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 Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A joint initiative between the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and telecoms operators Omantel and Nawras will see 250 remote villages across Oman provided with mobile telephony services within two years. Times of Oman reports that around 200 base stations will be installed in unserved villages under the programme, including 120 2G and 80 3G cell sites.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:53:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile subscribers in Papua New Guinea could soon be required to register their SIM cards due to what has been described as abuse of telecommunication services, according to Islands Business. Charles Punaha, chief executive of the local telecoms regulator the National Information and Communication Technology Authority (NICTA) was cited as saying: ‘When we opened up the market in 2007, there was no control measure in place. You can just walk down the road and buy a SIM card without (producing) any identification … Unfortunately as we all know, that has resulted in us not having some records of what particular numbers are allocated to individuals or to companies. And related to that, we have seen abuse – people abusing the services when they are sending defamatory messages to other people.’

It is understood that proposed regulations which would require the registration of new SIM cards have been sent to the State Solicitor for approval, with the regulator hoping to have a certificate of necessity allowing it to submit the plans to the cabinet by the end of this month. Commenting on the plans, Mr Punaha added: ‘We are going to make it mandatory that if you want to buy a SIM card, you must have some form of identification … We are in discussions with one of the operators who want to take it further and do a full biometrics. So when you go to buy a SIM card, you’ll have your photograph and fingerprint taken as well.’ Further, the executive noted that three months after the regulation is approved the NICTA will look to impose a requirement that all places where SIM cards are sold would be required to have the machines to register customer ID details and bio data. Meanwhile, it has also been said that customers will be required to re-register their details after 18 months, and if they fail to do so their SIM cards could be cancelled.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:52:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British mobile network operator O2 UK has announced that its 4G network now covers one third of the country’s population indoors and 41% of the population outdoors, with 191 towns and cities now within the infrastructure footprint. Confirming that more than one million customers have signed up for its 4G services since they were launched in August 2013, O2 UK highlighted the fact that its customers had used more data in the 4G network’s first six months than the entire O2 network carried between 2000 and 2008.

Alongside announcing the current coverage levels, O2 UK has also outlined its future plans, revealing an ambitious network modernisation programme which it called ‘one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects taking place in the UK today’. As per the operator’s plans, around 25% of O2’s 2G and 3G masts will be upgraded by the end of 2014 in order to deliver an increase in call quality and ‘all-round network experience’, with both call and data connectivity to be improved at peak times and in high-density areas. With the work to be carried out on an area-by-area basis, the mobile operator has also committed to investing an additional GBP16 million (USD26.8 million) to bring data coverage to unserved locations, with over 200 areas across the UK to get 3G data coverage from O2 by the end of 2014.

Derek McManus, O2 UK’s chief operating officer, noted: ‘Building a great network isn’t just about bringing faster speeds to people that already have coverage. It’s vital that we also bring seamless coverage to people that have never had it before. Investment in all layers of our network is key to ensuring customers receive a great experience, whether that’s in streaming live goals in the pub or receiving critical business information … We continue to invest the equivalent of GBP1.5 million in our network every single day to offer seamless connectivity for our customers across 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi and remain focused on delivering an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations.’

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:51:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indian-backed cellco Airtel Chad has received the nation’s first 3G/4G licence, Biztech Africa reports. The concession obliges Airtel to activate 3G services in the capital, N’Djamena, within six months although the cellco expects to achieve that goal in just four months. Airtel expects to extend 3G services to most major cities within a year. Commenting on the development, the CEO of Airtel Africa Christian de Faria noted that mobile services are more readily available to most Africans than many other basic services – such as electricity, sanitation and financial services – and ‘as a result wireless communications services can play a unique role in addressing social, economic and environmental issues.’ No details regarding the price of the licence, or the frequencies included in the concession were available.

Chad’s Minister of Posts and New Information Technologies, Daoussa Deby Itno, added: ‘Chadians in N’Djamena and elsewhere need good quality data services. Students expect broadband internet in universities, traders expect high speed internet for their operations and physicians, amongst others, expect to be connected to the various operations that they have with the outside world. Everyone needs reliable connectivity.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Chad’s broadband and wireless markets are amongst the least developed in the region and the development of these segments has been identified by the government and international aid organisations as a key factor in alleviating a number of social and economic problems afflicting the country. Internet access in Chad has long been hindered by the nation’s landlocked status, and the country is one of only a handful still dependent primarily on satellite links for international connectivity. According to the latest figures from sector watchdog the Office Tchadien de Regulation des Telecommunications (OTRT), at the end of 2012 there were some 1.987 million internet users, 99% of which connected via the 2.5G GPRS/EDGE networks of Airtel and its cellular rival Tigo Chad.

Source: TeleGeograhy.

3G
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:50:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Smart Telecom, which is owned by Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), the Kenyan-based infrastructure and industrial development arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), has announced the launch of a mobile network operating subsidiary in Tanzania. The launch coincides with the introduction of a sister company, also called Smart Telecom, in neighbouring Uganda, which was revealed last month. AKFED is also launching the new Smart Telecom brand in Burundi, and has earmarked investment of USD300 million across the three East African markets, offering mobile voice and internet services, with the stated aim to bring ‘improved service, value and coverage’ to all three countries. TeleGeography notes that AKFED’s telecoms investment partner, the Cypriot-based, Russian-owned Timeturns Holdings, is the backer of existing Tanzanian CDMA operator Benson Informatics (BOL), holding a full national mobile licence, while the Ugandan branch of Smart Telecom acquired its licences via start-up Sure Telecom (Uganda), which was previously solely owned by Timeturns. Similarly, the launch of Smart Telecom (Burundi) has been achieved via the AKFED/Timeturns partnership, with a relaunch of Timeturn’s existing mobile subsidiary Lacell (Smart Mobile).

Smart Tanzania has marketed its introductory services with a banner saying ‘pay TZS79 (USD0.0484) for every on-net call’. Its standard call rates are advertised on its website as ‘on-net TZS2.8 per second / off-net TZS4.1 per second’, while it offers choices of daily, weekly and monthly service bundles including voice, SMS and data – including a month’s unlimited mobile internet usage for TZS20,000 (USD12.24). The website also promises mobile money services will be made available on the Smart Tanzania network.

The Tanzanian wireless market is already home to five full fledged cellular mobile operators: Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Zantel and Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL), while TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Smile Communications operates 4G TD-LTE wireless broadband services in the country, alongside CDMA fixed-wireless voice/data network operators BOL (see above) and Sasatel, and there are four other licensees – MyCell, EGOTEL, 4G Mobile and Telesis – holding technology-neutral network operating concessions via which they intend to provide wireless data-focused services (based on CDMA, W-CDMA, mobile WiMAX and LTE, respectively). Another mobile licensee, Rural Netco, has deployed UMTS-900 infrastructure for wholesale-only services, GlobalComms adds.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:49:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

US Cellular, the fifth-largest mobile network operator in the United States, is reportedly expanding its LTE coverage, and plans to add more than 1,200 new sites this year – in partnership with its long-term affiliate, 700MHz spectrum holder King Street Wireless. According to RCR Wireless, Chicago-based US Cellular is bringing its LTE coverage to Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and North Carolina and increasing its existing footprint in Iowa, Illinois, Maine, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:47:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Science, technology, energy and mining minister Philip Paulwell has revealed that the government intends to introduce a new broadband provider to the market to increase competition and drive down prices. The Jamaica Observer quotes the minister as saying that: ‘The price for broadband is too high. We want to see more competition…to get those prices down… and [as such], I am going to bring in another [operator].’ Further details were not forthcoming, however, and it remains unclear whether the intended newcomer will operate its own infrastructure. Paulwell also confirmed that he had received assurances from Digicel and LIME that the duo were planning to upgrade their broadband services, claiming that they had committed to rolling out broadband services ‘in a much more vigorous way.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:43:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Taiwanese multi-service operator Chunghwa Telecom is reportedly planning to launch a 300Mbps/100Mbps fibre-optic broadband service next month, according to Digitimes. With the service expected to be offered to consumers for less than TWD2,000 (USD66) per month, Chunghwa will also make changes to the upload speeds offered by its existing fibre broadband packages. To that end, the telco will boost the uplink rate on its current 100Mbps/20Mbps package to 40Mbps, while its 60Mbps/15Mbps plan will see the rate increased to 20Mbps; neither package will see an increase in price.

With Chunghwa’s fixed line broadband subscriber base said to currently stand at 3.76 million, the bulk of these (2.71 million) are connected via fibre, while the remaining 1.05 million are ADSL-based accesses. Looking ahead, the operator has set out its stall to increase the number of customers taking its 100Mbps downlink package, and it aims to increase this from the 480,000 such subscribers it has now, to one million by the end of 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:42:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Uruguay’s national telecoms operator Administracion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Antel) is aiming to increase the number of households connected to its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to 500,000 by the end of this year, the company’s president Carolina Cosse is quoted by El Pais as saying. At present, around 288,000 customers are connected to Antel’s fibre-optic infrastructure, which passes about 740,000 homes in the country. Last year the state-owned company said it will invest USD1.112 billion in its operations by 2017, around USD727 million of which will be spent on its access network, including the rollout and expansion of its FTTH infrastructure. Cosse also revealed that Antel’s 4G LTE network, which was launched in December 2011, covers 80% of the capital Montevideo and 99% of Punta del Este.

Source: Uruguay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:41:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bangladesh’s largest cellco by subscribers GrameenPhone has announced that its 3G W-CDMA/HSPA+ network coverage now covers all 64 of the country’s district headquarter cities, following its commercial launch of the 2100MHz service on 8 October 2013. In a press release, the Telenor subsidiary stated: ‘GrameenPhone is now the largest national broadband service provider. Some 40% of our customers are currently under 3G coverage and approximately 85% of 3G enabled devices can access the 3G network.’ GrameenPhone won the largest-bandwidth (2×10MHz) 3G licence in Bangladesh’s September 2013 auction and covered all seven of the country’s main divisional capital towns plus other densely populated cities by the end of the year, before reaching the 64-city national footprint in less than six months from launch, which it called ‘the fastest 3G rollout in the history of Telenor Group, and a critical part of our ambition to provide internet for all.’

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:39:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Spanish cellco Movistar has outlined plans under which it will speed up the deployment of its 4G infrastructure, with a view to achieving coverage of 60% of the population by the end of this year. The mobile operator already provides LTE-based services to 50% of the nation, and its network footprint encompasses a total of 197 municipalities, including 32 provincial capitals; of the capitals, however, ten are covered as a result of a network sharing agreement it struck with rival Yoigo to use the latter’s infrastructure. Looking ahead, having said that it aims to have constructed a total of 4,200 4G-enabled base stations by the end of this year, Movistar expects to cover a total of 443 municipalities by that date, with all cities of more than 70,000 inhabitants able to connect to its LTE network.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:38:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Zambia’s minister of communications and transport, Yamfwa Mukanga, has reconfirmed that the state plans to offer a fourth mobile operator licence following the implementation of the digital migration project, which is expected to conclude next year, AllAfrica reports. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the award of a new mobile concession was put on hold in August 2013, despite reports of interest from five companies in January that year, with South Africa-based Vodacom named as one of the interested parties. In the latest statement on the matter, Mr Mukanga was cited as saying that the eventual licensing of a new operator is seen as a means of boosting competition, noting: ‘The government is concerned with the high cost of communication … We are therefore very hopeful that the fourth mobile operator will come with many advantages including reduced cost of making phone calls and other services.’ While the licence itself is not expected to be awarded until next year – the country’s digital TV migration project is expected to be completed by 2015, in line with a Southern African Development Community (SADC) deadline – it is understood that the government will begin receiving and evaluating bids this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:37:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) has announced the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) for subscribers of the country’s three cellular operators. Customers can now retain their own phone number when transferring between operators, with the number porting process to take no more than three days. On 15 June 2013 the government passed an amendment to the Republic’s Law on Telecommunications, allowing for the introduction of MNP from that date. The three incumbent operators – VivaCell MTS, Beeline and Orange Armenia – then cooperated on the creation of a joint company and a common database to handle the MNP system.

Separately, the PSRC has revealed that Armenia now has 100% geographic coverage for mobile services. The last 18 areas without a cellular signal were divided among the trio of incumbents and covered earlier this year, the regulator says. According to a report from local news portal Arka which cites PSRC commissioner Samvel Arabjanyan, 68.5% of the territory receives a service from all three networks and a further 23.0% has coverage by two networks, while the remaining 8.5% (mainly villages) is serviced by one operator only.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:36:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Microsoft is considering a plan to utilise unused ‘white space’ spectrum to provide improved broadband internet access in Brazil. Hernan Rincon, the president of Microsoft Latin America told delegates at a conference in Sao Paulo that the firm wants to target the SME market, working with the government to improve broadband coverage using wireless technology. The plan would see Microsoft utilising packets of spectrum between existing TV transmission channels, which have previously been kept free to avoid interference between broadcasts. With the plans still in the early stages, however, more concrete details have not been revealed. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, less than a third of Brazil’s households currently subscribe to fixed broadband services, with 19.37 million subscribers at the end of 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:35:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Egypt (TE) expects to sign up around five million mobile subscribers in its first year of offering wireless services, Daily News Egypt reports, citing Mohamed Kamel, the telco’s general manager for investor relations and international reporting.

In addition, the report notes that a conference at which the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT) will formally announce plans to award a unified telecoms licence to the fixed line incumbent – as well as to mobile operators Vodafone, Etisalat and MobiNil – will take place on 2 April. The conference had been expected to take place last week, but was postponed in line with a delay to the National Telecoms Regulatory Authority’s (NTRA’s) board of directors meeting which was made due to ‘urgent circumstances’.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 8:34:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 27, 2014

According to data published by the Autorita per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (Agcom), the number of mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) subscribers in Italy reached 5.24 million at the end of 2013, up from 4.50 million a year earlier. The sector continues to be dominated by Poste Mobile, which claimed a 54.2% share of the spoils at year-end, albeit down from 55.2% on an annualised basis. According to Agcom statistics, this gives Poste Mobile a 2.8% share of the overall mobile market.

As at 31 December 2013, the top five MVNOs in terms of user numbers were: Poste Mobile (2.84 million); broadband operator FastWeb (15.6% or 817,440); major retail chain Co-Op Italia (9.3% or 487,320); Erg Petroli (6.8% or 356,320); and Daily Telecom (4.8% or 251,520).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:03:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China's smartphone market is forecast to reach 422 million units this year, with 278 million units offered by Chinese vendors, according to Digitimes Research. Samsung and Apple are expected to bring their sales to nearly 144 million units, up 4 percent year-on-year. Digitimes Research expects that fewer Chinese brands will remain to compete in the local market as domestic vendors without substantial product differentiation could be eliminated in the short term. Global shipments by Chinese smartphone markers is expected to reach 412 million in 2014, up 30.7 percent from 2013. 

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:02:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) has increased the speed of its ‘Home Broadband’ plans across the Sultanate. Customers with a 2Mbps connection will now see their speeds reaching 4Mbps, while 3Mbps-5Mbps plans have been upgraded to 6Mbps and 40Mbps to 60Mbps at no additional cost, while the firm has also launched a new 35Mbps tariff for OMR55 (USD142) per month. ‘Our strategy at Omantel has always been focused on providing our customers with the best overall broadband experience,’ commented Haitham Abdullah Al Kharousi, vice president of Omantel’s Consumer Business Unit, adding: ‘As we have invested massively in expanding our fixed network and bringing its reach closer to more customers throughout the Sultanate, we are now able to pass the benefits to our customers by enhancing speeds. With this change, more than 90% of our customers have benefitted from doubling download speeds. In addition, upload speeds have been upgraded to 1Mbps.’

In other news, the Omani government will begin the second phase of its sale of shares in Omantel on 31 March, following the conclusion of a private placement of 71.25 million shares open to Omani individual and institutional investors based on a book-building approach earlier this month. The second phase involves an initial public offering (IPO) for Omani citizens at a fixed price of OMR1.350 per share. The public offer will close on 13 April 2014. Overall, the divestment will see the state’s ownership in Omantel reduced from 70% to 51%; 30% of the telco is already publicly owned.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 3:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Namibia has announced the launch of revised, ‘affordable’ data-only fixed broadband packages for residential, small office/home office (SOHO) and small enterprise customers, under a promotion running for a month ending 20 June 2014. New ‘Speedlink Lite’ packages are grouped as ‘Speedlink Data’ (home and business) and ‘Speedlink Data Professional’ with static IP address. Speedlink Data offers speeds of minimum 512kbps and maximum 10Mbps, while Speedlink Data Professional offers 1Mbps up to 10Mbps. The Speedlink Lite packages have eight data-only offerings, all with unlimited usage, at prices starting from NAD245 (USD22.50) a month for a 512kbps package up to NAD4,048 for a 10Mbps package on a 36-month contract. An installation fee of NAD222 is payable in urban locations and NAD333 for rural customers, while the packages do not include a modem – users may purchase their own modem separately for a one-off payment or via instalments, reports Biztechafrica. Telecom Namibia offers a range of Wi-Fi enabled modems allowing customers to connect to the internet via smartphones, tablets and laptops. Isak Ouseb, senior manager for product management, said that the new data-only plans are based on customer demand for more data and faster speeds, adding that Namibian consumers and businesses are increasingly accessing the internet on smartphones or tablets while staying in touch with family, friends or colleagues through e-mails, instant messaging or social networking sites. ‘Our new Speedlink Lite packages will target these specific requirements,’ Ouseb added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:59:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Jordan’s government has committed USD209 million to complete the National Broadband Network project within the next two years. Tenders for the supply and construction of the network are expected to be completed in May, ICT Minister Azzam Sleit said, adding: ‘All projects under the tenders that the government floated will be completed in two years after which the scheme will be ready. This will greatly boost e-services, e-health and e-education in the Kingdom.’ The project, which aims to connect all public schools and universities, government agencies and hospitals to a nationwide fibre-optic network was launched in 2003 but has stalled several times due to lack of funds.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:58:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Smart Telecom, backed by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), has launched commercial services in Uganda, becoming the nation’s seventh wireless provider. The newcomer aims to differentiate itself from its entrenched rivals by offering cheaper calls, providing better customer services and by supporting local communities. AKFED chose the ‘Smart’ brand through its ‘Give us a name’ campaign, which saw citizens across eastern Africa offer suggestions and vote on a moniker for the cellco. Smart now claims to be the cheapest provider in the market, charging customers on a per-call basis rather than per-minute or per-second billing. Commenting on the decision, Smart Telecom East Africa’s CEO Abdellatif Bouziani explained: ‘Like we asked East Africans to give us a name, we also asked them what they wanted from us, and they said they wanted to make calls without being under pressure of time.’ In a bid to tie-up its image, Smart has linked its numbering code ‘074’ to its prices, charging customers UGX74 (USD0.029) for each call. Although the cellco’s network is currently limited to Kampala, Smart plans to expand coverage into rural areas. Smart also plans to use a base in Uganda to launch operations in Tanzania and Burundi.

AKFED, which also holds a majority stake in Roshan, Afghanistan’s largest cellco by subscribers, acquired its licences through the acquisition of Sure Telecom. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database Cypriot-backed Sure Telecom received its concessions in July 2007 and planned to offset expectations of low profitability in the crowded mobile segment by investing in fixed line networks. More than a year behind schedule, Sure launched a trial GSM network in December 2012, but failed to make an impression on the market. Smart Telecom will share the market with MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda, which represent a combined total of 77.3% of the sector, whilst Uganda Telecommunications Ltd (UTL),Orange Uganda, Smile Communications, i-Tel and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) K2 make up the remainder. Despite the number of operators, however, there is plenty of room for growth with population penetration of only 56% at the end of 2013 and high levels of multiple SIM ownership.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:57:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Telecom Cook Islands has launched 3G mobile data services. Initially the service is only available on Rarotonga, TeleGeography writes. The launch is supported by increased international bandwidth through satellite operator O3b Networks, which was successfully trialled in December last year. Telecom Cook Islands offers a range of "Anytime" postpaid plans starting at NZD 30 with data inclusions ranging from 100 MB to 1 GB. Prepaid data packs start at NZD 10 for 100 MB and range to NZD 50 for 1 GB.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G | Tariffs
Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:56:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Danish cellco Hi3G Access is claiming to be ‘the first operator in Denmark’ to scrap roaming charges for several destinations within and outside the European Union (EU). According to a press release, under the initiative ‘3LikeHome’, from 17 March Hi3G’s subscribers travelling to Sweden, England, Ireland , Austria, Italy and Hong Kong will be able to make voice calls, use the web and send text messages at the same price as in Denmark, on any network in those countries. 3LikeHome will be included in every retail subscription that provides unlimited voice calls as well as a number of business subscriptions with inclusive calls.

Morten Christiansen, CEO of Hi3G Access Denmark, said: ‘Our customers are among the most advanced mobile users in Denmark. And according to figures from [Erhvervsstyrelsen] our customers use more than three times as much data as the average American. It is therefore natural for us to take the lead for more mobility with fewer limits.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:55:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Namibia officially launched the Windhoek Internet Exchange Point (WIXP) on 7 March 2014, reports InternetSociety.org. The domestic IXP eliminates dependence on international connectivity for local internet services and internet-based communications, and is expected to serve as a catalyst for innovation and development of internet services and applications in Namibia, by lowering the cost of developing local hosting and application development. Stanley Simataa, Namibia’s deputy minister of ICT, noted that: ‘The Namibian public will hopefully enjoy internet services that are more secure, affordable and faster.’ Dawit Bekele, director of the African Regional Bureau of the Internet Society, said: ‘IXPs bring additional benefits to the local internet environment as they are essential to facilitate a robust domestic ICT sector. They help make online services equally accessible to all local users.’

WIXP will be managed by the IXP Association of Namibia, a non-profit organisation established for the purpose, with five internet service providers (ISPs) connected to the IXP at launch. Remaining ISPs in the country are expected to connect in the coming weeks. WIXP was established with the support of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS), a project of the African Union implemented by the Internet Society, in collaboration locally with the ICT Ministry of Namibia.

The Internet Society/AXIS project aims to have 80% of African users’ internet traffic exchanged within Africa by 2020.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:54:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The number of pre-paid mobile telephony customers of state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has exceeded the two million mark, Cubasi reports. ETECSA’s central director of mobile services, Hilda Arias, is also cited as saying at a press conference that around 1,900 customers have used the island’s ‘Nauta.cu’ e-mail service in the seven days since it was launched over the mobile telephony network on 3 March 2014. The service costs CUC1 (USD1) per MB.

TeleGeography notes that the government has recently made a number of moves to increase the availability of telecoms services to Cubans; in early 2013 the calling-party-pays (CPP) system was introduced for mobile phone users, while in November the state enabled individuals to market ETECSA’s products and services from their own home, and since 21 January 2014 family and friends abroad have been able to pay for fixed telephony bills via the internet. Meanwhile, in a step towards broadening availability of the internet, in June last year the government began offering access to the World Wide Web at 118 outlets around the island. Until then, the internet was only available at select state institutions and to tourists at around 200 hotels. This year, ETECSA is also planning to enable balance transfers between pre-paid customers and eliminate the minimum top-up of CUC5.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:52:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the first reading of a bill to establish the country’s first independent telecoms regulator, tentatively called the Telecommunication Regulation Authority (TRA), in a move that could lead to further liberalisation of the sector. According to Reuters, 38 members of parliament (MPs) approved the first reading of the bill, while two MPs abstained. In a second statement, parliament speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said that he hoped a second and final reading of the bill would be passed at the parliament’s next hearing, which is scheduled for 18 March 2014. The new commission will regulate the mobile, wireline and broadband sectors, although the exact scope of the supervisory powers that it will be given remains unclear. Kuwait is the last country in the Gulf region to establish such a regulatory body, and the draft law has reportedly been the subject of much deliberation by the government and the previous assemblies for the past decade.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, back in November 2010 the MoC announced that it intended to establish an independent telecoms regulator as part of its ongoing intention to privatise the country’s fixed line telephony market. No date was given for the introduction of a separate regulator, but the MoC claimed that no further internet service provider (ISP) licences would be issued in the interim period.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:51:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malaysian mobile network operator DiGi Telecommunications is said to have set aside MYR900 million (USD276 million) in capital expenditure for the expansion and strengthening of its infrastructure, according to the Sun Daily. Commenting on the company’s investment plans, DiGi chief operating officer Albern Murty was cited as saying: ‘This spend will be invested to increase our high-speed packet access (HSPA) and 3G coverage to 86% of population coverage, growing our LTE footprint up to 1,500 sites, as well as expanding our fibre network.’ Claiming that the amount to be spent represented the largest sum in recent years, the executive was also said to have confirmed that DiGi had spent approximately MYR1.5 billion on the modernisation and expansion of its network over the last two years. Under DiGi’s network transformation plan it was said to have swapped every electronic part in more than 5,500 sites with new equipment, expanded its HSPA and 3G network to more than 80% population coverage, as well as increased its own and jointly built fibre network to more than 3,200km nationwide.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:49:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Cuban authorities have set the maximum rate that state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) can charge for mobile internet access at CUC1 (USD1) per megabyte of data, CafeFuerte reports. The rate, which excludes service set-up charges, was approved with the publication of Ministry of Communications Resolution No. 8/2014 in the Official Gazette last month. The resolution indicates that mobile internet access could be launched on the island in April, initially for post-paid customers only, but with a pre-paid offering set to follow from the third quarter of 2014.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the government has recently made a number of moves to increase the availability of telecoms services to Cubans; in early 2013 the calling-party-pays (CPP) system was introduced for mobile phone users, while in November the state enabled individuals to market ETECSA’s products and services from their own home, and since 21 January 2014 family and friends abroad have been able to pay for fixed telephony bills via the internet. Meanwhile, in a step towards broadening availability of the internet, in June last year the government began offering access to the World Wide Web at 118 outlets around the island. Until then, the internet was only available at select state institutions and to tourists at around 200 hotels. This year, ETECSA is also planning to introduce an email service, as well as enable balance transfers between pre-paid customers and eliminate the minimum top-up of CUC5.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:48:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

State-backed full service provider Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB) has rolled out fibre-optic rings in the cities of Medellin and Bucaramanga as part of a regional development programme, TeleSemana reports. Under the project, ETB also intends to install fibre networks in Cali, Cartagena, Barranquilla and Tunja over the course of 2014 and 2015. The new networks will allow ETB to offer additional services such as data transport solutions and dedicated internet connections, which are expected to help the telco meet its goal of generating 30% of its revenue from outside Bogota, its main operating area, by 2020.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:47:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates has revealed that Etisalat and Du have together received 61,000 requests from subscribers to switch provider since mobile number portability (MNP) was introduced in December. ‘So far the MNP has been good. It is a new start and it will take time to gain momentum,’ the TRA’s director general Mohammad Nasser Al Ganem, told Gulf News, adding: ‘This has generated good attraction by operators and consumers. The operators are trying to retain their customers by good offers and customers have a choice.’ According to Al Ganem, out of the total requests more than 23,000 mobile subscribers have transferred their number to a rival network, while many requests were resubmitted in order to obtain the required documents for the switchover.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:46:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has launched a promotion offering mobile customers a reduced rate for calls and SMS to international networks. Until 30 April the pre-paid rate for calls to ‘America (except Venezuela)’ will be CUC1.10 (USD1.10) per minute instead of CUC1.60 per minute, calls to Venezuela will be charged at CUC1.00 (CUC1.40) and the rate for voice calls to the rest of the world will be CUC1.20 instead of the usual rate of CUC1.80 per minute. Text messages for both pre- and post-paid subscribers are available at a promotional price of CUC0.60 until the end of April, compared to the standard rate of CUC1.00.`

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 2:45:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 06, 2014

None of the four Kenyan mobile networks met their Quality of Service (QoS) requirements in the 2012/13 financial year, according to a report released by CCK today. Overall, performance by the four mobile operators shows a general downward trend with none of the operators having achieved the minimum Key Performance Indicators (KPI) compliance target of 80%.

Telkom Kenya Limited had the highest QoS score of 62.5%, while the three other operators - Airtel Kenya Limited, Essar Kenya Limited and Safaricom Kenya Limited - each managed 50% out of the set minimum score of 80%. 

The QoS assessment framework is based on eight (8) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a well-defined assessment methodology that were adopted in 2008/09 after an elaborate and exhaustive consultative process. The eight KPIs are completed calls rate, call set up success rate, dropped calls, blocked calls, speech quality, handover success rate, call set up time and signal strength.  Of the eight KPIs, five were enhanced during the period under review and this may have contributed to the outcome.

All the operators met the KPI targets in respect to Signal Strength (RX Level), Call set up time, Handover Success Rate and Call drop rate in the current assessment period.

The KPIs that have not been met by any of the operators in the current assessment period included call block rate, completed calls and call set up success rate (CSSR).

Read the full report.

Source: CCK Mobile.

Thursday, March 06, 2014 9:44:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 21, 2014

Senegal’s telecoms regulator, the Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes (ARTP), is conducting a public consultation on the implementation of mobile number portability. In October last year the watchdog announced that it expected MNP to be introduced by end-October 2014. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the country is home to three cellular operators: market leader Orange, which claimed 58% of Senegal’s 12.72 million mobile users at end-September 2013, plus Sudatel and Tigo, which have around 21% of the market each.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 4:04:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

 

Smartphone penetration has reached roughly 40% in Costa Rica, with Spanish-backed cellco Movistar claiming that 65% of its users utilised smartphone handsets, the operator’s director George Abbey was cited by TeleSemana as saying. The official noted that penetration was well above the norm for the region, which he claimed was only around 10% of users in Central America. Abbey added that internet usage amongst the cellco’s subscriber base was exceptionally high, noting that: ‘over 85% of our pre-paid customers use the internet daily… [whilst] for post-paid, 100% of plans have data.’

As previously noted by CommUpdate, Movistar claimed to have passed the one million subscriber milestone in mid-January 2014 and is set to launch its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Q1 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 4:03:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A1 Telekom Austria has claimed to be the first operator in the European Union (EU) to have migrated its entire fixed line voice service to a voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) platform. According to Total Telecom, the four-year project saw the telco integrate 1,480 switching centres and 2.3 million wireline customers with its all-IP network. The migration was carried out gradually, from west to east, at a rate of 50 switching centres per week. To facilitate the migration, Telekom deployed Huawei’s multi service access node (MSAN) and an advanced IP soft-switch (AIPS) provided by Kapsch CarrierCom on its IP network. CTO Gunther Ottendorfer commented: ‘The integration of fixed net telephony into our all-IP data network was one of the most comprehensive and complex projects in the history of our company.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 4:02:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Telecom has become the country’s second operator to launch 4G services, having activated its Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network in 100 cities late last week, South China Morning Post writes. The 4G service is currently only available via USB modems, although a compatible MiFi router is also available to support other devices. In terms of pricing, Telecom’s offerings range in price from CNY70 (USD11.47) per month with 1GB of data, to CNY280 per month for 10GB. Meanwhile, China Unicom, the nation’s second largest provider by subscribers, is expected to weigh-in next month with the launch of its own TD-LTE network. Both Telecom and Unicom intend to rely heavily on Frequency Division (FD)-LTE for their 4G networks, whilst China Mobile will use the home-grown TD technology exclusively. However, sector regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIT) has not yet signalled when it intends to make FD-LTE licences available.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Friday, February 21, 2014 4:01:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vietnamese military-backed telco Viettel Group has been awarded a mobile licence in Burundi, paving the way for the launch of the nation’s sixth commercial cellular network. The firm has reportedly set up a local subsidiary called Viettel Burundi in which it holds a 95% interest. No details have been released on when the new licensee is likely to begin offering services or which technology its network will employ.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel’s overseas expansion strategy is firmly focused on Africa, and the company owns a number of operators and licences across the continent, including: Movitel of Mozambique, Viettel Cameroon and a 65% stake in Tanzanian mobile start-up Epocha & Golden Ocean Tanzania (trading as EGOTEL). Last month Viettel was the only applicant for Burkina Faso’s fourth mobile licence. Meanwhile, Viettel has also expressed an interest in acquiring licences in countries such as Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Swaziland.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 4:00:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Danish telco TDC is scrapping the ‘up to’ marketing of its broadband packages, with its new broadband products now offering guaranteed down/uplink speeds of 20Mbps/2Mbps (priced at DKK255 [USD46.83]), 30Mbps/5Mbps (DKK269), 40Mbps/10Mbps (DKK289) and 50Mbps/10Mbps (DKK299), effective 17 February 2014. Rene Brochner, director of TDC Residential, said: ‘With this initiative we want [to show] how communication to broadband customers can be further improved. With the new products we now offer we guarantee that the speed is always [as advertised], for example, the 40Mbps/10Mbps speed is always 40Mbps/10Mbps.’

Further, TDC has announced that two-thirds of the country’s households will have access to broadband speeds of 20Mbps/2Mbps (down/upstream) by mid-2014, with more than 750,000 households guaranteed a 50Mbps connection, due to investment in ‘fibre protruding points and pair-bonding of copper’. TDC will also launch Vectoring technology in 2015, which can theoretically allow speeds of 100Mbps to be achieved over a copper network.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:59:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Canada’s federal government has promised an additional CAD305 million (USD277.5 million) over five years to expand and upgrade broadband internet services in rural and Northern communities, reports IT World Canada. Finance minister James Flaherty’s new budget sets a goal of giving 280,000 more rural households access to download speeds of at least 5Mbps, as per a five-year target established in 2011 by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Ottawa spent CAD225 million in 2010-13 to upgrade services to dozens of communities which previously had either minimal internet speeds or no internet access at all.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:58:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Tanzania has inaugurated a new microwave link between the capital city Dar es Salaam and the island of Zanzibar. The USD1.6 million system, designed to improve communications between Zanzibar and the mainland, has been installed by the state-backed incumbent fixed line operator Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) with funding support from Japan. ‘We are now sure of effective communication in Zanzibar,’ local newspaper the Daily News quotes Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, as saying.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:57:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telenor Sweden and infrastructure sharing partner Tele2 have jointly announced that in 2014-2016 the coverage of their mobile networks will be increased to around 90% of Sweden’s territory, up from roughly 70% today, via their joint venture Net4Mobility. The project, involving deployment of new base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country, will result in the joint 2G/4G mobile network offering services in many additional rural and remote locations to Tele2 and Telenor customers, especially in northern Sweden. Lars-Ake Norling, CEO of Telenor Sweden, said in a press release that a special effort is being made to significantly raise coverage in northern Sweden, including Vasternorrland, Vasterbotten, Jamtland and Norrbotten County, increasing the number of BTS in these regions by over 140%, while in the rest of the country, the number of BTS will be increased by around 40%. Thomas Ekman, CEO of Tele2 Sweden, added: ‘We were the first in Sweden with a nationwide 4G mobile network [having announced 99% population coverage in Q1 2013 via a combination of frequency bands], and focused primarily on building coverage and capacity where people live and work. With today’s focus, we take the next step for a mobile network providing access and call coverage no matter where our customers are located.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:56:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Proximus, the mobile arm of Belgian fixed line incumbent Belgacom, has become the first of the country’s operators to launch LTE-based services in Brussels. In a press release confirming the development, Belgacom noted that the introduction of 4G in the capital had not been possible until now, but pointed to new legislation as having allowed it to begin rolling out it network in the city. It noted that, on the back of the amended ordinance of the Brussels Capital Region, it has been able to activate some of its antennas in Brussels based on the current standard of three volts per meter (3V/m), saying that at launch around 20% of the capital’s population is within the network footprint. Looking ahead, the company has said that it will look to ramp up the infrastructure switch-on once Belgian authorities implement decrees which will introduce a new standard of six volts per meter (6V/m). In terms of an expected timetable for a city-wide rollout, Belgacom has said that it expects it to take ‘12 to 18 months to develop a high-quality network with sufficient coverage for customers’.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Belgacom revealed that Proximus was upgrading all of its customers to 4G at no additional cost. With the company saying that it wanted ‘to let all its customers benefit from the best mobile experience’, it confirmed that over a two-week period it will activate access to its LTE for pre- and post-paid customers, while both residential and business subscribers will benefit from the automatic upgrade. In making the announcement Belgacom also confirmed that its 4G infrastructure is now available in some 260 cities and municipalities, with more than 50% of the population within the network footprint.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Friday, February 21, 2014 3:55:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco’s telecoms regulator, the Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT), has published a new set of rules governing the identification of mobile subscribers, effective 1 April 2014. According to a press release from the watchdog, access to 2G/3G mobile services will be subject to prior and full customer identification, with the country’s mobile operators Maroc Telecom, Medi Telecom (Meditel) and Inwi (Wana) required to verify a user’s identity (name, surname, CNI number and signature) prior to activating a line; further, the sale of pre-activated SIM cards will be prohibited after 1 April 2014. Existing customers will also be required to confirm their identity in due course. ANRT confirmed that mobile operators have a period of one year (until 1 April 2015) to ensure that all of their subscribers are registered.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:54:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Brazilian mobile operators TIM Brasil and Oi have still to meet some of their 3G network coverage requirements ten months after the deadline has passed. Both firms were required to be covering 15% of municipalities with less than 30,000 inhabitants by April 2013 but, according to a report from news portal Convergencia Digital which cites figures from local consultancy firm Teleco, TIM has missed the target in 426 towns while for Oi the figure is 425 towns.

As reported in TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate last month, all four of the country’s main operators – Vivo, TIM, Claro and Oi – met the end-2013 coverage deadlines for larger cities, namely to be offering services in all cities of over 100,000 inhabitants and half the cities with between 30,000 and 100,000 inhabitants. The coverage targets were stipulated in the 3G licences awarded back in December 2007.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Friday, February 21, 2014 3:53:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bangladesh’s Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications, Information & Technology has decided to cut international incoming voice call termination rates by 50% from USD0.03 to USD0.015 per minute, in a measure aimed at fighting the illegal calls market. The Daily Star reports that if the rate reduction receives final approval it will be implemented for an initial six-month ‘test period’. Telecom secretary Abubakar Siddique confirmed that the decision was sent for Finance Ministry consent last week, but the proposal could take up to a month to consider, as it has the potential to backfire and dent government earnings from international call termination fees, currently standing at around BDT11 billion (USD140 million) annually via the 51.75% the state takes from licensed operators’ incoming call connection revenue. Siddique added that under the proposed new rates framework, the government would receive a reduced revenue percentage of 40%, as a further incentive to the licensed international gateway (IGW), interconnection exchange (ICX) and retail voice service operators, which split the remainder of incoming call revenues between them. Illegal calls bypass the IGW-ICX route, and the state receives no revenue from such calls. The telecom ministry’s decision was backed by the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh which on 30 January 2014 wrote a letter to the ministry recommending the halving of the official minimum threshold rate to 1.5 US cents – as according to the association illegal calls currently cost on average between 1.5 and two US cents. Legal and illegal international call volumes are roughly similar at present, according to market sources cited by the Star report. During January 2014 the country received an average of more than 40.5 million international incoming call minutes per day, according to figures from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in an earlier measure to fight the ‘grey’ unlicensed international voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) call market, the government reduced the minimum incoming overseas call termination rate by one US cent to USD0.03 per minute with effect from May 2009, although illegal VoIP operators were still able to offer cheaper rates. GlobalComms adds that Bangladesh has subsequently licensed a long list of official VoIP-based international incoming call operators alongside the legal IGW and ICX operators – but with the regulated minimum call rate stuck at a higher level than in the unlicensed sector, it appeared that further regulatory measures were necessary.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:52:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the country’s leading mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has launched what it claims is the country’s first Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) network, local news agency Ameinfo reports. Khalid Al Biyari, STC Group’s senior vice president for Technology and Operations, said: ‘STC’s LTE-A network investments aim at enriching the company’s customer experience and consolidating its leadership in the Saudi market … We expect these network developments will continue until [STC] can provide data rates of 1Gbps.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, STC launched its commercial 4G LTE mobile broadband network in September 2011, and by October 2013 coverage had been expanded to 76.1% of the population (around 7,000 sites). Going forward, the firm aims to achieve coverage of 90% of the population by end-2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Friday, February 21, 2014 3:50:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Finnish mobile network operator Elisa has reached an agreement with the all of the country’s other cellcos regarding mobile termination rates (MTRs) for the period 2014-2015. In a press release confirming the development, the company said that at present all of the nation’s mobile providers have rate parity, with the existing MTR standing at EUR0.0280 (USD0.0380) per minute. From 1 September 2014, however, this charge will be reduced to EUR0.0187 per minute, with the new rate to be valid until 30 November 2015. Commenting on the future rate, Elisa said that it did not expect the change in interconnection fee to have any impact on profits, nor its 2014 outlook and mid-term financial targets.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:49:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sri Lanka’s Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has suspended proposals to implement mobile number portability (MNP) as it will not be ‘cost-effective’ until there is a greater proportion of post-paid subscribers in the market, according to the regulator’s director-general Anusha Palpita, quoted by Sri Lankan newspaper The Nation. Palpita explained the strategy by saying: ‘The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [would be] post-paid mobile subscribers. However, in Sri Lanka’s case, we have less than 10% of the total mobile subscriber population owning a post-paid mobile connection. Therefore, in my opinion implementation of MNP will not be cost-effective at the moment.’ The director argued that it would be unfair on the roughly 20 million pre-paid users amongst the approximately 21.5 million total customers to bear the cost of MNP implementation, adding: ‘The full implementation could cost the telecom operators to the tune of USD2 million to USD3 million which may then have to be passed to the consumer. But considering the inequality in the proportion as mentioned, it is not the right thing to do.’ He further noted that some of the country’s mobile operators had less than 5% of their subscribers on post-paid plans.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:48:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The French mobile market grew by 1.2 million Sim cards in the fourth quarter of 2013 and by 3.6 million in the year to reach 76.6 million at the end of December, according to telecom regulator ARCEP. The penetration rate rose by 1.9 percentage points in the quarter to 117.1 percent. Excluding M2M penetration grew by 1.3 points to 106.6 percent.

Postpaid customers increased by 1.1 million in the quarter to reach 54.2 million, M2M grew by 400,000 accounts to 6.9 million, prepaid lines dropped by 266,000 in the quarter and by 14.3 percent over the year to 15.5 million. In continental France and Corsica (Metropole) there were 74 million Sim cards in service at the end of December, with MNOs adding 1 million in the quarter to reach 65.9 million, and MNOs adding 200,000 to take the tally to 8.1 million.

The MNO market share inched up to 10.9 percent in the fourth quarter from 10.8 percent in the third. This indicator has been stable for the last 2 years, despite the market entry of Free Mobile. The proportion of accounts without a contract tie-in period (no-commitment) rose by 3 points in the quarter to reach nearly 44 percent.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:47:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Azerbaijan has approved the first stage of a fibre-optic network rollout project, under which high speed internet will be made available to all of the country’s settlements by 2017. News agency Trend reports that the initial phase of the project will be implemented between 2014 and 2016, with the Azerbaijani State Oil Fund expected to provide AZN103 million (USD131 million) in funding. The entire programme is estimated to cost around AZN450 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 21, 2014 3:45:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |