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 Thursday, 23 May 2013
Russia and CIS mobile operator MTS reported that its consolidated subscribers base grew by 0.9 percent in the first three months of the year and by 6.23 percent year-on-year to 96.36 million at the end of March. In Russia, the total grew by 0.14 percent quarter-on-quarter and by 2.81 percent year-on-year to 71.33 million, and in Ukraine, the number of customers was up by 1.66 percent from the end of December and 8.69 percent higher year-on-year at 20.76 million. In Armenia, the total dropped by 0.83 percent from the previous quarter, but was up by 6.72 percent from a year earlier to 2.38 million at the end of March. The subscriber base totaled 1.89 million in Turkmenistan, up by 31.25 percent from three months earlier, and the total was 5.24 million customers in Belarus, up by 0.19 percent from end-2012 and up by 0.19 percent year-on-year.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:11:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has introduced a program dubbed Agenda Digital Imagina Chile 2013-2020. The project seeks to double internet penetration across the Chile’s population by 2020, Estrategia Online reports.
The document consists of 14 lines of action, with 30 different initiatives that seek to facilitate access to telecoms networks and services to all Chilean citizens. Activities linked to ICT services are expected to account for 10 percent of the country's GDP by 2020.
The project aims to increase digital inclusion for Chilean citizens from the current 41 percent to 80 percent by 2020. To support this goal, the government will power the deployment of additional Wi-Fi hotspots in public places.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:08:39 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to a survey conducted by the Saudi Consumer Protection Association (CPA), mobile communications charges in the Kingdom are among the highest in the world, with a rate of SAR0.35 (USD0.093) per minute, compared to an average of seven Saudi halalas (USD0.019) per minute in the rest of the world. The CPA’s survey figures represent ‘costs for all communication services, including the internet.’ The CPA conducted the survey after the announcement of the decision to stop free international roaming calls for subscribers, Zawya reported. In the statement CPA urged communication providers to restructure charges for mobile calls in order to reflect real prices. The association also announced its plans to publish a fair price for calls, by taking into account details such as average income, inflation and the ‘real price’ of communications.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:07:17 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Haiti’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Digicel has announced the launch of the first HSPA+ network in the country, with the service available to both pre- and post-paid subscribers. Digicel advertised an average download speed of up to 3Mbps for the service, depending on the location, the device capabilities and the network traffic, whilst theoretical peak HSPA+ speeds reach 21Mbps. The Digicel group markets 3.5G W-CDMA/HSPA+ services under the ‘4G’ banner, in common with many operators in the Americas/Caribbean region. Previously, Digicel Haiti offered 2.5G data services on an EDGE network, whilst its rival Natcom (backed by Vietnam’s Viettel) was the first in the country to launch W-CDMA services and operates a 3.5G HSDPA/HSUPA network. According to Digicel’s Haiti CEO Damian Blackburn, ’with Digicel 4G we have now built the first and most reliable 4G cellular network in the country, giving customers the fastest mobile data speeds – all backed by Digicel’s best service and best value.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:06:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nepal’s minister for information and communications Madhav Prasad Paudel has said the government is committed to improving its fibre-optic links in the country, specifically through the deployment of optical networks along highways and trunk roads. e-Kantipur notes that the state’s backing of the plan comes at a time when its efforts to roll out the district optical fibre project are faltering. Speaking last Friday, Paudel called for an increase in activity concerning fibre-optic networks, saying that ‘the government will arrange the required funds’.

The national regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), has been aiming to roll out fibre-optic networks along the country’s Mid-Hill Highway for several years, using monies supplied by Nepal’s Rural Telecommunication Development Fund – thought to be worth NPR7 billion (USD80.9 million). However, efforts to connect around 75 administrative districts have so far stalled due to what have been termed ‘procedural’ delays. The minister has called on the domestic telecoms industry to re-galvanise efforts to boost ICT in education, heath, rural development, and in its import and export markets.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:04:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AfricaOnline has reported ‘overwhelming’ demand for its new ‘NawaSat’ nationwide low-cost satellite internet service in Namibia. Following the nationwide launch – which expanded on an earlier limited launch – the ISP said that it has a long waiting list of customers, which include rural lodges, farms, users in small towns, as well as big corporate clients in larger centres. The base price is NAD500 (USD52) per month, while out-of-bundle top-up rates ‘compare extremely favourably with other products on the market’, according to AfricaOnline’s general manager Marc Gregan, who added that, ‘We explored the product with a view to making internet affordable in small communities, isolated areas and at lodges, but this also competes in urban areas.’ NawaSat is provided in cooperation with satellite service provider SES.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:03:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ukraine’s incumbent national PSTN operator Ukrtelecom reports that its number of fixed broadband subscribers increased by a net 43,000 in the first three months of 2013 to reach 1.584 million at the end of March, despite ‘ever increasing’ competition. The telco’s press service also claimed that Ukrtelecom’s ‘OGO’ branded fixed broadband services continued to reap the highest average revenue per user (ARPU) in the market, at UAH70 (USD8.50) per month, due to its ‘transparent tariff policy’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:01:54 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Irish operator Eircom has launched its fibre broadband network, offering the eFibre brand products and bundles for both private and business customers. The new eFibre products start from EUR 40 for consumers (six month promotional offer for new customers) and EUR 24.79 for businesses, and are available to more than 300,000 consumers and businesses from launch. eFibre offers download speeds of up to 70 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps. All eFibre products above the entry level come with unlimited downloads. All qualifying Eircom broadband customers will be able to upgrade for free to eFibre. This includes a free modem, free installation and no connection charge. 

Eircom aims to reach more than 600,000 homes and businesses by end-2013, bringing over 10,000 additional premises online each week. When completed in early 2015, the network will reach 1.2 million homes and businesses across Ireland, representing 60 percent of all homes and businesses in the country. Eircom also plans to increase the speeds available to up to 100 Mbps within the next year as fibre technology evolves.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 13:00:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Orange Tunisia and Qtel mobile subsidiary Tunisiana have signed an agreement with European carrier Interoute for the commissioning of a submarine cable connecting Kelibia, Tunisia, to Mazara del Vallo, Sicily. The 170 km cable called Didon will be Tunisia's first private submarine cable. It is due to be commissioned in April 2014 and to deliver a capacity of 8Tbps per operator. The cable will connect to Interoute's European fibre network at the landing point in Italy. It will use Alcatel-Lucent 100G submarine technology and will expand the capabilities of Orange Tunisia and Tunisiana's existing international networks, providing better throughput to support growth in fixed and mobile data traffic.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:59:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand's three private mobile operators and the regulator have agreed on an interconnection fee of THB 0.45 per minute. Advanced Info Service (AIS), DTAC and True currently work with an interconnection fee of THB 1 per minute but will soon sign an agreement to adopt the new, lower rate, The Nation writes. The rate will also apply to the operators' subsidiaries that operate 3G services, which already use the new interconnection rate. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) asked the three operators to negotiate a new agreement on one interconnection rate for all mobile services, rather than using the different rates. The companies agreed to do so while state-owned operators TOT and CAT Telecom have said they need more time to consider this. CAT and the private operators charge each other THB 0.50 per minute in interconnection fees.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:57:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thailand’s third largest cellco True Corp yesterday became the first operator in the country to launch commercial 4G mobile services by switching on its 2100MHz network offering both 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 3G W-CDMA/HSPA services. At launch True’s new network is limited in scope, comprising 500 LTE base stations and the same number of cell sites offering 2100MHz 3G services, compared to its existing 3G 850MHz network of 13,000 base stations nationwide. As reported by the Bangkok Post, the 4G network covers densely populated areas including Bangkok’s central business districts of Siam Square, Silom Road and Sathon Road, and will be expanded to 15 major provinces this year including Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Surat Thani and Ayutthaya. True added that by year-end it will increase the number of its 4G and 3G base stations on the 2100MHz spectrum to 2,000 and 5,000, respectively, while its total 3G 850MHz base stations will also rise, by around 1,000 to 14,000 this year. True’s 4G subscription packages start from THB699 (USD23.70) per month for an ‘unlimited’ data service – aimed at users of the handful of LTE-compatible devices currently available in Thailand, whilst the average price per MB (THB1) for its 3G users is half the cost of data access on True’s 2G network. True’s management stated that the operator will spend an additional THB15 billion on network expansion this year, and is aiming for ‘six million 4G subscribers by year-end compared with 3.2 million at present for 3G’.

The launch of True’s 4G/3G 2100MHz network came the day after market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) officially launched its commercial 2100MHz W-CDMA/HSPA network. AIS soft launched 2100MHz services on 9 April to existing customers with compatible devices, targeting at least 200,000 users in the introductory month, but at the official launch on 7 May it declared that it had exceeded this expectation, reporting that it already had 800,000 3G 2100MHz users.

Thailand’s second largest mobile operator DTAC confirmed yesterday that it will stick to a plan to commercially launch its 2100MHz 3G network in June.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:54:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has announced the outcomes from the digital dividend spectrum auction, which concluded this morning.
All three bidders—Optus Mobile, Telstra and TPG Internet—secured spectrum in the auction, resulting in total revenues of nearly $2 billion.
Four companies initially applied to participate in the auction. However, Vodafone Hutchison Australia withdrew before the auction, which started on 23 April 2013.
Following is a table of the auction results:


Spectrum secured

Total price

700 MHz band*

2.5 GHz band*

Optus Mobile

2×10 MHz
(20 MHz in total)

2×20 MHz
(40 MHz in total)

$ 649,134,167


2×20 MHz
(40 MHz in total)

2×40 MHz
(80 MHz in total)

$ 1,302,019,234

TPG Internet


2×10 MHz
(20 MHz in total)


Total spectrum sold

2×30 MHz
(60 MHz in total)

2×70 MHz
(140 MHz in total)

$ 1,964,653,401

Total spectrum unsold

2×15 MHz
(30 MHz in total)




*Under the allocation limits, a single bidder could not acquire more than 2×25 MHz (50 MHz in total) in the 700 MHz band and more than 2×40 MHz (80 MHz in total) in the 2.5 GHz band.

‘The auction process itself ran smoothly and resulted in the allocation of spectrum to the companies that valued it the most,’ said the ACMA’s Chairman, Chris Chapman.

Demand in Clock Round 1 of the auction led to three unsold lots in the 700 MHz band. In the 2.5 GHz band, demand exceeded supply in the first round but reached equilibrium at the end of Clock Round 3, at which point the clock rounds closed. This level of demand during the clock rounds meant prices payable by bidders are only marginally above reserve prices.

‘The auction tested the market and the auction’s conclusion is another important step toward realising Australia’s digital dividend,’ said Mr Chapman.

‘This decades-long process of spectrum reform has already transformed the television industry, delivering greater diversity and better technical quality of television services to viewers. It will be complete when the new licences in the 700 MHz band become operational at the beginning of 2015.’

‘By making spectrum previously required for analog television transmissions available to meet rising demand for high-speed wireless broadband, the digital dividend auction will well position the Australian telecommunications industry to deliver fast, ubiquitous and symmetrical mobile broadband connectivity to consumers and industry,’ Mr Chapman said.

Attached is the aggregate demand in each clock round (Figure 2) and the frequency assignments in each band for each successful bidder (Figure 3).

For further information about the digital dividend auction, please see the backgrounder.

For more information, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Source: ACMA.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:52:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which aims to enable mobile services in rural areas where there is no commercial business case to deploy these services, has taken a step forward today. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced today that Arqiva, the communications infrastructure and media services company, has won the Government tender to deliver the project.

Up to 60,000 premises and sections of road will be covered using the £150 million funding allocated to the project.

MIP is a vital part of the Government’s policy to reinforce the UK’s position as a leading digital economy. It will help connect rural communities, create local jobs and contribute to the national growth. The project sits alongside other initiatives including the £530 million Rural Broadband project and the £150 million ‘super-connected cities’ programme.

Arqiva will be responsible for a full scale mobile network roll out. The scope includes network planning, site acquisition as well as the deployment of site infrastructure and installation of equipment. It is expected that an announcement will be made on which locations will benefit from improved mobile coverage in the summer.

Nicolas Ott, Managing Director of Government, Mobile and Enterprise of Arqiva said: “We’re excited to be working with the Government and Mobile Operators on this important initiative. By investing in mobile infrastructure, the Government can help bridge the social and technological divides created in areas where commercial service is not economical, and we’re proud to be part of this process. MIP perfectly fits within our strategy of creating a range of platforms – cellular, WiFi and small cells – that provide mobile connectivity to all and support a thriving digital economy in the UK.”

Ed Vaizey, Culture Minister said: “Arqiva’s appointment today is great news for rural communities throughout the UK, who stand to benefit enormously from this £150m project to improve mobile phone coverage. Good mobile connectivity is becomingly increasingly important and it is crucial that businesses and individuals are not left struggling with poor and intermittent coverage.”

Source: Arqiva.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:48:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Brazilian operator Oi has started issuing the Oi Wallet, the first reloadable pre-paid card on the local market, in partnership with Banco do Brasil and Cielo. It works with both the mobile phone and the traditional card, providing mobility, convenience and cost control. The product allows users to make purchases at over a one million authorised Cielo sales points; to make pre-paid Oi top-ups and to transfer money to other customers. It is also possible to make withdrawals at ATMs from Banco do Brasil and corresponding banks.
The launch will be carried out in stages and is currently available to selected customers. Transactions happen via S@t Push technology, in which the messages are encrypted and not stored in the mobile. The monthly fee for Oi's new service is BRL 8.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 23 May 2013 12:45:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 09 May 2013

MTN connects over 195 million customers in 22 countries, but its home operation of South Africa experienced a 1.9% decline to 24.950 million subscribers from 25.421 million in Q4 2012.
Despite the fall in absolute numbers, MTN managed to maintain market share in South Africa, according to MTN Group President and CEO – Sifiso Dabengwa.
MTN South Africa: Average price per minute (PPM) declined 5.5% compared to the same period a year earlier affecting revenue growth capability. Blended ARPU declined a huge 8.1% to R110.62 as a result of promotional activities and a decline in effective tariffs.
MTN claims that towards the end of the quarter, there had been some signs of improvement in both subscriber and revenue trends. Data revenue is a key focus area for MTN, and active data subscribers stood at 13.3 million, data revenue, including MTN Business and mobile data, increased approximately 15.7 percent Year-on-Year.
MTN Nigeria: Net Additions went up by 3.9 Mn, and increase of 8.1 percent QoQ. Market share rebounded to 49.7 percent. Data subscribers reached 22.8 Mn and Data revenue went up by 63.5 percent YoY.
Network roll-out progressed rapidly too, with 450 new 2G sites during the quarter compared to 211 in the same period last year, and 259 new co-located 3G sites, bringing the total number of 3G sites to 3,508.
MTN in other countries:
MTN Ghana: Subscribers went up by 2.5% QoQ, adding 290,000 subscribers. Data subscribers reached 4.1 million and data revenue increased 67.3% YoY.
MTN Irancell: Subscribers went up by 2.6% QoQ. Data subscribers remained stable at 10.1 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 58.6% YoY.
MTN Cameroon: Subscribers went up by by 2.6% QoQ, adding 192,000 subscribers in the period. Data subscribers reached 600,000 at the end of the quarter and data
revenue increased 42.9%  YoY.
MTN Ivory Coast: Subscribers went up by 5.8% QoQ, adding 354,000 subscribers, while data subscribers reached 900,000 at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 41.1% YoY.
MTN Uganda: Subscribers went up by 3.2% QoQ adding 248,000 subscribers. Data subscribers reached 1.2 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 53.6% in YoY.
MTN Syria: Business faces challenging security and other issues. There were net disconnections of 364,000, a 6% decrease QoQ, with both revenue and margins coming under pressure. This is expected to continue unfortunately, according to MTN.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:41:32 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A price war is in progress in the Czech mobile market. The line up of cheaper flat-rate mobile tariffs is likely to have further repercussions going forward. A recent line-up of flat-rate calling plans in the recent weeks by T-mobile, O2 and Vodafone will mean that higher ARPU customers in the Czech mobile market stand to benefit.

O2 cut its full flat-rate call plan from 1,900 K? per month until mid-april, to 749 K? “Free CZ” plan for customers signing up for two years.

T-Mobile and Vodafone responded with similar price cuts, and Vodafone has since doubled to 1.2 gigabytes the amount of data offered free to customers of its 691 K?-per-month flat calling plan. It is reported that almost 300,000 people have taken up these offers!

Unlimited call plans

  • T-Mobile : 1.5GB for 749 K?
  • Telefónica O2 : 1.0 GB for 749 K?
  • Vodafone: 1.2 GB for 691 K?

Consumers get a cheaper price, and the operators may see an increase in ARPU. Margins may be lower on these deals, but ARPU could go up. Depending on the profile of users in the country, this could be good or bad news for the operators.
There is a downside to these deals as well, and that of possible cannibalisation of revenue from erstwhile high ARPU users, now migrating to these plans to take advantage of these offers. If price elasticity favours the operators, and there is a broad acceptance of these offers, then this will take the ARPU higher.

Smartphone penetration in the Czech market is still at very low levels (approximately 16%) compared to other markets in Europe this is almost 1/3rd that of markets like Denmark. It is possible that there will be a very strong growth in Feature phone to Smart phone penetration with the introduction of entry level smartphones.

Smartphones with a non-data oriented feature set, like that of the Lumia 520 and other entry level smart phones will greatly help boost smart phone penetration over the next 12-18 months.

Local news agencies in Czech market are reported to have said that Telefonica believes that the interest in these plans is “Phenomenal”, according to Hany Farghali of Telefonica Czech.

The Czech market is likely to see a fourth entrant in the market. The Czech Telecommunication Office is running an auction to award mobile spectrum frequencies for 4G/LTE.

It turns out that a recent MVNO launch, BLESKMobil and other possible MVNO launches may have triggered this price drop, according to some sources. This seems unlikely as longer duration and unlimited plans are not the domain of MVNOs like BLESKMobil, until they plan to go the “Free Mobile” route of the french operator, who came in and single handedly shook the french mobile market.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:37:45 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

CTIA released figures showing mobile internet data traffic in the US rose 69.3 percent in 2012 as compared to a year ago. Mobile internet traffic rose from 866.6 Billion MB in 2011 to 1.468 Trillion MB in 2012. There is a sharp drop in terms of rate of growth compared to a year ago. In 2011 the growth rate was 123 percent compared to 2012, which has now shrunk to 69.3 percent in 2012 from 2011.
CTIA also highlighted that the annual network investments mobile operators in the US grew by 19 percent from $25.3 Billion in 2011 to $30.1 Billion in 2012. This translates to an investment of US$ 94 per subscriber in the US compared to US$ 16 per subscriber for the rest of the world!
“The U.S. wireless industry’s record-setting level of network investment is clear proof of its continued commitment to providing Americans with superior 4G coverage. The wireless industry invested billions of dollars to improve their networks and their customers’ coverage in 2012, fueling the ‘virtuous cycle’ of innovation,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA. “The numbers clearly prove our members are key drivers of the U.S. economy, which will be enhanced by making more spectrum available for commercial use.”
Some key statistics from the 2012 year end survey are as below:

  • Wireless subscriber connections: 326.4 million (102 percent penetration); 2011: 315.9 million (3.3 percent increase).
  • Total prepaid / pay-as-you-go subscribers: 76.4 million (23.4 percent of subscribers); 2011: 71.7 million (6.6 percent increase).
  • Wireless network data traffic: 1.468 trillion megabytes; 2011: 866.8 billion (69.3 percent increase).
  • Active smartphones and wireless-enabled PDAs: 152.1 million; 2011: 111.5 million (36.4 percent increase).
  • Wireless-enabled tablets, laptops and modems: 22.3 million; 2011: 20.2 million (10.2 percent increase).
  • Minutes of Use (MOU): 2.2999 trillion; 2011: 2.2955 trillion (4.4 billion minute increase or .2 percent).
  • SMS sent and received: 2.19 trillion; 2011: 2.3 trillion (4.9 percent decrease).
  • MMS sent and received: 74.5 billion; 2011: 52.8 billion (41 percent increase).

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:34:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Virgin Mobile announced a new price plan called “1,2,Free”, offering subscribers every third minute, SMS, or megabyte of data free.

Two “1, 2, Free” price plans have been announced: one focused on voice, and the other on SMS and data:

  • Free Talk: every third minute is free every day.
  • Free Surf and Text: every third SMS and every third Megabyte is free every day.

Call rates are 99c per minute, billed on a per second basis, while an SMS/MMS costs 50c each, and data is billed at 99c per mb.
CEO of Virgin Mobile, Jonathan Marchbank, explained that the “Free Talk” plan will be Virgin Mobile’s default pre-paid price plan, but that customers can change to “Free Surf & Text” by dialling *110*6# from their handset.
Subscribers can change price plans for free every 30 days.
“We have been waiting for the price wars to play out before announcing 1,2,Free just to see how low they would go – and then we launched a much simpler and transparent set of offers,” Marchbank said.
Marchbank said – “It’s not a promotion, it’s a core offer”.
Asked why they didn’t bundle the free minutes, texts, and data all together in one plan, Marchbank said that “the economics wouldn’t work” for them.

Further questioned about why they didn’t just cut their prices by a third, Marchbank said that it’s to encourage people to use.
“If you start selling at 66c I’m starting a price war I don’t particularly want to,” Marchbank said, adding that he doesn’t want to win customers only on price, but on brand.
Marchbank explained that if someone switches to Virgin because of the price, they’re easy to lose again.
Wireless Federation refers to these users as “Headless Chickens”. These types of users are more expensive to have on your network and it is better to lose them as their SAC is much higher and retention even more expensive!

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:29:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A report by Wireless Federation highlights that 2013 will be the year when a majority of Mobile Operators will start treating Big Data as a strategic priority, for both internal as well as external use.

Internal use will be to boost ARPU,reduce CHURN, curb Fraud among other key use cases. External use will be to generate revenue from Big Data by selling insights to various verticals like Verizon sell insights like Verizon (Precision Market Insights) and Telefonica (Smart Steps).

AT&T labs has also been studying various uses of anonymous mobile usage data or Call Data Records (CDRs) since 2009.  One of them being the ability for city planners to get a better idea of where people work, live etc aiding better planning in the city to help curb traffic jams, plan major events, better public transport systems, provide better security etc.

As far back as 2011, researchers from AT&T labs gathered CDRs from over a million customers, and these CDRs ran into Billions.Users were from LA, SF and NY city primarily. Privacy was of utmost importance and as such antenna locations were used rather than specific phone locations, and the data was made completely anonymous. Findings revealed that residents of Los Angeles travel longer distances than San Francisco, and SF residents travel more than those of Manhattan, BUT the longest trips of Manhattan residents are longer than those of LA residents.

In another study it was revealed that more residents of the North & West parts of Morristown, N.J. attended the St.Patricks day parade in March 2011, compared to the South & East parts. This could potentially help make better traffic arrangements potentially in the future.

This information was earlier available through expensive surveys and infrequent census data. With high mobile penetration rates, it is possible to collect intelligence from Big Data easily now.

The potential of Big Data for Mobile operators holds a key to the falling ARPUs and lower return on Mobile Internet related investments. Operators who don’t leverage this soon, stand to lose out on this large pportunity. Market leaders and first movers will stand to gain more significantly than others.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, 09 May 2013 14:26:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 06 May 2013

Kyrgyzstan’s incumbent fixed line operator Kyrgyztelecom (KT) has reported revenue of KGS2.251 billion (USD46.7 million) for the year ended 31 December 2012, down from KGS2.474 billion twelve months earlier and KGS2.445 billion in 2010. Service revenues stood at KGS2.082 billion, 34% of which was accounted for by international and long-distance telephony (down from a share of 47% a year earlier) and 19% by local telephony sales (up slightly from 18% in 2011). Internet and data transmission services, meanwhile, are accounting for a rising proportion of total service revenue (31%, up from 20% the previous year) and television and radio comprised 15% of total sales (an increase of one percentage point year-on-year). The majority state-owned company said that EBITDA totalled KGS665.6 million in 2012, compared to KGS899 million the previous year, while net profit slipped from KGS352.6 million to KGS204.9 million over the same period. As at 31 December 2012 the number of KT’s fixed telephony lines had declined to 438,664 from 443,731 a year earlier.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:31:31 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) has published its latest observatory of Macedonia’s telecoms markets for the period ended 31 December 2012, showing that the total number of main lines in service (PSTN and ISDN) reached 408,318 at that date, up from 407,896 three months earlier, but down 3.25% on the 422,053 lines reported at end-2011. Meanwhile the number of residential fixed line subscribers dropped by 3.44% in the year under review to 364,598 and business lines dipped 1.70% to 43,720. The total number of internet connections was 312,272, compared to 302,257 at end-September 2012 and 282,370 at the start of the year. The total number of TV subscribers reached 278,140, compared to 251,584 at the start of the year, of which 66,541 were IPTV subscribers (+65.82%).

In the mobile segment, the AEC reported a total of 2.235 million active mobile subscribers, down 2.80% from 2.299 million in September 2012, but higher than the 2.213 million figure reported at end-2011. Of these, the number of mobile broadband (2G/3G) users stood at 505,596, up 35.44% from 373,288 a year earlier; 2G narrowband users topped 260,926 (+64.73%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:29:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cosmote Romania has announced the launch of commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Bucharest, Otopeni, Ploiesti, Cluj, Iasi, Sinaia, Busteni and Predeal. Initially the cellco’s LTE network is accessible via two USB dongles, each priced at RON99 (USD29.5) and the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE 10.1 tablet, costing RON1,369. The 4G launch allows end users to experience transmission speeds of up to 75Mbps/37.5Mbps (down/uplink). Lampros Iskos, chief technical officer for Cosmote Romania, commented: ‘The gradual development of our 4G network and product portfolio is ongoing, in alignment to our broadband development strategy which is the main pillar in our investment plans’.

Cosmote currently offers DC-HSPA+ speeds of up to 43.2Mbps in 159 cities and over 1,000 localities across Romania, covering over 49.5% of the population. In addition, 21.6Mbps HSPA+ technology is offered in a total of 189 cities, giving Cosmote 3G coverage of 73% of the population.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:27:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MIC Tanzania (Tigo), a 100% owned subsidiary of Luxembourg’s Millicom International Cellular (MIC), has extended its GSM network with the switching on of a new cell site in Kakola Kahama in the north western region of the country. In a statement, Tigo public relations officer Elias Bandeke said that the latest service expansion forms part of ongoing efforts to improve its coverage, and will soon see launches in Mwanza, Tabora, Mara and Kagara. Tigo Tanzania recently switched on a new tower in the remote area of Kasulu-Kigoma, he added.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Tigo Tanzania had a total of 6.043 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2012, including an estimated 70,000 3G users, giving it a market share of 22.8%. The other layers in the market are Vodacom Tanzania, Airtel (formerly Zain), Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel) and the mobile arm of national PTO Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL).

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE | Mobile
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:26:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Macau’s Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT), the territory’s total mobile subscriber base shrank marginally to 1.551 million at the end of March 2013, down by a net 2,000 users in a month. Nearly all subscribers are now 3G customers, with just 0.3% using 2G-only services. Macau’s active fixed voice lines also decreased in March 2013, by 500 in a month to 160,637, while the number of fixed broadband internet subscribers rose by 650 to 145,993.

Source: TeleGeography.

Broadband | LTE | Mobile
Monday, 06 May 2013 09:25:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has published its findings from the ‘Study of the Assessment of the Level of Competition in Nigerian Telecommunications Industry’, which it began in June 2012. The regulator has determined that MTN Nigeria is a dominant player in the mobile voice segment, with a market share of approximately 44%. As such, the South African-owned operator is required to adhere to obligations concerning: accounting separation; the introduction of equal rates for on-net and off-net tariffs (which will then be subject to periodic review); and submission of details on specific aspects of its operations as the need arises. Meanwhile, MTN and Globacom have both been designated as dominant operators in the wholesale leased lines and transmission capacity sub-segment of the upstream market. The pair are required to adhere to obligations of accounting separation, and must submit details on specific aspects of their operations as the need arises. They are also required to introduce a price cap for wholesale services and a price floor for retail services, as determined by the NCC. As the fixed voice market is in decline, the regulator did not identify a dominant operator in this segment, while the mobile data market was declared effectively competitive. The fixed data market and downstream segment, meanwhile, were identified as nascent markets in which no operators are considered dominant. The regulator’s determinations will take effect from 1 May 2013 and will remain valid and binding for the services specified in relevant market segments until further review by the NCC.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:24:24 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to the Prime Business News Agency, the Russian government has authorised the use of monies from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to bankroll the creation of a national mobile number portability (MNP) database. The introduction of MNP is currently scheduled for 1 December 2013. The USF, which is generally used to compensate operators who roll out telephone or data access services in remote areas, is supported by all domestic telcos, each of which channels 1.2% of its annual revenues into the pot.

Soruce: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:23:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service reveal that demand for international bandwidth grew 39% in 2012, and at a compounded annual rate of 53% between 2007 and 2012.

International bandwidth demand growth has been robust on all five of the world’s major submarine cable routes, but has been particularly rapid on key routes to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. While bandwidth demand on the trans-Atlantic route – which has long been the world’s highest-capacity route – increased at a healthy rate of 36% annually between 2007 and 2012, demand for bandwidth from the US to Latin America grew 70% per year over the same period, and demand for capacity on the Europe-Asia route via Egypt grew a staggering 87% per year.

Telcos have kept up with increasing bandwidth demand by building new cables and upgrading existing systems, deploying a total of 54Tbps of new capacity between 2007 and 2012. Carriers’ new capacity deployments reflect the changing patterns of international bandwidth demand. Between 1997 and 2002, the amount of new capacity deployed across the Atlantic was greater than the amount deployed on the trans-Pacific, US-Latin America, Intra-Asia, and Europe-Asia routes, combined. Similarly, between 2002 and 2007, nearly half of all new capacity was deployed on the trans-Atlantic route. Over the past five years, however, new capacity deployments have become remarkably balanced, with each of the world’s major routes gaining between 10Tbps and 12Tbps.

‘While the total amount of lit bandwidth on routes to developing markets remains smaller than on routes between mature markets, demand on emerging market routes is growing much faster,’ said TeleGeography analyst Paul Brodsky. ‘Consequently, as telcos upgrade submarine cable networks to meet bandwidth demand, new capacity deployments are being distributed ever more evenly around the world.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:21:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Two thirds of Hungary's smartphone owners state that applications constitute an organic part of their smartphone according to the research carried out by Magyar Telekom among smartphone and internet users.

As partially known already from earlier researches, 38% of Hungarian internet users aged 14-69 have smartphones, equaling about 1.7 million people. 80% of them also use smartphones to access the internet. The current research underlines that 80% of Hungarian internet users realize that smartphones are differentiated from traditional phones by running an operation system, and 70% are also right about seeing the difference in the availability of applications.

1.3 million users state that they already downloaded applications, on average 16 - the most popular apps are music players, followed by calendars, email and community apps, and naturally games. Top ten apps include weather, photo and video recorder and player, as well as map and navigation apps. The research outlines that smartphone owners mostly look up information about applications in the AppStore or on the internet - however many enquire with friends and acquaintances. Women and those aged 14-18 are less active in checking individual applications.

Majority of those paying for applications only purchased 1-2 apps, 25% of them bought 3-5 apps and 6% of them purchased more than 10 apps. iPhone owners are clearly on top of the statistics, men and those with higher education background, as well as the more affluent are somewhat more active in this domain. Smartphone owners using apps on their phones clearly found prefer payment methods where against paying a smaller amount the given app can be tested and further payment is only needed for further functions.

Mobile phone applications are also ever more popular among small and medium entrepreneurs: shop owners, those working in catering trade and real estate agencies start to realize possibilities inherent in this new communication channel.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, 06 May 2013 09:19:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Zain Bahrain has announced the launch of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, following in the footsteps of rival cellco Batelco which launched its 4G network in February. Zain Bahrain’s general manager, Mohammed Zainalabedin, told reporters that the company has invested USD100 million in network deployments, part of which has been spent on the rollout of LTE. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of 2012 Zain’s share of Bahrain’s wireless subscriber market stood at 31.5%, just behind second placed operator Viva (32.5%) and Batelco (35.9%).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:36:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is set to finally launch mobile number portability (MNP) for the country’s GSM subscribers today, writes local newspaper THISDAY. The NCC’s director of public affairs Tony Ojobo says that MNP will lead to improved quality service and increased competition among operators. MNP is free for subscribers, who are permitted to port their numbers once in a 90-day period. The regulator will now work towards implementing the service for Nigeria’s roughly three million CDMA mobile customers. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the introduction of MNP in Nigeria has encountered numerous delays since it was first announced by the NCC in 2006. Further deadlines of 2009, December 2012, 25 March 2013 and 1 April 2013 came and went, and at the start of the month operators told the NCC that they required three additional weeks to enable them to complete their preparations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:35:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The National Communications Authority (NCA) has announced that the total number of subscribers in Ghana reached 26.33 million at the end of February 2013, a growth of 1.1% over the previous month. Mobile market leader MTN Ghana maintained its dominant position at that date, as its subscriber database reached 11.94 million, corresponding to 45.30% of the wireless sector. Meanwhile, number two operator Vodafone had signed up 5.55 million users by 1 March, an increase of 130,000 month-on-month, and a 21.09% market share. Millicom Ghana Company Limited (Tigo) reported a total of 3.71 million subscribers for a market share of 14.10%, and Airtel had 3.34 million connections (12.69%). Glo, the last to launch its commercial services in April 2012, and Expresso also increased their market shares to 6.13% and 0.62% respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:34:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vodafone Germany has confirmed that it now covers all 81 major cities (100,000+ residents) in Germany with its LTE network. It is also expanding coverage to smaller cities with over 50,000 residents, to reach more than 160 LTE cities. Vodafone Germany's LTE network now covers more than two-thirds of the country, serving around 50 million people.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:32:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Algerian government wants to complete its acquisition of Djezzy before launching 3G and 3G+ services, said ICT minister Moussa Benhamadi. Agence Ecofin reports that the government is ensuring that no operator is favoured by launching 3G before Djezzy. Under Algerian law, no company under receivership or undergoing a change in shareholder stucture is allowed to bid for a licence. The minister expects the government to close its purchase of 51 percent of Djezzy from Vimpelcom in around 2 weeks. Algeria originally called for 3G licence bidders in October 2011, hoping to launch services in the middle of 2012. It has announced the imminent launch of 3G several times since.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:31:26 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Orange Espana has announced the launch of commercial fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in the area around the La Vaguada shopping centre, at the same time unveiling a new portfolio of tariffs for its fibre-based services. In terms of its new offering, customers can sign up for a connection providing 100Mbps downlink speeds, unlimited national fixed line voice calls, 1,000 minutes per month for calls to national mobile numbers and 300 minutes for calls to 60 international destinations; the package will cost EUR25.95 (USD33.94) per month. In addition, Orange has confirmed it will offer a tariff offering the same call allowances, though with a lower downlink speed of 25Mbps, for EUR15.95 per month. Following the expansion of its FTTH network to La Vaguada, Orange has said that around 40,000 homes in Madrid now have access to its fibre services, while noting that a further 58,000 premises in Catalonia and Asturias are also within its fibre footprint.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, last month Orange Espana and Vodafone Spain unveiled plans to invest up to EUR1 billion on the construction of a joint fibre-optic network. Under the terms of the agreement, the two operators will each deploy street-level fibre in complementary geographies, and while the fibre will be owned independently it will share the same technical specifications to ensure compatibility as a single network, with each partner having guaranteed access to the whole infrastructure. Commercial services over the new infrastructure are expected to be introduced from January 2014, and some 800,000 premises are expected to be able to connect to the network by March 2014, with that figure rising to three million and six million by September 2015 and 2017, respectively. In total, the fibre-optic network will cover 50 of Spain’s major cities when complete.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:30:16 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Venezuela’s dominant broadband operator CANTV has announced that starting Monday 15 April it will upgrade its DSL internet access speeds, doubling its standard 512kbps (download) package limit to 1Mbps, while a faster premium speed of 4Mbps will be offered in a new consumer/small business plan, ‘Aba Mega Productivo’, twice the speed of the existing 2Mbps ‘Aba Super Productivo’. The 4Mbps package is priced at VEF500 (USD79) a month including VAT compared to VEF400 for the 2Mbps connection. The move comes seven months after CANTV doubled its entry-level DSL package speed from 256kbps to 512kbps, as reported by CommsUpdate in September 2012. Venezuelan newspaper El Mundo reports that CANTV’s latest DSL upgrade programme will take around three months to complete, while the company has also announced a current investment budget of VEF514 million for fixed broadband infrastructure; the Ministry of Science, Technology & Innovation says that in the past six years CANTV’s internet infrastructure investment totals VEF1.9 billion.

CANTV reportedly has a total of 1.9 million fixed internet subscribers, up from 1.8 million at the end of December 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The state-owned telco is focused on expanding broadband coverage to the farthest corners of the country, and backs up this claim with the statistics that in 2012 the number of subscribers grew by more than 500% in remote areas such as the Amazon region, while the user bases in more populous regions Miranda and Distrito Capital increased by 80% and 90%, respectively.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:29:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian operator ArmenTel, which offers fixed telephony, broadband internet and mobile services under the banner Beeline, has trimmed the cost for connection to its fixed telecoms network and for other one-off charges. In a press release, ArmenTel says it is cutting the costs of a fixed line installation from AMD12,000 to AMD2,400 (USD33.09 to USD6.62), while the charge for a temporary installation of a core line (i.e. for less than one month) has been cut to AMD1,800 from AMD9,600. The new rates for residential and business users took effect from 1 April 2013, with ArmenTel acting CEO Karen Shahnazaryan, saying that the telco is able to cut the prices thanks to its investment in ‘innovative technologies’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:28:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to Tuoi Tre News, Vietnamese cellcos MobiFone and Vinaphone have increased the cost of their respective unlimited 3G data plans to VND50,000 (USD2.4) per month, up from VND40,000. The operators say that the higher price is necessary to offset declining revenues as a result of subscribers using smartphone apps to make free calls and send free messages. The cellcos also say that they are forced to strictly adhere to government regulations, whereas apps such as Viber, Wala, Zalo, Line, WeChat and WhatsApp are managed by foreign companies and are not subject to the same conditions.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:27:04 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Myanmar authorities will begin selling low-cost Sim cards from 24 April. Some 350,000 Sim cards will be allocated monthly across Myanmar and sold by regional governments, not by Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), Eleven Media reports citing MPT chief engineer mobile Htay Win. The CDMA 800 MHz Sim cards will be sold for MMK 1,500 each, and customers have to use at least MMK 2,500 per month to keep the account active. If customers do not recharge within fifteen days of running the balance down to zero, the service may be terminated. The fees for outgoing calls remains the same at MMK 50 per minute. MPT has been selling CDMA Sim cards for MMK 500,000 in recent years.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:26:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The head of Ukrainian competition watchdog AMKU, Rafael Kuzmin, has stated that cellcos Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine have agreed to reduce intra-national and roaming rates by 20%-25%, according to a report by BizLigaNet, cited by Telecompaper. The news follows pressure from AMKU, which has asked the operators to fulfil rate obligations within the next ten days, and to implement the recommendations on roaming rates within 30 days, having threatened them with a maximum fine of 10% of annual revenues.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:24:46 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spain’s antitrust authority has reportedly fined the country’s three largest mobile network operators a total of EUR120 million (USD159 million) for charging too much for SMS messages. The Comision Nacional de la Competencia (CNC) levied the penalty after ruling that Movistar, Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana abused their dominant position in the wholesale markets for access and origination and for termination of short messages in their respective networks. With all three operators cited as having ‘a monopoly position in SMS and MMS termination services in their respective networks’, the CNC noted that the market for SMS termination services was unregulated between 2000 and 2009 (the period investigated by the watchdog). As such, the CNC claims, the trio were freely able to price the termination of SMS at very high levels, which in turn allowed them to pass these costs to consumers in the shape of higher retail prices for SMS and MMS services.

No new regulatory measures are to be introduced however, with the CNC noting that it did not consider such action appropriate as there was only evidence of overpricing in the period to 2009 and not more recently. Further, it argued that telecoms regulator the Comision del Mercado de las Telecomunicacinoes (CMT) ‘is better positioned to design the ex-ante regulation of these markets’.

As per the antitrust agency’s ruling, Movistar faces the largest fine – EUR46.490 million – while Vodafone Spain and Orange Espana will be required to pay EUR43.525 million and EUR29.950 million respectively. All three operators are expected to appeal the ruling.

Source: TeleGeography.

SMS | Tariffs
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:23:41 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 18 April 2013

Over half of UK homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband as the Openreach rollout has passed more than 15 million premises. That means we’re on target to reach 19 million by the end of spring 2014, about 18 months ahead of the original rollout schedule.

Openreach chief executive Liv Garfield said: “This is a significant milestone and one that our engineers can be proud of. They have worked through many months of appalling weather to bring the benefits of fibre to cities, towns and villages and this is making a genuine difference to how people live their lives.

“Fibre broadband can play an important part in stimulating and supporting an economic recovery. Our investment, together with that of our partners, is helping to generate thousands of jobs and give small businesses the speeds that were previously the preserve of larger ones based in cities.”
The run-up to Easter saw the project team working flat-out as we hit our biggest ever week; a whopping 324,000 premises passed. By the end of spring 2014, we’ll have completed one of the most ambitious programmes we’ve ever taken on, with two-thirds of the UK enjoying one of the most extensive fibre networks in the world. 
But we won’t stop there. As well as deploying fibre as part of a £2.5bn investment, we’re working with councils and devolved authorities to take fibre even further afield. We’ve signed 18 BDUK contracts so far, from Hampshire to Cumbria, and Rutland to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and there are plenty more to come.

Source: Openreach.

Thursday, 18 April 2013 08:54:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 25 March 2013

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) has released the latest update of the retail price benchmarking study of telecommunications services in Arab countries. The study was commissioned by the TRA on behalf of AREGNET (the Arab Regulators Group). It was undertaken by Teligen, an independent consulting firm specializing in tariff comparisons. The main insights of the study are:

  • Mobile tariffs: Mobile prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 30% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 41% since 2008 when TRA decided to allow a third mobile operator to enter Bahrain. Mobile prices in Bahrain have been deregulated since 2010. They compare well with GCC and Arab averages but mobile prices in Bahrain remain consistently above the OECD average.
  • Fixed broadband: The entry of Wimax-based operators following TRA’s award of new fixed-wireless licences in 2007 has significantly enhanced the competitiveness of fixed broadband services in Bahrain. Fixed broadband prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 53% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 71% since 2008. For the low speed and mid speed baskets, Bahrain is now one of the cheapest GCC and Arabcountries. The picture is somewhat different for the high speed basket (>15 Mb/s), where despite price reductions in 2012, fixed broadband in Bahrain remains relatively expensive compared to other GCC countries (particularly residential prices). The OECD average is significantly lower than the fixed broadband prices in Bahrain, the GCC averages and Arab averages, particularly for the high speed basket.
  • Mobile broadband: Mobile broadband pricesare set freely by each of the three mobile operators since 2010. They have also come down significantly as a result of an increasingly competitive market. Mobile broadband prices in Bahrain declined by up to 63% between 2011 and 2012, and Bahrain has amongst the lowest prices for mobile broadband in GCC and Arab countries. Bahrain also compared well with the OECD. TRA expects faster and new services from the auction of additional spectrum planned in April 2013.
  • Fixed voice tariffs: Bahrain is one of the cheapest Arab countries. Although Bahrain compares well with other Arab and OECD countries (low baskets) in terms of the cost of a basket of fixed voice services, calling revenues still represents a significant portion of the fixed line cost, suggesting that retail rates are not rebalanced. Fixed voice tariffs in Bahrain have been static in nominal terms for all users in the last five updates.
  • Leased line tariffs: As is the case in most of the GCC countries, the prices for leased lines in Bahrain have not changed in nominal terms since the first Arab Price Benchmarking Study in 2008. Leased line prices in Bahrain are similar to prices in the Arab region, although by OECD standards, leased lines tariffs in Bahrain remain high. The finding that prices have not changed over the last four years indicates that competitive pressures in the leased line market have been less intense than in other telecommunications markets within Bahrain. TRA has sought to address this during 2012 through the introduction of better retail prices for a new type of leased lines and through the introduction a new regulated wholesale local access service, which should enable other operators to compete more effectively in the supply of retail leased line services to end users.

Source: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA).

Monday, 25 March 2013 14:12:01 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

­Two thirds of Hungary's smartphone owners state that applications constitute an organic part of their smartphone according to the research carried out by Magyar Telekom among smartphone and internet users.

As partially known already from earlier researches, 38% of Hungarian internet users aged 14-69 have smartphones, equaling about 1.7 million people. 80% of them also use smartphones to access the internet. The current research underlines that 80% of Hungarian internet users realize that smartphones are differentiated from traditional phones by running an operation system, and 70% are also right about seeing the difference in the availability of applications.

1.3 million users state that they already downloaded applications, on average 16 - the most popular apps are music players, followed by calendars, email and community apps, and naturally games. Top ten apps include weather, photo and video recorder and player, as well as map and navigation apps. The research outlines that smartphone owners mostly look up information about applications in the AppStore or on the internet - however many enquire with friends and acquaintances. Women and those aged 14-18 are less active in checking individual applications.

Majority of those paying for applications only purchased 1-2 apps, 25% of them bought 3-5 apps and 6% of them purchased more than 10 apps. iPhone owners are clearly on top of the statistics, men and those with higher education background, as well as the more affluent are somewhat more active in this domain. Smartphone owners using apps on their phones clearly found prefer payment methods where against paying a smaller amount the given app can be tested and further payment is only needed for further functions.

Mobile phone applications are also ever more popular among small and medium entrepreneurs: shop owners, those working in catering trade and real estate agencies start to realize possibilities inherent in this new communication channel.

Source: Cellular News.

Monday, 25 March 2013 09:20:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the long-delayed launch of mobile number portability (MNP) will take place on 25 March 2013, writes PM News. The regulator’s head of Media and Public Relations, Reuben Muoka, reportedly told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that during the initial phase, only subscribers of the country’s GSM mobile networks will be able to transfer their numbers to another operator. ‘As soon as the GSM takes off, it will not be long before CDMA also begins its operation on MNP,’ the NCC official was quoted as saying. He added that the introduction of MNP in Nigeria is expected to increase competition in the mobile market, in which South Africa-owned MTN is the largest operator by subscribers by far, with a market share of 42.1% at the end of 2012 (corresponding to 47.44 million customers).

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 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 25 March 2013 09:19:05 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 21 March 2013

Uruguay's telecoms regulator Ursec has awarded spectrum to mobile operators Claro and Movistar for a total of USD 64.2 million, El Pais reports. The licenses cover the next 20 years. Claro and Movistar will use the spectrum to provide 4G services across Uruguay.
Movistar won four spectrum blocks in the 1900MHz frequency band, and Claro received two blocks in the 1900MHz band and two blocks in the 1700/2100MHz band.

State-owned operator Antel did not participate in the bidding process but will have to pay USD 38 million for reserved spectrum. Antel will receive one spectrum block in the 900MHz frequency band and four blocks in the 1700/2100MHz band.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, 21 March 2013 09:48:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |