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 Monday, July 20, 2015

India has launched full national mobile number portability (MNP) – also known as ‘One nation, one number’ – today, allowing mobile subscribers to continue using the same number when they move to any other operator in the country. Previously, India’s MNP system only allowed users to port their number within the same operating area. Commenting on the project, Rajan Matthews, director general of industry group the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), was quoted by the Economic Times as saying: ‘It has been a very complex exercise with 500,000 towers and switches, two MNP providers and mobile operators, but we’re ready now.’ According to the most recent statistics from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), 3.17 million subscribers submitted MNP requests in April 2015, with 157.01 million using the service since its introduction in 2011. In terms of operating areas, Karnataka has seen the greatest number of MNP requests with 18.09 million, followed by Andhra Pradesh (14.97 million), Rajasthan (14.89 million), Gujarat (12.75 million) and Maharashtra (12.04 million).

As previously noted by CommsUpdate, the launch was delayed by two months from its original deadline of 3 May 2015 to allow for operators to make technical changes to their networks following alterations to the national numbering plan (NNP).

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:17:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China is set to invest CNY435 billion (USD70.98 billion) this year on improving the nation’s internet infrastructure as part of plans to lower broadband tariffs and improve access speeds, China Daily writes, citing Zhang Feng, a spokesperson for the telecom regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Faster and cheaper broadband services are expected to help drive grass-root innovation and the growth of startups, the official explained: ‘The country is aiming to build an internet service that can benefit the entire public, because investing in the cyber sector can boost domestic consumption and create jobs.’ The drive follows comments earlier this year, in which Premier Li Keqiang criticised the country’s expensive and middling-speed internet access. As part of the central government’s efforts to drive down pricing, the state has ordered the ‘Big Three’ telecom operators – state-owned firms China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – to lower their average prices for fixed and mobile broadband by 30% by 31 December 2015.

Cao Shumin, director of the MIIT’s China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR), meanwhile, pointed out that China is on par with the US and Western Europe in terms of mobile internet access speeds, with the ‘biggest gap’ being in fixed broadband connections as ‘poor connectivity in rural areas drags down the average speed.’ According to the most recent data published by the MIIT, 51.0% of Chinese broadband users utilised connections with transfer rates of at least 8Mbps in May 2015, compared to 27% a year earlier, whilst 17.3% had access to broadband speeds of more than 20Mbps, up by 6.9 percentage points year-on-year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:16:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Senegal’s industry regulator L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes (ARTP) has released its latest update on the country’s telecommunications market, highlighting that mobile operators Orange, Tigo and Expresso collectively added a net 319,507 new connections in 1Q15, for a total of 14.699 million. Of the total, an overwhelming 14.602 million are pre-paid users, with post-paid subscribers standing at 96,969 compared to 81,359 at end-March 2014. Cellular penetration – based on the ARTP’s calculation – stood at 108.81% at the end of the first quarter, up from 103.07% a year earlier, while Orange was the leading player with a market share of 56.85% (55.52% in 1Q14), ahead of Tigo with 23.34% (24.23%) and Expresso’s 19.81% (20.25%).

Turning to the fixed line segment, the ARTP reported a continued decline in the number of homes and businesses with a landline, with the total falling to 307,058 at end-March, down from 336.737 a year before. 76.9% of all fixed lines were residential connections at the start of April this year, with business lines accounting for 22.7% and public payphones the remaining 0.4%. Incumbent PTO Sonatel controlled the lion’s share of fixed lines in service at 31 March 2015, with 93.2%, having increased its stranglehold on the sector by six percentage points in the year under review, leaving the second operator Expresso with only 6.8%. Similarly, Sonatel dominates the fixed broadband (DSL) market with a 100% market share, although the ARTP noted that the total number of ADSL connections is declining – standing at 102,410 connections at 1Q15, from 108,577 twelve months earlier as users opt increasingly for 2.5G or 3G alternatives from one of the incumbent cellcos for their internet access needs. Indeed, at the end of March cellular internet accesses had climbed to 6.734 million, accounting for 94.2% of all connections, up from 90.8% a year before.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:15:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indonesia’s five largest mobile operators by subscribers – Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata, Tri Indonesia and Smartfren – have now all launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the 1800MHz band, while a new entrant has also set out its stall to enter the 4G segment later this year. The Jakarta Post writes that Berca Hardayaperkasa, a unit of the diversified Indonesian conglomerate Central Cipta Murdaya (CCM), intends to launch LTE services in Bali, Makassar and Pekanbaru in October, adding its hat to an already crowded ring. The paper claims that CCM intends to invest upwards of USD150 million to roll out 4G services in the three named locations, and ultimately plans to launch in twelve cities outside Java. Operating under the brand name WiGO, Berca initially set up operations as a fixed WiMAX operator in July 2009 having secured 2300MHz spectrum – one of eight firms receiving WiMAX licences at that date.

Telkomsel has switched on its 4G network in Makassar, South Sulawesi, while Indosat’s network is now live in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and as reported earlier by CommsUpdate, XL Axiata kicked off LTE services on the island of Lombok. Meanwhile, Tri Indonesia has inaugurated its 4G network in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, and CDMA operator-turned LTE provider Smartfren activated its network in Batam, Riau Islands, as all the main players rush to deploy advanced services following the government’s decision to open up the 1800MHz band for 4G. Telkomsel reportedly has 620,000 LTE subscribers, while XL Axiata has 200,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, July 20, 2015 9:14:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Tele2 Latvia officially switched on its 800MHz Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on 1 July, extending 4G coverage to a total of 4,100 towns and villages, or 90% of the Latvian population, in the process. The telco notes that its 4G networks – using the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands – were previously restricted to the capital Riga and the surrounding areas.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in late 2013 Tele2 paid LVL1.056 million (USD1.657 million) for 2×10MHz blocks of ‘digital dividend’ 800MHz spectrum, which had been freed up by the nationwide transition from analogue to digital TV. Tele2’s concession grants access to frequencies in the 811MHz-821MHz/852MHz-862MHz range and is valid for 18 years, starting from 1 July 2015.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:13:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Uganda, the country’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, has announced the expansion of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. From today (9 July) services are available in all major towns, including Mbale, Mbarara, Lira, Arua, Gulu, Kabale, Kasese, Fort Portal, Moroto, Masaka and Jinja, as part of a ‘nationwide’ rollout, PC Tech reports. 4G coverage was previously limited to Greater Kampala and Entebbe since the technology launched in April 2013. The LTE network offers download speeds of up to 100Mbps, MTN Uganda says. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MTN had a 45% share of Uganda’s 23.8 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2015.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, July 20, 2015 9:12:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vodafone Germany says it plans to expand its LTE network to an additional four million households by summer 2016, increasing coverage of its 4G service to 90% of the population. The UK-owned company will focus on deploying its ‘LTE Zuhause’ mobile broadband and telephony offering in rural and remote regions where there is currently no access to its cable or DSL infrastructure. The average downstream speed of the mobile broadband network is around 15Mbps-20Mbps, but Vodafone says it is working to boost the average surf speed to 30Mbps. The 4G service currently covers over 75% of Germany and is available in around 85% of all large towns and cities, as well as over half of all stadiums, airports, subways and ICE stations, and 84% of all highways routes.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:10:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Malaysia’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and its applied research agency, MIMOS, have released a National Internet of Things (IoT) Strategic Roadmap, Telecom Asia reports. With the document set to serve as a guideline for IoT implementation in the country, the government has said that it expects IoT implementation to contribute around MYR9.5 billion (USD2.5 billion) to the nation’s gross national income by 2020, and MYR42.5 billion by 2025. Further, the industry is expected to generate some 14,270 high-skilled employment opportunities by 2020. Speaking on the publication of the roadmap, Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin, Malaysia’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, was cited as saying: ‘IoT implementation goes across key social and economic sectors. This means that the development and implementation of IoT require a clear guideline and strategy that takes into account various critical aspects such as data security and sovereignty, privacy, and Intellectual Property management.’

Source: TeleGeography.

IoT
Monday, July 20, 2015 9:09:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The government of Mozambique has published a new decree under which mobile operators will be fined if they fail to register the details of all SIM card users. Obligatory SIM card registration was introduced in 2010, but cellcos are thought to have only registered the details of around half of the country’s twelve million mobile users by the end of 2014. Earlier this year the government gave operators 30 days in which to complete the registration but once again the operators failed to encourage their customers to carry out the sign-up process. According to a report from AllAfrica.com, authorities now say that any firm which has more than 100,000 unregistered users on its network will face a fine of up to MZN6 million (USD157,000), while irregular registration could incur fines of MZN4 million and refusal by operators to provide information on the registration process would warrant a fine of MZN3 million. Mozambique is home to three mobile network operators: mCel, Vodacom and Movitel.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:08:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mauritius Telecom and Telecom Malagasy (Telma) of Madagascar have joined the race to acquire the second telecoms licence on Comoros, Agence Ecofin reports. As previously revealed by the Autorite Nationale de Regulation des TIC (ANRTIC), a 15-year licence to provide wholesale and retail electronic communication services in Comoros was made available earlier this year, and will permit the holder to utilise 2G and 3G technology.

Applicants (or parent companies) were required to have at least one million subscribers to their existing fixed or mobile services, and to be in possession of at least USD20 million in funding. Interested parties were required to have registered their interest by 18 May 2015, and to have submitted their bids by 25 June 2015. The winner of the tender is expected to be announced in September this year.

Comores Telecom (Comtel) is currently the sole provider of wireless, broadband and fixed line services on Comoros. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, prior to 2003 there were no mobile telephony services in the country; in October that year the Societe Nationale des Postes & Telecommunications (SNPT) – since renamed Comtel – launched a GSM-900 network under the brand name HURI. Fixed broadband arrived in April 2007, via Comtel’s ADSL network.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 9:07:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached an agreement on the key elements of a single European telecoms market, which will end roaming charges for consumers when travelling within the European Union (EU). As such, from 15 June 2017 customers will pay the same prices at home and abroad, and any customers paying for a monthly volume of minutes, SMS and data in their own country will have the usage deducted from that allowance, with no extra charges incurred.

The European Commission (EC) fact sheet notes that rules will be put in place to prevent an abuse of the system, such as ‘permanent roaming’. For example: if a customer buys a SIM card in another EU country where domestic prices are lower to use it at home; or if the customer permanently stays abroad with a domestic subscription of his home country. To prevent this, a fair use safeguard will be put in place, and once that limit has been reached abroad, a small basic fee can be charged. The EC notes that this will be much lower than current caps, and has been mandated to define the details of the fair use limit. In addition, as part of the ruling, from April 2016 operators will be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to EUR0.05 (USD0.06) per voice minute, EUR0.02 per SMS sent, and EUR0.05 per MB of data used (excluding VAT).

Meanwhile, another facet of the EC’s decision concerns net neutrality. The new rules ‘enshrine the principle of net neutrality into EU law: no blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services.’ The EC claims that the common EU-wide internet rules will ‘contribute to a single market and reverse current fragmentation’, while declaring that every European must be able to have access to the open internet and all content and service providers must be able to provide their services via a high-quality open internet, while all traffic will be treated equally.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:34:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New Zealand’s Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) programme has attracted its 100,000th subscriber, with the country’s Communications Minister Amy Adams labelling it ‘a considerable milestone for the project’. Adams added that the rollout programme is ahead of expectations, local news portal Stuff reports, with 13.8% of premises covered by the UFB networks subscribing to its services. Under the UFB scheme the government is supporting the deployment of high speed fibre-optic networks in a number of areas, with the rollouts being carried out by four Local Fibre Companies (LFCs): Spark (formerly Telecom New Zealand), Northpower Fibre, Ultrafast Fibre and Enable Networks. Services to end users are then resold by third-party internet service providers (ISPs), including Vodafone, 2degrees, Orcon, Kordia and CallPlus. UFB connections will eventually be offered to 80% of homes and business in New Zealand.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:33:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

South Korea is set to introduce a package of deregulation measures for the country’s wireless sector with a view to facilitating the introduction of a new mobile network operator, according to the Korea Herald. With the nation’s cellular sector having long been dominated by three cellcos – SK Telecom, KT Corp and LG Uplus – the report notes that the state actually turned down applications for a fourth operator concession some six times between 2010 and 2014. Now, however, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) has been cited as saying: ‘If a new business enters the market, it will spark competition, which will lead to a cut in subscription costs … It will also contribute to the emerging segments, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and financial technologies.’

As such, the ministry has confirmed it will accept applications for a new mobile network operator (MNO) licence in August 2015, with these to be reviewed between October and December. The report notes that some five companies could be interested in the concession, including Korea Mobile Internet, which has submitted requests for wireless spectrum on several occasions over recent years. Should it realise its plans to award a new operator licence, the regulator has suggested that a fourth carrier could enter the sector in 2017.

One other element of the expected deregulation measures is the abolition of rules which require the market’s current MNOs to obtain government approval for any tariff changes or the introduction of new price plans. Instead, it is understood that SKT, KT and LG Uplus will only be obliged to advise the authorities of tariff changes before being allowed to make public announcements 15 days later, as long as the changes do not conflict with the public’s and users’ interests.

Meanwhile, the MSIP has also outlined plans to help boost the market share held by mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which it has said will account for 10% of the nation’s wireless sector by end-2015, and 12% a year later. To that end, a new website is to be launched to help consumers find information on local MVNOs and their subscription plans.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:32:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
China’s 4G user base passed the 200 million milestone at the end of May, with the nation’s trio of wireless providers adding more than 20 million net new subscriptions in that month alone, according to the latest statistics from sector regulator the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). 4G users totalled 200.774 million at the end of May, up by 22.816 million from end-April, although 3G users slipped by 10.462 million over that period to 455.842 million as customers upgrading to the newer platform outpaced the growth of new 3G users. Similarly, customers are increasingly shifting to fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections, with 85.965 million subscribers using the technology, an increase of 4.002 million compared to end-April, whilst the number of xDSL users fell by 2.985 million to 76.674 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, July 20, 2015 8:31:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bite Lithuania, the country’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, is aiming to expand coverage of its 4G network to 75% of the population by the end of the year, rising to 90% of Lithuanians in Q1 2016. The cellco’s LTE/LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) services have attracted around 42,000 customers since the network was launched in mid-April. 4G services were initially available in five major cities – Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai and Panevezys – as well as the seaside resorts of Palanga and Nida, but Bite says it will soon expand the network to more than 30 other major towns and cities, including Alytus, Marijampole, Utena, Ukmerge, Kedainiai and Druskininkai. The company claims that the LTE-A network (branded ‘4G+’) supports maximum download speeds of 300Mbps, with average speeds of 80Mbps.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:29:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Laotian mobile network operator Unitel, which is a joint venture between state-owned Lao Asia Telecommunication State Enterprise (51%) and Vietnam-based Viettel Group (49%), has reportedly inaugurated a 4G network. According to Vietnamnet, the cellco is initially offering access to its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the capital Vientiane, as well as a number of other major cities and provinces, including Savannakhet, Luang Prabang and Champasak. Looking ahead, meanwhile, Unitel plans to expand to other localities, although details of the specific locations to be covered were not revealed.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, July 20, 2015 8:28:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iranian internet service provider (ISP) Iranian Net Company is to deploy fibre-optic FTTx broadband networks in seven of the country’s largest cities, offering download speeds of up to 20Mbps. Services will be available in Tehran, Isfahan, Karaj, Shiraz, Tabriz, Mashhad and Qom, with 500,000 access ports being deployed, Cihan news agency reports. The project will be carried out over two years. Last September the Iranian government lifted speed restrictions on home internet services, removing the 128kbps cap.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mauritian fixed line, broadband and mobile operator Emtel has announced the launch of high speed wireless broadband fibre-through-the-air (FTTA) in the coastal resort of Balaclava, as it looks to reduce its reliance on fixed fibre alternatives. The new system, called ‘airbox’, is based on a Slovenian design and, according to the firm, is capable of achieving peak data throughput of 30Mbps. TeleGeography notes that FTTA – a technology originally created for battlefield communications – has been deployed in a number of cities in central and eastern Europe.

Emtel chairman and CEO Shyam Roy says that the decision to opt for FTTA will ‘solve the problem of the slow deployment of optical fibre across the country that still prevents [universal] access to high speed’ services. The official added that the telco has installed five primary transmission towers to send/receive data to users which purchase a receiving antenna placed on the roof of their home or business. Emtel has been developing the platform for a year he says, claiming that to date 66% of households in the country are already eligible for airbox – a figure that is set to rise to 100% by early 2016. FTTA coverage already extends to Plaines-Wilhems and the northwest of Mauritius, including Albion Goodlands and up through to Port-Louis and Saint-Pierre. However, the CEO said that the service is not yet available in Rodrigues. Emtel is marketing airbox with unlimited internet access (with speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 30Mbps), and a fixed telephone line with free calls.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:26:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cuba is set to begin offering Wi-Fi connections to the public at 35 locations across the island, as the government takes a small but significant step towards broadening access to internet services for Cuban citizens. Luis Manuel Diaz Naranjo, spokesman for state-owned monopoly operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA), told official newspaper Juventud Rebelde that Wi-Fi access will be available at 35 public spaces, each with the capacity to cope with between 50 and 100 users. Customers with a temporary or permanent ‘Nauta’ account will be able to surf the web using their Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phone, laptop or tablet, at maximum downstream speeds of 1Mbps. He added that the government is slashing the cost for accessing the internet from USD4.50 to USD2.00 per hour on 1 July, although the price remains unaffordable for most Cubans.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the government took a first step towards increasing access for Cuban citizens on 4 June 2013, when it began offering internet services at over a hundred ETECSA outlets, known as ‘salas de navegacion’, around the island, although residential internet connections remains prohibited and fixed broadband infrastructure is extremely limited. In a further significant development, the US initiated new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to telecoms and their ability to communicate freely in December 2014, as part of steps to normalise relations between the two countries and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:24:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Slovakian cellular operator Orange Slovensko has revealed that its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks now cover 51.5% of the country’s population a year after launch. Infrastructure is live in 69 cities and 89 municipalities, Orange says, complementing its 3G networks which provide coverage to 91% of the population in 138 cities and 1,392 municipalities. The operator claims that more than 20% of its data traffic is now being carried via its 4G systems, with around one million terabytes of data transferred over the LTE network in the first five months of this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 20, 2015 8:23:41 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom Malagasy (Telma) has confirmed that it has launched 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in more than 50 cities across Madagascar. Calling the new network ‘a natural evolution of the 3G+ network’, Telma notes that it offers 4G coverage of towns and cities such as Toliara, Taolagnaro, Mananjary, Ihosy, Antananarivo, Sainte Marie, Sambava and Mahajanga. The service can be accessed via a number of compatible smartphones – including the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6, Huawei Ascend and LG G3 Beat – as well as via USB dongles and wireless router devices. The network went live on 19 June.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, July 20, 2015 8:22:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 18, 2015

Papua New Guinea’s government has partnered with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for a satellite communication connectivity project, The National reports. According to the local news source, the deal to undertake the project was signed by Communication and Information Minister Jimmy Miringtoro, with Secretary of the Department of Communication and Information (DCI) Paulias Korni presenting it to the ITU’s regional office for Asia and the Pacific programme coordinator Ashish Narayan. Commenting on the development, Korni said the satellite project was an important tool for economic activity and development, noting: ‘This is an important step PNG is taking in terms of ICT … Apart from the government’s policy director aimed at stimulating competition and expansion of infrastructure and services roll out, we (the DCI) are embarking on a rural communication programme in partnership with the private sector to bridge the digital gap.’

Meanwhile, Korni was also said to have announced two other important projects for the country; the first being the Papua New Guinea internet exchange point (PNGIXP), which is expected to launch on 16 September 2015. ‘This particular project came about as a direct response to our call for more affordable internet rates, rates being the highest in the Pacific region’ Korni said of the exchange point plan. In addition, the country is to embark on a universal access and service (UAS) internet connectivity project for schools.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:46:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nigerian mobile network operator Globacom has revealed that its mobile subscriber base is approaching the 30 million mark, local newspaper Vanguard cites the company’s national sales coordinator for North West operations, Samuel Edoho, as saying. Globacom’s wireless customers have grown from 28.22 million at the end of December 2014 and 23.42 million at 31 March 2014, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). Edoho attributed the growth in subscriber numbers to the firm’s continued investment in its network infrastructure and the launch of innovative customer-orientated services. ‘We are still very aggressive, we will keep the spirit high and assure Nigerians who have no confidence in the market of our determination to offer them best experience ever across all network,’ he added.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:45:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New data from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Forecast Service reveal that global Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers are projected to grow 35% compounded annually over the next five years, from 516 million to 2.3 billion.

To date, LTE adoption has been strongest in South Korea, where the 4G technology accounted for 63% of wireless subscribers in 2014. Close behind is the United States, where LTE overtook 3G as the leading mobile technology last year to account for just over half of wireless subscribers, and Japan, where LTE had a subscriber market share of 41% in 2014.

While LTE will continue to grow in each of these countries over the next five years to account for between 80% and 90% of their respective mobile subscribers, the rest of the world will begin to catch up. No country more so than China, where a boom in TD-LTE network deployment and soaring use of data-based services are occurring. 8% of Chinese wireless subscribers were LTE at the end of 2014; however, that number is forecast to grow to 39% by 2019, at which point China alone will account for nearly one-third of global LTE subscribers.

Despite the ongoing rise of LTE and slowing 2G and 3G growth rates, these now legacy standards aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, 2G remains the dominant mobile platform today, accounting for 61% of global mobile subscribers. One of several reasons for this is that 90% of India’s 950 million subscribers are still connected to 2G networks. Until recently, challenges allocating spectrum resources and high 3G tariffs hampered the country’s mobile development. The situation is improving following reductions in 3G tariffs and increased adoption of smartphones, and India’s 3G subscribers are forecast to quadruple over the next five years, but they will still account for only one-third of its mobile subscriber base.

Global 3G subscribers are expected to surpass 2G subscribers in 2019, although each of these technologies will continue to account for a larger share of subscribers than LTE. ‘LTE is growing at a faster rate than 3G ever did,’ said TeleGeography analyst Mark Gibson. ‘However, while 3G subscribers are declining in the US and Europe, they continue to grow in all other regions — most notably in Africa where they are expected to increase 19% compounded annually over the next five years. Therefore, despite its rapid growth, LTE may not surpass 3G on a global basis until early into the next decade.’

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:43:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Three UK is set to use 800MHz spectrum to extend its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) footprint in Wales between now and 2017. Tech Week Europe quotes Three UK’s Justin Bass as saying: ‘The addition of 4G on new low frequency spectrum will further improve connectivity across Wales and once complete, 98% of the Welsh population will enjoy an even better experience on our network.’ Meanwhile, the site observes that rival cellco Vodafone expects to cover 94% of the Welsh population with 3G and 4G once its current investment plan for the country is completed.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2014 all four major UK operators committed to invest a combined GBP5 billion (USD7.7 billion) in their respective network infrastructure to eliminate areas of poor coverage following intervention from Ofcom. Each operator will be required to offer voice and SMS services to 90% of the UK’s land mass by 2017.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:42:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

India’s cellcos are looking into following in the footsteps of Idea Cellular, the nation’s third largest by subscribers, after the operator made the decision last week to increase the price of pre-paid 2G and 3G data packs in Delhi by up to 100%, the Economic Times reports. Echoing the decision, market leader Bharti Airtel has begun to move away from the price cuts introduced in late 2014 and removed discounts on mobile data packs bought online, whilst second-placed Vodafone is currently ‘evaluating its response’ to the shift in strategy of its two closest rivals. A senior Reliance Communications (RCOM) official indicated that it, too, may seek to make similar changes, noting that: ‘Pricing power is back with telecom companies, who are focusing on profitable minutes and bytes, since the days when operators could give away concessional minutes and bytes are clearly gone.’

As previously noted by CommsUpdate, Idea’s move prompted speculation that the cellco was simply the first of the nation’s providers to cave under the financial pressure of the recent spectrum auctions. Industry stakeholders had warned in the lead-up to the auction that the high reserve prices set by the government – against the recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) – would lead to tariff increases and lower levels of investment in infrastructure.

Some analysts have suggested that price changes are only a temporary measure, however, claiming that the incumbent operators are trying to maximise their returns before the arrival of 4G start up Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) and the accompanying price war that is anticipated to follow in the wake of the disruptive player’s launch.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:40:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The European Commission (EC) and Japan have announced that they will work together on the development of 5G mobile technologies, and confirmed that EUR12 million (USD13.1 million) of funding has already been set aside for 5G-related projects related to the Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud and big data platforms that use 5G spectrum to transmit data. The deal comes in the wake of the European Union’s (EU’s) recent announcement that it intends to ink similar agreements with countries such as China and the US. The EU commissioner for the digital economy and society, Gunther Oettinger, explained: ‘5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide. This is why we strongly support and seek a global consensus and cooperation on 5G.’ He went on to note that the agreement with Japan marks a potential ‘milestone on the road to a global definition of 5G, its service characteristics and standards’. The EU-Japan collaboration will focus on areas such as the most suitable spectrum bands, and which applications (e.g. e-health) will benefit most from how 5G services are developed.

Source: TeleGeography.

Big data | LTE | IoT
Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:39:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telenor Norway plans to completely close down its 3G network in 2020, some five years before shutting down its 2G infrastructure in 2025, the operator’s chief technical officer Magnus Zetterberg has revealed, according to Mobile World Live. Speaking at the company’s analyst and investor day, the executive was cited as saying that Telenor Norway would look to ‘dismantle legacy networks and eventually phase out 3G in 2020, before closing out 2G by 2025 and completing the data transition’. With regards to the reasoning behind the switch-off of 3G first, Zetterberg added: ‘It’s better to retain 2G than 3G because all the devices today are still embedded with 2G, so you will lose out without the network … 2G is still important for the [machine-to-machine] M2M market.’

With regards to Telenor Norway’s 4G system meanwhile, by the end of 2016, the company aims to have 99% of the population within its network footprint. Further technology enhancements are also planned, with Zetterberg confirming that full rollouts of both voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and ‘4G+’ are expected to take place by the end of next year.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:37:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Ooredoo Maldives, the country’s second largest wireless operator by subscribers, has made its 4G data service available across its entire mobile pre- and post-paid tariff portfolio, reports vNews.mv. The company claims that its LTE network supports maximum download speeds of 100Mbps. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Ooredoo began offering commercial 4G LTE services for mobile handset users in Male in early December 2013 and expanded the network to the island of Kaafu Maafushi in August 2014. Two months later the operator said it had successfully tested LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:36:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) could introduce rules governing infrastructure sharing, in an effort to improve the quality and reliability of telecoms services, as well as helping to reduce end costs for consumers. Local news site The Citizen writes that the move would also enhance coverage in underserved areas, noting the ‘huge cost’ for operators when establishing new infrastructure, and in turn, the high fees charged for mobile services. The system is expected to come into force from 2016 after a ‘thorough consultation’ between the TCRA and all major providers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:35:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile users in the city-state of Singapore will soon benefit from improved indoor mobile surfing, as the country’s wireless operators invest in new small cell technologies. In January this year the three incumbents – Singtel, StarHub and M1 – started deploying small cells to boost Long Term Evolution (LTE) network capacity, effectively doubling peak download speeds in some locations. The Straits Times notes, for example, that at the Basement One level of Paragon mall in Orchard Road, where M1 last month installed three small cells, 4G speeds for its customers have doubled to around 100Mbps. Over the next two years the cellco is looking to add small cells in other locations, such as the Nex and Clementi malls, as well as at rail stations in Orchard Road, Raffles Place and Jurong East, as part of its yearly SGD120 million (USD89.2 million) allocation for network upgrades.

For its part, StarHub installed small cells in the Marina Bay Sands areas in January, doubling typical 4G surfing speeds to 230Mbps, noting that a further 40 high-traffic locations – including VivoCity, Nex, Ion Orchard and Tampines 1 – will also receive a 4G speed boost by the end of 2016. Further, Singtel began improving 4G network capacity at The Seletar Mall, VivoCity and Marina Bay Sands’ food court areas last month, and says it will continue to roll out 4G small cells in high-traffic locations, including in Nex, in the coming months. It did not, however, divulge typical surfing speeds.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:34:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cellular penetration in Myanmar has surpassed 50%, with the number of mobile subscribers passing the 28.1 million mark by the end of March 2015, the Myanmar Times cites Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) permanent secretary U Khin Maung Thet as saying. State-backed incumbent Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) represented the lion’s share with 18.4 million users, compared to the 6.4 million and 3.3 million claimed by its Norwegian and Qatari-backed rivals, Telenor and Ooredoo, respectively. Cellular penetration was 54.6% at that date, compared to 32.9% twelve months earlier according to the official.

The announcement follows on the heels of parliament’s suspension of a planned 5% tax on mobile services. The levy was due to be implemented on 1 June this year, when a one-year exemption on the fee was due to expire, but parliamentary opposition has seen the tax pushed back another year. MPs argued that the tax should be postponed until coverage and service quality are improved, and suggested that the charge should be introduced at a lower rate, of 1%-2% and gradually increased to 5%. One official, U Tin Maung Win was quoted as saying: ‘People are now using MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo SIM cards, but these do not work in rural and remote areas, and they cannot provide a sufficient service to customers. I want them to collect tax, but only if they can provide an adequate service.’ For their part, MCIT and finance ministry officials pointed out that the tax would help fund the requested improvements, garnering around MMK84 billion (USD78.38 million) per year for government coffers – not accounting for any increases in subscriber numbers or spending. Further, it was noted that other nations collect indirect taxes on mobile services of 6%-20%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:33:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Irish fixed broadband provider Eircom has announced plans to extend its fibre footprint to 1.9 million homes by 2020, increasing its previous target of 1.6 million homes passed by mid-2016. The additional 300,000 homes and businesses are spread across 1,070 communities in all 26 counties, including Fybagh in County Kerry; Blacksod in County Mayo; Goleen in County Cork; Maam in County Galway and Ring in County Waterford. The expansion plan will also cover 300 communities not currently served with high speed broadband. With speeds of up to 1Gbps becoming available via fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology, the project will see Eircom invest EUR400 million (USD447 million) over the next five years.

The telco says it remains on track to reach its coverage target of broadband access for 70% of the country by end-2016, with the figure rising to 80% by 2020, with 1Gbps data speeds likely to be available to 35% of premises when construction is completed. CEO Richard Moat commented: ‘By making high speed broadband available to as many people as possible, today’s announcement also reduces the intervention footprint under the government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), thereby reducing the burden for the taxpayer at a time where there is an enormous demand for Exchequer funding.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month Eircom revealed that it was deploying fibre broadband at a rate of 10,000 premises per week, in an attempt to win the government’s upcoming NBP tender. The NBP is expected to cost around EUR516 million, with the aim of delivering fibre broadband to more than 600,000 homes and 100,000 businesses across rural Ireland.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:31:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Indian mobile provider Idea Cellular has increased data charges for pre-paid customers in the Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) by up to 100%, the first company to do so since the March 2015 spectrum auction, ostensibly confirming concerns that the high reserve prices set by the government for airwaves would have a negative impact on consumers. The Economic Times writes that mobile data prices for some 2G plans doubled from 3 June, whilst 3G plans increased in cost by around a third. Although currently limited to the Delhi and NCR region, the paper cites an unnamed industry source as saying that the cellco is planning to roll out the price changes in other circles soon. For the most part, the price changes reduce the amount of data offered on certain plans, so an INR255 (USD3.98) 2G data pack now provides 1.5GB of downloads rather the 3GB offered previously. Some packs have also had the duration of their validity decreased, however, with one offer, previously valid for 28 days, knocked down to just seven days.

Idea Cellular has yet to comment on the tariff changes, prompting speculation that the change of tack is due to financial pressures from the recent spectrum auction. Indeed, Idea’s CEO Himanshu Kapania has previously warned that the cost of the frequencies would put pressure on data prices and that tariff increases might be necessary. Despite the earlier predictions, the new direction has come as something of a shock to the industry, following on the heels of price cuts from several of the nation’s 3G providers as operators compete to secure lucrative high-end users ahead of the anticipated arrival of disruptive Reliance Industries-owned 4G newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) later this year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:30:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telikom PNG has announced that it is cutting the cost of its wholesale internet service by 33%, one month after more than halving the price of its retail internet service. ‘Telikom has made progress in its four point turnaround strategy of Network Efficiency, People Capability, Product Innovation and Competiveness, and more agile and customer focused business and wants internet and data consumers across PNG to benefit from the efficiency gains realised to date,’ commented Telikom’s head of marketing, Xavier Victor, adding: ‘The reduction in Telikom’s wholesale rate should be attractive to small to medium enterprises wanting to develop an online presence.’ The reduced wholesale rates will come into effect on 1 July 2015.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:29:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Viettel Cameroon, which operates under the brand Nexttel, claims that it has already signed up around two million customers since its launch in September last year, writes Business in Cameroon. Nexttel, which is majority-owned by Vietnamese telecoms firm Viettel Group, was awarded its mobile licence in December 2012, fighting off rival bids from the likes of Maroc Telecom and Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel after pledging to invest nearly XAF200 billion (USD334 million) in the rollout of a mobile network that would cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory from launch, notes TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. After encountering a number of setbacks, the cellco eventually went on to launch commercial 2G and the country’s first UMTS services on 18 September 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:27:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon’s state-owned national telecoms operator CamTel has reportedly hired Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies for the deployment of its GSM network, writes Investir au Cameroun. Rollout has begun in the capital Yaounde, according to unnamed company sources, and tests have already been carried out on the network, with deployment expected to begin in the country’s largest city Douala next. CamTel was awarded a 15-year licence for the establishment and operation of a mobile telecoms network in September 2014, and said it plans to begin offering GSM mobile telephony and data services in 2015. The state-owned company will join three other network operators in the wireless market: MTN is Cameroon’s largest by subscribers, with a total customer base of 9.658 million at the end of 2014 (a market share of 58.1%), ahead of second-placed Orange Cameroun with 6.277 million (37.8%), while a third operator, Vietnamese-owned Viettel Cameroon, launched the country’s first 3G wireless services under the brand Nexttel brand in September 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, June 18, 2015 7:26:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The number of Cuban mobile telephony users exceeded the three million mark in April, according to figures provided to local newspaper Juventud Rebelde by the island’s state-owned monopoly operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA). Recent subscriber growth has been driven by the launch of the company’s mobile e-mail service in March 2014, as well as the extension of the recharge validity period for pre-paid mobile lines to 330 days. In addition, Cubans have been able to own up to three pre-paid mobile telephony lines since 5 February 2015, in a further move aimed at relaxing the conditions for using telecoms services in the country. ETECSA, which aims to sign up 800,000 new customers in each year up to 2018, has steadily increased the number of base stations across the island from 350 in 2010 to just over 600 today, and will continue to invest in expanding coverage and improving service quality. ETECSA also revealed that the number of locations where Cuban citizens can access the internet, so-called ‘salas de navegacion’, has increased to 261 in 144 municipalities.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:53:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mobile operator Orange Bissau last week launched an ultra-high speed 3G+ mobile service in the capital Bissau, and the cities of Bafata (central region) and Gabu (east region), according to its marketing director Mauricio Mane. Orange intends to extend its service coverage to other major cities within the next two months, he said. Access costs for the new service are XOF250 (USD0.43) for 30MB of data (valid 24 hours), or XOF29,000 for 8GB of downloads, valid for one month. The cellco began testing its HSPA-based 3G+ services in February 2014, and now aims to extend the live service To help support increased data demand on the new network, Mane said: ‘Orange has invested in a fibre link to Dakar [the capital city of neighbouring Senegal] which has more than enough capacity,’ to support its needs in Guinea-Bissau.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:52:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Vodacom Lesotho, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has finished rolling out 3G across its entire wireless network, reports Pubic Eye News, citing company executive Johnny Dos Santos. As such, around 94% of the population are now able to access Vodacom’s 3G data services. ‘We firmly believe that access to communication services has been a driving force for development in Lesotho and that it continues to be transformational as we work to make accessible, voice, internet and m-pesa services for Basotho,’ Dos Santos said, adding: ‘We continue to drive this by providing low cost devices and connecting as many Basotho as possible to the network through heavy investment in both 3G and LTE services, as well as affordable tariffs and bundled packages services.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:51:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azerbaijani mobile operator Bakcell has announced the commercial launch of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, limited initially to locations within the capital, Baku. Available since 5 May under the banner ‘4th Sur@’, subscribers within the coverage area will be able to access speeds up to 150Mbps with promotions such as 3GB of data for AZN10 (USD9.5) per month on a smartphone; for laptop users, 45GB of data at a cost of AZN60 for three months (offered with a free LTE dongle for a limited period); or tablet users can purchase 10GB data (with a free 4G SIM card included), for AZN15 per month. Bakcell CEO Richard Shearer commented on the cellco’s future 4G coverage strategy: ‘It is in our plans to expand the network rapidly, so that it [can] cover all areas where there is strong demand and enough 4G enabled devices.’

Bakcell claims that more than 4,000 subscribers have already been using its LTE network during the ‘last two to three months’. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the operator soft-launched 4G services in December 2013 following a network upgrade to Multiprotocol Label Switching – Transport Profile (MPLS-TP) technology using Huawei’s OSN series equipment. It did, however, miss its target launch deadline of 1Q14, informing TeleGeography in February 2015 that at that time it was still testing the network.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:50:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Peru’s cellcos had signed up a total of 1.3 million 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) subscribers by the end of 2014, according to a new report from the nation’s telecoms regulator Osiptel. Mexican-owned cellco Claro represented 600,000 LTE users at that date, followed closely by Movistar with 500,000, whilst the newly-rebranded Entel Peru claimed some 200,000. In the fixed broadband space, meanwhile, Osiptel reported a total of 1.73 million subscribers, up 9% year-on-year and of which 41% used connections of at least 4Mbps, whilst 32% had 2Mbps connections and 9% 1Mbps.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:48:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Airtel Ghana has extended its fibre-optic backbone network to the cities of Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, Business Ghana reports, citing marketing director Manu Rajan. In a parallel development the company has doubled the transmission speeds available over its 3.5G cellular networks to 42Mbps. Rajan commented: ‘We continue to offer the very best network, and we will continue to introduce new innovations and expand covered markets to ensure even more coverage across Ghana. Customers can take advantage of the benefits of the increased speed from 21.6Mbps to 42Mbps on compatible devices.’ While the precise platform used by Airtel was unconfirmed, TeleGeography notes that 42Mbps speeds are generally enabled by the deployment of Dual Carrier (DC)-HSPA+ technology.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Airtel’s Ghanaian arm launched 2G and 3G networks in December 2008, before rolling out HSPA+ 3.5G services in January 2012.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:47:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

British mobile network operator Vodafone UK has revealed that Welsh town Pontypridd has become the 500th ‘community’ to gain access to its 4G infrastructure, less than three months after fellow Welsh town Bridgend was named as the 400th location where rollout had taken place. In making the announcement, Vodafone said that the development came hot on the heels of plans unveiled last month to invest in its mobile phone services across Wales with a view to bringing both 3G and 4G connectivity to more than 94% of the Welsh population. The cellco meanwhile confirmed that its LTE-based infrastructure is now available to more than 65% of the UK population.

Commenting on the latest network expansion, Jorge Fernandes, chief technology officer at Vodafone UK, was cited as saying: ‘Our network improvements across Pontypridd will ensure users enjoy stronger 3G coverage, whilst the arrival of 4G will also help local businesses react faster to the needs of their customers. We also know that 70% of our customers use their mobile devices most in the home or the office, which is why our investment is particularly focused to improving indoor coverage.’

In total Vodafone UK is planning to spend around GBP1 billion (USD1.48 billion) on its network and services this year, while it is also implementing its Rural Open Sure Signal programme, under which it aims to bring 3G coverage to 100 remote communities for the first time, including Loggersheads Country Park and Brynesglwys in Denbighshire, Moylegrove in Pembrokeshire and Corris in Gwynedd.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:45:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Kazakhstan’s Vice-Minister of Investments and Development, Askar Zhumagaliyev, has said that the government is still working to push through legislation to pave the way for number portability. The official said that the move will not only give consumers greater freedom and choice, it will also help to reduce mobile tariffs, in a country where call costs are already among the lowest in the world. The World Economic Forum’s recent Global Information Technology Report 2014 ranked Kazakhstan 17th out of 130 countries in terms of the cheapest average per-minute cost of mobile calls. Tengrinews.kz quotes Zhumagaliyev as saying: ‘We will not stop at this, we will continue working in this direction.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:44:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lithuanian mobile operator Omnitel has revealed that the number of its LTE customers has grown from 9,500 to 111,000 in the past year. The TeliaSonera-owned company launched commercial 4G mobile broadband services in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai and Panevezys four years ago – on 28 April 2011. Since then, the network has been steadily expanded to more than 80% of the population, with over 400 4G base stations installed across the country. Omnitel extended 4G services to smartphone users in March 2014 and in December the cellco began offering LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) services to customers in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Siauliai and Panevezys.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 7:43:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 21, 2015
The French parliament has approved an amendment to the telecoms component of France’s economic reform law ‘Loi Macron’, under which telecoms operators will be required to improve mobile coverage throughout the country, Les Echos reports. Under the new legislation, existing gaps in 2G network coverage in rural areas must be addressed by 2016, while all unserved municipalities in these ‘white areas’ should be covered with 3G/4G networks by 2017. The law will ensure that residents of an estimated 170 municipalities which currently have no access to mobile services will be covered by mobile networks. Further, Loi Macron entrusts telecoms regulator Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (Arcep) with powers to sanction mobile network operators (MVNOs) who fail to comply with the imposed obligations.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8:21:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Coverage of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks reached 50% of Colombia’s population at the end of 2014, Signals Telecom writes, citing local news outlets. Claro is reportedly in the lead in terms of coverage with 200 towns and 28 capitals served by its network, with the cellco planning to add 100 more municipalities to its footprint by the end of 2015. The Mexican-backed provider invested USD1.2 billion in 4G infrastructure in 2014 and expects spending to rise to between USD1.2 billion and USD1.5 billion in 2015. Movistar, meanwhile, serves five main cities – Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga – and 77 municipalities. For its part, Tigo/Une-EPM has extended coverage to Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bucaramanga, Valledupar, Ibague and Cucuta but expects to roll out services to the following cities by year-end: Monteria, Riohacha, Sinceljo, Villavicencio, Neiva, Pasto, Popayan, Tunja, Pereira, Manizales and Armenia.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8:19:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Azercell, Azerbaijan’s largest cellco in terms of subscribers, has extended its network coverage, with the deployment of 72 base transceiver stations (BTS) in the first quarter of 2015. According to AzerNews, the operator added 22 2G towers to its network during the period, as well as 50 3G cell sites. As of 31 March 2015 the total number of Azercell BTS in operation stood at 2,660 (2G), 1,760 (3G) and 257 (4G).

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Azercell’s 2G network offers 99.8% population coverage, while 3G services are available in all major cities. The operator’s 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is currently limited to Baku, Seaside National Park and Absheron Peninsula.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8:19:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

China Mobile, the largest cellco in the world has booked annual turnover of CNY641.45 billion (USD104.51 billion) for the full year ended 31 December 2014, an increase of 1.8% year-on-year, as non-service revenue of CNY59.63 billion (+51.2% y-o-y) offset the impact of a CNY46.73 billion drop in voice service revenue, which fell to CNY308.96 billion. Rising operating expenses saw EBITDA fall by 2.1% to CNY235.26 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 36.7%, compared to 38.2% in 2013. Net profit for the year was CNY109.41 billion, down by 10.2% year-on-year.

China Mobile’s focus throughout 2014 was on the rollout and development of its 4G Time Division Long Term Evoluition (TD-LTE) service and the cellco dedicated CNY80.6 billion of its CAPEX for the year on the deployment, with plans to invest a further CNY72.2 billion in 2015 on the technology. Mobile’s 4G network consisted of more than 720,000 base stations at the end of 2014 and served 90.06 million subscribers, up from 40.95 million in Q3 2014 and 13.94 million in Q2. In addition to the network rollout, the operator has altered its strategy regarding devices, significantly lowering subsidies for handsets. This was combined with an effort to drive down device costs, and the cellco notes that it now offers in excess of 600 models of 4G-compatible handset, with an average price of CNY1,600, although prices start as low as CNY400. Mobile’s heavy marketing of 4G services has seen mobile data traffic increase by 115.1% y-o-y, although turnover from mobile data grew by only 42.9%, to CNY150.57 billion. 4G traffic now represents 44% of the cellco’s mobile data traffic, whilst 3G and 2G make up 22% and 34% respectively.

Somewhat worryingly for China Mobile, voice, SMS and MMS revenues all took a substantial hit in 2014, with voice services generating 13.1% less income than 2013 whilst SMS and MMS turnover dropped by 15.8% to CNY34.78 billion. The cellco notes, however, that the decline in voice service revenue is anticipated by its long term plan, which expects turnover to increasingly come from data traffic before migrating to the cellco’s nascent digital services.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8:18:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |