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 Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brazil’s national telecoms watchdog Anatel yesterday ordered three incumbent mobile operators to stop selling new cellphone plans in certain states, in response to a rising tide of customer complaints over poor service quality, including dropped calls and patchy coverage. The regulator has announced that, in each of the country’s 26 states and the federal district Brasilia, the cellco with the worst service record will be barred from selling new mobile plans. The edict came into effect on Monday, it said, and will remain in place until such time as the carrier concerned presents investment plans designed to rectify the problem. ‘A growing client base needs to be accompanied by more investments,’ Anatel head Joao Batista de Resende told reporters, adding that it has been tracking a rising tide of customer service complaints for more than a year.

Following the ruling, Telecom Italia’s TIM Brasil unit has been barred from selling plans in 19 states; Oi SA has been prohibited from signing up new users in five; and Telecom Americas (Claro) has been served a desist order in three states. Only Vivo, the Brazilian asset of Telefonica of Spain, will not face immediate sanctions, but it has 30 days to present plans or face a similar fate. As reported by CommsUpdate yesterday, Brazil’s consumer protection agency Procon ordered the country’s four largest mobile operators to stop selling any more new mobile SIMs in the southern Rio Grande do Sul state capital Porto Alegre, amid concerns over poor service quality. It is understood that any carrier that flouts Anatel’s order will face a fine of BRL200,000 (USD99,000) per day.

The cellcos have reacted strongly to the measures, with TIM Brasil remarking on the ‘extreme measure’ which is feels is ‘disproportional’ and ‘anti-competitive’. Oi SA meanwhile, slated what it termed Anatel’s ‘out-of-date’ decision, noting its own plan to up CAPEX to BRL6 billion in 2012, compared to BRL5 billion last year ad BRL3 billion in 2010.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:53:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile Chile is reportedly growing at a rate of 20,000 subscribers per month, according to the company’s CEO Juan Antonio Etcheverry as quoted by TeleSemana. The MVNO launched operations in April this year, having signed an agreement with the Chilean unit of Spain’s Telefonica. Virgin is set to capitalise on Chile’s competition regulations – which from January this year prevented cellcos from locking handsets to a single network – and the recent introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) by concentrating on SIM sales. The cellco claimed to have signed up 36,000 subscribers to date.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:52:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ghana’s National Communication Authority (NCA) has published a report to coincide with the first anniversary of the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) in the country. By 6 July some 370,107 mobile numbers had ported successfully, representing 1.6% of the total active mobile numbers in the market. The watchdog says that such a figure is reasonably comparable to markets in which MNP is considered successful. Tigo and Vodafone were the biggest winners, recording net gains of 68,000 and 44,000 respectively, while Airtel (6,500 subscribers) and Glo (7,600) also received a boost from MNP. The market leader by subscribers, MTN, was the big loser, shedding a net 125,000 customers to rival networks. Meanwhile, minor player Expresso lost 400 subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:50:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

NTT DoCoMo has announced that its Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscriber base passed four million on 22 July. The cellco’s ‘Xi’ service, which offers maximum downlink speeds of 75Mbps, is growing rapidly, having claimed 1.1 million subscribers at the end of 2011, and 2.2 million as at end-March 2012. The pace of new additions has nearly doubled in recent weeks following the introduction of a new Xi-compatible smartphone range.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:48:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Qtel Group today celebrated the launch of 3G services by Tunisiana, the leading mobile operator in Tunisia, which is part of the company’s portfolio of leading brands.
 
With launch coverage extending to 48 percent of the population, Tunisiana will offer 3G services in the regions of Tunis, Sfax, Sousse, Djerba, Cap Bon, Hammamet and Nabeul.  The aggressive rollout will soon be extended to cover 71 percent of the population by the end of the year, with 87 percent coverage planned for early 2013.
 
Qtel Group companies continue to roll-out improved networks and enhanced services for customers across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, recognising the major social and economic benefits that such improvements bring. According to the World Bank, a 10 percent increase in mobile broadband penetration drives 1.4 percent increase in GDP for low to middle income countries.
 
Nasser Marafih, CEO of the Qtel Group, commented that the Tunisiana team really did something exceptional in bringing 3G services to its customers only three months after receiving the license and just in time for the holy month of Ramadan. By giving faster internet access to more Tunisians at competitive prices, they are helping to fulfill two of their Group’s highest priorities: providing superior customer experience and offering the best broadband service possible.
 
Tunisiana’s license allows the company to deploy an HSPA+ network on both 900 Mhz and 2100 Mhz bands, providing for deeper indoor coverage for customers and high definition voice quality.
 
Ken Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Tunisiana said that with this network, they are able to provide a quality 3G offering that will deliver the best customer experience in Tunisia.  Most importantly, Tunisiana will continue its tradition of providing affordable, flexible offerings for all Tunisians, including the lowest price 3G handset. The Tunisiana offering will include flexible tariffs allowing for daily, weekly and monthly usage.
 
The Qtel Group continues to execute a unified, broadband?ready strategy for introducing high-speed Internet services across multiple markets around the world, to provide an enriched experience for its 84 million customers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:47:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has published data on the number of mobile phone subscribers in the country. As at the end of June 2012, Rwanda was home to 4,759,130 wireless subscribers, up from 4,453,711 three months previously. The regulator had previously projected that the number will increase to more than six million by the end of the year, although at the current growth rate this appears unlikely. The country’s newest operator, Airtel, added 55,000 customers in May and a further 55,000 in June, outstripping its rivals MTN (46,000 net additions in June) and Tigo (38,800 net additions in June).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:44:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has announced that it has rebranded the Costa Rican arm of its Central American cableco, Amnet, under its Tigo banner. According to local news source AM Costa Rica, Amnet Costa Rica has adopted the Tigo name used by MIC’s operations throughout Latin America and Africa and more recently taken by MIC’s Amnet subsidiaries in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that MIC took over Amnet in October 2008 for USD510 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:43:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to local press reports, Russian wireless giant Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is set to launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on 1 September, replacing its existing WiMAX service in the process. In an unconfirmed report that cited company representative Dmitry Solodovnikov, Vedomosti suggested that the in-deployment LTE network will have a far larger scope than its WiMAX predecessor, with some 2,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) expected to be constructed by end-2012, compared to just 200 WiMAX BTS currently in operation, serving around 70,000 wireless broadband subscribers in and around Moscow. LTE modem sales will commence on 7 August, although no price has been disclosed thus far; rival MegaFon’s LTE-suitable E392 modem is priced at RUB2,990 (USD92.90). Any WiMAX customers who have purchased a modem since April 2012 will be eligible to exchange them for free and obtain one month’s free data access, while longer-term users who make the switch will be granted three months’ complimentary LTE access as an incentive.

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in February 2012 MTS was awarded Moscow’s first LTE licence by the Federal Supervision Agency for IT, Communications & Media (Roskomnadzor). The concession, which will allow it to provide 4G wireless services in the 2595MHz-2620MHz frequency band, will reportedly support the Time Division (TD)-LTE standard. Under the terms of its licence, MTS is required to launch its LTE network on or before 29 December 2013; the concession is valid until 29 December 2016. Slightly confusingly, the frequencies which MTS was awarded for LTE use were the same ones that Roskomnadzor ostensibly seized from the company’s former WiMAX subsidiary Comstar UTS in order to pave the way for the introduction of LTE in the capital. Previously, Sistema, the Russian conglomerate that owns MTS, demanded compensation to the tune of RUB1.5 billion from the winners of the tender, effectively demanding recompense from itself.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:42:35 PM (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 AED2.45 billion (USD666.8 million) in the three months ended 30 June 2012, an increase of 12.9% from AED2.17 billion in the year-ago quarter. Growth was primarily driven by a 14.0% year-on-year rise in mobile revenue to AED1.9 billion, of which mobile data accounted for AED278 million, an increase of 84.8% from AED151 million in Q2 2011. Du said that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 36.6% year-on-year to AED941 million in the second quarter of 2012, while net profit before royalty increased 57.1% to AED651 million, compared to AED414 million in Q2 2011. CAPEX totalled AED444 million in the three month period.

A total of 196,300 mobile customers were added during the second quarter of 2012 (including 36,300 post-paid users), bringing Du’s total wireless subscriber base to 5.732 million at the end of the reporting period, 7.8% of which were contract customers (up from 6.8% in the year-ago quarter). Fixed line customers meanwhile increased to 546,600, up 10.6% compared to the end of June 2011. Revenue generated by Du’s fixed business, including fixed telephony, TV and broadband, rose 11.4% year-on-year to AED410 million in 2Q12.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:41:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

NTT DoCoMo has posted net income for the quarter ending 30 June 2012 of JPY164.3 billion (USD2.1 billion), up 3.5% year-on-year on the back of 2.4% growth in sales to JPY1.07 trillion. The cellco pointed to increased sales of smartphones (up 92% year-on-year) and higher data revenue (up 9% year-on-year) as being key drivers behind the positive results. ‘Active sales of smartphones have increased revenue from subscribers expanding their use of data services,’ the company said. DoCoMo reiterated guidance for the year ending March 2013, saying that it expects net income to reach JPY557 billion and sales to hit JPY4.45 trillion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:40:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UK-based cellco Virgin Mobile is expected to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Poland as part of a move to expand its footprint into Central and Eastern Europe. Having signed an agreement to use the infrastructure of P4, which operates under the Play banner, Virgin expects to launch commercial services by the end of the summer this year, rpkom reports. In a statement from the company, Virgin said that Poland had an ‘attractive and accessible telecommunications market which offers significant potential for MVNO growth.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:33:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Dow Jones Newswires reports that UK-based giant Vodafone Group has announced plans to increase its investment in the Netherlands. The news comes not long after the Dutch network operator, the country’s second largest player by subscribers, experienced a major fire in its Rotterdam network centre in April which damaged its infrastructure and disrupted services for a large number of Vodafone NL users. The UK parent declined to put a figure on the CAPEX, saying only that it will go in improving network reliability and quality. Last year the Dutch unit invested around EUR250 million (USD305 million) in its systems, services and products in the country. The latest investment will also make it easier for the cellco to migrate to fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, it added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:31:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Global mobile phone shipments grew a modest 1 percent annually to reach 362 million units in the second quarter of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Growth was led by the smartphone segment, which rose 32 percent annually to 146 million units. However, this was the slowest growth rate in almost three years. Samsung led the total market, shipping an estimated 93.0 million phones for a 25.7 percent market share, while also taking the lead in smartphones, with a 34.6 percent share or 50.5 million phones sold. Nokia was in second in the overall market, with its share down to 23.1 percent from 24.7 percent a year earlier. Apple came third in the overall market, with a share of 7.2 percent, and ranked second in smartphones, with 17.8 percent of the market. Nokia's smartphone share more than halved to 7.0 percent from 15.1 a year ago. ZTE and LG completed the top five in the overall market, with market shares of respectively 4.6 percent and 3.6 percent, both down from a year earlier.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:30:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Gabonese internet service provider (ISP) Internet Gabon has launched its ‘Triple Net’ project, a partnership between itself, the European Satellite Company (SES) and Hughes Advantage, that aims to expand internet access and satellite TV to rural areas of Gabon, reports Africa Info. The trio intend to expand the USD12 million project to rural areas throughout francophone southern Africa. Internet Gabon claims to have already installed VSAT equipment to 500 sites, and set up 50 wireless in the local loop (WiLL) towers. The ISP added that the ‘Triple Net’ project would allow it reduce prices for end users, whilst it would endeavour to ensure that installation and delivery were very simple.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:29:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Australian communications provider Telstra has announced changes to fixed and mobile price plans. Access fees for about half of the HomeLine plans will be increased but Bundled access prices will remain the same. Local call prices for three HomeLine plans (Complete, Plus, and Advanced) will be increased by AUD 0.002 per call. Calls to 13/1300/1345 numbers from fixed line services will increase from AUD 0.30 to AUD 0.35 for all Telstra customers. Furthermore, the 0018 Easy Half Hour international calling service will be removed from 1 October. There are also changes to business fixed line plans, including a monthly access increase for not-for-profit and charity customers. In the mobile segment, Member, Phone, and Casual mobile plans will be charged in 60-second blocks, from the 30-second blocks currently.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:27:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Multimedia Polska has extended its fibre-optic network to pass an additional 1,000 homes in Kutno and hopes to add a further 600 before the end of the month. The cableco said that the expansion work would bring the number of homes connected to its network to nearly 5,000, estimating that it had spent around PLN1 million (USD286,786) on network expansion in the city over the last two years.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:00:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Zimbabwe’s largest cellco Econet has relaunched its mobile WiMAX broadband services, having slashed its prices and made available once again its mobile WiMAX USB modems which were previously taken off the shelves whilst it concentrated on marketing its 3G cellular mobile broadband services instead. As TechZim reports, Econet is now offering a ZTE TU25 mobile WiMAX dongle modem for a one-off price of USD45 and internet access for USD0.025 per MB, compared to a previous pricetag for the same modem of USD175 two years ago (with a cost per MB of USD0.15). The mobile WiMAX service was launched commercially in April 2010 by Econet’s Ecoweb ISP unit, but its high prices made it unattainable to the average internet user, and marketing of the service to new customers was suspended after five months as Econet focused on its 3G network development, and repositioned WiMAX as a fixed-wireless service, offering indoor modems as part of its ‘@Home’ and ‘@Work’ WiMAX packages. The relaunch of mobile WiMAX packages appears to be timed to fight the challenge from rival ISPs launching the technology, including Utande, by undercutting their prices.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:59:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Antigua and Barbuda has launched a multimillion-dollar Government-Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE) project in partnership with regional telecoms operator Digicel Group, in a bid to drive the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the country. The Caribbean Journal writes that the project will focus on improving the nation’s broadband internet connectivity, along with a focus on ‘stimulating growth in innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation and sustainability’. As part of the plan, the government and Digicel hope to deploy fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile technology, with Antiguan minister Dr Edmond Mansoor calling GATE a ‘bold step forward’ in preparing the country for the next two decades.

The journal notes that the GATE project has four primary components: an ICT Cadet Programme, which has already launched (in June this year), aimed at targeting school leavers to prepare them for the work environment; plans to improve internet connectivity and technology in the classroom, including using 4G LTE broadband connectivity; a plan to LTE connectivity for Antigua’s government; and the creation of a multi-purpose ICT training facility and special needs resource centre in the Michael’s Mount area of Antigua. The ICT facility will be built by Digicel on state-owned lands, according to the government.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:57:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Hungarian telecoms operator Magyar Telekom (MTel) yesterday announced a decision to implement a gradual increase in some of its tariffs from September, citing ‘unfavourable economic and market processes’ as the reason. Budapest Business Journal reports that the tariff changes are deemed ‘unavoidable’ by the incumbent, due to the lack of economic recovery in the central European nation, as well as higher than expected inflation and the adverse impact of ‘certain economic policy measures of the past period’. Further, the operator says it will not be passing on a new tax on voice calls and SMS to its customers: the government tax, introduced from July, is expected to cost MTel up to HUF8 billion (USD33.8 million) in 1H12 and HUF20 billion per annum from 2013.

In a statement, the telco said that the tariff changes ‘will match the varying characteristics of mobile and fixed line as well as post-paid and pre-paid tariff packages and will retain the benefits and discounts favoured by customers’. It added that ‘For post-paid mobile packages the change in monthly tariff will be mitigated by unchanged minute and text message rates and conditions; while for pre-paid mobile packages, there is no monthly charge but minute charges will change. For enterprise customers, there will be no change to either the monthly fee for tariff packages included in dedicated framework contracts, nor the national minute and text message rates’.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:50:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has announced the implementation of the first phase of its ‘ultra-high speed’ NGN/FTTx broadband network, under its nationwide network modernisation project ‘i-Sri Lanka’, which has driven an increase of 40,000 new broadband connections so far. The i-Sri Lanka project is scheduled for completion within 18 months, by which time it will provide 20Mbps broadband and triple-play services to more than 90% of customers and add capacity for 600,000 new broadband customers to the network. SLT plans to double its existing customer base of around 300,000 over the next couple of years.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:48:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uruguayan state-owned telecoms operator Antel connected 75,000 households to its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network in the first half of 2012, with 15,000 homes already signing up to services from the company, reports Prensa Latina citing official sources. The project aims to connect 240,000 households to the fibre-optic network by the end of 2012, with 75% of the population planned to be covered within three years. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Antel selected Chinese equipment vendor ZTE in September 2011 to build a national gigabit passive optical network (GPON) capable of delivering headline speeds of up to 100Mbps to households across the country. The following month Antel announced that it had connected the first home to the direct fibre network and said it planned to connect around 30,000 by year-end.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:46:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) I-Mobile Plus, a subsidiary of Samart Corporation, has been awarded a five-year contract by state telco TOT for exclusive rights to 40% of 3G network capacity to be resold to end-users under TOT’s new business model. As reported by the Bangkok Post, TOT board chairman Panthep Chamrasromran announced that I-Mobile Plus must pay TOT a guaranteed minimum revenue of THB156 million (USD4.9 million) for the first year and THB476 million for the second, and the MVNO is targeting 860,000 3G subscribers in the first year of operations and 1.81 million in the second year. Previously, Samart I-Mobile (I-Mobile 3GX’) was amongst a group of five MVNOs reselling 3G services over TOT’s HSPA network under one-year contracts, alongside Loxley (i-kool), IEC Technology (IEC 3G), 365 Communication (365 3G) and M Consult Asia (Mojo 3G).

Mr Panthep confirmed TOT is also in talks with Loxley to retail 20% of 3G network capacity, while for the remaining 40% of capacity, he said that TOT would not require a guaranteed minimum revenue; prospective MVNOs for this portion include IEC Technology, 365 Communication, M Consult Asia, Acumen and Jasmine Telecom Systems.

Panthep also said TOT aims to increase its number of 3G base stations from a current 2,300 to 5,320 in October. TOT has site sharing agreements with Advanced Info Service (AIS) covering 800 base stations, and an additional 300 shared sites agreed with True Move. TOT’s board will discuss a second phase of 3G network expansion on 26 July.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:45:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The use of mobile number portability (MNP) in Colombia still remains limited, almost a year after its introduction, according to the most recent results published by telecoms regulator the Communication Regulation Commission (CRC). Since introduction in August 2011, a total of 441,163 customers have switched provider and kept their number in a market of more than 45 million wireless subscribers. The greatest concentration of ports was in Q1 2012 when 167,914 people moved operators, with the number dropping to 132,344 in Q2 2012. Telefonica Moviles Colombia, which uses the Movistar brand of its Spanish parent, has suffered the worst from MNP, with net losses of 159,760. Comcel, recently rebranded under the preferred Claro moniker of its parent company America Movil, reaped the greatest reward from the scheme, with net additions of 85,426 from MNP, whilst Tigo was close behind with 65,058 net additions. Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Uff Movil also added 8,866 new customers thanks to MNP.

However, the use of MNP is still fairly marginal and the flow of customers is not representative of the majority of users. Whilst Claro saw the greatest number of customers moving to its network and keeping their numbers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Claro has in fact seen a reduction in its market share since the introduction of MNP, whilst its two main rivals have increased their shares of the market. At June 2011, Claro reigned over the wireless sector with a 67.8% share of segment, compared to 22.0% and 10.2% attributed to Movistar and Tigo respectively. By end-March 2012, Claro had seen its lead eroded somewhat, dropping to 63.1% of the market against 26.0% and 10.9%.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:35:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azeri mobile operator Bakcell has chosen to deploy PT’s SEGway Number Portability Solution for its network in Baku, in line with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MCIT’s) requirement for service providers to make mobile number portability (MNP) available to subscribers this year. SEGway’s carrier-grade IP backbone provides a platform for seamless growth and the addition of revenue-generating features as networks evolve to next generation. ‘We faced an enormous challenge of selecting a vendor, testing, and turning up MNP within a very short window of time, and without impact to our network,’ commented Jordan Rashev, Bakcell’s head of Network Management Centre, adding: ‘We were confident that PT would deliver the quality we are accustomed to and meet our deadline. We are extremely pleased with their product and service.’

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:32:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Slovenian cellco Si.Mobil has launched the country’s first commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile broadband service over a network covering parts of Ljubljana, Brnik and Bled. At launch, LTE users are being offered the Huawei E392 USB modem for use on Si.Mobil’s 4G network in conjunction with the operator’s new ‘Mobilni’ 4G internet plan, and are promised data rates of between 30Mbps and 80Mbps, with a theoretical peak of 100Mbps. Last year Telekom Austria subsidiary Si.Mobil conducted a comprehensive modernisation of its network, which offers 3G mobile broadband to over 90% of the population, and is designed to be easily upgraded with LTE technology across Slovenia, with many of its base stations already ‘LTE ready’.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:31:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mexican president Felipe Calderon has announced that Mexico expects to launch auctions within the next two months that aim to boost coverage of telecommunications services offered over fibre, BNamerica reports.

The development dovetails with an earlier announcement that the Mexican government is aiming to promote high speed internet adoption in part by the sale of concessions that would 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. As reported by CommsUpdate in January 2012, the initiative was expected to 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. Commenting on the latest plans, President Calderon was cited as saying: ‘We’re going to launch 1,000 new access points of CFE’s fibre-optic network and I’ve instructed the CFE’s director to increase the 20,000km of fibre to 30,000km.’

The head of state has also confirmed that an auction will be conducted to extend fibre-optic connectivity to Mexico’s south-west coast, to Ometepec, in the state of Guerrero, with the government expected to subsidise the rollout using money from its infrastructure fund, with the winning bidder to be that which requests the smallest subsidy. Further, looking ahead the head of state has confirmed that all new highways constructed in Mexico will have fibre-optic cable laid at the time of building.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:29:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Unicom has revealed that it expects to see a larger revenue contribution from its 3G subscriber base this year than from its 2G customers. Lower cost smartphones from domestic suppliers such as ZTE have helped boost Unicom’s subscriber base by 20% year-on-year to the end of April. ‘We are not as focused on the number of new users, we want to make sure we are adding good quality customers,’ company president Lu Yimin said, before reiterating an outlook previously given in March that the company’s 3G business will be profitable this year. Unicom’s 3G subscriber base stood at 51.8 million at the end of April, behind China Mobile’s 61.9 million. However, 3G subscribers make up 24.3% of Unicom’s total subscriber base, compared with 9.2% for China Mobile.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:28:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, has called for expressions of interest for the country’s third mobile operator licence, which includes frequencies for the operation of a 3G network. Cameroon Tribune reports that applicants must not already be active in Cameroon and must have equity of at least USD200 million as of 31 December 2011, among other requirements. A shortlist of applications will be drawn up by 20 July 2012, according to a source at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The winning bidder will join two established companies in the mobile market – South Africa-based MTN Cameroon and France’s Orange Cameroon – which between them claimed around 11.37 million wireless customers at the end of March 2012, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. At the same date, penetration of cellular services stood at around 50% of the population.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:26:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British fixed line incumbent BT has revealed a further 98 exchange areas in which its network arm Openreach will make fibre-based broadband services available. With the new areas expected to come online by late-2013, BT claims that the deployment will add nearly 800,000 homes and businesses to the company’s previously announced fibre plans; the development forms part of its GBP2.5 billion (USD3.9 billion) fibre rollout. Mike Galvin, Openreach’s managing director of network investment, said of the plans: ‘This is great news for 98 communities across the UK. Our rollout of fibre continues apace, with over ten million homes now having access to the many benefits this technology can deliver … Today’s announcement brings us another important step closer towards our goal of providing this service to two-thirds of the UK by the end of 2014.’

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:23:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Andorra Telecom has completed the rollout of its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, utilising Aurora Networks’ Trident7 platform. The network is reportedly available to all of Andorra Telecom’s 52,000 broadband subscribers and will allow the telco to provide high speed broadband and IPTV – including high definition (HD) content – services. Further, the infrastructure is expected to meet the market’s current needs, as well as being ready for increasing service demand over the next seven to ten years.

Commenting on the deployment, director of Andorra Telecom Jaume Salvat said: ‘Aurora Networks’ Trident7 platform has provided us with the opportunity to deliver today’s advanced services with the quality of service and experience our subscribers have come to demand.’

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:22:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telecom provider by subscribers, has announced plans to expand the reach of its fibre network by rolling out fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC, dubbed fibre-to-the-street [FTTS] by the telco) to towns and cities where it is not currently deploying fibre-to-the-home. The expansion is due to begin from the end of 2013 and will see fibre rolled out to a distance of 200m from homes, much closer than its existing fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) infrastructure. Swisscom will begin trialling FTTC later this year in three municipalities, Charrat, Grandfontaine and Flerden. Customers in these areas are expected to gain access to the technology by November this year. The telco claims that the platform will allow it to deliver broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps (downlink).

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:20:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Landlocked Botswana has inaugurated its link to the West African Cable System (WACS), which was launched last month and stretches 14,900km along the west coast of Africa, reports AFP. Botswana partnered with neighbouring Namibia in each raising USD37.5 million to invest in a 9.2% stake in the cable consortium. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) will co-locate services within the Swakopmund landing station operated by Telecom Namibia, under the WACS open access policy. The USD750 million WACS submarine cable has a capacity of 5.12Tbps and links South Africa to the UK with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and Portugal.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:16:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Guardian newspaper reports that Vodacom’s Tanzanian operating subsidiary intends to expand coverage of its popular money transfer service M-PESA to even the most remote parts of the country, by dint of the TZS130 billion (USD83.8 million) network upgrade it is currently undertaking. Rene Meza, managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, says that the M-PESA service – launched in 2008 – is now taken by almost three million subscribers, helping to drive overall customer growth. Speaking in February this year, Meza said the sharp increase in subscribers was largely driven by people signing up to M-PESA, which has a claimed 85% share of total e-mobile commerce transactions in the country. It is clear that the money transfer service has made a significant contribution to the socio economic development of the country and ‘revolutionised’ the way many people do business there.

Meza is now confident that, with the planned network upgrade, Vodacom will be able to open up some otherwise ‘uncovered’ areas to its products and services. As reported by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Tanzanian operator’s South Africa-based parent, Vodacom Group, earlier reported that its unit in Tanzania increased its active subscriber base in the twelve months ended 31 March 2012, closing out the period with 9.665 million users, a market share of 40.5%.

Source: Telegeography.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:14:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Bangladesh ended May with 92.12 million mobile subscribers, up from 90.64 million in April. Grameenphone led with 38.41 million, up from 37.75 million a month earlier, followed by Banglalink with 25.25 million customers, up from 25.00 million, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Robi Axiata raised its subscriber base to 18.73 million from 18.24 million and Airtel Bangladesh ended May with 6.67 million subscribers, versus 6.54 million in April. Citycell saw its subscriber base slip to 1.71 million from 1.80 million and Teletalk ended May with 1.34 million customers, up from 1.30 million in the previous month.


Source: Telecompaper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:11:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Indian GSM operator Tata Docomo has launched new offers for its Photon Plus Postpay and Prepay customers across India, claiming price reductions of up to 60 percent. Tata Docomo Photon Plus postpay customers can select from unlimited 6GB usage for INR 950 rental or unlimited 11 GB for INR 1200. These two unlimited plans also offer cash back of INR 100 per month for twelve months from date of purchase. Tata Docomo entry-level packs cost INR 250 for 1GB of data download and INR 450 for 2GB. Tata Docomo also introduced Reload packs for Photon Plus Postpay customers with 1GB for INR 200 and 2GB for INR 350. Tata Docomo Photon offers usage-based data plans. Prepay customers can get unlimited 2GB usage on a recharge of INR 700.


Source: Telecompaper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:09:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MTN Nigeria has introduced a range of new services for business customers based on the recently launched West African Cable System (WACS). IT News Africa reports that the services are managed by MTN Business and will provide high quality, low latency internet access to wholesalers such as internet service providers (ISPs), internet bandwidth resellers and carriers, as well as mobile users across the country. ‘MTN has the unique advantage of a pre-existing extensive terrestrial Internet Protocol (IP) and broadband backbone infrastructure, enabling us to deliver high grade and highly available internet capacity to anywhere and everywhere in Nigeria,’ said MTN’s chief enterprise solutions officer, Babatunde Osho. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the USD650 million WACS cable system went live in May 2012, linking Europe, West Africa and South Africa with landings in the UK, Portugal, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa. In Nigeria the cable is managed by MTN from its landing point to the last mile operated service. The total capacity of the system is 5.12Tbps.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:41:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecel Zimbabwe, the country’s second largest cellular operator, has announced that it passed the milestone of two million active mobile subscribers on its network by the end of June 2012, up from 1.83 million users it reported three months earlier, and an increase of 700,000 from 1.30 million customers recorded at mid-2011.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:39:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Honduras’ ailing state-owned national PTO Hondutel (Empresa Hondurena de Telecomunicaciones) has announced plans to establish a joint venture (JV) to offer a dedicated mobile broadband service in the country. CentralAmericaData writes that the PTO will be the majority shareholder in the new venture, and quotes Hondutel director Romeo Vasquez Velasquez as saying that the new business model will help the firm out of its current financial crisis, made worse by a lack of investment. ‘The only alternative we have is to open [Hondutel’s] doors to any [business or individual] in the country [or abroad] wanting to invest in our mobile broadband service to develop and improve the company’s future income streams. And we are working on it,’ Romero Velasquez said. It is believed that setting up such a venture in Honduras would require investment of around USD500 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:38:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tanzania’s telecoms watchdog the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) reports that the African country was home to a total of 26.978 million fixed and mobile subscriptions at the end of March 2012, up from 25.827 million at the start of the year. Of the total subscriptions recorded at 31 March 2012, 26.805 million were cellular connections to one of the country’s leading mobile operators. Market leader Vodacom closed out 1Q12 with a total of 12.633 million mobile users (although around 19% are classed as inactive), while second-placed Airtel (formerly Zain) signed up a net 112,232 new users in the three-month period for a total of 7.106 million. Third place operator Tigo boosted its base by 47,067 to almost 5.498 million by end-March 2012, and Zantel Mobile — once the nation’s fastest growing cellco — shed roughly 12,000 net customers during the period for a total of 1.511 million. Trailing far behind the big four, the mobile arm of fixed line operator Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) had an estimated 96,000 subscribers and Benson Informatics Limited (BOL) had 1,221 data-only subscribers, down roughly 5,300 since the start of the 2011.

In the fixed line segment, TCRA reported 173,075 fixed lines in service as at 31 March 2012, up from 161,063 at the start of the year. National PSTN operator TTCL claimed the lion’s share with 158,348 lines at 1Q12 (its December 2011 figure was 159,364) with Zanzibar Telecommunications’ (Zantel’s) fixed line division taking the remaining 14,727, up from 1,699 previously.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:36:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Vivo Participacoes, says it has reached its goal of 3G coverage of 85% of the population, well ahead of its target date of April 2016. In a statement, the cellco said it achieved the magic figure last Thursday, at which date its third-generation network served 2,832 municipalities out of a total of 5,566. Launched in 2010, Vivo’s ambitious rollout plan envisaged covering more than four-fifths of Brazil’s people with mobile internet access of up to 10Mbps within six years, in line with the regulator Anatel’s licensing terms – although even then, it said it was confident it could reach that goal by 2012. Local online news site Globo reports that Vivo is in the throes of connecting the last antenna as part of the project, serving the town of Rancho Alegre in Parana state, where 4,000 people live.

Although Vivo has hit its 3G target in terms of population coverage, it is still short of achieving its goals when it comes to towns and cities served. Currently, the cellco’s coverage is in less than half of all Brazil’s municipalities – and is especially weak in those with less than 30,000 inhabitants. Nonetheless, Vivo says it will continue with its aggressive plans for mobile network rollout to meet its coverage obligations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:34:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

South Korean regulators have decided to let mobile operators charge users extra fees for VOIP applications or block their use entirely, according to a report by Networks Asia.
 
As per the report, Korea’s top mVoIP app, KakaoTalk, has gained rapid popularity among smartphone users. Other players in the mVoIP market include Microsoft’s Skype, Google Voice, Fring, Line 2 as well as other independent and operator-driven services.
 
 With widespread use of these mobile applications adding data traffic and cutting into their text and voice profits, the major Korean operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – have decided to raise prices for data usage, as revealed in the report. As the country’s regulator is allowing the telcos to charge for use of apps such as KakaoTalk, some are claiming that this is a violation of net neutrality rules.
 
 The report claims that Jiho Park, an activist with the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice, said that this will set a precedent for coming apps such as FaceTime, where SKT and KT already said they will apply the same pricing policy as with local apps, and this can clash with global players like Apple and Google.
 
Apple’s FaceTime is only available on Wi-Fi networks now but with iOS6 this fall, people will be able to use it over 3G or 4G LTE, too. SK Telecom and KT currently offer unlimited data plans, which allow users to freely download apps on their networks, whereas LG U+ used to block over-the-top programs entirely. The companies have not yet released specific information on their new rates, says the report.
 
KakaoTalk has 36 million Korean users and 9.2 million international users. More than half of 50 million Korean cell phone owners use smartphones, according to the Korea Communications Commission (KCC).
 
The Korean government released its open Internet guidelines last year, designed after the U.S. network neutrality rules released by the Federal Communications Commission last year. Under these principles, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and what content they want to access, create or share with others.
 
Unofficially, the KCC has already permitted operators to enact policies of their choice regarding third-party apps, as per the report.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:33:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Verzion has revamped their prices by raising fee for data services with an intention to increase its data revenue. These hikes will largely effect smartphone users who are not availing the unlimited text and calling facility will be charged $10 extra for services they are not using increasing their expenditure to $100 per month. The lightest data plan will now come for $50. Families using unlimited text, talk and 1GB data will be on the beneficial side by saving $60 per month. They will now just have to spend $150 a month.
 
Text messaging and calls are the major source of revenue and due to increase data services the users have been drifting apart from these services which are doing no good to the companies.
 
Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Sprint, which offers unlimited data usage for a flat fee, said that sharing data across devices significantly increases the potential for upsetting customers with surprise monthly bills due to data overage charges.
 
The users will be able to share multiple devices like Tablets and Laptops with its Share Everything Plan.  Users will be able to pay a flat monthly fee for each device they want to connect: $40 for smartphones, $20 for portable hotspots or notebooks, $10 for tablets, and $30 for standard cellphones. The dedicated plan offers additional charge of $50 for 1GB and $100 for 10GB.
 
As told in an interview to Reuters by the Chief Marketing Officer Tami Erwin that Customer who will use multiple devices will quickly identify the value in the plans. Many customers have to pay extra for going over their data allowance on their tablet even though they may not have used their full smartphone data allowance. With a shared plan that would not be an issue, Erwin said.
 
The new plan requires a monthly access fee of $40 that includes unlimited calls and texts for a single smartphone, and another fee of $60 for two gigabytes of data, which could be shared with up to 10 devices. Each additional device requires another access tariff such as a $10 fee for a tablet or a $20 fee for a laptop.
 
Verizon Wireless customers will have a choice to stick with the existing service plans, but any new customers will be required to sign up for the shared plans from June 28 onward, even if they do not intend to connect a second device.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:31:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A West African fibre-optic broadband deployment has been completed, with 120km of fibre rolled out to link Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso, Ghana Business news reports. Work on the Bolgatanga–Cinkasse International Fibre Connectivity Project started in November last year and was run by Vodafone Ghana and the Ministry of Communications in Ghana.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:27:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that it has supplied Turk Telekom (TT) with a loan worth EUR100 million (USD126.2 million) with a view to expanding the company’s broadband services in the eastern regions of Turkey. The EBRD’s financing will support the carrier’s plans to extend fixed broadband connectivity to all Turkish provinces by 2016. The loan will be used to finance the company’s network expansion in the regions of Adana, Diyarbakir, Erzurum, Kayseri, Samsun and Trabzon. The EBRD notes that there are currently ‘considerable discrepancies between the Istanbul area and the eastern regions’.

Mustafa Uysal, TT’s chief financial officer, commented: ‘Turk Telekom believes in the future of the country and that the Turkish economy will be ranked among the world’s top ten economies by 2023. Technology and innovation will be the main instruments to achieve this ambitious vision. Therefore, Turk Telekom, by carrying out its investment programme all throughout Turkey, assumes an important role in shaping Turkey’s future and makes it clear that it will be a leading contributor to and part of that future … We see the EBRD as a partner in this journey rather than just a lending institution and our investment has a value above a monetary contribution. EBRD vision overlaps with TT’s and we hope to continue this partnership in the long term’. Since the start of its involvement in Turkey, the EBRD says that it has committed close to EUR2 billion to various sectors of the country’s economy, mobilising additional investment of over EUR5 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:51:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Reliance Globalcom, the submarine cable subsidiary of Reliance Communications, has announced that it has connected Iraq to its FALCON cable network at the Al-Faw landing station, which was built in partnership with Iraqi Telecommunications and Post Company (ITPC). Reuters cites a company statement from the Indian firm as saying that the launch of the landing station will connect Iraq directly to countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and North America. Reliance Globalcom said the station has a design capacity of 680Gbps with two diverse routes, which are integrated into the firm’s FALCON network. It will initially provide 50Gbps on each route to cater to existing market demand. ‘This is an extremely important strategic initiative that will facilitate the connectivity of all countries in the Middle East region to Iraq and also significantly improve the quality and speed as well as the reliability of Iraq’s connectivity to the rest of the world,’ Iraq’s Minister of Communications, Mohammed Allawi, was quoted as saying in the statement. Reliance Globalcom owns an undersea cable system spanning 65,000km, making it one of the world’s largest independent operators of submarine cables.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:50:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spain’s Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) has revealed proposals in which it plans to deregulate the pricing of Telefonica de Espana’s monthly access fee, which is currently set at EUR13.97 (USD17.15) per month, excluding tax. The move, the regulator noted, comes after an analysis of the country’s fixed voice sector, which it said had shown that competition ‘had improved substantially, in particular by the pressure of bundled services’. Traditionally the CMT has been responsible for setting Telefonica’s access fee on an annual basis, and as noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the regulator’s most recent decision regarding the charge came in September 2011, at which date it confirmed that it would remain at its EUR13.97 level until at least the end of 2012.

In outlining its plans, the CMT has noted that its original decision for the current pricing structure will remain valid, after which, from end-2012 Telefonica will be permitted to increase the rate, although by no more than the rate of inflation, until 2016. Further, in the retail market analysis of access to fixed telephone networks, the watchdog has said that it will keep a number of other obligations related to the fixed voice sector, including: that Telefonica should notify the CMT of fares and promotions prior to their introduction; that the incumbent’s prices will be examined to ensure it is not acting in an anti-competitive manner; and that carrier pre-selection services continue to be offered.

A public consultation on the proposals will now be conducted, and interested parties have been given one month to submit their views. Once the consultation has been completed the CMT said it will forward the draft measures to the European Commission (EC).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:49:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

PSTN operator Angola Telecom has introduced a national single rate tariff to standardise the cost of making calls to all areas of the country within its network, news agency ANGOP reports. The wireline and CDMA network operator has set off-peak and peak tariffs for destinations countrywide between its subscribers, at KWZ7.20 (USD0.075) and KWZ8.93 per minute respectively. To promote the move Angola Telecom is offering customers free calls at the weekend this month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:47:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Paraguayan telecoms operator Copaco launched its long-delayed IPTV service in Asuncion this week, after experiencing myriad technical problems. According to local press reports, the USD25 million product launch was initially expected to materialise on 15 December 2011, only to run into unspecified problems. A second date, 2 March 2012, also passed without fanfare, although this delay was blamed on premium US TV provider HBO, which deemed Copaco’s IPTV system vulnerable to piracy.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Copaco’s new triple-play service will be priced at PYG299,200 (USD64.8) per month, with free installation for all customers. Alongside 54 IPTV channels, the telco will also offer a video-on-demand (VoD) service, with movies priced at roughly USD3 apiece. The official product launch is expected to take place at the Mariano Roque Alonso Trade Show, which is being held between 7 July and 22 July. Copaco director Nilton Amarilla has revealed that the company has purchased 11,000 decoders which it expects to sell within three months of launch.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:44:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telco by subscribers, has inked a deal with Lausanne Industrial Services (SiL) to roll out a fibre-optic network in Laussane. The pair intends to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure connected to all buildings in the city by 2017. Swisscom will carry out the majority of the work, whilst SiL will conduct the rollout in the Chailly district. The city of Lausanne will create a Lausanne-owned company that will handle the new network and 50% of the infrastructure constructed by Swisscom will be transferred to this new company by 2017. This new company will own the network built in the Chailly, Ouchy, St. Francois and Vernand districts, whilst Swisscom will retain ownership of the fibre in the Bergieres, Chalet-a-Gobet, Maladiere and Sallaz districts. Under the terms of the agreement, the partners will grant each other indefeasible right of use of the fibre-optic cables in the districts in which they do not own the network for a minimum period of 70 years.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:43:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Amid concerns that it is not competitive, the UK’s rural broadband rollout strategy has reportedly been placed on hold while European regulators examine it, British broadsheet The Guardian reports. The development comes after confirmation that just two companies – fixed line incumbent BT and Japanese technology firm Fujitsu – had been selected to receive funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a team within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) set up to deliver the government’s broadband strategy. BDUK’s main role is to allocate and distribute GBP530 million (USD829 million) in funding with a view to bringing superfast broadband to the third of UK homes and businesses which are not expected to be provided for by commercial rollouts.

The state had originally aimed for an open process in which community groups and private firms would be commissioned to build Europe’s ‘best superfast broadband network’, with BDUK having published a framework covering 35 local authority areas, under which contractors competed to win equipment supply deals. However, with claims that the selection criteria had proved insurmountable, a number of companies, including Geo and Cable & Wireless withdrew from the process last year.

With both BT and Fujitstu having reportedly signed contracts last Friday for their respective portions of funding, it has been confirmed that no work will move forward until the European Commission is satisfied with the plans. It has been suggested that one of the main concerns with the setup is that BT is unprepared to offer access on a sufficiently open basis to the infrastructure it will roll out, with Brussels thought to want the incumbent to allow rival operators to be able to rent its dark fibre. A BT spokesman was cited as saying of the development: ‘Discussions between the UK government and the commission continue on the issue of state aid. This is an EU issue as the commission is developing rules that need to work across Europe as well as taking the different conditions in the UK into consideration … We are working with the UK authorities for an outcome that both incentivises further investment in fibre broadband and delivers vibrant competition in broadband services … We believe there needs to be consistency with the wider regulatory framework which has given the UK the most competitive broadband environment in the world.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:42:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |