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 Friday, 19 May 2017

Malaysian mobile network operator (MNO) Celcom Axiata has carried out what is claimed to be Malaysia’s first 5G trial, and the first 5G trial conducted using 28GHz spectrum in Southeast Asia, working in partnership with Ericsson. In a press release outlining the development, the Swedish vendor noted that the trial featured 5G Radio Prototypes, achieving a peak throughput up to 18Gbps and latency as low as 3ms. Further, the test was also said to have demonstrated futuristic 5G use cases, such as robotic control, connected environment, virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT) applications and 4K video streaming. The trial forms part of a 5G memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by Celcom and Ericsson in Barcelona in February 2017, which paved the way ‘for a joint partnership to evaluate opportunities for 5G and IoT in Malaysia’.

Looking ahead, Celcom’s recently announced ‘journey to 5G will involve the deployment of key technologies such as 4×4 multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) and 256 QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) to provide users with data speeds up to 400Mbps. The cellco also plans to deploy IoT to enable digital and connected living ‘in the near future’.

Speaking on the company’s strategy, Celcom CEO Michael Kuehner was cited as saying: ‘Celcom is committed to developing and continuing the evolution of its network with the latest technologies, to bring the best digital experience for Malaysians. 5G is very important to Celcom as it will support the development and meet the communication needs of consumers and digitisation of various industries. It is critical that we explore this new generation technology and its capabilities with global partners like Ericsson.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 19 May 2017 12:20:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 05 May 2017

The Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) has launched a project to deploy the country’s first fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections in Tehran and seven other cities. TechRasa reports that the initial phase of the rollout will see 580,000 lines installed, including 245,000 in Tehran, 85,000 in Isfahan, 80,000 in Mashhad, 61,000 in Shiraz, 61,000 in Ahvaz, 28,000 in Karaj and 20,000 in Kermanshah. Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology has previously been used by another state-backed operator, Iranian Net, but TCI’s new TANOMA project will mark the first time that fibre connections have been installed directly to the customer premises. The FTTH links will offer connectivity both to Iran’s National Information Network (NIN), which is a closed system of state-approved sites, or to the wider internet.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 05 May 2017 10:45:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vietnamese mobile operator Viettel has announced the commercial launch of its 4G LTE network, which boasts ‘nationwide’ coverage of 95% of the population. In the space of just six months, the military-owned firm has rolled out 36,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country, including all provinces and cities, as well as in remote, mountainous and island communities. Download speeds of between 30Mbps and 50Mbps are on offer, with Viettel claiming that it will market 4G packages that are ‘40%-60% cheaper’ than 3G tariffs, while it will also provide free services such as healthcare information, e-government, news, education and agriculture support via the ‘4G-Plus’ app.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Viettel began trialling an LTE network in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in December 2015 and it was awarded a 4G 1800MHz licence by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in October last year, alongside VNPT-Vinaphone, MobiFone and GTel Mobile.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 20 April 2017 07:20:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 10 April 2017

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the East African nation ended 2016 with a total of 38.98 million mobile subscribers, an increase of 3.4% from 37.71 million twelve months earlier. Safaricom accounted for the majority of total wireless customers (27.74 million) at end-December 2016, followed by Airtel Kenya with 6.85 million and Telkom Kenya with 2.89 million. The market’s two MVNOs, Finserve Africa (Equitel) and Sema Mobile, accounted for 1.49 million and 270 customers, respectively. Mobile data subscriptions rose from 23.79 million at the end of 2015 to 26.52 million twelve months later, with growth attributed to the increased affordability of smartphones and data bundles offered by service providers. Safaricom accounted for 67.5% of total mobile data subscriptions, followed by Airtel with 19.7%, Telkom with 7.1% and Finserve Africa (Equitel) with 5.6%.

The CA reported 158,185 fixed internet subscribers at 31 December 2016 (an increase of 17.1% from 135,107 a year earlier), including 86,139 cable modem internet users, 39,255 fibre-optic connections, 29,724 fixed-wireless data accesses, 2,483 DSL users and 584 satellite customers. Kenya ended the period under review with a total of 72,801 fixed line and fixed-wireless telephony lines in service, a decrease of 14.8% from 85,496 at the end of 2015

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 10 April 2017 08:51:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 30 March 2017

Vietnamese mobile operator Viettel is expected to complete its deployment of 36,000 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) by 10 April, six months after initiating the nationwide LTE rollout project. Vietnamnet quotes Viettel Corporation’s Deputy General Director Tao Duc Thang as saying that the company has dispatched 1,500 three-man teams to install 4G BTS throughout the country, including all provinces and cities, as well as in remote, mountainous and island communities, providing coverage to 95% of the population. The military-owned firm is aiming to significantly boost smartphone penetration in Vietnam and is currently offering 4G-capable devices for VND2 million (USD86.8), but plans to halve the entry-level LTE smartphone price to VND1 million in the future.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Viettel began trialling an LTE network in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in December 2015 and it was awarded a 4G 1800MHz licence by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in October last year, alongside VNPT-Vinaphone, MobiFone and GTel Mobile.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 30 March 2017 12:17:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Singapore’s industry regulator Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) has issued a statement today reminding the rump of people still on a 2G-only service to switch to a 3G or 4G handset by 1 April, ahead of the formal shutdown of services. IMDA has instructed mobile network operators (MNOs) Singtel, StarHub and M1 to shut down their 2G network in stages across Singapore; the process is scheduled to be completed by 18 April 2017. The watchdog’s statement has reminded 2G users that they will be able to retain their numbers and subscription plans on the 3G/4G networks at no additional cost and with no re-contract fee.

Last year the MNOs announced that any new pre-paid SIMs sold from 15 November would no longer support 2G handsets. At the time, they confirmed that existing pay-as-you-go SIMs would not be affected by the plan, and urged all customers still using GSM-based handsets to upgrade to a 3G or 4G-enabled device as soon as possible. Subsequently, IMDA announced that the sale of 2G-only mobile devices in the city-state would stop from 1 January 2017, noting that any retailers or equipment suppliers caught selling unregistered 2G-only mobile devices for use in Singapore could be given a financial penalty. The decision to withdraw 2G-only mobile services in the Republic from April 2017 is part of a plan to reuse precious frequency spectrum for more advanced mobile services.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017 13:37:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 27 March 2017

State-owned Telecom Niue, the sole wireless provider on the South Pacific island of Niue (located 1,490 miles off the coast of New Zealand), has launched a call for applications for the supply of a 4G LTE network. The telco, which currently operates a 2.5G GSM/EDGE network, has invited all qualified companies to submit their proposals by 31 March 2017.

TeleGeography notes that Niue currently employs the 900MHz band for its mobile 2.5G network, which was launched by Telecom Niue in 2011. Another telecoms company, the Internet Users Society charity group (which operates as Internet Niue), deployed a free Wi-Fi network in the 900MHz band in July 2003, with internet access currently offered to roughly 70% of the island’s households.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 27 March 2017 12:42:50 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bluesky Cook Islands announced the ‘soft launch’ of 4G LTE services on 24 March 2017, on a network enabled with LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) ‘4G+’ technology from the outset, in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei. The operator confirms on its website that 4G+ initially covers the islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The move follows its Samoan sister company’s LTE-A launch earlier this month.

The Cook Islands’ 4G upgrade also included adding more network capacity and three new cell sites to increase 2G/3G/4G coverage, particularly around the Tikioki, Central Avarua and Puaikura areas, Bluesky’s website adds. 4G-enabled handsets currently available at Bluesky Cook Islands outlets are: Apple iPhone 6s, Apple iPhone 7, Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Apple iPhone SE, Aspera R7, Aspera R8, HTC 628, Huawei GR3, Huawei P9, Samsung S7, Samsung S7 Edge and Sony Xperia Z5. Mobile customers will need to bring their handsets into the main Bluesky office in Parekura to set up the new service.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 27 March 2017 12:41:02 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 16 March 2017

Globe Telecom of the Philippines has launched what it claims is the country’s first commercial deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) four component carrier (4CC) spectrum aggregation technology, using the 2600MHz band. 4CC, which uses four distinct and separate blocks of 2600MHz spectrum, aggregated by LTE-A eNode B equipment, effectively doubles LTE capacity to improve mobile broadband speeds in those areas covered to peak rates of up to 400Mbps. According to Globe Senior Vice President for Programme Governance, Network Technical Group, Joel Agustin, the cellco has already deployed 4CC technology in 110 sites – mostly in Metro Manila, and specifically in Makati and certain areas in Quezon City, Marikina, Antipolo and San Mateo. Agustin notes that Globe’s 2600MHz rollout is the result of its joint acquisition of San Miguel Corp (SMC’s) telecommunication assets last year which has boosted its capability to further improve its LTE rollout.

‘This is the first time that a telco operator in the Philippines is making use of this four-component carrier spectrum LTE-Advanced technology and we are maximising the potential of the new spectrum assigned to us for the benefit of our customers. This technology milestone significantly improves customer experience as smartphone penetration in the country continues to increase,’ Agustin said. Going forward, Globe intends to roll out 4CC at more than 500 sites, augmenting its Metro Manila deployment with 2600MHz coverage in North Luzon and South Luzon. The company began using its new allocation of 2600MHz frequencies in June 2016 and to date, claims to have installed no fewer than 2,600 LTE sites – including approximately 1,200 mostly in Visayas and Mindanao.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:42:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |