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 Monday, October 01, 2012

Azeri mobile operator Bakcell has announced that it is fully prepared to introduce mobile number portability (MNP), which enables a subscriber to retain their phone number if they switch service provider. The cellco said it plans to launch the service as soon as it receives the go-ahead from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT). ‘We are ready to start today but this is a service that all operators must launch together so we are forced to wait for the other operators,’ said Bakcell CEO Richard Shearer, adding: ‘We have invested significant time and money into the development of MNP and in meeting compliance issues with the MCIT. Our systems are technically ready and have passed internal acceptance tests. Bakcell is sure that MNP will increase competition in Azerbaijan’s mobile communication market and is very committed to the introduction of MNP.’ Bakcell is Azerbaijan’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The cellco had a market share of 30.2% at the end of June 2012, compared to market leader Azercell’s 47.2% share, but ahead of Azerfon with 22.6%.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 1:35:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Solomon Star newspaper, Solomon Telekom Company has rolled out 13 new base transceiver stations (BTS), as part of its ongoing project to boost its mobile presence across the sovereign state. The rollout was overseen by Irish wireless network solutions provider Altobridge. A Telekom spokesperson commented: ‘Following the completed [deployment] of the 13 towers another nine new sites are in progress in terms of civil works and installation. By the end of this year there will be 50 new towers built in various communities and another 50 for next year’.

Telekom’s network currently covers 47 locations across the Oceanic state, which consists of nearly 1,000 islands. 3G connectivity is currently offered in the towns of Honiara and Auki (both situated in the Malaita province), although Telekom’s website claims that ‘other locations [are] soon to follow suit’. In late-November 2011 Solomon Telekom’s sole wireless rival Bemobile launched a 3G dongle in Honiara, marking its subscribers’ first taste of 3G connectivity.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 1:31:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

T-Mobile Austria has revealed that its in-deployment Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is currently available to over 650,000 citizens in Vienna, Linz, Graz and Innsbruck. The cellco has indicated that its network will be further expanded in 2012. In December 2010 T-Mobile contracted Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies to roll out the remainder of its LTE network, simultaneously upgrading its GSM infrastructure. The contract runs until 2016. Previously, T-Mobile estimated that at least 25% of the Austrian population would be using 4G technology by 2013.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 1:28:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Bureau of Telecommunications and Post of Sint Maarten (BTP-SXM) has released its first ever set of telecoms data relating to the Caribbean island nation. The watchdog, which was established as an independent regulatory authority on 10 October 2010, following the formal dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, has revealed that the country recorded a total of 67,124 mobile subscribers as at 31 December 2011, equivalent to a population penetration rate of 164.3%. Meanwhile, broadband subscribers numbered 10,966 at the same date, with Sint Maarten accounting for just 6,862 wireline customer accounts.

TeleGeography notes that telecoms companies licenced to operate on Sint Maarten include full-service telecoms provider Telem Group, pan-Caribbean mobile group UTS, US Virgin Islands-based broadband/cable TV firm Innovative Cable and internet service provider (ISP) Scarlet. Most recently, cableco MacTech was licensed to offer broadband services over its cable infrastructure on 27 February 2012.

Despite a series of referendums held in the early 1990s indicating that the islands that comprised the Netherlands Antilles were happy to remain a part of it, the arrangement was a fairly unhappy one, and between June 2000 and April 2005, each island held a new referendum on their future status. Of the five islands, Sint Maarten and Curacao voted for ‘status aparte’, Saba and Bonaire voted for closer ties to the Netherlands, and Sint Eustatius voted to stay within the Netherlands Antilles. On 12 October 2006 the Netherlands mainland government reached an agreement with Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba to make these islands special municipalities, while Curacao and Sint Maarten were granted autonomy on 3 November 2006. The Netherlands Antilles was officially dissolved on 10 October 2010, with Curacao and Sint Maarten becoming new constituent countries.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 1:08:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Niger’s state-owned telco Sonitel has begun work on laying a 300km fibre-optic cable link between Dosso and Konni, reports Afriscoop. At a launch ceremony, the country’s communications minister stated that the government’s goal is to increase broadband coverage from the 54% recorded in 2010 to 72% by 2015. Afriscoop also states that a second fibre link will connect Konni and Zinder, with work expected to begin in October.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 1:01:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Glo Ghana, which became the country’s fifth mobile network operator after launching commercially in April 2012, has reportedly confirmed that it has surpassed two million subscribers. According to AllAfrica, the cellco claims that it now accounts for more than 8% of Ghana’s mobile voice accesses. In revealing the milestone the report cited a statement by Glo Ghana as saying of its progress in the market: ‘In keeping with our innovative tradition, we also rolled out the most modern telecommunications network and introduced into the market abundant, superior and attractive value offerings in all ten regions of the country from day one. This accounted for our instant success in Ghana.’

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in mid-April 2012 the National Communications Authority (NCA) was understood to have threatened to revoke Glo’s concession if it failed to specify a commercial switch-on date by the end of the month. It also handed the operator a USD200,000 fine for its delayed launch, after a number of hold-ups in the launch of commercial services. Subsequently, on 27 April Glo confirmed it had gone live, offering coverage to around 85% of Ghana’s population, with 1,400 base stations in 974 cities and 10,000 villages. It is targeting 2,300 base stations in service by the end of 2012, which would make it the largest network in Ghana in terms of coverage. The NCA meanwhile confirmed in mid-June 2012 that Glo had paid the USD200,000 fine that had been imposed two months earlier.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:59:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean regulator Sub-Secretaria de Telecomunicaciones (Subtel) has announced that population penetration for internet services had increased to 34% by end-June 2012, reaching the regulator’s target for 2014 more than a year ahead of schedule. Subtel attributes the uptake to the growth of mobile devices, the enforcement of net neutrality and government spending on increasing connectivity for schools and rural communities. The regulator added that customer complaints relating to internet-use made up just 7.3% of the total complaints in the sector, with Subtel ruling in favour of customers in 82% of cases. The most common complaints were regarding continuity of service and breach of contract, whilst issues with browsing speed were the fifth leading cause of complaints. The average maximum speed of internet connections in Chile was reportedly 3.4Mbps.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:56:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Ministry of Communications in Kuwait has imposed a price ceiling on internet services in the country which will force operators to drop prices by up to 40%. Local news agency KUNA reports communications minister Salem Al-Utheina as saying: ‘ISPs price reduction process will take place first, later other services will witness similar reduction, which will be supervised by the ministry in the near future.’ The minister did not specify which services were under consideration for future price capping.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:55:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French telecoms regulator Arcep is preparing to introduce quality of service (QoS) indicators for fixed internet providers. According to a report from Digital TV Europe, the indicators will be measured and made public, complementing similar measures in place for mobile networks. Arcep is also thought to be readying legislation which will impose minimum QoS requirements on broadband providers.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:54:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in Nepal has announced plans to use NPR5.63 billion (USD66.9 million) from the state’s Rural Telecommunication Development Fund (RTDF) to expand the provision of fibre-optic services to more remote parts of the country. MyRepublica reports that the rollout programme is being carried out under the auspices of the Kingdom’s ‘District Optical Fiber Project’, and that it has assigned a committee to oversee the scheme which will target making improvements in the quality of voice and data services in certain rural areas. The ambitious District Optical Fibre Network Project is aiming to construct a high speed data service, offering 256kbps bandwidth in 38 districts and their rural communities by 2014.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:52:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of North American households connected directly into fibre networks has hit the 9 million mark, with small incumbent telephone companies continuing to lead the growth in fibre to the home deployments, according to the Fibre-to-the-Home Council Americas. At the FTTH industry's annual conference in Dallas, the Council announced that FTTH services are now available to 21.3 million North American homes, an increase of more than 10 percent over the past six months. All but eight of nearly 880 FTTH service providers surveyed have fewer than 30,000 subscribers, with only five having more than 50,000 access lines and 97 percent of than having fewer than 10,000, according to an analysis by RVA. The most notable of the big FTTH providers is Verizon, which serves more than half of the FTTH households in North America.

RVA found that more than a half million households in North America receive internet connectivity at or in excess of 100Mbps and that tested throughput speeds among survey respondents found FTTH subscribers are beginning to pull away from other access technologies in both download and upload capacity. Median tested download speeds were above 20Mbps for FTTH subscribers, compared to less than 15Mbps for cable modem users, while FTTH upload speeds were over 9Mbps compared to about 3Mbps for cable. 

In addition, results for the first comprehensive study on emerging FTTH deployment for Latin America found that all fibre networks now pass 4.2 million homes in the region, with 350,000 homes connected. The study also found Mexico is the leading FTTH market, followed by Brazil, with Chile and Argentina showing promise as deployments get underway in those countries. 

Source: Telecompaper.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:47:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN South Africa has announced LTE network plans and says it expects to have 400–500 LTE sites live by the end of 2012. CTO Kanagaratnam Lambotharan said the mobile operator already has 250 sites ready to go, and it's aiming to launch in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. It's also looking at Cape Town, he added, but said that there are some challenges to refarming the spectrum needed to roll out LTE there. This might result in Cape Town not receiving a full 2x10MHz carrier in the 1,800MHz band MTN is re-farming, Lambotharan said. According to MyBroadband, the investment in LTE forms part of more than ZAR 5 billion MTN is spending on its network in SA this year. This includes aggressive investment in the company's 3G network. So far in 2012, MTN has deployed 696 new 3G sites, with a target of reaching as many as 1,176 by the end of the year. That compares to 598 new 3G base stations in 2011. The company has also deployed a total of 317 3G base stations in the 900MHz band, covering parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. As part of the focus on 3G and 4G, MTN is stepping up its roll-out of its own fibre infrastructure to connect its base stations. It now has over 1,000 base stations connected to its own fibre. 3G population coverage has reached about 65 percent, Lambotharan says, adding that the operator wants this to reach 80-85 percent by the end of 2013.

Source: Telecompaper

3G | Africa | LTE
Monday, October 01, 2012 12:45:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 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)  #     |