy and SAT-3. This will connect Mauritius to Africa and will allow the country to connect internationally using Gateway’s pan-African MPLS network and international peering stations in London, UK. ‘Through this innovative project, we will make sure that the benefits of high speed services are available to everyone using our pan-African network,’ commented Mike van den Bergh, CEO of Gateway Communications, adding: ‘This brings us closer to our goal of ensuring that every country in Africa has access to cost-effective and reliable capacity.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 15:01:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azeri telecoms operator AzTelekom, which is wholly owned by the state via the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), is set to expand the availability of broadband services in rural parts of the country through the deployment of a 600km fibre-optic cable. Telecompaper cites a report by news agency Trend as saying that the operator is carrying out the project in partnership with seven private internet service providers (ISPs), five of which have already commenced work, with 200km of fibre deployed to eleven telecoms access nodes. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that AzTelekom operates in the internet market through its subsidiary AzTelekom.NET, which was established in September 2004. It provides a range of connection options, including dial-up, leased lines and ADSL (offering transmission speeds of up to 10Mbps), and also provides voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) telephony.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:59:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British mobile network operator O2 UK has reportedly begun the deployment of Dual Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) technology, CNET UK claims. Citing an unnamed O2 UK spokesman as confirming the development, the cellco is understood to be rolling out the technology with a view to increasing theoretical downlink speeds to up to 42Mbps. The increased speeds are expected to be available initially in ‘major cities’, and while no details of launch locations have been formally announced, the report speculates that London, Birmingham and Manchester are likely locations for the initial deployment.

In separate but related news, meanwhile, Chinese vendor Huawei has reportedly bagged a five-year managed services deal with O2 UK for the latter’s core network. According to Cellular News, under the terms of the deal between the two companies 56 employees will be transferred from the Telefonica-owned mobile operator to work for Huawei’s managed services business, with the vendor taking responsibility for planning and managing the core transmission, mobile access and core network build in the multi-vendor core network. Commenting on the deal, Huawei UK CEO Victor Zhang was cited as saying: ‘We are very pleased to announce our first major managed services agreement in the UK. Huawei works with Telefonica in a number of markets around the world and today’s agreement means we are extending our relationship to the UK. Today’s announcement is an important first step in building a world-class managed services capability in the UK.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:57:55 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Saudi Arabian telco Etihad Etisalat, which trades as Mobily, has awarded India-based software vendor Xius a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) management contract. With the Saudi government preparing to offer its first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences, network owners such as Mobily need to be ready to host resellers. Mobily has therefore contracted Xius to deploy its Mobile Services Platform infrastructure and framework. Mobily is the second largest cellular operator in Saudi Arabia, with 21.3 million subscribers and 37% of the overall wireless market at the end of 2011, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:56:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Polish internet service provider (ISP) Multimedia Polska has announced the extension of its cable network to three more cities; Chojnow, Wolow and Nowa Ruda. The expansion adds a further 7,500 homes with access to Multimedia’s triple play offerings, including standard and high definition (HD) TV, video-on-demand (VoD) services, high speed internet access and telephony. The expansion follows in the wake of Multimedia’s acquisition of rival cableco Stream Communications late last month which, as noted by CommsUpdate, added approximately 100,000 subscribers to its customer base. At the end of March 2012, Multimedia claimed 1.543 million revenue generating units (RGUs) including 410,292 broadband subscriptions, 356,464 of which connected via cable, 49, 981 through ADSL and 3,847 though WiMAX.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:55:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom South Africa has announced the launch of its Freedom 99 prepaid tariff, offering calls to all networks at ZAR 0.99 per minute. Marketing head Enzo Scarcella said Freedom 99 customers who recharge by ZAR 12 or more can talk for free every night with Nightshift. This provides 60 minutes of talktime every day for seven days to call Vodacom customers between midnight and 05:00 hrs. Vodacom's Freedom 99 will be available from 20 May.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:54:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile data now accounts for a very significant aspect of a consumer’s life. While demand for wireless data services has been on the rise, users are also on the lookout for the most economical option, adding pressure on mobile operators.

In an attempt to meet consumer demand and reduce churn, mobile operators Verizon Wireless and AT&T are preparing to roll out shared-data pricing plans this year, according to a report by BN. As per the report, the revolutionary new service would enable customers to split one internet data plan between their phones, iPads and other wireless devices, providing an economical option for families, small businesses or people with a lot of Web-connected gadgets.
As per the report, while such a move could prove to be highly successful for operators, any would lower the amount of money that subscribers pay, while increasing network traffic and the cost of maintaining networks. Thus both operators are hesitant in being the first one to offer the service.
However, mobile operators Sprint and T-Mobile are yet to announce any plans for the same. They claim that such a move may make it tougher for families to keep a track of how the data is being used, and may lead to bill shock.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:52:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, has entered into a partnership with Axis Bank, enabling customers to carry out basic transactions such as transfer money as well as deposit and withdraw cash via Airtel Money.
As per reports, Bharti Airtel chief executive, India and South Asia, Sanjay Kapoor said that following the recent pan-India launch of Airtel money, they are today excited to collaborate with Axis Bank to further strengthen their m-commerce proposition for customers.
He added that the services will first be offered in Delhi and Mumbai on the sending side, and Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh on the receiving side. Thereafter, these services may be extended to other remittance corridors in the country.
Kapoor also said that according to estimates, nearly 43 per cent of the country’s population does not have bank accounts-the ‘Airtel money Super Account powered by Axis Bank’ acts as a no-frills bank account that comes with remittance capabilities.
Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma said that their alliance with Airtel will help the bank to reach out to excluded segments of their population, both in rural and urban centres, with reasonably priced banking and financial services.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:50:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telefónica banishes bill shock with the announcement of its first standard pan-European data roaming tariff – giving smartphone customers 25MB of high-speed Internet usage anywhere across the 27 European Union member states for just $2.54 a day.
Telefónica’s EU-wide tariff means mobile customers – on Movistar or O2 networks – will no longer have to worry about the cost of sending or receiving emails, updating their Facebook status or browsing the web on their smartphones when travelling or holidaying abroad.
For $2.54 a day, Telefónica is giving its smartphone customers travelling in the EU a data volume of 25 Megabytes – which translates to 250 visits to essential websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google or BBC Online and up to 500 emails. Additionally, customers will only pay for days they choose to use data, and will not be charged should they wish to switch off their phone.
The Telefónica tariff weighs in at a fraction of new price caps announced by the European UnionFacebook, Twitter, Google – which ruled that as of 1 July, one data megabyte should cost no more than $0.9, or $22.25 for 25 MB. On a per megabyte basis, Telefónica’s European tariff works out considerably cheaper than the EU’s regulated rate.
José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefónica Europe, said that users no longer need to switch off their smartphones when travelling within the EU, and neither do they need to worry about bill shock when they get home. Further, their European data tariff gives smartphone customers great value while allowing them to do what really matters – to stay connected wherever they are in a simple and transparent way and with complete peace of mind.

Smartphone customers use on average around 6MB in a day, but any Telefónica customers exceeding 25 MB will be immediately notified.  The Pan-European tariff launched in Germany in May and will be available this summer to O2 and Movistar customers in Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:48:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Half of Korea's mobile users now own a smartphone. Some 26.72 million mobile users out of a total of 52.55 million, had a smartphone as of 1 May, the Korea Herald reports citing figures fromthe Korea Communications Commission. SK Telecom has the most smartphone subscribers at 13.3 million, followed by KT with 8.8 million, and LG Uplus with 4.62 million smartphone subscribers.

Source: Telecom Paper.


Friday, 22 June 2012 14:45:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

German mobile network group E-Plus has announced a new EU data roaming option called 'EUReise-Paket' (EU Travel Package). For EUR 10, contract customers of Base, E-Plus, MTV Mobile, Metro Mobil and wir mobil will get 100 MB of data valid for 30 days. The new option will be available from 01 June for mobile browsing on a smartphone. If a customer's uses their 100 MB allowance before the 30 days are up, they will pay EUR 0.29 per additional MB of data. Customers using this new tariff will pay EUR 0.19 per minute for all incoming and outgoing calls in the EU, plus a EUR 0.29 charge per outgoing call.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:43:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following an investigation into the status of Uganda’s national backbone infrastructure project prior to the third and fourth stages of the network’s rollout, the chairperson of the ICT Parliamentary Committee, Paula Turyahikayo has said that the government might be forced to re-invest in the project for the backbone to be functional. According to Bikyamasr, the report said that only 43% of the deployed cable was protected from damage, and 122 connection points of the 299 installed were safe. Turyahikayo said that ‘phase one is in such a sorry state…all contractors of this phase must be blacklisted,’ and went on to blame the condition of the network on poor workmanship and the lack of supervision. James Saaka, executive director of the National Information Technology Authority, Uganda (NITA-U), claimed that the problems with the project were not the fault of the NITA-U, as the body had not been created until 2008, whereas work began in 2006-2007, and as a result ‘the entire first phase…was run without supervision.’

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the difficulties surrounding the backbone first surfaced in 2009, and an investigation was launched in July 2011. The UGX201 billion (USD106 million) project was funded by the Export and Import Bank of China, which recommended Huawei for the installation: it is not known whether Huawei’s involvement was a compulsory part of the loan, but no tender was held. Following the completion of the first phase of deployment in January 2009 – the project already far behind schedule – it emerged that Huawei had installed cable inferior to the preferred type, and only 24 cores, rather than the 96 specified by the Ugandan ICT ministry. To make matters worse, the government claimed that it had been significantly over-charged, comparing its own project to a similar one in Rwanda. Uganda paid USD61 million for the installation of 2,100km of the out-dated cable, whilst Rwanda paid USD38 million for 2,300km of the preferred cable type. Further, the ICT ministry reported that it believed the actual installation had been flawed, as confirmed by the recent investigation, with the majority of the cable deployed less than 15m from the centre of roads and buried less than 1.5m from the surface thereby leaving the infrastructure vulnerable to accidental damage, vandalism and theft. In mid-2011, the government feared that as a result of the shoddy workmanship, it would be left with infrastructure that was less than required, and would require constant repairs that Uganda can ill-afford.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:41:52 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Telecom plans to increase the number of subscribers using its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in Shanghai by one million by the end of the year, bringing the total FTTH customer base for the city to 2.3 million, C114 reports Zhang Weihua, the telco’s manager for Shanghai as saying. At the end of 2011, China Telecom’s FTTH network passed 4.5 million homes, with 1.3 million subscribers taking fibre-based services. The telco aims to achieve citywide FTTH coverage by the end of 2015, and have increase the proportion of broadband customers taking fibre services to 90% by that date.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:40:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) has finally stopped selling its contentious fixed-wireless and mobile products, The Times of Swaziland reports. In March 2012 the SPTC reportedly made an offer to withdraw its ‘ONE’ mobile phone and fixed-wireless ‘Fixedfone’ services from the market, in a bid to end its bitter ongoing dispute with the country’s sole mobile operator, MTN Swaziland. The offer was made on the eve of a hearing at the International Court of Arbitration in Geneva which sought to put an end to the feud. The paper reports that the SPTC has already connected around 50,000 fixed-wireless customers, 14,000 mobile customers and around 10,000 users of mobile internet dongles. The uptake is regarded as a significant achievement for the SPTC, which has claimed just 44,000 wireline subscriptions for every year since 2006. Amon Dlamini the SPTC’s acting managing director told the newspaper that the company stopped the sale and promotion of these products about a month ago to smooth the ongoing negotiations with MTN. However, Dlamini has claimed that all existing subscribers will remain connected to its networks, a move which is sure to anger MTN.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MTN Swaziland has long maintained that the SPTC’s dual offerings are in breach of the joint venture (JV) agreement signed between the two parties in 1997, which prohibited telecoms SPTC – which operates in the incongruous dual role of national telecoms regulator and fixed line incumbent – from offering services that directly competed with it. After finding its repeated attempts at launching a rival mobile network under the ‘ONE’ brand blocked by MTN in 2010/11, the SPTC promptly changed tack and launched fixed-wireless services under the Fixedfone brand in August 2011, offering limited mobility within each one of twelve designated zones: Big-Bend, Hlathikulu, Lavumisa, Luve, Mankayane, Manzini, Mbabane, Nhlangano, Pigg’s Peak, Simunye, Siphofaneni and Siteki. However, despite the considerable physical bulk of the Fixedfone handsets, it was reported that customers were driving them around in their cars and using them in different geographical regions to make use of the service’s cut-price calling tariffs; SPTC dismissed these occurrences as ‘anomalies’, claiming that the process of locking the Fixedfones to their designated zones was ongoing.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:03:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Prof John Nkoma, the director general for the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA), says that the government has approved regulations to allow mobile number portability (MNP) in the country. Further, he notes that the TCRA has already put in place the necessary regulations to implement MNP and that a system will hopefully go live within the next twelve months.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:01:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has fined telecom operators MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and Globacom, a total amount of $10.8 million, over poor quality of telecom services, according to a report by This Day.
As per the report, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had informed the Chief Executive Officers of the telecom operators via letters. The penalties imposed on the operators’ amount to $2.29 million for MTN and Etisalat, $1.71 million for Airtel and $1.14 million for Globacom.
The letter sent by the Commission said that all the operators are to pay the penalties on or before May 21, 2012 or be liable to payment of additional $15,900 per day for as long as the contravention persists. The penalties were imposed as the operators failed to meet with the minimum standard of quality of service including the key performance indicators (KPIs).
According to NCC, it monitored the performance of the operators on the different parameters, in line with the provisions of the regulation, and discovered that operators were in contravention of the provisions.
The report reveals that monitoring of the quality of service from the different operators in the month of March 2012, NCC statistics in some crucial parameters showed that Call Set-up Success Rate (CSSR) for all operators was 97.07 percent and the Commission’s target was greater than or equal to 98 percent.
Also during the period, Call Completion Rate (CCR) for all operators was 95.78 percent and the commission’s target was greater than or equal 96 percent. Drop Call Rate (DCR) for all operators was 1.33 percent and the commission’s target was less than or equal to 2 percent. The statistics showed that the four operators did not measure up to NCC’s target in certain parameters.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 14:00:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nokia has unveiled two new mobile phone models as it continues to accelerate its strategy to connect the next billion consumers to information and the internet. The Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 have been designed to appeal to young, urban consumers who want to experience a fast, affordable online experience.
Both devices are perfect for communicating across Facebook, Twitter and social media networks. The internet experience is also smooth thanks to the Nokia Browser. This innovative technology allows users to consume less data by up to 90 percent, by compressing websites in the cloud. Both devices offer direct access to Facebook and Twitter from their home screens. The Nokia 112 also features preloaded eBuddy instant messaging service right out of the box, so users can use popular chat services to keep conversations going 24/7.
In common with other Nokia mobile phones, consumers can choose from thousands of apps to download on the Nokia Store. With the upgraded camera, they can now customize their contacts with pictures, and share them with friends via social networks and Bluetooth.
Mary T. McDowell, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia, said that today¡¯s mobile phone users want a quick internet experience that allows them to discover great content and share it with their friends ¨C but without being held back by high data costs. The new Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 devices combine browsing, social media, apps, world-class entertainment and long battery life to create a great package for young, urban consumers who want to do it all.
The devices all feature a generous 1.8¡å display optimized for a great gaming experience. In the coming months, the Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 will bring free 40 key EA Games, valued at EUR 75 if bought separately, including well known titles like Tetris, Bejeweled, Need for Speed(TM) The Run, Monopoly Here & Now, and SimCity(TM) Deluxe. Consumers will be able to easily access the content by clicking on the Games Gift EA icon on their home screen which will take them to the Nokia Store to download the games. Once they have accessed the offering, they will have 60 days to download the games of their choice, keeping the games forever.
Both new phones offer an improved VGA camera for sharp and clear pictures with support for up to 32GB of external memory, enough for more than 6000+ songs or 90,000 pictures. Consumers can tune into their favorite radio stations and share their favorite songs with friends over Bluetooth. The phones have been optimized to provide a long-lasting battery life, with over 10 hours of talk time and nearly a month¡¯s standby, meaning that consumers can stay in-touch and entertained all day long.
The Nokia 110 and Nokia 112 are both Dual SIM phones, featuring the benefits of Nokia¡¯s unique and industry leading Easy Swap technology. This enables users to switch between SIMs quickly without having to remove their battery or turn off their phone. The Easy Swap technology can personalize and remember up to five different SIM cards, giving consumers full control over their costs.
The Nokia 110 will also be available as single SIM versions - Nokia 111 and Nokia 113, with this last one available in Europe and Eurasia only. The estimated retail price for Nokia 110 and its single SIM versions is about $45 and they are expected to start shipping in the second quarter of 2012. The estimated retail price for Nokia 112 is about $49, excluding taxes and subsidies, and is expected to start shipping in the third quarter of 2012.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 13:58:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Airtel Tanzania yesterday launched a five-in-one offer that encompasses its data and voice services through a combination of quality, affordable rates and unique
online products, according to a report by Tanzania Daily News.
The new services launched will allow Airtel customers to call for half a shilling 24 hours throughout the week to preferred numbers. The company’s Managing Director Sam Elangalloor said at the launch in Dar es Salaam that Airtel subscribers will enjoy night calls at quarter a shilling, send 10 SMS at $0.02 and get 200 free.
They will also get free facebook browsing as well as free night time Internet. He emphasized that whereas the offer mainly targeted the youth, all other Airtel customers frequently using both data and voice services will also be rewarded. He said Airtel is committed to providing our customers with quality innovative products and services that will improve the total customer experience.
Elangalloor added that Supa 5 will provide a great experience with five grand offers that will enable youth across the country to select three numbers to call for half Shilling all day all night. He said the offer provides a well-rounded and affordable solution for those who seamlessly use voice calls, online social platforms and short texts to communicate with relatives, friends and peers.
On his part, Airtel Marketing Director Cheikh Sarr said the Supa 5 is the most competitive offer available in the local market with no hidden charges.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 13:53:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Senate of the Netherlands on Tuesday adopted a new Telecommunications Act to put net neutrality into law, making the country the first in Europe to do so. Supporters of the new legislation say the new rules will prevent mobile internet providers such as KPN from charging for access to specific services like Skype and WhatsApp, or from throttling traffic — both techniques that it has been keen on using to manage its mobile traffic. In June 2011 the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, approved the net neutrality act. Among the many provisions contained in the law, new rules specifies that sites which use cookies must explicitly ask for user permission before setting them, and provides safeguards against user disconnection or intrusive monitoring by ISPs. The adoption of net neutrality rules follows intense debate in the country stemming from KPN’s decision to start charging for access to free online services such as WhatsApp (a text messaging service). The new law specifies that no service provider can impose fees or special terms and conditions for any internet service, nor can they determine what sites end users can visit. However, court-ordered site blocking can still take place, it said.

The only other country currently with a working net neutrality law is Chile. The South American country adopted legislation in June 2010 and the new law came into effect in May 2011.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 13:50:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Western Canadian-based quadruple-play telco Telus Communications has posted revenues of CAD2.631 billion (USD2.626 billion) in the first quarter of 2012, a 4.0% improvement on the CAD2.531 billion it earned in the same period of last year. The consolidated sales increase was driven by nearly 6% wireless revenue growth and a 2% rise in turnover at Telus’ wireline division, both underpinned by strong data services earnings growth, and resulting in EBITDA improving by 2.3% to CAD1.009 billion (CAD986 million).

Wireless net revenues increased by CAD75 million or 5.7% year-on-year to CAD1.38 billion in the three months to the end of March 2012, as mobile data revenue turnover rose by CAD132 million or 36% to CAD498 million in the quarter. Mobile data represented 39% of network revenue in Q1 2012, up from 30% one year before. Data ARPU increased by CAD5.12, or 29%, to CAD22.83. These increases were due to continued strong adoption of smartphones and related data plans, increased use of mobile internet devices including tablets, higher revenues from pay-per-use text messaging, as well as higher roaming volume. A 10% year-on-year voice ARPU decline was offset by rising data ARPU to the extent that blended monthly mobile ARPU increased by CAD0.98, or 1.7%, to CAD58.87, the sixth consecutive quarter of y-o-y blended ARPU growth posted by Telus. Although wireless net additions of 22,000 in January-March 2012 were lower by 31% year-on-year, the period saw the addition of 63,000 post-paid subscribers – 21% higher than in Q1 2011 – alongside the loss of 41,000 pre-paid accounts, as low-end users switched to newer mobile rivals. Total wireless subscribers increased by 5.1% y-o-y to 7.36 million and the proportion of post-paid subscribers climbed by 1.9 percentage points to 84.1%, while smartphone subscribers now represent 56% of the total post-paid base of 6.19 million as compared to 38% twelve months earlier.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:31:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), the United Arab Emirates’ second national telecoms operator, has announced it generated revenue of AED2.4 billion (USD653 million) in the first three months of 2012, an increase of 20.1% from AED2.0 billion in the year-ago quarter. Growth was primarily driven by a 21.8% year-on-year rise in mobile revenue to AED1.92 billion, 15.5% of which was accounted for by mobile data revenue, which more than doubled to AED297 million from AED141 million in Q1 2011. Du said that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 49% year-on-year to AED925 million in the first three months of 2012, while net profit before royalty increased 61.8% to AED666 million, compared to AED412 million in Q1 2011. CAPEX totalled AED335 million in Q1 2012, more than half of which was focused on mobile infrastructure.

A total of 320,600 mobile customers were added during the first quarter of 2012 (including 50,400 post-paid users), bringing Du’s total wireless subscriber base to 5.536 million at the end of the reporting period, 7.5% of which were contract customers (up from 6.7% in Q1 2011). Fixed line customers meanwhile increased to 545,300, up 13.5% compared to the end of March 2011. Revenue generated by Du’s fixed business, including fixed telephony, TV and broadband, rose 21.2% year-on-year to AED409 million in 1Q12. Earlier this week Du announced it had successfully completed a 100Gbps transmission per wavelength trial on its optical transport network with China’s Huawei.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:29:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Middle Eastern carrier-neutral submarine fibre network operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) and optical technology provider Xtera Communications have deployed what they claim to be the Mediterranean Sea’s first commercial 100Gbps repeatered submarine cable system on the GBI network connecting Egypt to Italy. Xtera provided its Nu-Wave Optima platform in a Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) configuration delivering 100G waves on a fibre pair.

Elsewhere this week, GBI and Kuwaiti ISP/data services operator Gulfnet Communications announced the signing of a capacity sale agreement on the GBI undersea network, which offers routes from Europe to the Middle East and on to Asia. Also this week, Iraq’s Investment & Technology Group of Companies (via its ITC Communications division) signed a strategic alliance agreement with Hong Kong-based international carrier PCCW Global, following the Iraqi company winning a 15-year investment licence from Iraq Telecommunication & Post Company (ITPC) to market transmission capacity over the GBI fibre-optic cable connecting all Gulf coast countries. Fadil Mosawi, chairman of the Investment & Technology Group, said: ‘Together with the new GBI fibre cable, the Iraqi people will soon be able to connect to the rest of world with higher internet connection speed and enjoy new services including voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP), high definition TV, as well as a host of other business applications such as cloud computing. Video teleconferencing will make doing business with Iraq simpler and more efficient. Healthcare institutions and universities will also benefit from the availability of large bandwidth and higher access speeds.’ ITC Communications was previously licensed as a VSAT operator, providing international connectivity to Iraqis.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:28:12 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Millicom-owned Tigo, Ghana’s second largest cellular operator by subscribers, has unveiled the country’s first unlimited mobile internet plans which offer customers time-based rather than volume-based tariffs. The cellco’s acting general manager, Obafemi Banigbe, told local news portal Joy Online: ‘With this unlimited internet plan… our subscribers can read the news, search on Google, listen to music, watch videos, download and stream movies and not bother about their internet volume finishing.’ Mobile handset users can access the internet with rates starting at GHS0.99 (USD0.53) per day, rising to GHS22.99 for a whole month. Laptop and tablet users, meanwhile, are offered rates from GHS1.99 a day to GHS39.99 a month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:26:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzanian fixed and mobile operator Zantel has launched 3G/3.5G mobile services based on HSPA+ technology on the island of Zanzibar, to improve internet access for the local population and afford them access to services such as multimedia (text, graphic, video and animation), mobile broadband internet access and improved voice call services. Commenting on the launch, Zantel’s chief commercial officer Ahmed Mokhles said: ‘Zantel’s superior internet connectivity has gained popularity and is of high demand in Tanzania, and now the Zanzibaris will be able to enjoy the fastest internet speed.’

The operator’s new service is promising maximum download speeds of 21Mbps via its E 3131 modem, which is priced at TZS60,000 (USD39), and 7.2Mbps on the cheaper E 303 modem (costing TZS30,000). The cellco is also supporting handsets and devices on the new network it said, including smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone, iPads, tablets and other 3G modems and routers. ‘We will also be offering data bundles to our customers giving them flexibility and choice to subscribe to a package that suits their lifestyles. Our customers can now enjoy internet for [as little as] TSZ500 for 30MB [bundle] and TZS3000 for 250MB,’ added Mr Mokhles.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:25:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Azerbaijan mobile operator Bakcell announced that it plans to raise the prices of on-net calls for subscribers of its SevimliCIN, SevinCIN and QoshaCIN tariffs from 15 May. The current AZN 0.04 per minute rate for on-net calls at off-peak hours will be raised to AZN 0.06 per minute for subscribers of the SevimliCIN tariff and to AZN 0.08 per minute for subscribers of the Sevin CIN and QoshaCIN tariffs.

Source: Telecom Paper.

CIS | Tariffs
Friday, 22 June 2012 12:24:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operators in USA have spoken out at an industry conference regarding the limited data capacity and its long term effect on the industry. According to a report by Total telecom, executives from Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA said the future of data use, such as streaming video and photos, is at risk if more airwaves, or spectrum, aren’t put to use.
Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Dan Mead, speaking at the CTIA conference in New Orleans, said the largest carrier will be maxed out in some markets as early as next year and most others by 2015. The carrier is seeking regulatory authority to buy $3.9 billion worth of spectrum from a group of cable companies. He said that they will put this spectrum to use quickly.
T-Mobile’s CEO Philipp Humm said that they require more spectrum, more technologies to manage capacity. The carrier had hoped to be bought by AT&T Inc. last year as part of a $39 billion bid that was ultimately stopped by regulators. Humm said average monthly data use on T-Mobile’s network has risen more than five-fold over the past two years.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:22:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The share of web traffic in Asia that comes from mobile devices has almost tripled in the pat two years, according to a recent blog post by pingdom. In fact, in some countries, close to half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. India is very close to mobile traffic breaking 50 percent of all web traffic, as are several other countries in Asia as well as Africa.

As per the post, the countries with the highest share of mobile traffic as part of total web traffic are India at 48.87 percent, Zamibia at 47.09 percent, Sudan at 44.95 percent, Uzbekistan at 42.36 percent, Nigeria at 40.65 percent, Zimbabwe at 37.95 percent, Laos at 35.46 percent, Brunei at 34.66 percent, Ethiopia at 31.79 percent and Kenya at 29.2 percent.
The data reveals that Africa and Asia split the list between them. Africa amassed six countries, which left Asia with four. The first European country is the United Kingdom with 10.71 percent, and the U.S. showed 8.61 percent mobile web traffic as share of all web traffic.
Europe scored a 183.43 percent increase in mobile browsing share over this period, not that far behind Asia. But with the mobile share only increasing from 1.81 percent to 5.13 percent, Europe is still far behind both Africa and Asia when it comes to the percentage of users accessing the web using mobiles.
Worldwide, mobiles only account for about 10 percent of web access, but it’s a figure that is growing fast. With some countries already closing in on 50 percent of web traffic coming from mobiles – with India in the lead – it’s safe to assume this development will only continue.
Clearly, people are taking to their mobile devices all over the world to get on the Internet, but more so in Africa and Asia than elsewhere. 

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:21:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Liberia’s president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has opened the terminal in Monrovia that houses the country’s connection to the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea cable system, which connects 23 countries between France and South Africa. Liberia’s link to the 17,000km cable will be operational from October this year. ‘When this becomes operational Liberians will have easy access to information in the world and this will enable them to easily disseminate information to the outside world,’ President Sirleaf commented, according to a report from AFP.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:11:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to a report published by Brazilian consultancy firm Teleco, local cellcos Telemar Norte Leste (Oi) and TIM Brasil have failed to meet their licence requirements for 3G coverage. Under the terms of their 3G licence awards, Brazil’s mobile operators were required to roll out a 3G signal to all cities that had a population of at least 200,000 in 2006 (a total of 130 cities) by 30 April 2012. However, as the deadline date passed, the group’s survey found that whilst Vivo and Claro had covered all cities, TIM Brasil was still to provide coverage in three locations (Ipatinga, Santarem and Santa Maria), while Oi was deficient in terms of 3G coverage in 24: Arapiraca, Macapa, Ilheus, Itabuna, Vitoria da Conquista, Caucaia, Juazeiro do Norte, Cariacica, Serra, Aparecida de Goiania, Montes Claros, Ribeirao das Neves, Maraba, Santarem, Caruaru, Paulista, Petrolina, Colombo, Embu, Franca, Hortolandia, Itapevi, Maua and Sumare.

As at 31 March 2012 Brazil’s mobile operators had rolled out 3G networks to a total of 2,883 municipalities. At that date, the country was home to 50.9 million 3G mobile connections, of which 43.5 million were W-CDMA handsets and 7.4 million were 3G data devices/dongles. At the same date America Movil-backed Claro was the market leader in terms of the W-CDMA handset segment, while Vivo led the way in terms of numbers of data terminals connected.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:10:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Around 53 percent of mobile internet users in India, Kenya, Indonesia, Ghana and Nigeria have engaged in mobile banking and payment activities. In Kenya, over 96 percent of mobile internet users have engaged in a financial activity via their mobile, according to a report by mobile research specialists On Device Research. The report also found that using mobile phones for financial activities is also popular in rural areas, with almost equal penetration compared to urban usage in some countries. Sending airtime credits is the most popular mobile finance activity, with 28 percent transferring credit. Airtime can be used as a form of currency to pay for goods and services.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:08:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of mobile phone users was 986 million in 2011, with a year-on-year increase of 14.81 percent, according to a study by Analysys International. 3G users were 128 million. The penetration rate of mobile phone was over 70 percent and penetration rate of 3G was 13 percent. The growth of mobile phone users will slow down. It will reach 1,111 million in this year. The popularity of smartphone and demands for bandwidth required by mobile internet will accelerate the transition that 2G mobile phone users move to 3G networks. It is predicted that user group of 3G will develop in this year and the number might exceed 300 million and the penetration rate of 3G may exceed a quarter.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:06:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Portugal Telecom has strengthened the coverage of its 4G network, which allows about 80 percent of the Portuguese benefit from a new mobile Internet experience.
This became possible following the termination of television analogue terrestrial system, which took place on April 26, freeing the frequency band of 800 MHz, in which PT acquired rights to use frequencies in the following the auction multitrack. The increased coverage will be significant (up to now stood at 20%) highlighting the quality of buildings and places in PT among the first operators at European level to provide 4G services in the frequency of 800MHz.

With the extension of coverage of the 4G network, the TMN and Meo 4G. 4G will benefit from greater speed, lower latency and better quality of experience. Together with the fiber optic network of PT, which reaches 1.6 million homes, these features enhance the supply of new multimedia services, mobility, until now only possible through fiber optics, especially television, gaming services online and mobile broadband access with speeds up to 100 Mbps.
PT offers two offers – TMN 4G and 4G MEO – diverse aspects that favor the use of the Mobile Broadband service, leveraging the potential of other existing offerings, such as the Meo and Musicbox This Go way, customers can access TMN and Meo transversely to an offer converged voice, video and Internet on multiple devices, with a quality experience and superior service and the most advanced in the world.
The 4G network in PT was recently recognized by manufacturers as a reference for operators in Europe to present the first European network qualified by the GCF (Global Certification Forum), the mechanism CSFB (Circuit Switch Back Fall), which allows voice communication 4G networks. This support, required to provide voice service for 4G smartphones, reinforces the status of the operator in terms of quality, reliability and robustness of its network of cutting edge technology.

Source: Wireless Federation.


Friday, 22 June 2012 12:04:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL), the country’s incumbent fixed line operator, has introduced a wireless broadband service based on WiMAX technology. The Daily Times cites MTL’s acting CEO Elias Imaan as saying that the new offering will be available to both residential and business customers, and will be rolled out in phases across the country, beginning with central business districts and some suburbs of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu. The second phase, scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2012, will cover the remaining parts of the three cities, as well as other districts. Imaan added that MTL, which also offers internet access via CDMA and DSL technology, has rebranded all of its consumer internet services under the uniform MiNET brand.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:02:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Zimbabwe state-owned fixed line and internet operator TelOne has expanded the reach of its ADSL broadband networks to Mutare, Marondera and Gweru, in addition to the current coverage areas of Harare and Bulawayo. The telco is working on further expansions to cover the cities of Norton, Chegutu, Kadoma, Kwekwe and Victoria Falls, Telecompaper reports. TelOne had just 2,600 ADSL customers at the end of 2011, according to industry regulator POTRAZ.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 12:00:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China’s ZTE Corporation has announced the signing of a deal with Swedish mobile operator Hi3G Access worth USD74 million to expand its 4G and 3G cellular infrastructure. Under the ‘strategic cooperation agreement’ ZTE says it will deploy several thousand UMTS/LTE TDD/LTE FDD base stations, as well as auxiliary microwave and data transmission equipment over the next three years. ‘We are very glad to ink the deal with Hi3G in Sweden where the two companies launched the world’s first multi-mode LTE network,’ said Huang Zheng, CEO of ZTE Sweden. ZTE’s ‘Uni-Ran’ solutions have been utilised to help Hi3G to integrate three modes and five frequencies into one network, with commercial operations launched at the end of 2011, under the claim of being Europe’s first large-scale LTE-based TDD network. Hi3G Sweden’s CTO Jorgen Askeroth said recently of the deployment: ‘Over the past twelve months, Hi3G Sweden and ZTE went all out to deploy the LTE network in Sweden. ZTE offers professional support and achieved the target commercial launch date of 15 December 2011. As of now, TDD performance is better than expected.’ TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that via a March 2012 contract between the two companies, Hi3G’s existing 2600MHz LTE network (launched in December in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo) is being expanded across southern Sweden using the 800MHz digital dividend frequency band.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:58:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The National Authority for Management and Regulations in Communications (ANCOM) has published a set of regulatory guidelines to pave the way for the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) into the Romanian wireless market. The new document explains the practicalities of authorisation, the allocation of numbering resources and the conclusion of agreements with mobile network operators, within the context of the current regulatory framework. Access agreements concluded between the existing operators and any prospective MVNOs must allow for an ‘efficient economic use of the network’, and contain non-discriminatory conditions in terms of quality of service (QoS). Further, terms must not limit the commercial autonomy of the MVNO, nor its capacity to change host operators, nor conclude agreements with several operators. Since the MVNOs will not hold frequency usage rights in view of the provision of mobile communications services, they will not pay fees for the use of the radio spectrum.

Interestingly, ANCOM says that a total of 17 operators currently authorised to provide electronic communications services have expressed an interest in operating as MVNOs, suggesting that an influx of internet service providers (ISPs) into the mobile market could be on the cards. In addition, earlier this year it was reported that any international companies unsuccessful in buying Long Term Evolution (LTE) frequencies in ANCOM’s imminent spectrum auction will be encouraged to negotiate deals with the winning bidders and enter the local market as MVNOs; the likes of US-based AT&T Inc, China Mobile and Norwegian giant Telenor have all been linked to the LTE tender.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 21 August 2008 ANCOM opened up non-geographic numbers in the 0ZA = 070 sub-domain for the allocation of MVNOs, which was expected to pave the way for the introduction of virtual operators in the country. Numbers were expected to be allotted in blocks of 100,000, but the scheme never came to fruition. Last year, citing the 15th annual report by the European Commission (EC), ANCOM suggested that of all current EU member states, only Romania and the Czech Republic do not allow MVNOs to operate in their respective wireless markets, although the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) is currently believed to be in the process of implementing similar legislation.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:54:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following the rejection of its initial bid by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MinCom), Tunisiana has been awarded licences for fixed line and 3G mobile operations. The Qatar Telecom (Qtel) subsidiary will pay TND205 million (USD131.52 million) for the concessions, TND44 million higher than its earlier bid. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, Tunisiana has enlisted Chinese vendor Huawei for the rollout of its 3G network infrastructure.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 11:47:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The smartphone penetration rate in Malaysia has increased to 27 percent in Q1. Furthermore, 58 percent Malaysian mobile users are likely to upgrade their phones in the next six months and 79 percent of these plan to buy a smartphone, Bernama writes citing a Nielsen report. The study also pointed to the growing importance of applications as a key selection criteria for users when purchasing a smartphone as more than 35 percent of respondents said that a wide choice of apps carried the most weight in their choice of model.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:57:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The introduction of a fourth player to Egypt’s wireless sector is reportedly closer to taking a step towards reality, with the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) indicating that it is preparing to accept tenders for a new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licensee. According to a report by Ahram Online, the watchdog aims to form a committee and define the necessary regulatory framework for the introduction of virtual operators within three months.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the odds of further competition being introduced to the country’s wireless sector in the form of a new network operator have been somewhat played down in recent years, with May 2011 seeing claims that in the wake of the country’s political upheaval the government would hold off on licensing a new player. Communications minister Magued Osman at that date noted: ‘There are a lot of changes in Egypt now and we are not sure whether launching a new licence at this moment is the right decision from the economic point of view.’ The prospect of opening up competition via the introduction of MVNO’s has, however, been seen as a possibility, and one of the most likely bidders for a concession is fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE). Indeed, reports in July 2011 cited the telco’s chairman Akil Beshir as saying that his company was continuing to discuss the possibility of acquiring an MVNO concession, with the executive cited as saying: ‘Many people do not expect this government to take a major decision like introducing an MVNO, but we keep working on it.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:55:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecom services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today launched its 4G services in India’s IT hub – Bengaluru. Following the recent inaugural launch of Airtel 4G services in Kolkata, customers in Bengaluru have now become the second in India to have access to cutting-edge 4G LTE technology that delivers the most advanced wireless broadband experience available across the globe. As a first for the telecom industry worldwide, Airtel has also introduced ‘Smartbytes’ for 4G – thus allowing customers to buy these add on packs and continue enjoying the 4G experience even after exhausting their monthly data limits.
At the launch, Sanjay Kapoor, CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel said that as seen the world over, the total data usage is exploding and is doubling each year to grow to nearly 3.6 hexabytes by 2014. With the launch of 4G, India will move from being a follower in technology to matching the world in this domain. Leading from the front, Airtel is now the only operator that gives citizens of the Information Technology capital of Bengaluru, access to entire spectrum of broadband services including 2G, 3G and now 4G – thereby giving the customers never seen before data experience. Besides offering rich content, Airtel 4G will allow superfast access to High Definition (HD) video streaming, multiple chatting, instant uploading of photos and much more.
As part of an exciting introductory offer by Airtel, customers subscribing to 4G services will now be given a cashback for the CPE / dongle – thus bringing device cost to customers zero and paving way for mass adoption of 4G services. Airtel 4G is now also available in an all new 30GB pack priced at $57.
Customers on Airtel 4G can already choose from a catalogue of over 35 high quality Bollywood movie titles and leverage the power of 4G to enjoy an unmatched video streaming experience. While 10 movie titles will be available free of cost for customers during the first month, movie buffs can pay a monthly subscription of INR 149 and watch unlimited movies. Airtel will be further adding to this list of movies in the catalogue in weeks to come.
In 2010, Airtel had successfully bid for BWA license spectrum in Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai) circles. The company has launched its 4G LTE services in Kolkata and Bengaluru and is currently working towards rolling out state-of-the-art networks in remaining licence circles.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:54:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India, a dominant presence in the global mobile industry, has over 683 million active mobile connections at the end of March 2012, as reported by MediaNama. According to the report Vodafone’s total subscriber base went up by 1.02 million to 150.46 million, while its active connection base increased by 2.46 million to 133.49 million for the month, indicating that while connections did port out, more connections became active during the month for the telco. Idea Cellular, which has reported the highest percentage of active subscribers since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) made reporting such information mandatory, reported the highest increase in active subscribers of 2.49 million, with a total base of 105.34 million, and 93.45 percent of its connection base active.
As per the report, Bharti Airtel added 2.50 million connections, taking its connection base to 181.28 million, with 166.28 million of this base active. Airtel has 24.35 percent of the total active connection base. Vodafone added 1.025 million connections, but grew its active connection base by 2.46 million, taking its connection base to 150.46 million, with 133.49 million active. Vodafone has 19.54 percent of the total active connection base.
Idea Cellular added 2.01 million connections, taking its base to 112.72 million, with 105.34 million connections active. Idea Cellular has 15.42 percent of the total active connection base. Reliance Communications (RCOM) 1.04 million connections, taking its base to 153.05 million. However, only 65.39 percent of this base is active – just 100.07 million active connections. RCOM has 14.65 percent of the total active connection base. Public owned telco BSNL has a connection base of 98.51 million, with as little as 53.92 percent of its base - 53.11 million – active. It has 7.78 percent of the total active connection base.
The report highlights that among the new telcos, Uninor added 1.29 million connections, taking its connection base to 42.43 million, but only 24.25 million (57.17) of this base is active. Uninor, which is targeting 8 percent of India’s mobile base, currently accounts for 3.55 percent of the country’s active connection base.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:50:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The appeal hearing regarding a $1.25 billion fine on Djezzy has been postponed until May 27 as reported by Reuters. The appeal hearing on the local mobile phone unit of Russian telecoms firm Vimpelcom had already been postponed once, a week earlier.
As per the report, Djezzy chief executive Tamer El Mahdy, who has been convicted in the case and faces jail if the conviction is upheld, was not in court for Sunday’s hearing. A lower court ruled in March that Djezzy and its CEO were guilty of violating foreign exchange regulations. Djezzy’s parent company denied the allegations against it and its chief executive, and lodged an appeal.
Reuters reveals that Djezzy has been the subject of a long-running dispute with the Algerian government, during which the firm has been hit by back-tax demands, threatened with nationalisation, and put under criminal investigation. Vimpelcom acquired Djezzy last year when it bought the assets of previous owner, Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom.
Under pressure from the Algerian government, Vimpelcom agreed to talks on selling a controlling stake in Djezzy to the Algerian state. However, the decision to impose the $1.25 billion fine soured those talks and prompted Vimpelcom to announce it was going to international arbitration against Algeria.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:47:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom operator Tunisiana Telecom has received the required licences to operate fixed line and 3G mobile services in the North African country. According to reports, the Ministry for Information Technologies and Communications said that the operator will pay $132 million for these rights.
The minister claims that this bid will enhance considerably the competitiveness of the Tunisian communication market and ensure easy access to the fast speed Internet countrywide.
The operator is expected to launch its 3G network in July 2012, while it will offer its fixed-line services in early 2013.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:05:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has urged all mobile operators to implement fair information and service practices after some customers were surprised by large bills for international roaming, reports The Bangkok Post. The NBTC introduced its 'mobile passport', a handbook it advises mobile users to read before they go abroad. Commissioner Prawit Leesathapornwongsa said the measures are meant to stop so-called 'bill shock'. To raise public awareness of bill shock, the NBTC has teamed up with the Consular Affairs Department, Thai Airways International and Airports of Thailand to launch a data-roaming campaign to inform mobile users about how to surf the internet safely while travelling.

Leesathapornwongsa said more than 100 customers have been hit by surprisingly large bills on international roaming services over the past two years, with costs totalling THB 4 million. Complaints from AIS customers numbered 55 cases, with the highest bill THB 270,000. DTAC had 34 complaints, with the highest bill at THB 120,000, while True Move recorded 28 complaints with the highest bill at THB 294,900.

The NBTC suggested international roaming users select tariff plans that fit their usage and select an operator before they go abroad. Mobile users can choose VoIP services, cheap alternative systems or buy local Sim cards abroad. Leesathapornwongsa said the NBTC wants clearer information for customers from operators about what they charge for services locally and abroad and greater protection for consumers from hefty data charges.

The NBTC prohibits operators from automatically activating international roaming for customers without their permission. AIS vice-president for international roaming Weerachai Patcharopartwong said it uses a centralised control system so customers do not have to worry about roaming costs. A warning message is issued when customers' data roaming usage exceeds their package limits. For unlimited data roaming users, the company will automatically skip roaming services not included in their plan. AIS will make roaming-limit services automatic this month to reduce the problem of bill shock. They are currently optional and require customers to sign up ahead of time, said Patcharopartwong.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, 22 June 2012 10:03:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |