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 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)  #     | 
 Monday, 13 February 2017

Vodafone Ghana, the country’s leading fixed broadband operator by subscribers, has announced the launch of its Vodafone Fibre Broadband fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service, Ghana Business News reports. At launch, the FTTH network has been connected to 1,000 homes across 20 communities, and is capable of delivering download speeds of up to 50Mbps. Vodafone Ghana CEO Yolanda Cuba commented: ’The Vodafone Fibre Broadband is positioning Vodafone as a total communications provider for home and businesses. This new technology, which is changing the phase of internet connection to homes across the world, will be delivered using our state-of-the-art fibre-optic infrastructure.’ The telco has partnered with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to monitor faults in over 50,000 homes that are expected to be connected to its fibre infrastructure network over the next two years.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, 13 February 2017 15:27:29 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 03 February 2017

The Altan consortium has been awarded a grant to construct and operate a wholesale 4G network in Mexico by the country’s regulator, IFT.

Backed by investors from China, the US and Mexico – including TV firm Megacable and Mexican operator Axtel - the consortium was the sole participant in November’s bidding for the long-running wholesale tender. The only other interested party, a consortium consisting of Rivada Networks and Spectrum Frontier, was disqualified after failing to meet a deadline for presenting a $52 billion bid bond.

The introduction of a wholesale network to the Mexican market is aimed at increasing competition and reducing the market dominance of America Movil. The IFT grant will deliver a 20-year shared network concession to the consortium to deploy and maintain the 4G network, which will allow smaller operators to rent capacity and deliver coverage over the new infrastructure.

IFT stated that the grant would enable Altan to “take advantage and exploit frequency bands of radio spectrum for commercial use at the national level” between the 703MHz to 748MHz and 758MHz to 803MHz bands. The consortium can now begin building out the network following the numerous delays that have plagued the tender.

Altan is aiming to extend network coverage to 92% of Mexico’s population over the next seven years. It had raised $750 million at the time that it won the network tender.

Source: Developing Telecoms.

 

Friday, 03 February 2017 16:09:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iranian ISP MobinNet has launched its first services using time division duplex LTE (TD-LTE) technology. The firm has migrated its 3.5GHz WiMAX networks in four cities – Tehran, Karaj, Mashhad and Kish – to TD-LTE, bringing improved data speeds for both consumer and business customers. A report from The Financial Tribune says that MobinNet plans to have TD-LTE systems live in eleven cities by the end of the Iranian financial year in March. Rival operator MTN Irancell launched its own TD-LTE networks in parts of 25 provinces in August 2016, having followed a similar migration path from 3.5GHz WiMAX.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, 03 February 2017 16:02:35 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |