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 Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ukrainian cellular market leader Kyivstar has made increases to a wide range of its tariffs. Effective from the first week of February, 16 post-paid tariff plans will increase their monthly fee by 15%-30% while certain prices for services under 29 pre-paid tariff plans will be affected, writes newspaper Kommersant. For example, for tariff plans without a regular fee, such as ‘One price’ and ‘Better with us’, February will see a 15%-25% increase in the cost of on-net calls, while in a number of tariff plans the minimum cost of purchasing a block of SMS messages will increase by 50% (although the number of SMS included will increase accordingly). Kyivstar’s director of corporate communications, Jeanne Parkhomenko, pointed out that price rises applied only to ‘old’ tariff plans, while users on newer tariffs were experiencing price reductions. She went on to say that from the first week of February the cellco was also reducing the cost of sending SMS and MMS by 50% for ‘80% of the subscriber base’, and claimed that ‘around three million customers’ will be transferred to the company’s ‘economic’ tariff plan and incur charges only for services used. Mrs Parkhomenko also indicated that the selected price increases were part of a company strategy to offset losses stemming from certain tariff reductions implemented following sustained pressure from Ukraine’s anti-monopoly agency. The LigaBusinessInform news agency adds that Mrs Parkhomenko will be leaving next week to take up a post in Kazakhstan.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:52:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Online news portal Tut.by reports MTS Belarus as saying that the total number of people subscribing to its mobile internet services increased by 27% in 2012, to reach 1.5 million by the year end. In December 2012 alone, MTS Belarus said that mobile internet users generated 950,000 gigabytes of traffic, double the figure reported in December 2011, while for the year as a whole, 3G traffic totalled 9.3 million gigabytes. The cellco’s 3G network currently comprises 1,760 base stations and is available in 100% of the country’s cities and towns.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:51:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Nigeria has reportedly made the necessary preparations ahead of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) long-delayed introduction of mobile number portability (MNP), which is expected to take place in the next few months. Business Day Online cites MTN’s CEO Brett Goschen as saying that a series of tests have already been carried out on the operator’s systems and infrastructure, with further testing to take place in the immediate run-up to the launch of MNP. ‘We have made necessary investment in infrastructure and manpower and we are now finalising the process of making this project a reality,’ the executive stated, adding: ‘We are confident that when the NCC is ready to blow the whistle for the kick off of this project, we will be ready.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the introduction of MNP was first considered by the NCC in the third quarter of 2007, but the commission has been waiting for the conclusion of SIM registration before it officially launches the service. The NCC announced in October 2011 that it had selected a consortium of three companies – Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria, Saab Grintek and Telcordia – to set up and implement number portability for the first five years, and having already pushed back the expected launch date on various occasions, in December 2012 the regulator said it was set to begin testing the system in order to address any problems ahead of a planned launch in the first quarter of this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:50:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to data from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), the country’s wireless subscriber base at the end of 2012 was just under 5.7 million, up from 4.7 million just six months previously. MTN remains the market leader with a market share of 60.3%, followed by Millicom-owned Tigo with 32.8%. New entrant Airtel, which launched in June 2012 and is backed by India’s Bharti Airtel, grew its subscriber base from 144,044 in July to 391,072 by the end of the year. MTN and Tigo’s networks each reach more than 98% of the population, whereas Airtel’s population coverage currently stands at 15%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:49:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a statement published in Cuban newspaper Granma, state-owned telecoms operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has confirmed that internet traffic is being carried by the island’s first submarine fibre-optic cable. The telecoms monopoly stated that the Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de nuestra America (ALBA-1) cable, which connects Cuba to Venezuela, has been carrying international voice traffic since August 2012, while data traffic tests have been carried out on the cable since 10 January 2013. When the testing process is completed, however, ETECSA noted that the launch of the cable ‘will not automatically mean that the possibility of access will increase,’ adding that investment in the domestic telecoms infrastructure is required and that even then the goal is ‘gradual growth of a service that we offer mostly for free and with social aims in mind.’ Historically, Cuba has had to access the internet via expensive and slow satellite connections, but earlier this month internet monitoring firm Renesys observed that the ALBA-1 cable had finally been activated, almost two years after the system first landed on the island.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:48:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean telecoms watchdog Subtel has set new standards for wireless Quality of Service (QoS), increasing the minimum percentage of successful call attempts and completed calls to 97% in urban areas and 90% in rural areas, splitting a previous national total into regional values. The decision follows a study conducted by the regulator in H1 2012 investigating the service standards of the nation’s cellcos. The report found that in Q1 Entel had 94.8% successful calls, Claro 93.0% and Movistar 92.5%, which improved to 97.6%, 96.0% and 96.0% in Q2. Newcomers to the market Nextel and VTR had successful call rates of 97.6% and 96.5% respectively. In terms of completed calls Entel had success rates of 93.4% (Q1) and 96.1%, Claro had 91.7% and 94.8% whilst Movistar fell behind with 90.9% and 94.2%. Nextel and VTR customers completed 96.8% and 95.3% of calls.

Commenting on the changes, the secretary of state commented: ‘The decision to upgrade the standard of quality of service for mobile phones, from a national average to a regional standard, aims to improve the performance of networks in each city and guarantees users good service where they live. This regulatory change will increase the demands for companies that will even out the quality of their networks throughout the country.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:47:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rica’s telecoms watchdog Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) expects a management company for the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) to be selected by early February, with the system to be in place within the following three months, La Nacion quotes Eduardo Castellon, a spokesperson for the regulator, as saying. Four companies are competing for the project, Telcordia Technologies, Informatica El Corte Ingles, Teletech and CESA-Porting Consortium. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that a committee representing the nation’s trio of cellcos – ICE Celular, Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica – is to make the selection but if no decision is reached, Sutel will intervene and select a company. Such an eventuality is expected, as incumbent ICE has sought to hold up the project and had filed 20 appeals to halt or delay the introduction of MNP by end-December 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:46:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile network operator Airtel Tanzania has cut the cost of its on-net calls to TZS0.10 (USD0.00006) per second after the first two minutes of the call – equivalent to a reduction of 70%. The new lower rate will take effect from 24 January, allowing Airtel pay-as-you-go users to pay far less to make on-net calls.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:44:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set a new price cap of NGN4 (USD0.025) for domestic off-net text messages, to be introduced from 5 February 2013, according to local newspaper The Guardian. The new rate is a 60% reduction from the previous cap of up to NGN10 per off-net SMS. Commenting on the move, Josephine Amuwa, the NCC’s director of Legal and Regulatory Services, said that having evaluated and analysed SMS traffic information provided by the operators, the regulator noted that ‘there was a general recognition that the cost of SMS is too high, especially in view of the interconnection rate of NGN1.02 for SMS as determined by the Commission in 2009.’ She added that at present, the NCC has no plans to place a price cap on international SMS, but said the regulator would encourage operators to work towards lowering the cost of international messages.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:43:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel reports that the country was home to a total of 261.78 million mobile connections at the end of 2012, up 8.07% (or 19.5 million new lines), from the 242.20 million reported at the end of 2011. Cellular penetration increased to 132.78 mobile lines per 100 of population over the same period, it added. Of the total, 80.53% of lines (210.82 million) were pre-paid, down from 81.8% a year earlier, while GSM continued to be the most popular access platform, accounting for 74.8% of connections, compared to 82.4% in 2011.

In terms of mobile market share, Anatel said that Vivo (owned by Spain’s Telefonica) controlled 29.08% of the segment at end-2012, ahead of TIM Brasil (26.87%), America Movil-backed Telecom Americas (Claro) with 24.95%, Oi SA in fourth with 18.81%, CTBC or Agar Telecom (0.18%), regional operator Sercomtel (0.03%) and fledgling MVNO Porto Seguro (with 8,300 accesses). For the first time NII Holdings’ Nextel Brasil unit was also ranked, having launched 3G data plans without fanfare at the end of the fourth quarter.

Alongside Anatel’s mobile market update, Brazil’s Telebrasil association released its estimate of the broadband market, reporting a total of 86 million high speed internet accesses (fixed and mobile) at end-December, up 45% year-on-year – with the strongest growth coming from mobile broadband (up 60% y-o-y). The association said that around 27 million new mobile connections were activated last year, lifting the total to 52.5 million 3G cellular accesses and 13.5 million via data terminals (including modems and M2M connections).

Finally, Brazil’s incumbent cellcos continued to roll out their 3G coverage last year, collectively reaching 3,285 municipalities, or 88% of the population, at the year’s end, up 24% (or 635 new municipalities) compared to end-2011. The deployments helped boost the total cities covered figure beyond the government’s own target dramatically; the state had set a goal of 928 cities covered with 3G networks by April 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:41:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Rene Meza, the managing director of Vodacom’s Tanzanian mobile operation has expressed concerns over a plan by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to slash interconnection fees, saying such a move would hurt infrastructure investment in the East African nation.

As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the government of Tanzania is considering slashing the rates that mobile network operators charge each other for terminating calls on each others’ networks by up to 69% from March 2013, in an effort to drive competition. Innocent Mungy, a spokesman for the TCRA, was quoted as saying that under the proposal, the mobile interconnection rate could be cut to TZS34.92 (USD0.022) a minute, from the current TZS112.00. The TCRA will decide on the precise magnitude of the cut this month, but in an e-mailed statement Rene Meza said: ‘We have raised concerns with the significant reduction proposed in March 2013 and the basis by which the reduction has been proposed … It is important that interconnect charges are designed to reflect the actual costs of mobile operators and the impact that the reduction will have on investment plans by Vodacom and other national operators.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:40:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of South Sudan is looking to deploy a fibre-optic network connecting the capital Juba with submarine cables in east Africa, in a bid to reduce the high cost of internet services in the landlocked country. ‘We are targeting this year, within this year, that we will be connected to the submarine cable,’ Juma Stephen, undersecretary at the Ministry of Telecommunication and Postal Services, told news agency Reuters, adding: ‘Construction of fibre-optic cables will more than halve internet prices and make it twice as fast.’ South Sudan, which officially gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, currently relies on slow and expensive satellite links for international bandwidth. Stephen said the government is carrying out a feasibility study on whether to connect with submarine cables (such as The East African Marine System [TEAMS], Eastern Africa Submarine System [EASSy] and SEACOM) in Djibouti or Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:39:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) has announced its results for the twelve months ended 31 December 2012. Consolidated net profits fell to BHD60.3 million (USD160.0 million) from BHD80.0 million the previous year, and group EBITDA also fell to BHD101.8 million versus BHD126.0 million posted in 2011. The company attributed the decline to aggressive competition in Bahrain, restructuring costs for 2012 and 2013 and a number of one-off adjustments including expenses associated with an extensive restructuring and cost rationalisation programme at the domestic division. Consolidated total annual revenues stood at BHD304.7 million in 2012, down by 6.8% from BHD327.0 million a year earlier, while fourth-quarter total group revenue was BHD77.2 million, down by 5.3% from BHD81.5 million in the same period of 2011. At year-end 2012, 41% of revenues and 39% of EBITDA were sourced from overseas markets – up from 37% and 31% respectively in 2011 according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database – helping to partially offset the effects of intense competitive pressures in Bahrain.

The group’s total subscriber base grew to more than 7.8 million across six markets, representing 18% growth year-on-year, driven by strong results in Jordan and Yemen during the year and in the fourth quarter in particular. Mobile subscriber numbers grew 17% year-on-year and 5% quarter-on-quarter. Broadband customers increased by 52% year-on-year and by 18% in October-December 2012, with results supported by progress in Bahrain and Jordan. Figures excluded results from operations in India, where Batelco’s agreed sale of its 43% stake in S Tel is pending completion, and the Bahraini telco is suing its Indian partner for non-payment.

The Bahraini group’s domestic division achieved a 3% increase in mobile subscriber numbers during the fourth quarter of 2012, although year-on-year the mobile base saw a 5% decline as a result of ongoing and aggressive competition and a ‘challenging’ regulatory environment, Batelco said. Bahraini mobile broadband subscribers increased by 56% y-o-y and 8% q-o-q, but fixed broadband and fixed line customers reduced by 8% and 5%, respectively y-o-y, whilst remaining ‘stable’ over Q4 2012.

Umniah in Jordan delivered 3% growth in its mobile subscriber base to 2.4 million, following the launch of 3.5G services (adding 122,000 3G subscribers during 2012). Umniah reported fixed and wireless broadband subscriber growth of 521% y-o-y and 62% q-o-q.

In Kuwait, Batelco claimed that Qualitynet remained the market leader in the data communications and internet sector, maintaining market share and ending the year with 39,000 customers.

Sabafon (Yemen) returned to growth in 2012 following stabilisation of the country’s political situation and the rationalisation of the customer base, which was completed in the first quarter, excluding non-active SIM cards. Sabafon ended 2012 with a subscriber base of more than 4.1 million users, up by 33% y-o-y and 9% q-o-q.

Atheeb (Saudi Arabia) made a shift in its business model during 2012, focusing on the high margin business segment, resulting in an annual decline of 11% in total voice and data services customers, while the company was successful in adding a ‘significant’ number of new business customers to keep numbers steady on a quarter-on-quarter basis, and in terms of growing revenues.

Batelco recently announced a deal to enlarge its footprint by acquiring equity interests in Cable & Wireless Communications’ Monaco & Islands division across eleven new markets, which was approved by the shareholders of both companies in early January 2013, and which remains on track to close during the first quarter.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:37:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malik Shaban, the deputy CEO of ZTE in Libya, has revealed to the Libya Herald that a nationwide WiMAX network could be in place as early as August this year, confirming that work has now commenced on the second phase of deployment. The rollout, which is being carried out on behalf of the country’s dominant internet service provider (ISP), state-owned Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT), will see around 300 WiMAX base stations deployed across the country, with a particular focus on rural areas in the south. The rollout will supplement LTT’s current footprint of 346 towers, which cover 18 locations. However, the undertaking may not end there; LTT’s managing director, Saad Ksheer, told the paper that the company is planning a total of 588 new WiMAX towers to ease network congestion. ZTE has been active within Libya since September when it was drafted in to repair infrastructure damaged during the revolution. However, it is thought that ‘phase two’ of the rollout dates back to the period prior to the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 8:36:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Now that the government has decided to allow the RM200 rebate for all types of smartphones, local phone distributors and telecommunication providers are now experiencing a big jump in sales.
 
For some, problems have even cropped up: they do not have enough phones to sell because of the surge in demand.
 
The government’s move to remove the limit to smartphones costing RM500 each or less is expected to benefit about one million youths between 21 and 30 years earning less than RM3,000 a month.

Jason Lo, Chief Executive Officer of Tune Talk Sdn Bhd, said since the announcement, demand for its smartphones has risen by over 50 per cent.
 
Tune Talk is one the service providers for the package under the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
 
“The announcement was a good move by the government. We receive around 10 to 15 new applications for the rebate daily and the number is rising,” Lo told Bernama.
 
The government’s pro-active move also benefited Tune Talk’s 800 dealers nationwide, he said.
 
“We do not have a problem in terms of smartphones stocks as our policy is to order only when there is a demand. Currently, demand is still under control,” Lo said.
 
Eddy Tay, Head of Sales at NineTology Malaysia Sdn Bhd, said youths were benefiting from the government effort to equip them with smartphones as they have more models now to choose from.
 
“Youths these days not only purchase smartphones to communicate but also for Internet data,” he said.
 
With the latest announcement, Tay said demand from his distributors had increased.
 
Meanwhile, ZTE Malaysia Director of Terminal Division, Jeremy Zhao, hoped that the government could extend the campaign to not only smartphones but also to the entire list of mobile broadband products to help enrich end-user options and increase mobile broadband penetration in Malaysia.
 
“Initially, 23 models were shortlisted, but now all smartphone vendors stand to benefit,” he said, adding that his company was also experiencing an increase in sales.

Source: The Malaysian Times.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 8:06:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2013

Brazilian mobile network operators TIM Brasil and Oi SA have announced plans to share 4G networks in the country, to allow them to offer ultra-high speed cellular services in the host cities for the FIFA Confederations Cup (Copa das Confederacoes) – Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. In a joint statement on 18 January, the two carriers said the decision to share the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) network infrastructure will yield savings of between 40%-60%, enabling them to be more competitive against other mobile carriers. The new services are expected to be ready in April, in time for testing ahead of the football tournament which kicks off in June 2013. The partnership agreement is still to be approved by the national watchdog Anatel.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:08:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Macedonia’s industry regulator the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has published its latest observatory of the country’s telecoms markets for the period ended 30 September 2012. At that date the watchdog counted a total of 2.299 million active mobile subscribers, up 1.9% from 2.257 million in September 2011. Of these, the number of mobile broadband (2G/3G) users stood at 446,288, up 15.9% from 384,988 a year earlier; 2G narrowband users topped 172,787 (+63.8%). The Macedonian regulator also said that mobile phone users generated voice traffic of over 1.020 billion minutes in Q3 2012, up 17.3% y-o-y and 3.7% higher than in Q2 2012.

The total number of main lines in service (PSTN and ISDN) reached 407.896 at end-September 2012, down 1.4% year-on-year, of which business lines accounted for 43,615 (-0.02%). Meanwhile the number of residential fixed line subscribers dropped by 1.5% in the year under review to 364,281. The total number of internet connections was 302,257, compared to 271,773 at end-September 2011. IPTV subscriptions stood at 58,385, up 64.9% on an annualised basis.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:07:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A fibre-optic undersea cable that links Cuba with the global internet via Venezuela appears to have finally been activated, almost two years after the system first landed on the island. In the past week, internet monitoring firm Renesys has observed much lower latencies in Cuba, while noting that Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica has begun service to the island’s state-owned telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA). The 1,600km cable, known as Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de nuestra America (ALBA-1), landed on Siboney beach in Cuba in February 2011, but no further developments on the cable’s progress have been reported until now. In an online blog, Renesys noted that traffic via the cable seems only to be flowing into the country, not out of it: ‘Telefonica’s service to ETECSA is, either by design or misconfiguration, using its new cable asymmetrically (i.e. for traffic in only one direction)… In such a configuration, ETECSA enjoys greater bandwidth and lower latencies (along the submarine cable) when receiving internet traffic but continues to use satellite services for sending traffic.’ Cuba accesses the internet via expensive and slow satellite connections, and while the activation of the undersea cable system is a first steps towards providing ETECSA with a better link to the internet, Renesys noted that it is unlikely to lead to widespread public access to the World Wide Web, in the short term at least.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:06:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bloomberg News writes that the government of Tanzania is considering slashing the rates that mobile network operators charge each other for terminating calls on each others’ networks by up to 69% from March 2013, in an effort to drive competition. Innocent Mungy, a spokesman for the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), is quoted as saying that under the proposal, the mobile interconnection rate could be cut to TZS34.92 (USD0.022) a minute, from the current TZS112.00. He added that the TCRA has also acquiesced to a request from domestic operators to start charging fees in the local currency, the shilling, rather than in USD dollars, as has been the case until now.

‘We are doing this to encourage competition in the sector, and to ensure calling is affordable to consumers,’ the TCRA official said. ‘We held consultations with stakeholders including consumers and telecom operators on the matter yesterday and the board will have to make a decision in a week or so but before the end of this month. The rates however have to go down.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:04:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly, Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), has reduced the cost of making a national mobile phone call to CUC0.35 (USD0.35) per minute from CUC0.45, reports Telesemana. The move comes almost one year after the rate of a domestic mobile voice call was reduced from CUC0.60. Earlier this month the operator also introduced a calling-party-pays (CPP) system, meaning that the island’s mobile subscribers no longer have to pay to receive calls and text messages.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:03:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China’s wireless market expanded to 1.11 billion users by the end of 2012, including 233.4 million 3G subscribers according to data released by the nation’s three mobile providers, increasing from 975.7 million total and 127.5 million 3G customers at end-December 2011. China Mobile recorded 710.3 million active wireless users at the end of December 2012, of which 87.9 million were 3G users, up by 9.3% and 71.7% year-on-year respectively. China Unicom meanwhile, claimed a total of 239.3 million users (+19.6%) including 76.5 million 3G customers (+91.0%) whilst China Telecom had 69.1 million 3G customers (+90.3%) out of its 160.6 million-strong customer base (+27.0%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:02:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Con el avance y puesta en marcha del Proyecto Nacional de Fibra Óptica, 226 municipios adicionales se conectarán con servicios de Internet de alta calidad.

El anuncio lo hizo el Presidente de la República, Juan Manuel Santos, durante el Acuerdo para la Prosperidad realizado en Coyaima (Tolima), en donde resaltó que gracias a este proyecto el 100% de los municipios del Tolima ya están conectados con fibra óptica.
 
Los 266 municipios beneficiados hacen parte del primer grupo del Proyecto Nacional de Fibra Óptica, que lidera el MinTIC, y gracias a la cual se conectarán a la autopista de la información el 96% los municipios del país.
 
 Las poblaciones del primer grupo están ubicados en 9 departamentos: Antioquia (29), Caldas (17), Cundinamarca (32), La Guajira (1), Meta (13), Nariño (38), Norte de Santander (24), Risaralda (9), Santander (31) y Tolima (32).
 
El Proyecto Nacional de Fibra Óptica consta de una gran red que se despliega por todo el país interconectando las cabeceras municipales. Con este proyecto Colombia pasó de tener 200 municipios conectados en el 2011 a 551 a comienzos del 2013, y la meta es llegar a 1.078 en el año 2014. 
 
El despliegue de la infraestructura óptica inició en noviembre de 2012 y durante el proceso que culminará en el 2014 se construirá una red de 15.000 kilómetros a lo largo de todo el país. 
 
El Ministro TIC, Diego Molano Vega, precisó:” Este proyecto, que hace parte de los objetivos del Plan Vive Digital, permitirá que el país se ubique a la vanguardia de conectividad en América Latina, haciendo parte del grupo de líderes que actualmente implementan proyectos nacionales de banda ancha, soportados en redes de fibra óptica”.
 
¿Por qué Fibra Óptica?
 
A través de esta red se transmiten voz, imágenes, videos y datos a grandes velocidades y menor costo en comparación a otras tecnologías, convirtiendo la fibra óptica en una verdadera autopista de la información para los colombianos.
 
Las señales que son transportadas no se ven afectadas por cambios climáticos o radiaciones electromagnéticas.
 
¿Para qué Fibra Óptica?
 
 · Ofrecer servicios como Internet, televisión digital y telefonía en municipios pequeños.
 · Generar oportunidades de Educación a través de Internet.
 · Mejorar los sistemas de información de las entidades públicas, privadas e instituciones de atención en caso de emergencia.
 · Incentivar a entidades de salud a desarrollar proyectos de telemedicina.
 · Promover el desarrollo de contenidos y de aplicaciones.
 · Consolidar una herramienta para las miles de MiPymes colombianas.
 · Generar más oportunidades de negocio en temas como la Educación Virtual y los Contact Center.

Source: Dinero.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 10:01:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Zambia government announced that five firms, including South Africa-based Vodacom, have expressed interest in the country's fourth mobile licence. Communication, transport, works and supply Minister Chris Yaluma said no decision had been made yet regarding the successful bidder and that other interested companies can still bid, ITweb reported. Zambia's telecommunication market is currently dominated by Airtel and MTN, which together have over 8.5 million subscribers. The government still needs to revoke regulations that have been blocking the introduction of a fourth mobile service provider. Yaluma said once the paperwork is done, a tender would be launched for the interested companies. He said the country could see the setting up of the fourth mobile company before the end of 2013.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:56:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indonesia’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, PT Indosat, is forecasting that data users will swell rapidly in 2013 to account for the majority of its total user base by the year end, driven by strong demand for smartphones and internet access. The Jakarta Post quotes Indosat director and chief commercial office Erik Meijer as saying: ‘We expect data subscribers to increase from 49% to 60% [of the total],’ in fiscal 2013.

The cellco experienced fluctuating fortunes in terms of its subscriber base last year, which fell by 2.3% to 50.914 million in Q2 2012, before rallying to 55.451 million by end-September. Although fourth-quarter financial and operational data is not yet available, Indosat earned IDR1.6 trillion (USD165.6 million) in net profits for the first nine months of 2012, up 55.4% when compared to the same period in the previous year. Revenues for 9M12 reached IDR16.5 trillion, up 7.6% year-on-year, with Mr Meijer saying that in 2013, the company is aiming to grow its business ‘at least in accordance with industry growth’ – estimated at between 7% and 8%. Further, data subscribers contributed about 20% to the group’s total revenues last year, he added noting that each data subscriber could generate ‘as much as 30 times more traffic than three years ago’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:54:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of telephone subscribers in India fell to 921.47 in November, down by 13.70 million from October, according to figures from the Telecom Regularity Authority of India (Trai). The overall teledensity slipped to 75.55 from 76.75 a month earlier. The mobile subscriber base fell to 890.60 million from 904.23 million in the previous month, down by 1.51 percent, due to large scale disconnections of inactive subscribers by some operators. Private operators hold 88.19 percent of the mobile market share (based on subscriber base) whereas state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL hold a 11.81 percent share of the market. Meanwhile, the fixed-line subscriber base declined from 30.95 million in October to 30.87 million in November. BSNL and MTNL hold a share of 79.66 percent of the fixed-line market and private operators have a 20.34 percent share. Furthermore, the broadband subscriber base increased to 14.88 million from 14.81 million a month earlier. The top five ISPs in terms of market share (based on subscriber base) are BSNL with 9.79 million broadband customers, Bharti Airtel with 1.39 million subscribers, MTNL with 1.08 million, Hathway with 370,00, and You Broadband with 290,000 broadband customers.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:53:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is proposing to conduct a two-year trial to allow MVNOs. The new proposal is an attempt to increase competition on the Chinese telecommunications market which is dominated by three firms. Companies wanting to operate an MVNO must have telecommunications experience and a team of over fifty people, the Shanghai Daily reports. Telecommunications carriers Chine Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom are required to provide bandwidth at fair prices. Interested parties can lodge feedback on the proposal until 6 February.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:50:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
About 35.3 percent of TV homes in Sub-Saharan Africa took digital signals by end-2012, according to a study by Digital TV Research. The digital TV penetration will grow to 95.5 percent by 2018, with household numbers quadrupling to 49 million. Full digital transition will have been completed in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by end-2015. Two-thirds of the region's TV households still received analogue terrestrial signals by end-2012, though this proportion will drop to 4.5 percent in 2018. Two-thirds of television homes will take DTT (pay and free-to-air combined) in 2018, up from only 11.7 percent at end-2012. Sub-Saharan Africa will have 33.8 million DTT homes by 2018, 25.7 million FTA and 8 million pay, up from 4.6 million in total at end-2012.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:49:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Israeli Minister of Communications director-general Eden Bar-Tal says tenders for 4G frequencies will be completed soon, Globes reported. Bar-Tal said the 2013 work plan, which the ministry is currently discussing, includes the allocation of 4G frequencies. Bar-Tal said that he not only intends to hold the tender, but to complete the allocation of frequencies so that mobile carriers will be able to prepare, and even begin the planning and establishment of the new network this year.
 
Bar-Tal plans to allocate 1,800 megahertz frequencies, which are available for use to Pelephone, HOT Mobile and Golan Telecom for LTE networks. He said Cellcom and Partner Communications, which already have frequencies in the range, will have to use them and will not be eligible to acquire additional frequencies.
 
The director-general said the tenders committee is due to convene and decide on the structure for the allocation and the number of frequencies. The committee is also due to decide on the allocation terms, since if it turns out that one of the carriers is not establishing a mobile network, it will not be able to receive an allocation of frequencies.
 
Another question that the committee, or the ministry, will also have to decide is what will happen if Cellcom or Partner decides to use their frequencies and rush to set up 4G networks, while the other carriers have no such option because they lack frequencies.  The ministry of communications' position is that it will prevent such a situation from developing, but it has yet to explicitly clarify the matter, said Globes.

Source: Telecom Paper.

LTE
Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:48:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bulgaria's telecoms regulator on Friday granted the country's fourth GSM mobile phone licence to local satellite operator Bulsatcom.

Bulsatcom will now compete with three other groups - M-Tel, controlled by Telekom Austria ; Globul, the Bulgarian unit of Greek OTE and Vivacom.

"Bulsatcom won a 10-year licence to use the frequencies in the 1800 Mhz range for 19 million levs ($12.96 million) and we already received a confirmation that the amount was paid," a spokeswoman for the regulator told Reuters.

Bulsatcom, which said its GSM services would be available for customers by the end of the year, said it would not seek a big market share at this stage.

Mobile phone market penetration in Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member, for 2011 was 147 percent. ($1 = 1.4656 Bulgarian levs) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: Reuters.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 1:20:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Telecommunications operator K2 Telecom has launched its operations in Uganda, the Daily Monitor reported. K2 Telecom is already positioning itself as the choice of the masses, the paper said, although the existing players seem to think that its entry is ill-timed and unnecessary.  K2 telecom is the seventh player in the telecommunication industry after Airtel, MTN, Warid, UTL, Smiles Telecom, and Orange Uganda.

The network has a national coverage. However, Warid Telecom chief commercial officer Shailendra Naidu said everything had already been done by the existing service providers, and there was nothing a new player could add. MTN said there could be as many service providers as possible because Uganda is a liberalised economy. MTN general manager for corporate service and chief legal counsel, Anthony Katamba, said whoever was able to offer quality services, would carry the day.

Currently, there about 15 million telecommunication subscribers. The first industry player was Celtel, now Airtel, before MTN, UTL and others ventured into the market. K2 Telecom's calling code is 0730.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:40:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Maxis yesterday shooed in the new year with the launch of Malaysia's first commercial LTE services in parts of the nation's Klang Valley.

The incumbent operator announced the commencement of services in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Damansara Utama, Desa Sri Hartamas, Bandar Puchong Jaya, Bandar Sunway and Cyberjaya.

Maxis, which was one of eight operators to receive a 2,600-MHz 4G license in early December, has committed to invest 500 million ringgit ($164 million) towards rolling out its LTE network over the next few years.

The company will initially be offering modem based wireless broadband services over the network. The plans come with between 3GB and 48GB of data, split evenly into peak and non-peak periods, for prices ranging from 48 ringgit ($16) to 158 ringgit.

Maxis said in a statement that service offerings will be extended to smartphones and tablets “very soon,” but did not provide further details.

CEO Sandip Das said the company will also soon be ready to provide value-added 4G enabled services to its subscribers, thanks to its “robust partnerships” with device makers and content providers.

He said Maxis' 4G subscribers can expect real-world average speeds of between 10-Mbps and 30-Mbps.

Source: Telecom Asia.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:38:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) launched the world’s first converged Long Term Evolution (LTE) FDD/TDD network on 18 December as scheduled. At the official launch one of its two network technology suppliers Ericsson demonstrated the world’s first live seamless bi-directional LTE FDD/TDD interworking on the converged 4G network. Ericsson was the sole supplier for CMHK’s LTE FDD network – which launched in April 2012 – while in July CMHK awarded ZTE and Ericsson contracts to expand the capacity and coverage of its 4G network by deploying LTE-TDD (TD-LTE) technology, aiming for dual-mode coverage of over 70% of the territory. According to CMHK both vendor companies have an equal share of the network construction project, with ZTE supplying equipment for the network in primary commercial areas of Hong Kong while Ericsson is responsible for the remaining areas. In its own press release Ericsson says it has delivered TD-LTE radio access infrastructure as well as network management using Ericsson OSS-RC (Operation Support System for Radio and Core) and an Evolved Packet Core network expansion and upgrade.

As part of the launch Ericsson also assisted CMHK and parent China Mobile with the first TD-LTE roaming services between Hong Kong and mainland China. The launch event showcased a series of applications based on TD-LTE data roaming between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong Province. The demonstration was supported by the LTE FDD/TDD converged commercial network in Hong Kong, as well as the TD-LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC), In-Building Solution (IBS) site and universal SIM (USIM) deployed by Ericsson in Shenzhen. The demonstration showcased real-time high-definition video interaction between the two cities on TD-LTE networks for the first time, involving the LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode terminal in Hong Kong providing roaming to Shenzhen, as well as the TD-LTE terminal in Shenzhen providing roaming to Hong Kong.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:35:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mexico Congress votes for cell phone charges by the second MEXICO CITY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's lower house of Congress voted unanimously on Tuesday to change the country's telecom law to make cell phone operators charge customers per second of call, instead of rounding in minutes, as they had been doing for years.

The move had previously been approved by the Mexican Senate. The modification, which now only requires the final signature of president Enrique Pena Nieto, will become official 90 days after being published in the country's official gazette.

Source: Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Claro, the Brazilian unit of América Móvil, became the first carrier to launch LTE services in the country. Claro announced that LTE services are now available in the cities of Recife, Campos do Jordão (SP), Paraty and Buzios (RJ). Commercially branded as 4GMax, the service will be offered as part of phone and modem chip packages.

Although Claro was granted 40 megahertz of spectrum in Brazil’s June spectrum auction, the carrier started services in Recife using just 10 megahertz. Claro said it will gradually ramp up the service. In the cities of Campos do Jordão, Buzios and Paraty, Claro is using all 40 megahertz of spectrum.

Claro stated that it will meet Anatel’s requirement to provide LTE coverage for all the FIFA Confederations Cup host cities by April 2013. Coverage in the remaining cities will follow Anatel’s schedule.

Located in the northeast, Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco. According to Claro, Recife’s entire population is covered with 3G networks, and 93% of the state of Pernambuco’s urban population is covered by the carrier.

Claro is offering packages and plans above 5 gigabytes. The devices compatible with Brazil’s LTE technology are Motorola’s Razr HD, which costs about $314 (R$649), and Samsung’s Galaxy SIII, which costs about $479 (R$999); however, these prices are attached to the company’s contract plan: Claro Unlimited 200 4G. As for modems, Claro offers the Huawei E392 for about $153.50 (R$320) when attached to the contract plan dubbed Claro Internet 5GB. The pricing plans may vary according to region.

Source: RCR Wireless.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013 9:30:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 08, 2013

China's internet user base will reach 800 mln in 2015, reports People's Daily citing China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). As explained by MIIT minister Miao Wei, as the MIIT accelerates its 'Broadband China' project and expands broadband construction in the country, the number of internet users will continue to increase rapidly. Miao said it will continue to expand the development of mobile internet, e-commerce, cloud computing and M2M information services in China with the goal of reaching yearly e-commerce transactions of CNY 18 trillion, 2.3 million new internet sector jobs, and yearly software and information service revenue of CNY 4 trillion by 2015. The MIIT has also set a goal of domestically producing 80 percent of the country's LCD display panels used in television production.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:06:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Lanka Business Online reports that Mobitel Sri Lanka is expanding its number of base stations from 1,800 to 3,500 in a move that will result in 100% population coverage. This year the company marks its 20th anniversary since launching an AMPS network in 1993. On 31 December 2012 Mobitel revealed that it had launched LTE services. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Mobitel is the wireless arm of fixed line telco Sri Lanka Telecom, and claimed a 23.3% share of the Sri Lankan mobile market at the end of September 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:04:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of the Union of Comoros has launched the privatisation of its national PTO Comores Telecom (Comtel) via an international auction, Agence Ecofin reports. Under the plan the Ministry of Economy and Finance is looking to divest a 51% stake in the incumbent operator to private investors. The remaining 49% equity will be retained by the government (34%), and 15% will be held by Comtel employees. TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported in November 2012 that the government had published expressions of interest for the majority stake on offer, requesting that interested parties submit applications, including information on their business and their reasons for wishing to participate in the tender process. As a precursor to the sale, the Ministry confirmed its intention to restructure Comtel, which has 230,000 mobile and around 23,600 fixed line subscribers, transferring its primary assets to a new legal entity (Newco). The privatisation of the operator was one of the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund, as part of the country’s plan to reach the completion point of its Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme, the external debt relief for which amounted to EUR133 million (USD174.7 million).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:03:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s five principle mobile operators – Africell, Airtel, Orange, Oasis (Tigo) and Vodacom – along with fixed line operator Standard Telecom, have come under fire from telecoms minister Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba over their poor network quality. Agence Ecofin reports that Mulumba is pressing for financial penalties to be applied to the companies as censure for their lack of network improvements. His grievances also include the ‘chaotic’ distribution of SIM cards by street vendors, which in his opinion conspires to ‘distort’ the satisfactory identification of mobile users.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:02:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Israeli Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon has told the cabinet that the public has saved ILS 5.7 billion in the past two years from the mobile market reform. According to Globes, Kahlon said an average household with three mobile phones saved ILS 1,900 a year, and that a household with four phones saved ILS 2,500 a year. Kahlon also said that the average mobile phone user pays ILS 93 a month, 36 percent less than the ILS 145 a month spent in 2010, even though average minutes of use per user rose from 347 per month to 426.

Kahlon said that the average cost of minutes of use on a mobile phone has fallen 75 percent in the past two years from ILS 0.42 to ILS 0.10. The minister said that the mobile devices import reform has cut prices by 60 percent. He also reported that one million subscribers switched carriers in January-September 2012.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 9:00:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnam's mobile phone exports grew 97.7 percent during 2012 to reach USD 12.6 billion. According to the country's customs department, Vietnam exported 11.901 million phones and phone parts in the first half of December, which is up 84.7 percent year-on-year, Viet Nam News reports. The main importers of Vietnamese phones are the European Union, with USD 5.08 billion, accounting for nearly 45 percent, followed by the United Arab Emirates, which imported USD 1.31 billion, Russia at USD 690 million, and Hong Kong with USD 460 million. Phone exports are expected to reach USD 12.9 billion this year.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:59:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India ended November with 663.77 million GSM customers, as operators jointly shed 9.02 million subscribers in the month, according to figures from the industry association Coai. Bharti Airtel lost 2.80 million subscribers in November to bring its total to 183.61 million, and the company had a market share of 27.66 percent. Vodafone India shed 2.38 million customers and ended the month with 150.76 million subscribers. Vodafone's market share stood at 22.71 percent. Idea Cellular shed 1.56 million subscribers to bring its total to 114.14 million and the operator had a market share of 17.20 percent. Meanwhile, BSNL maintained its customer base at 97.17 million and its market share totalled 14.64 percent. Aircel ended the month with a total subscriber base of 65.32 million and a market share of 9.84 percent, as the company lost 1.46 million customers. Uninor shed 437,915 subscribers to end November with 40.60 million subscribers and a market share of 6.12 percent. Videocon shed 379,787 subscribers to bring its customer base to 4.01 million and its market share stood at 0.60 percent, while MTNL lost 741 subscribers to end the month with 5.12 million subscribers. MTNL had a market share of 0.77 percent. Loop Mobile maintained its customer base at 3 million with 0.46 market share.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:57:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sri Lankan mobile network operator Mobitel has announced the launch of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on a commercial basis, having conducted trials of the 4G technology as far back as May 2011. At that date the cellco said it achieved mobile data speeds of up to 96Mbps (downstream) and 49Mbps (uplink). In this latest development, Mobitel claimed that the opening of the new infrastructure to the public would ‘enable it to provide an enhanced and diversified service to its customer base’. Looking ahead the cellco has also noted that it expects to ‘yield the best out of the mobile 4G/LTE services’ by taking advantage of the fibre network operated by its parent company, Sri Lanka Telecom.

Meanwhile, the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Dialog Axiata, has announced its own launch of LTE technology in Colombo. According to LteWorld.org, the operator has introduced Time Division Duplex LTE (TD-LTE) services in the capital, with coverage expected to be extended to all of the country’s major cities and towns in ‘the immediate future’. Prices for the market leader’s LTE services start at LKR1,400 (USD10.95) per month for a connection offering downlink speeds of 4Mbps and 25GB data usage allowance.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:55:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
GSM operator Cellcom Liberia has announced plans to deploy a new ultra-high speed fibre-optic network in the country. AllAfrica.com quotes the cellco’s CEO Avishia Marziano, as making the announcement at the end of 2012. ‘We are delighted with this feat achieved by our organisation especially at this time. Cellcom continues to prove itself as an innovative and technology market leader as we have again demonstrated this latest position as we go live with the ACE fibre-optic cable,’ Marziano said. Echoing his words, corporate communications spokesperson Dr Kimmie Weeks noted: ‘Cellcom has invested over USD2.5 million into the ACE fibre-optic cable … creat[ing] the road to the super highway so that our customers will be able to access and enjoy the benefits of fibre.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 8:54:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 20, 2012
Moldova’s National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI) has reported that the total number of fixed broadband internet subscribers reached 396,500 at 30 September 2012, an increase of 20.4% from 329,100 at the same date a year earlier. xDSL connections accounted for the majority of fixed broadband connections in Q3 2012 (52.3%, down from 57.8% twelve months previously), followed by FTTx accesses which made up 41.9% of the total (37.5%) and cable subscriptions with 5.5% (4.1%). Fixed line incumbent Moldtelecom remains the market leader in the fixed broadband market, holding a share of 69.1% at the end of September 2012, followed by StarNet (16.9%), Sun Communications (5.6%) and other operators (8.4%). The number of 3G mobile internet customers (using USB modems and data cards) totalled 167,600 at the end of September 2012, an increase of 8.9% year-on-year. Orange Moldova accounted for highest number of mobile broadband customers (80,500) according to ANRCETI, followed by Moldcell with 56,600 and Moldtelecom with 30,400.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile number portability (MNP) is now available in Paraguay, TeleSemana reports. The service is priced at PYG21,864 (USD4.82) and includes an eight-day processing time, which is scheduled to decrease to five working days by the end of the year.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2012 Spanish firm El Corte Ingles won the contract to administer Paraguay’s MNP database, after being selected by the Comision Tecnica de Portabilidad Numerica (CTPN), which comprises representatives of the country’s four mobile operators – Tigo, Nucleo (Telecom Personal Paraguay), Hola Paraguay (Vox) and Claro Paraguay – and telecoms regulator Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel). El Corte Ingles reportedly beat off stiff competition from Ericsson del Paraguay, a local offshoot of US firm Telecordia. El Corte Ingles has administered Spain’s number portability database since 1999, with a monthly average of over 140,000 ported lines. It has already won numerous contracts to administer MNP across Latin America, including markets such as Peru, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Mexico, although it lost out to chief rival Telcordia in both Argentina and Chile.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:46:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French watchdog the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) has announced a new maximum termination rate for voice calls in French overseas territories. The rate, which is effective from 1 January 2013, has been set at EUR0.01 (USD0.01) per minute and applies to operators in the Antilles-Guyane region (incorporating Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana) as well as Reunion and Mayotte.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:44:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telenor Norge claims it has become the country’s first operator to enable access to Long Term Evolution-based (LTE-based) services via mobile phone. With access having previously been restricted to those connecting via USB dongle, the operator has confirmed that from yesterday customers with 4G-compatible mobile handsets will be able to utilise its LTE network. It notes that it has put in place an ‘automatic solution’ which provides voice access over Telenor’s 3G network, while customers are transferred to the LTE infrastructure – where it is available – for web surfing and internet access.

Alongside this development, Telenor has also named a number of new locations which it plans to extend 4G coverage to by Christmas, with those being: Drammen, Fredrikstad, Sarpsborg, Skien, Porsgrunn and Kristiansand. Looking further ahead, the 4G footprint is expected to expand further in the New Year, with Telenor naming Tromso as another location where the network will be switched on at that date. In addition to expanding 4G across the country, Telenor’s managing director Berit Svednsen reiterated that the operator is also continuing to develop its third-generation infrastructure, noting: ‘90% of Telenor’s mobile customers have 3G coverage where they live, and the continuing expansion will ensure as much as 95% coverage. By the end of 2015 nine out of 10 Norwegians will also be able to use 4G from Telenor.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Telenor Norge unveiled commercial LTE services in eleven cities and towns across the country in October 2012. At launch the 4G network was available in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Lorenskog, Sandnes, Lillestrom, Asker, Baerum, Lofthus in Hardanger and Longyearbyen.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:39:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Namibia achieved an 8.7% year-on-year increase in turnover to NAD1.2 billion (USD135 million) in its financial year ended 30 September 2012, its managing director Frans Ndorama announced, adding that FY 2012 operating profit rose by 29% to NAD133 million. As reported by Namibia Press Agency, the growth was attributed to increased uptake of the telco’s broadband services, supported by capital expenditure (CAPEX) since 2009 of NAD746 million, covering investment in services/networks including ADSL, WiMAX, MPLS, submarine and terrestrial fibre-optic cables.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:38:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), the country’s incumbent fixed line operator, has reported revenues of BWP1.17 billion (USD145.9 million) for the twelve months ended 31 March 2012, an increase of 10.2% year-on-year, on higher data-related sales of BWP450 million. Local newspaper Mmegi Online reports that comprehensive income totalled BWP375.6 million for the 2011/12 fiscal year, compared to BWP227.4 million in the year-ago period, boosted by higher sales and a BWP138.7 million gain on property revaluation. State-owned BTC’s operating costs for the twelve-month period stood at BWP992 million, up from BWP881.6 million in the year ended 31 March 2011. Commenting on the results, BTC’s CEO Paul Taylor said: ‘We have been very vigilant in cutting costs, nonetheless we will continue to be prudent and make sure that we spend on those activities which yield the most value to our customers and other stakeholders.’ BTC offers fixed telephony services, as well as wireless telephony via its wholly owned mobile subsidiary beMOBILE and internet and data services through its Botsnet unit.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:36:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Algerian operators will launch 3G and m-payment services in the first quarter of next year, postal and ICT minister Mouusa Benhamadi announced to the local press. He said that the 3G licensing process would begin at the start of the year and services would begin before the end of March. The minister explained that 4G licensing was rejected due to the elevated cost of handsets, greater investment by operators, the requirement for a specific frequency band and the need for more base stations, authorisations to build them and the availability of necessary locations. Algeria launched a tender for 3G licences in September 2011, but suspended the process and delayed it several times due to a legal dispute between the government and Orascom Telecom Algeria, which operates under the Djezzy brand. In his latest statement to the press Benhamadi recognised that Algeria was behind in some services, such as m-payment, adding that Algerie Telecom, Mobilis and the postal service would introduce an m-payment service by the end of January

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:35:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |