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 Monday, July 08, 2013

People living in certain parts of the UK are being forced to pay up to £170 million a year more for their broadband, due to a 'postcode lottery'.
 
New research from a broadband comparison site has revealed that in some cases, families are paying more than double what their neighbours are, despite living just 50 yards apart.
 
The study, the biggest ever of its kind, looked at more than 1.7 million postcodes covering 97 per cent of British households.

The study from Broadbandchoices.co.uk found speeds and prices often differ from street to street - sometimes within 50 yards - with postcode affecting choice of providers, deals and available speeds.
 
This system means 13 per cent of internet users are being penalised because they don't have access to cheaper deals - adding more than £60 to their yearly broadband connection bills.

Millions of broadband users are also suffering from reduced download speeds and limits.

In some areas customers can choose from 10 providers, while others have just five options.


This means that although some could pay as little as £2.99 per month for their broadband package, others are being forced to spend £8.15 or more.
 
The difference in availability doesn't only vary from county to county, some users in the same towns and even the same street can get better deals than their neighbours.
 
Those living on Bartons Place in Newmarket, Suffolk, for example, could find themselves paying over twice as much for their broadband than other houses less than 50 yards away - but getting just a third of the download speed of their neighbours.


Residents of Scarrowhill Road, Hornsby Gate, Cumbria, pay an extra £5 per month as well as receiving slower download speeds and having two fewer providers to pick from compared to neighbours just half a mile away on the same street.
 
The survey also reveals a north south divide in the number of providers.


Those in the South have an average of 10 while those in the North of England have a pool of 11 to choose from.
 
Herefordshire has the worst overall broadband choice where users have the narrowest choice of providers - at an average of eight.

The county also has the slowest advertised download speeds of just 12.3Mbps and pay the second highest minimum costs in the country of £5.47, second only to Rutland residents who have to pay a minimum of £5.99 a month.
 
Greater Manchester topped the study with the lowest broadband costs at just £2.99 per month, average advertised download speeds of up to 28Mbps and an average choice of 12 providers.

Those in the South can take some solace in the fact they just nudge the North when it comes to average advertised download speeds with 22Mbps compared to 21Mbps.
 
The difference in download speeds between counties ranges from 8.5Mbps to 40Mbps, meaning a two-hour HD film takes as little as 10 minutes (at 40Mbps) to download, whilst for others it will take nearly an hour.

Source: Mail Online.

Monday, July 08, 2013 7:17:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 05, 2013
Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange have just signed an agreement to share vertical fibre optic infrastructures in buildings.
 
The agreement details the types of buildings in which vertical infrastructures will be shared and the technical procedures that will make this possible. The operators will gradually specify the cities, areas and building in which they want to roll-out optical fibre and the Building Manager Operator will prepare an infrastructure delivery plan. The agreement also includes the option to transfer existing undertakings or for each company to build its own.
 
The agreement is based on a principle of reciprocity, so that all three operators can use its rivals’ vertical roll-outs wherever they may need them. After signing the agreement, the infrastructure that Telefónica has already rolled out could gradually be used by Vodafone and Orange. In return, when these operators roll-out new infrastructures where Telefónica does not have coverage, Telefónica can also ask to share its rivals’ vertical infrastructures.
 
Vertical infrastructures in buildings will be shared through a single payment for each vertical infrastructure, which will give the operator the right to use it for no less than 20 years. The prices that will govern this use will be set, via resolution, by the Spanish Telecommunications Market Commission.
 
This agreement represents a leap forward in bringing this technology to more households and businesses across Spain.

Source: Telefonica.

Friday, July 05, 2013 1:28:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

AT&T announced 35 new LTE markets today, bringing the grand total to 326 and coverage for more than 200 million people.

AT&T said it expects to cover 300 million people with 4G LTE service by the end of 2014, with 90 percent of its planned 300 million POPs by the end of this year.

New locations range from sea to shining sea, including areas of Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, as well as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, California, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Source: pcmag.com.

Friday, July 05, 2013 1:25:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Verizon Wireless announced that Parkersburg, West Virginia became the 500th market in the US with access to Verizon's LTE network. The Verizon Wireless LTE network now covers over 99 percent of Verizon Wireless' 3G network. The LTE network is available to 298 million people in 49 states, and Alaska will receive the service from next month. First launched in December 2010, the network now carries 57 percent of all data traffic on the operator's network.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, July 05, 2013 1:22:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Europeans consumers are not getting the broadband download speeds they pay for. On average, they receive only 74% of the advertised headline speed they have paid for, according to a new European Commission study on fixed broadband performance.

Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes says: "This is the first time the difference between advertised and actual broadband speeds is confirmed by comparable and reliable data from all EU Member States.” There are significant differences in the European national markets, most likely due to advertising practices. Kroes says “Consumers need more of this sort of data to help make informed choices, so we will repeat the exercise. And we take these first results as further proof of the need for a real connected single market."

Key findings in the study include:

  • Cable has the most reliable download speeds: The European average of 74% hides significant variation in the performance of different technologies. xDSL based services achieved only 63.3% of the advertised headline download speed, compared to 91.4% for cable and 84.4% for FTTx. (see annex).

  • In absolute terms, the average download speed across all countries and all technologies was 19.47 Mbps during peak hours. FTTx services achieved the fastest speeds at 41.02Mbps. Cable services achieved 33.10Mbps, whilst xDSL services lagged far behind at 7.2Mbps on average.

  • The upload speeds are closer to their advertised speeds. Across Europe, the average upload speed was 6.20 Mbps, representing 88% of advertised upload speeds. FTTx services achieved the highest speeds by far, at 19.8Mbps. This is because many FTTx services provide an upload speed far closer to the download speed. Cable and xDSL services achieved a modest 3.68Mbps and 0.69Mbps respectively.

Source: European Commission.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:26:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sri Lanka Telecom’s mobile subsidiary Mobitel says that its 4G LTE mobile broadband services are now live in Colombo, Jaffna, Kandy, Hambantota, Galle, Matara and Kalutara, following the announcement at the end of last year that the network was ready for commercial launch. Mobitel’s website says that the areas currently offering LTE coverage are: Colombo (Nugegoda town, Mount Lavania town, Pamankada town, Bambalapitiya, Kollupitiya, Slave Island, Fort, Colombo University, Nugegoda Town Hall and Borella); Jaffna (Jaffna town, Jaffna University and Pallali airport); Kandy (Kandy town, Peradeniya University and Digana); Hambantota town; Galle town; Matara town; and Kalutara town; as well as the university campuses of Kelaniya and Moratuwa; and Katunayake Airport (north of Colombo).

Devices supporting LTE in the 1800MHz band may be used on the new 4G network, whilst all Mobitel users with ‘Mega Internet’ broadband packages can enjoy the service at no additional charge on top of their existing tariffs, using either a dongle or smartphone. Additionally, all other post-paid voice, pre-paid and post-paid broadband package subscribers (with no ‘Mega Internet’ plan) can use LTE free of additional charge with a smartphone only (no modem access).

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:24:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Wireless code to help Canadians make informed choices and contribute to a dynamic marketplace.

Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a wireless code that will make it easier for Canadians to understand their contracts and sets out their basic rights. The code will apply to new contracts for cellphones and other personal mobile devices starting on December 2, 2013.

The wireless code addresses the main frustrations that Canadians shared with the CRTC, which included the length of wireless contracts, cancellation fees, roaming charges and other industry practices. Among other things, individual and small business consumers will be able to:

  • terminate their wireless contracts after two years without cancellation fees, even if they have signed on for a longer term
  • cap extra data charges at $50/month and international data roaming charges at $100/month to prevent bill shock
  • have their cellphones unlocked after 90 days, or immediately if they paid for the device in full
  • return their cellphones, within 15 days and specific usage limits, if they are unhappy with their service
  • accept or decline changes to the key terms of a fixed-term contract (i.e., 2-year), and
  • receive a contract that is easy to read and understand.

The wireless code will apply to all service providers in Canada. In particular, the code will apply in full to postpaid services (where customers pay a monthly bill after using their services), and where applicable to pre-paid wireless services.

Source: CRTC.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:22:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has announced that it has activated LTE services for customers in parts of Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Newcastle and Wollongong. The company claims that speeds on the network will reach 100Mbps, faster than those of its rivals Telstra and Optus in most areas due to it having access to 2×20MHz of contiguous spectrum in the 1800MHz band, unlike its competitors. ‘Vodafone customers in 4G areas with compatible devices will have access to speeds that are among the fastest, not only in the country, but in many parts of the world,’ said VHA CEO Bill Morrow in a statement. The cellco says that for now only existing subscribers who have 4G compatible devices will be able to sign up for the new service, but noted that it will begin signing up new customers in July.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:20:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has announced the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) from 15 June 2013, Arab Times reported. Customers of local mobile companies — Zain, Wataniya and Viva — can transfer to a new network provider without changing their phone number after they fill an application and settle their bill with the current operator. The transaction is estimated to take no more than 24 hours. According to the MoC’s PR director Al-Husaini, the MNP project is a ‘qualitative leap’ in telecommunications, and will contribute to better competition and incentivise mobile companies to improve services and reduce prices.

Following the MoC announcement, Zain Kuwait and Viva released statements to inform interested parties that their representatives are ready to accept transfer requests. Commenting on the MOC’s initiative, Zain Kuwait CEO Omar Al Omar, stated: ‘The decision is a step forward in the evolution of the telecom sector in Kuwait. This new regulation will empower the customer with the freedom to choose the mobile service provider of his choice, while at the same time act as a stimulus for all operators to be more dynamic and focused to meet and exceed customer satisfaction.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:17:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia's telecommunications regulator has awarded three new MVNO licences. Of five applicants, the winners were Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, which will launch on STC's network, Lebara on Mobily's network and Axiom Telecom on Zain's network, the Saudi Gazette reports. Local companies FastNet and Safari were the losing bidders. Saudi Arabia will become the second of the six Gulf Cooperation Council members after Oman to allow MVNOs.

The CITC did not state when the MVNOs would launch services, only that the winners now had 90 days to provide the necessary documents to move to the next phase of obtaining their licences. The aim of the new licences is to lower prices, improve customer care, increase job opportunities and stimulate competition in the sector, the regulator said.

Source: Telecom Paper.

 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:15:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
SK Telecom announced that it today launched the world's first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service through smartphones. SK Telecom's LTE-A covers the entire Seoul, central areas of 42 cities in Gyeonggi-do and Chungcheong-do, and 103 university areas. Furthermore, the company will gradually expand its LTE-A coverage to 84 cities across the nation. The company achieved such a milestone in only less than two years after commercializing the nation's first LTE service in July 2011. LTE-A offers ultra-fast network speeds of up to 150 Mbps, which is two times faster than that of LTE, and 10 times faster than 3G network. For instance, LTE-A users can download an 800MB movie in just 43 seconds. With the commercialization of LTE-A, the company expects to further improve customer satisfaction in mobile Internet services, and increase the use of ultra fast video contents and other diverse mobile value added services.

Source: SK Telecom.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:12:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 05, 2013

UK-based Vodafone Group is set to boost investment in the network of its domestic subsidiary by more than 50%, the Financial Times reports, with the operator expected to spend almost GBP1 billion (USD1.52 billion) in 2013 as it prepares to launch LTE commercially. Further, a portion of the increased investment is set to go towards the integration of the fixed line network assets which Vodafone Group acquired following its April 2012 purchase of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW). Commenting on the decision to increase capital expenditures, Vodafone UK chief executive officer Guy Laurence was cited as saying: ‘This investment is further evidence of our commitment to deliver our best ever network. We’re bringing together the best of mobile and fixed communications to help our business customers make their communications work for them.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 9:00:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ethiopia is set to ink deals with Chinese vendors ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies within the next few weeks with a view to expanding the country’s mobile infrastructure, a move which in turn the state hopes will help boost subscriber numbers to 40 million, according to Reuters. Speaking with regards to the development, Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopia’s deputy prime minister and minister of communications and technology, said: ‘We are now poised to start the expansion. We are almost on the final stage on dealing with … ZTE and Huawei … In a few weeks we will conclude the agreement and we will start the expansion.’ The politician did not, however, reveal a value for the deals with the two vendors, but is understood to have confirmed that ZTE and Huawei will finance the expansion project.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:59:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian broadband provider UCOM LLC is doubling its internet access speeds, effective 1 June, Arka News reports citing the group’s CEO Hayk Yesayan as saying. From that date the operator, whose current residential user services range from 8Mbps to 24Mbps, will be upping the minimum speed to 16Mbps, while the maximum connection will rise to 48Mbps.

In a related development, the company says it intends to start offering broadband access services in Armenia’s second largest city Gyumri within three months. Mr Yesayan said: ‘We are planning to open our office in Vanadzor by 15 June to 20 June … This will be the third city after Yerevan and Abovyan where we provide our services. After that we will start providing our services to the fourth city’s residents. It is likely to be Gyumri.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UCOM LLC was founded in 2007 to deliver a range of traditional and innovative high quality services in the Armenian telecommunications market. Having partnered with equipment vendor Ericsson, Yerevan-based UCOM has built a fibre-optic network based on Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON) technology and today offers triple-play internet, TV and voice telephony services to residential subscribers through its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network. The company reported signing up its 50,000th customer in February this year, a figure it hopes to double in the short- to medium-term.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:58:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The World Bank has approved total funding of USD60 million in International Development Association (IDA) credits to support the respective governments of Mauritania and Togo, which are looking to bolster their telecoms connectivity through the implementation of new fibre-based broadband networks, and also to update their regulatory regimes to support and encourage private sector competition in each country. In a press release dated 30 May, the World Bank says each nation will benefit from USD30 million in funding under the IDA to expand broadband access, drive down costs, improve the quality and reliability of voice and data services, and to act as a backbone network to stimulate private sector involvement. It is understood that the project forms part of a wider USD300 million West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme (WARCIP) that is designed to help bridge the connectivity vacuum between 16 West African countries and with the rest of the world.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:57:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

French telecommunications regulator the Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP) has published the results of the analysis of the electronic communications market for the first quarter of 2013, announcing 22% growth year-on-year in the number of high speed broadband (>30Mbps) subscriptions to reach 1.7 million users. According to the report, France had a total of 24.2 million broadband subscriptions at the end of the first trimester of 2013, with 665,000 receiving download speeds between 30Mbps and 100Mbps, while over one million of the users had downlinks in excess of 100Mbps, an increase of 46% year-on-year. The number of subscriptions with download speeds less than 30Mbps reached 22.5 million on 31 March 2013, attracting a total of 160,000 net additions in the quarter. According to ARCEP’s report, 98% of these lower speed broadband subscriptions used xDSL technology, while the remainder consisted of access over cable or fixed wireless technologies. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscriptions grew by 50,000 over the quarter and reached 365,000 at 31 March 2013, a reported annual growth of 70%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:55:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belgium’s telecoms regulator the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) has published statistics for the country’s telecoms sector for the year ended 31 December 2012, revealing that combined turnover from fixed and mobile services, both retail and wholesale, fell to EUR7.18 billion (USD9.329 billion)from EUR7.65 billion a year earlier. In the retail sector, the BIPT reported that turnover from all services bar mobile broadband were down year-on-year, with fixed voice revenues declining to EUR1.24 billion in 2012 from EUR1.33 billion in 2011, while turnover from fixed broadband services totalled EUR1.26 billion in 2012, down by 3.1% year-on-year. Meanwhile, while turnover from mobile voice services also declined – falling to EUR1.82 billion from EUR1.94 billion – mobile broadband proved a bright spot, with revenues from such services rising by 70% against 2011 to EUR340 million. Total telecoms investment for the financial year also fell, albeit marginally, with the BIPT reporting sector-wide expenditure of EUR1.25 billion in 2012, down from EUR1.27 billion a year earlier.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:54:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tigo Senegal, a unit of Millicom International Cellular (MIC), has confirmed it is looking to launch a 3.5G mobile network in the country based on HSPA+ technology and capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 21Mbps. Agence Ecofin reports that the cellco signed a supply contract with an as yet unnamed vendor in April this year, and that deployment of the new system is already underway. Upon completion, Tigo says HSPA+ services will be available in

177 new areas, covering 14 administrative regions of Senegal, an improvement on its existing footprint, which numbers over 300 cell sites. By October 2013 the carrier hopes to have covered Dakar and its environs, with the area of Touba set to be added in December 2013 – a total of 310 settlements. Tigo has invested more than XOF25 billion (USD49.4 million) in the renovation and expansion of its network.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:52:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uruguayan state-owned national telecoms operator Administracion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Antel) plans to invest around USD140 million in its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network this year, following on from the USD110 million spent on the infrastructure in the two years to end-2012. Local news paper El Pais cites Antel’s president Carolina Cosse as saying that the FTTH project passes around 418,000 households, 111,000 of which are already connected to the network. The company, which holds a monopoly on the provision of fixed line services in Uruguay, expects the network to cover around 25% of homes in the country by the end of this year. Services are marketed under the brand ‘Vera’, with plans for residential users ranging in price from UYU690 (USD33.8) per month for a basic 2Mbps downstream connection to UYU1,590 for the top-end 120Mbps/12Mbps download/upload plan.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that China’s ZTE was selected in September 2011 to build Antel’s national FTTH network and the first home was connected to the infrastructure one month later. By the end of 2012 the number of connected households had risen to around 240,000, with rollout ongoing in parts of Montevideo, Atlantida, Colonia, Fray Bentos, Pando, Rivera, Rocha, Salta and San Jose, among other towns and cities.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:48:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 03, 2013

IDC expects portable PC sales to be overaken by tablets this year, as tablets grow 58.7 percent to 229.3 million units from 144.5 million units in 2012. Tablet shipments are projected to be higher than the entire PC market (portables and desktops) by 2015.

Global PC shipments are forecast to fall by 7.8 percent this year and by 1.2 percent in 2014 as users increasingly consider alternatives such as tablets and smartphones. The market researcher previously anticipated a decline of 1.3 percent this year, followed by a gradual increase. The update reflects a significant volume drop in the first quarter and transitions in PC designs, with vendors releasing products for Windows 8, including thin, convertible, touch and slate models.

Worldwide desktop PCs are now projected to fall to 134.4 million units this year from 148.3 million in 2012 and to drop to USD 123.9 million units in 2017. Portable PC sales are forecast to decrease to 187.4 million units this year from 200.9 million units in 2012, and to rise to 209.5 million units in 2017.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:43:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cuba will open 118 new public internet centres on 4 June Efe reports, citing a resolution published in the official gazette. The centres will be run by state operator Etecsa and will offer access to the internet through a new portal called "Nauta". Access will be blocked immediately if the operator detects "any violation of the ethical standards of behaviour promoted by the Cuban State", according to the resolution.The new centres will charge between CUC 0.60 and CUC 4.50 an hour, depending on the service used, in a country where the average salary is under CUC 20 a month. More centres, made possible thanks to an undersea cable to Venezuela, will be added gradually. There are currently around 200 public facilities offering e-mail only at hotels and post offices. Home internet use is still banned for most Cubans, with the exception of some professionals such as doctors, journalists, academics and artists.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:41:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
MTN Group expects to have 200 million subscribers on its network by the middle of the year, Engineering News reported. CEO Sifiso Dabengwa told the AGM that MTN had increased its subscriber base to 197.4 million in the four months ended 30 April. Dabengwa said MTN expected to deliver improved organic growth in revenue and EBITDA during 2013. The group's revenues had grown by 5.6 percent year-on-year in the four months to end April. Rand-reported revenues were up 15 percent year-on-year and were driven by a weaker rand against the dollar, while local currency revenues were down marginally year-on-year.
 
Dabengwa said that, despite the larger-than-anticipated cut in termination rates in Nigeria, the group remained comfortable with its guidance on MTN Nigeria's revenue and EBITDA margin for the full year. Meanwhile, MTN South Africa's performance was hit by weaker consumer demand and increased competition, but it maintained its relative revenue share in the first four months of the year.
 
The group's operations in Iran, Ghana, Sudan and Uganda showed healthy growth in both revenue and subscriber numbers for the period. Group data and SMS revenue continued to expand strongly in most markets, increasing their contribution to total group revenue to about 18 percent. Dabengwa stated that the implementation of cost-optimisation initiatives would remain a key priority for the group in the year ahead.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:39:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazil was home to more than 100 million fixed and mobile broadband accesses at 30 April 2013, according to Antonio Carlos Valente, CEO of Telefonica Brasil and president of Brazilian telco association Telebrasil, as reported by BNAmericas. In his opening address at the association’s annual conference in Brasilia, Valente told delegates that mobile broadband is proving to be a key driver of take-up in the country, noting that 3G coverage is available in virtually all its main cities – where around 90% of the population lives. Last week, the industry regulator Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel) reported that mobile broadband connections topped 70 million by 1 May.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:30:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mark Simpson, CEO of SEACOM, has indicated that the privately funded, 75% African-owned submarine cable system company is working towards ‘closing the ring’ around South Africa by building what it is tentatively calling the South African Marine System (SAMS) cable that will link Yzerfontein in the Western Cape with Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal, via Port Elizabeth and East London. Simpson believes that subsea cables offer higher performance and lower cost than terrestrial ones, and hopes that the link will provide redundancy into the Eastern Cape while also offering protection for the Johannesburg to Cape Town routes.

Speaking at the Satcom conference in Sandton, South Africa, Simpson told TechCentral: ‘It is about offering resilience and reliability and closing the African ring from east to west. The bottleneck has moved inland. There is no longer a shortage of capacity on cable systems. International supply is abundant and relatively low cost at the beach. The cost, availability and reliability of terrestrial distribution is holding back the benefits that could accrue’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:29:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Norway’s Telenor has announced that, amid the increased use of cloud services by local businesses, it will invest NOK4 billion (USD682 million) this year on the development of its fibre-optic broadband services for business users. Speaking on the company’s spending plans, Bjorn Ivar Moen, business market manager at Telenor, said: ‘The need for higher bandwidth in Norwegian businesses is rising. We are currently experiencing a trend where services that were previously on local servers at each individual company are now moving to the internet as cloud-based services … We have therefore set in motion a vigorous investment programme into fibre-optic broadband for the business market, both in terms of internet access and virtual private networks.’

Meanwhile, alongside the expenditure on its fibre infrastructure, Telenor has confirmed that it will not neglect its copper network, revealing plans to upgrade the latter in several places in parallel with the fibre developments. ‘In areas where we have broadband on several different technologies, we will consider replacing the copper network with faster technology,’ noted Moen.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:28:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Croatian Postal & Electronic Communications Agency (HAKOM) has announced that it has received bids from four companies for grants for the deployment of broadband networks in remote and rural areas, especially in areas of special state concern, including mountainous areas and islands. The four bidders have been named as VIPnet, T-Hrvatski Telekom, Pro-Ping and Optika Kabel TV. The regulator said it expects to reach a decision by 28 June.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:26:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In a step towards increasing availability of the internet to Cuban citizens, the government will begin offering access to the World Wide Web at 118 outlets around the island next month, reports the official Communist Party newspaper Granma. According to Resolution No. 197/2013 of the Ministry of Communications (MIC) published in the Official Gazette on Monday, internet access will be made available from 4 June at the offices of state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), and will be expanded to other locations in the future. At CUC4.50 (USD4.50) per hour, however, browsing the web at the new outlets is priced well beyond the reach of the average Cuban.

At present, the internet is only available at select state institutions and to tourists at around 200 hotels around the island, but the recent activation of Cuba’s first submarine cable, which connects the island to Venezuela with a link to Jamaica, has lessened the country’s dependence on expensive and slow satellite connections. ‘Expanding connectivity services in the country is in line with the strategy set by Cuba to further facilitate the population’s access to new technologies, depending on the availability of resources and with an approach that favours its social use,’ the Granma report said, adding that significant investments are still required to upgrade the island’s infrastructure to connect end users.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:25:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Mobile operators in Japan have unveiled plans to cooperate on the introduction of industry-wide standards for mobile network quality, in a response to recent consumer complaints. The scheme is expected to be up and running by next year, according to a report from The Nikkei. Number one operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo has already set up a programme to monitor its own network quality, but this plan represents the first time that all of the country’s cellcos have united to create and implement sector-wide standards.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 8:24:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cosmote Romania is aiming to expand its 4G LTE network to over 160 towns and cities next year, according to a report by HotNews which cites the company’s director of services Marius Maritescu. Late last month Cosmote announced the commercial launch of LTE services in Bucharest, Otopeni, Ploiesti, Cluj, Iasi, Sinaia, Busteni and Predeal, enabling subscribers to experience maximum transmission speeds of up to 75Mbps/37.5Mbps (down/uplink). Cosmote also 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.

LTE
Monday, June 03, 2013 7:51:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Representatives from FYR Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro will meet in Skopje in July to discuss a potential reduction in roaming fees, Telecompaper writes, citing local press reports. The initiative, spearheaded by Macedonian telecoms watchdog the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) and attended by a representative of the European Commission, will see AEC hammer out terms with its Serbian and Montenegrin counterparts – the Republic Agency for Electronic Communications (RATEL) and the Agency for Electronic Communications and Post (EKIP) respectively – for a trilateral programme to reduce roaming fees between the three nations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 03, 2013 7:49:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Australia’s Telstra has announced a milestone in the deployment of its 4G LTE network, revealing that it has switched on it 1,500th base station. Commenting on the development of the telco’s fourth-generation infrastructure, Telstra’s networks executive director Mike Wright noted: ‘The programme is now running at pace and is on target – our technicians are now installing literally dozens of 4G base stations each and every week.’ Despite the achievement, the executive was keen to note that Telstra has committed to rolling out more than 2,000 4G base stations by the end of the financial year (June 2013). As a result of the work carried out so far, Mr Wright reiterated that Telstra aims to reach 66% population coverage for its 4G services by the end of next month, while noting that the network footprint already takes in all state capitals, and more than 100 regional and suburban locations.

Meanwhile, in terms of customer uptake, Mr Wright was cited as saying: ‘We now have over 2.1 million services connected to our 4G network and as the network grows we obviously expect that number to grow with it.’

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, June 03, 2013 7:47:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

T-Mobile Czech Republic has announced the expansion of its dual-carrier (DC) HSPA+ network to the cities of Hradec Kralove and Plzen, with plans to further extend the footprint to Karlovy Vary and Prague (centre) by the end of the month. As a result of the latest service expansion, the cellco says its DC-HSPA+ infrastructure, which is capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 42Mbps, now covers 20.46% of the population in 42 towns and cities, and comprises 720 base transceiver stations (BTS). In a press release, T-Mobile said that although the percentage coverage figure ‘does not seem high‘, the signal from the cities also covers adjacent sites, boosting HSPA+ availability to another 67 municipalities.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Monday, June 03, 2013 7:46:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lebanese cellco Alfa has commercially launched its LTE 4G mobile broadband network, with coverage initially in central Beirut, offering data services for USB dongle modems, tablets and Wi-Fi routers for post- and pre-paid users, with support for 4G mobile handsets ‘coming soon’. Alpha built its 4G network in cooperation with European vendors Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, and according to the operator’s press release, its planned deployment of around 300 active LTE base stations by the end of 2013 will cover roughly 40% of the population, representing approximately 25% of a 1,200 base station network necessary for nationwide coverage. The LTE coverage footprint will be expanded to Jounieh and Kesrouan by November this year, while other cities are scheduled to receive coverage in 2014, including Tripoli, Sidon and Zahle. Alfa, which is state-owned but managed by Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT), is offering consumers (post- or pre-paid) several new data packages aimed at 4G usage, including 10GB, 20GB and 40GB bundles (costing USD99, USD119 and USD149) whilst business customers can purchase packages up to 100GB (USD249). Voice call support for 4G handset users (via the 3G/2G network) is expected by the end of June 2013, Alfa has disclosed, whilst it estimates that voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) will be available on the network by the end of 2014.

Users outside of 4G coverage zones will automatically access 3G data services. At the launch, Lebanon’s minister of telecoms, Nicolas Sehnaoui, said that further 3G coverage improvements would also be going ahead to provide comprehensive high speed data services (whilst stating that the 4G launch will take some of the data traffic pressure away from 3G networks). Sehnaoui noted that Alfa and rival cellco Touch would complete respective projects to deepen 3G indoor reception, strengthening their 3G coverage in many locations, ‘between the end of August and the end of this year.’

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | LTE
Monday, June 03, 2013 7:45:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 23, 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, May 23, 2013 1:11:34 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:08:39 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:07:17 PM (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.

3G
Thursday, May 23, 2013 1:06:00 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:04:33 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:03:05 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:01:54 PM (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, May 23, 2013 1:00:38 PM (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, May 23, 2013 12:59:01 PM (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, May 23, 2013 12:57:08 PM (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.

LTE
Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:54:44 PM (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:

Bidder

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

Telstra

2×20 MHz
(40 MHz in total)

2×40 MHz
(80 MHz in total)

$ 1,302,019,234

TPG Internet

Nil

2×10 MHz
(20 MHz in total)

$13,500,000

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)

Nil

N/A

FIGURE 1: AUCTION RESULTS

*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 media@acma.gov.au.

Source: ACMA.

Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:52:25 PM (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, May 23, 2013 12:48:22 PM (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, May 23, 2013 12:45:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 09, 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, May 09, 2013 2:41:32 PM (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, May 09, 2013 2:37:45 PM (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, May 09, 2013 2:34:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |