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 Monday, June 16, 2014

The number of fixed broadband connections worldwide will see an annual growth rate of 5.7 percent during the period between the fourth quarter of 2013 and the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a report from Quantum-Web. The number of fixed broadband connections will jump by 78 million over this period to 749 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The report also forecast that the dominant technology will remain xDSL accounting for 55 percent of total fixed broadband connections by Q4 2015. Cable modem would come second (21%), followed by FTTx (20%) and other fixed broadband technologies (4%). The fastest growing region in terms of connections are North and Latin America with over 24.5 million new connections while the Middle East has the highest CAGR growth clocking up 16.9 percent over the same period.

The number of broadband net additions is expected to reach 78 million by the end of 2015. The number of broadband connections in China would reach 182 million, adding more than 11 million subscribers by the end of 2015. The five countries leading the net additions in fixed broadband connections – China, USA, Japan, Germany and Russia – would account for more than 42 percent of the global new connections.

In the Asia Pacific region, the largest global market, the growth is fuelled by emerging markets such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Indonesia with 41 percent CAGR would be the fastest growing market among the top three. In North and Latin America, USA, Brazil and Mexico with over 17 million net additions represent over 71 percent of the whole regional growth. Uruguay with 49 percent CAGR has the highest growth rate in the region.

In the Middle East, Iran is expected to see over 2 million net additions and 66 percent growth over the next two years. Iran will become the biggest market in the region overtaking its southern neighbours: Saudi Arabia and UAE and the region’s current leader Israel. In Africa with over 2.5 million net additions, Egypt would be the largest fixed broadband market standing at 49 percent CAGR followed by Algeria and South Africa.

In Europe and central Asia region, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine would maintain their positions as the top three markets. These three countries enjoying a net addition of over 8.6 million or 68 percent of the growth in the whole region over the next two years. In the EU 27 market, a net addition of 16.5 million new connections is expected over the next two years. Germany, France and the UK are the top countries in terms of net additions at nearly 46 percent of the European Union.

The number of xDSL connections expected to grow at a CAGR of around 1.8 percent between 2013 and 2015. Cable Modem the second largest fixed broadband technology after xDSL and would maintain this runner up position during the forecast period. The growth of cable modem connections is expected to rise to over 150 million by the end of 2015. North and Latin America with over 88 million connections represents 56 percent of total Cable Modem connections in 2015. FTTx the fastest growing fixed broadband technology is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 24 percent, taking the total number of fibre optic connections from 57 million to over 151 million in 2015. A significant portion of FTTx growth is primarily generated in Asia Pacific. According to our forecasts around 70 percent of fibre optic connections would be in that region. 

There are around 1,600 network operators that currently provide fixed broadband to over 670 million subscribers or 9.46 percent of the global population. China Telecom, with 88.8 million fixed broadband connections, is the largest operator in the world followed by China Unicom and Comcast. The number of China Telecom connections is forecast to rise by 5 percent CAGR to 98.6 million connections between 2013 and 2015. The fastest growing operator, among the top ten operators in the world, is Russia Rostelecom with 11 percent CAGR during the same period.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:51:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Algerian fixed line incumbent Algerie Telecom (AT) has introduced fixed-wireless Long Term Evolution (LTE) services to business subscribers, ahead of a planned consumer launch in the second half of 2014. According to a company press release, AT has deployed 200 ‘eNodeB’ sites across the country’s 48 wilayas (provinces), with plans to install 2,000 LTE-enabled base transceiver stations (BTS) by end-2015. From 1 May 2014 business users can subscribe to one of two LTE plans, both of which include a CPE LTE-compatible router and SIM card: the introductory offer, including a 5GB data allowance, is priced at DZD3,500 (USD44.54), while the premium plan, which includes 10GB of data, costs DZD6,500.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2013 AT Group CEO Azouaou Mehmel said that business customers would be the initial target group of the company’s commercial LTE network because of the high costs involved. Mr Mehmel added that the tender for the acquisition of LTE equipment was worth an estimated EUR40 million (USD53.42 million).

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Monday, June 16, 2014 7:49:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Around 19,000 families and businesses in 15 communities across Australia are set to complete the transition to the National Broadband Network (NBN), the company tasking with overseeing the project, NBN Co, has announced. With existing fixed line services provided over infrastructure owned by incumbent PTO Telstra to be switched off today, the locations have been named as: Armidale, Minnamurra and Kiama Downs in New South Wales; South Morang and Brunswick in Victoria; Townsville, Aitkenvale and Mundingburra in Queensland; Willunga in South Australia; and Deloraine, George Town, Kingston Beach, Sorell, St Helens and Triabunna in Tasmania.

NBN Co has, however, been keen to stress that the move to the NBN is not automatic, and has urged home and business owners to ensure they have taken the necessary steps to connect to the new fibre infrastructure. To that end, John Simon, NBN Co’s chief customer officer, noted: ‘The overwhelming majority of people in the affected areas have made the switch to the NBN over the 18 months since the countdown began and are enjoying the benefits of fast broadband … Any family or business that is yet to make the switch can choose to place an order with their preferred phone company or internet service provider or they can stick with a mobile or other wireless solution. The choice is up to them. But we are working hard with the industry to ensure that no-one in these areas who wants the NBN is left behind.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:48:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) is preparing for the arrival of competition in the wireless sector, drafting in help from its sister company in Panama, and former Digicel executives, Tribune 242 writes. Phil Bentley the chief executive of parent company Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) said that the Bahamian unit was the second largest contributor to the group’s annual income in the year to end-March 2014, adding that CWC was ‘cognisant’ of the threat posed by cellular liberalisation. The official confirmed that ex Digicel executive Niall Merry, now CWC’s chief commercial officer, has been called in to assist BTC with its preparations, helping assess what his former employer may attempt if it is successful in securing the second mobile licence. BTC is also to draw on the expertise of CWC’s Panama subsidiary, which has experience as an incumbent battling new market entrants. Speaking to shareholders and analysts in a conference call on CWC’s annual results, Bentley explained: ‘We’ve had the team in, and certainly Niall [Merry] has been helping in war gaming what we think Digicel might do if they come in. We’ve had the Panama team helping us, because they’ve gone through pretty intensive new entrance strategies in how to fight those off.’

CWC highlighted the fact that it likely to have an advantage over newcomers in its broadband network, adding that the telco will explore converged offerings: ‘It’s all part of this fixed-mobile convergence play, so we’ll be able to move to that Wi-Fi offload for products that a mobile-only entrant will be unable to support.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:47:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

FPT Telecom, a unit of Vietnam’s largest listed telecoms, and technology software company FPT Corporation, has announced that it has upgraded the downstream speed of three of its broadband plans at no additional cost to the customer. Under the changes, the speed of the firm’s ‘Mega Save’ package has increased from 3Mbps to 5Mbps, while ‘Mega You’ has been upgraded to 8Mbps from 6Mbps and ‘Mega Me’ to 10Mbps from 8Mbps. FPT Telecom, which operates in 57 provinces and cities across the country, will implement the upgrades in three phases, with customers in 15 provinces and major cities (including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) the first to benefit, followed by a further 25-30 provinces, ending with the remaining locations during the third rollout phase.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:44:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has unveiled plans to reduce mobile termination rates (MTRs) further, despite saying that the rate had fallen ‘significantly’ in recent years on the back of its previous intervention. With the rate currently standing at GBP0.0815 (USD0.017) per minute as of 1 April 2014, under the watchdog’s latest proposals it has set out reductions for each of the next three years. As such, from 1 April 2015 Ofcom has said that the MTR will be reduced to GBP0.0515 per minute, before falling to GBP0.0498 per minute and GBP0.0476 per minute at 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2017, respectively. The new rates will apply to all operators.

Having concluded its previous review of MTRs on 15 March 2011, Ofcom has said that in reaching its latest decision there were a number of relevant factors that it had considered. Among those was the fact that between 2011 and 2013 the availability of spectrum to provide mobile services had increased significantly following the regulator’s work on spectrum liberalisation and the 4G auction. Further, it has argued that mobile networks and technologies are also becoming more efficient, leading to lower costs, and has claimed that the new charge controls are designed to ensure that the charges levied by operators reflect these lower costs.

Brian Potterill, Ofcom’s Competition Policy Director, said of the plans: ‘Consumers in the UK benefit from a thriving competitive market, and mobile calls have never been cheaper. The average cost of a call bundle has fallen from GBP40 to around GBP13 in real terms over the last ten years … We want to ensure mobile users continue to benefit from competition, which will deliver affordable services in the years ahead.’

Ofcom’s consultation on the proposals closes on 13 August 2014, and the regulator has said it expects to publish its final decision by March next year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:43:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Cuba’s state-owned monopoly fixed line and wireless operator Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Cuba (ETECSA) has revealed that it is in the process of deploying 80 new cell sites to improve capacity and relieve network congestion. A report from local news portal Cuba Si says that the firm has carried out traffic management work in Havana and other areas due to an increase in traffic caused by the introduction of new services. New offerings include mobile e-mail, which was launched on 3 March this year under the brand name @nauta.cu. ETECSA operates a nationwide 900MHz GSM network and is expected to launch further mobile internet services in the coming months.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:42:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Iraqi government has reportedly granted the country’s three national mobile operators – Zain Iraq, a unit of Kuwait’s Zain Group, Ooredoo subsidiary Asiacell and Orange affiliate Korek – permission to utilise 3G frequencies, effectively bringing an end to a lengthy stalemate. Reuters quotes a statement by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers as saying that the trio now have ‘the right to use third-generation frequencies’, without providing specific details. The assertion was backed up by Hayder Ahmed, head of corporate communications for Zain Iraq, who told Reuters that the Council’s decision was ‘a positive step for the development of the telecom industry in Iraq’, even if his company had yet to be made aware of the government’s launch conditions.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as recently as March 2014 Iraq’s Communications and Media Commission (CMC) was determined to preside over a two-step process, which would see a quick, closed 3G auction, followed by the introduction of a fourth mobile player further down the line. Meanwhile, the government said it remained keen to combine the two processes, potentially delaying the country’s introduction of 3G technology even further. Based on previous statements by the regulator, the 3G licences are expected to comprise 15MHz of spectrum in the 2100MHz band.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Monday, June 16, 2014 7:41:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua has announced the launch of China’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), T.Mobile, on Sunday. The provider piggybacks on the network of China Telecom but is currently limited to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, although the operator plans to expand to other areas of the province. T.Mobile is a unit of Chinese firm Telephone World Digital Group (TWDH), not to be confused with the preferred T-Mobile moniker of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT). TWDG is one of 19 companies granted MVNO licences, with others including a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba and retailers Suning, JD.com and D.Phone. The other MVNOs are due to launch shortly, and Suning and D.Phone began taking pre-orders for their service on 1 May.

The potential impact of MVNOs on China’s telecoms market is widely disputed, with many commentators expecting the high prices levied on virtual providers by network operators to limit their effect on competition. Xinhua cited several unnamed industry insiders as saying that the poor prospects for profitability would hamstring the MVNOs ability to drive competition, with one executive from China Telling Communication noting that each MVNO would require one million active subscribers to reach break-even. Nevertheless, some areas of the sector remain optimistic about the introduction of privately-owned MVNOs into a market previously controlled by three state-backed entities, namely China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Zou Xueyong, the secretary general of China’s Industry Association of Mobile Virtual Network Operators, remained adamant that: ‘Virtual operators will help push forward reforms in the telecom industry and drive down prices of telecom services.’

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Monday, June 16, 2014 7:40:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Belgian mobile operator Mobistar said it has completed initial network tests of LTE Advanced, achieving speeds of over 200 Mbps. The company is using a combination of 1,800 MHz band (20 MHz) and 800 MHz band (10 MHz) frequencies for the tests, which it said provides for more efficient spectrum use, higher speeds and improved indoor coverage. The tests were conducted in Mechelen from January to April, using a prototype Cat 6 device from Huawei. With the aggregation of 1,800 and 800 MHz band spectrum, the operator achieved speeds of 213 Mbps download and 41 Mbps upload. Mobistar said it plans to launch the 4G+ services once commercial devices are available.  

Source: Telecom Paper.

LTE
Monday, June 16, 2014 7:39:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Iraq has granted its three mobile operators the right to provide 3G services, reversing an earlier decision to hold a multimillion dollar auction and ending years of stalemate. The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers announced the approval of granting mobile companies operating in Iraq the right to use the 3G frequencies, Reuters reported. The statement did not provide further details and it was unclear when the operators - Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek - will receive the frequencies required for 3G. Hayder Ahmed, head of corporate communications for Zain Iraq, the country's top mobile operator by subscribers, told Reuters that the Council's decision was "a positive step for the development of the telecom industry in Iraq", but added his company had yet to be told the government's conditions for launching 3G.

Source: Telecom Paper.

3G
Monday, June 16, 2014 7:37:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Deutsche Telekom has announced the launch of the MyWallet app and MyWallet Card to let customers in Germany make purchases with their smartphones. All customers who sign up for mobile payments with the MyWallet Card now will get an introductory bonus of up to EUR 40. MyWallet can be downloaded as a free app from the Google Play Store. Thomas Kiessling, Chief Product & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, said that it planned to launch mobile payment products internationally later in 2014, including Slovakia in mid-May and Hungary later in the year. In addition to the app and a MyWallet-capable Android smartphone from Deutsche Telekom, customers need an NFC-enabled SIM card to use the digital wallet. Deutsche Telekom customers who already use a suitable smartphone can order the NFC SIM card free of charge.

The first MyWallet service is a payment card. The MyWallet Card is a prepaid MasterCard. Users can pay at more than 35,000 PayPass merchants throughout Germany and more than 1.6 million merchants worldwide. Partner chains in Germany include Starbucks, Aral, Douglas, Kaufhof, Thalia, Vapiano and the Telekom Shops. The card is issued by ClickandBuy International, a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary. Additional MyWallet products will be launched in summer 2014. These will include a partnership with Tank und Rest to enable  MyWallet and other contactless payment systems at 400 motorway rest stops across Germany. From June, customers will be able to store digital coupons from supermarket chains Hit and Edeka using MyWallet.

Bonn has been selected as the flagship city for supplying mobile payment terminals, with around 1,000 acceptance points in restaurants, shops and filling stations. Wirecard, German provider of electronic payment and risk management services, is the technical service provider for the MyWallet scheme.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:36:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Group has earmarked investment of over USD3 billion for the upgrade and expansion of its Nigerian business over the next three years, in a bid to improve the quality of its services amid rapid subscriber growth, Business Day reports. The Nigerian market is South Africa-based MTN’s largest by revenues and subscribers, but the company has been penalised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to meet minimum standards of service quality, while it also faces attacks on its infrastructure in the north by militant Islamist group Boko Haram. MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa acknowledged that the firm has challenges with quality of service driven by the ‘high demand’ in Nigeria, adding that the company will ‘continue to invest at this rate in the medium term, and make sure the overall quality of service is acceptable’. At 31 March 2014 MTN Nigeria’s subscriber total stood at 57.2 million, up 12% from 51.3 million twelve months earlier and making it the market leader by some margin. The cellco expects its customer base to exceed 60 million by the end of the year.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:34:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Costa Rican regulator Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) has announced that it will hold a public consultation regarding the possible introduction of a flat rate for mobile internet services for both pre- and post-paid customers based on the amount of data transferred, local news outlet El Financiero reports. Under the proposed scheme, all users would be charged CRC0.0075 (USD0.00001) per kB, regardless of transmission speed, and at present, that pricing model is used only in the pre-paid space. Senoran Matias, the manager of Spanish-backed cellco Movistar, a relative newcomer to the market, commented that the charging model was a necessary change and would allow a wider range of offers, adaptable to the needs of customers, adding that limited download plans were ‘unsustainable.’ The hearing is scheduled for 1 July and Sutel has a month to respond to the comments of the consultation before making a decision on the tariff plan.

Sutel president Mayleana Mendez was quoted by TeleSemana in an interview in late April as saying that unlimited use tariffs had created a strain on the network resources of telcos, to the detriment of overall service quality and going as far as to say that some ‘aggressive’ consumers were almost abusing the system. According to Mendez, 40% of network resources were being consumed by 5% of the subscriber base. The official added that the situation was troubling and that the regulator was investigating measures to address the matter.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, June 16, 2014 7:33:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s ICT minister, has announced that a nationwide 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will be commercially deployed in August 2014. Agence Ecofin reports that the network is currently in its trial phase.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2013 the Rwanda Development Board enlisted South Korea’s KT Corp to establish a public-private joint venture company, Olleh Rwanda Networks Limited, in order to develop, construct and operate a nationwide 4G LTE network, as well as providing wholesale LTE infrastructure services to customer-facing cellcos and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). KT will control the management of the firm, while the Rwandan government will provide financial and administrative support. The would-be wholesale LTE provider is set to cover 95% of the population with LTE by 2017.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:47:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Ecuador’s telecoms minister has signed Ministerial Agreement 035-2014, which states that by 2017, 90% of the country will be covered by fixed and mobile broadband networks, Telesemana reports. To meet this goal, the Ministry set policies for the development and implementation of high speed networks, while it also established the need to promote technological upgrading, promote the modernisation of transmission media and infrastructure service delivery, accelerate the granting of spectrum bands and encourage the creation of business plans and services that are affordable to priority groups and economically disadvantaged citizens, among others. The ministry has also amended the official definition of broadband to: ‘bandwidth provided to a user at a transmission rate equal to or greater than 1024kbps down[link].’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:46:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, has announced that construction will soon begin on the country’s first internet exchange points in the cities of Yaounde and Douala. ‘The implementation of internet hubs at the local, national, sub-regional and regional levels is a priority if we intend to solve the connection problems and improve the quality of service as well as lower interconnection costs,’ Business In Cameroon quotes the minister as saying, although he did not state the potential cost or planned timeframe of the project.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:45:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The Ministry of Communications in Cote d’Ivoire is calling for the three smallest operators in the country’s cellular market to merge to create a more effective competitor to the trio of dominant players, MTN, Orange and Moov. Communications Minister Bruno Nabagne Kone is recommending that Comium, Green Network and Cafe Mobile unite to create a fourth player with 1.13 million subscribers and a 6% share of the overall market, Agence Ecofin reports. MTN and Orange currently claim around 36% of the market each, while Etisalat subsidiary Moov has the remaining 22%, with the country being home to 19.39 million subscribers in total at the end of 2013, according to figures from the regulator, Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI).

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:43:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to data published by Qatar’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and reported by Gulf Times, all segments of the population now have access to internet-enabled ICT devices (and in particular mobile phones), although smartphones and tablets are yet to ‘fully penetrate’ the market. In its ‘ICT Landscape 2014: Households and Individuals’ report, which monitors ICT access and usage behaviour in the country, the government is confident that ‘use of basic online services such as e-mail, internet browsing, social networking and peer-to-peer file sharing is prevalent across all segments of society’. The study confirms that the ongoing transition towards full access continues apace, and that mobile phones are now used by ‘nearly 100% of the population’, while smartphone penetration has reached 65% and laptop ownership has topped 93% – up from 83% in 2012. Moreover, a rapid rise in the penetration of tablet devices means that as many as 52% of Qataris are now connected to the internet via such means, compared to just 32% in 2012. The ICT study goes on to say that whilst 83% of users access the world wide web for e-mail and 93% for social networking apps, only 18% use internet banking and 15% e-commerce. Finally, the ministry report notes that with the increase in smartphone and tablet penetration, the demand for mobile broadband has risen and household penetration now stands at 61%, compared to fixed broadband penetration of 94%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:42:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Vodacom Tanzania is offering all users unlimited access to mobile internet on its new ‘Uhuru Wa Kweli’ data bundles, irrespective of what type of phone they use, available on all daily, weekly and monthly plans. The cellco’s managing director Rene Meza said the move is designed to help ensure Tanzanians have access to the internet at affordable rates and to narrow the digital divide in the country. Uhuru Wa Kweli allows Vodacom Tanzania users to purchase a daily data bundle for TZS1,000 (USD0.62), or TZS6,000 for a seven-day equivalent, while monthly data bundles will cost TZS20,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:41:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
According to national telecoms regulator Agence de Regulation et de Controle des Telecom (ARCT), Burundi’s overall mobile base stood at 2.53 million at end-2013, up 13% from 2.24 million a year earlier. Reuters reports the watchdog as saying that the gains were largely the result of network expansion projects undertaken by most operators in the east African nation, noting that ‘Some companies which were just covering the capital Bujumbura are now present in a large part of the country’. The ARCT went on to point out that an increase in competition has resulted in a reduction in call prices and handset costs, further driving uptake; Burundi had only 270,000 mobile phones users in 2007. In its report, the regulator confirmed that U-Com Burundi (leo) – a unit of Egypt’s Orascom – dominates the domestic mobile market with 64% of all users. The remainder is shared between Econet Wireless Burundi, Smart Telecom (Lacell SU), Africell (TEMPO) and state-backed Onamob. The government has also recently issued a licence to a sixth player, Vietnam’s Vietel Telecom, for USD10 million.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:40:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, increased its tariffs by an average of 14% at the start of this month, in response to the high inflation in the cost of utilities, goods and services. The company said in a press release that it ‘must maintain profitability of its operations to support sustainable development of telecommunications in Malawi, which in turn contributes significantly to the country’s economy.’ It adds that in order to achieve this level of profitability, TNM must continue to invest heavily in network expansion and infrastructure development; the tariff adjustments therefore aim to keep pace with the financing needs of TNM’s operations, while sustaining profitability. Going forward, the company, which exceeded the two million mobile subscriber mark in July 2013, says it plans to continue introducing new products and services at affordable prices, while also striving to maintain network service quality.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:30:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Armenian fixed and mobile operator ArmenTel (trading as Beeline) says it received just 1,642 applications from people wishing to port their existing mobile number to its network in the month following the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) in the country on 1 April. The company’s press officer Tatevik Hayrumyan said of the new regime: ‘The most important thing is that this service works. For us it is important that subscribers who use the MNP service to switch to other operators do not feel any discomfort. We have not received complaints from subscribers.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:29:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

T-Mobile Czech Republic has confirmed plans to cover 51% of the population and 73% of the territory with its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network by the end of this year, while the cellco’s combined 3G/LTE network infrastructure will reach 93% of inhabitants in 80% of the country by the same date. The cellco, part of the Deutsche Telekom Group, is investing CZK4 billion (USD202.9 million) in 4G – including buying the licence – and plans to invest an additional CZK13 billion in the coming years. It has already launched LTE commercially in the 800MHz band in the district of Plzen-South in Prague and will continue to extend to other parts of the capital with the aim of covering the entire city by October this year. It also plans to begin pilot trials of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) functionality on the network by the year end.

Yesterday’s CommsUpdate reported that T-Mobile CR and rival Telefonica O2 CR have signed an agreement to share LTE networks across the country by the end of this year – excepting the cities of Prague and Brno. Under the plan, the pair will start tests on the sharing of Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, but will retain control over their own network infrastructure and maintain separate business strategies. It is hoped that upon conclusion of trials in the coming months, a commercial launch will follow in the second half of 2014, with Telefonica O2 CR and T-Mobile CR sharing transmitters in order to speed up the use of their LTE networks in the country earlier than the date set by the government’s auction. Telefonica O2 CR will be responsible for looking after the eastern part of the country, while T-Mobile will look after operations in the west of the Republic. The pair say initial data speeds will reach a peak of 75Mbps.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:28:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
One year after the official launch of fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile services in Brazil, the country was home to 2.077 million 4G connections by 31 March 2014, while LTE coverage has been extended to 99 cities where around 36% of Brazilians reside, according to data from telecoms regulator Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes (Anatel) and the SindiTelebrasil telcos association. Despite the relatively poor take-up of 4G, the pair note that all domestic carriers were able to launch advanced mobile services within the timeframe established by the watchdog. As at 1 April, Telefonica (Vivo) was reportedly the largest player in the segment with around 858,000 LTE accesses, followed by TIM Brasil (676,000), Claro Brasil (321,000) and Oi (222,700).

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:27:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the country’s leading telco in terms of subscribers, has announced that it has passed around 900,000 households with its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network. Going forward, the operator will continue to extend the footprint of its fibre network although no time-frame has been provided; the FTTH network supports downlink speeds of up to 200Mbps.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, STC introduced its FTTH services in August 2010, with the service being available in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam at launch. Over 600 locations in sixteen cities/towns were covered by October 2013, and by year-end the company revealed that a total of 830,000 households had been covered by the network.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, June 12, 2014 7:25:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 01, 2014
According to the latest data published by Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel, the country was home to a total of 273.58 million mobile phone subscriptions at 31 March 2014, up a net 860,210 connections on the previous month and compared to the 370,020 new connections added in the month of February. Mobile market leader Telefonica (Vivo) increased its slice of the pie in the month of March, from 28.62% to 28.68%, while second-placed TIM Participacoes (TIM Brasil) saw its market share rise from 27.00% to 27.02%. However, number three player – America Movil (AM)-owned Claro (Brasil) reported a drop in market share to 25.13% from 25.28% in February. Finally, fourth-placed Oi SA closed out the period with an 18.49% share, down from 18.47%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:27:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Airtel Gabon has announced details of its 3G mobile network expansion plans, following the official launch of its commercial W-CDMA/HSPA+ services in the Gabonese capital Libreville. At the launch event, Airtel Gabon officials including CEO Antoine Pamboro said that the cellco will gradually cover the whole country, following the first-phase commercial launch which currently covers only the northern part of Libreville, Agence Ecofin reported. The area covered by the W-CDMA/HSPA+ network runs from Downtown to Agondje Stadium, the CEO clarified, adding that the second phase will take place in the next quarter and will focus on covering southern Libreville, an area defined as extending ‘from downtown to PK12, including Owendo’, the executive elaborated. He continued that by the end of the third quarter of 2014 a third-phase rollout will introduce 3G services to Gabon’s second largest city, Port Gentil. Pamboro stated that a fourth-phase 3G deployment scheduled to be completed by the end of the year will see 3G coverage reach all provincial capitals.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:26:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT, including cellco Mobitel) has agreed with the country’s Board of Investment (BoI) a commitment of USD415.44 million to be spent within the next two years on expanding and upgrading broadband, telephony, information technology and converged network infrastructure. According to the partly state-owned telco’s press release, the BoI agreement signing on 23 April 2014 covers ‘the expansion of multi-faceted national ICT infrastructures’, including: internet data centres, voice telephony, enterprise and wholesale services, fixed broadband access including fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), IPTV (‘Peo TV’), fibre-optic transmission networks, 4G LTE mobile broadband, international connectivity and Wi-Fi wireless broadband.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:25:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), through its mobile divisions Smart Communications and Digitel (Sun Cellular), is on course to achieve 100% coverage of the country by the third quarter of this year, having already completed the rollout of a 650km submarine fibre cable linking Palawan province to the rest of its national backbone. The PHP861 million (USD19.3 million) Palawan link formed part of a wider fibre-optic rollout programme, which now spans more than 78,000km. Speaking to reporters in November 2013, PLDT/Smart president and chief executive officer Napoleon Nazareno said that the group’s 3G coverage would stand at ‘75% to 80% by first quarter’ of 2014. The 3G network provides more capacity, faster data rates and richer data and video applications than a second-generation network.

PLDT has allotted PHP32 billion for capital investments this year. The amount will be spent largely on expanding and improving the group’s network coverage including the ultra-fast 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | Backbone
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:23:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Orange Group has announced the milestone of ten million customers of its Africa-Middle East mobile money service ‘Orange Money’, which is now available in 13 countries: Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt (under the name Mobicash), Guinea, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal and Uganda. In 2013, Orange says more than EUR2.2 billion (USD3.04 billion) in transactions were conducted through Orange Money. The French group added that in some countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, more than 40% of all Orange mobile customers have an Orange Money account. Orange executive Stephane Richard called it ‘proof that we made the right choice when we decided to offer mobile payment services in 2008,’ and added: ‘While making a strong contribution to economic and social development, mobile financial services also represent a major growth engine in Africa and the Middle East as well as in Europe for Orange.’ TeleGeography notes that Orange is just one amongst the multinational mobile groups who are all expanding their mobile banking/payment/money transfer services to meet demand; regional rival group MTN reported this week that its Mobile Money service reached a total of 16.6 million registered users across Africa and the Middle East at the end of March 2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:20:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

MTN Group, a leading emerging market mobile operator, reported a ‘satisfactory performance’ in the first quarter of 2014, with subscriber growth of 1.1% quarter-on-quarter pushing the group’s total to 210.065 million in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East by the start of April. Data revenues as a proportion of total revenue continue to bolster the carrier’s performance, it said, increasing 43.3% year-on-year and contributing 17.0% of total revenue, while the encouraging progress of its ‘Mobile Money’ service saw total registered users top 16.6 million at the end of the period under review. The operator’s MTN South Africa unit ‘continued to focus on regaining relevance in the pre-paid segment and maintaining its post-paid market share’, despite which, the subsidiary’s subscriber base dipped a net 824,768 to 24.875 million customers at 31 March, marginally below the 24.950 million recorded at end-March 2013. MTN said the fall is mainly due to the disconnection of 973,064 subscribers who had been showing activity but not generating revenue as per its 90-day ‘active user’ definition. Data subscribers increased to 14.5 million by 1Q14, largely due to competitive data packages and the launch of the cellco’s low-cost ‘Steppa’ smartphone. Blended ARPU decreased by 11.3% to ZAR100.47 (USD9.50) per month. Further, MTN South Africa says it remains committed to seeking a permanent resolution to the recent mobile termination rate (MTR) glide path and asymmetry regulations announced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), which came into effect on 1 April for a period of six months.

Meanwhile, the group’s MTN Nigeria unit delivered a satisfactory performance during the three months under review, and increased its subscriber base despite the one-month ban on the sale of SIMs imposed by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for three of the four GSM operators active in the market. MTN Nigeria had a total of 57.2224 million subscribers at 31 March, up 0.8% from 56.766 million three months earlier and 51.295 million at the end of 1Q13. In its filing, MTN Group said that: ‘Encouragingly we have seen strong subscriber growth post the lifting of the ban’. MTN’s Nigerian unit has also worked hard to improve its network quality and capacity, with 483 2G and 597 3G sites added during the January-March quarter. Partly as a result, MTN Nigeria reported strong growth in 3G enabled devices on the network, which increased to 7.1 million in the quarter.

The group’s ‘Large opco cluster’, which includes operations in Iran, Ghana, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda and Sudan, ended March with a total of 95.540 million users, up 2.2% q-o-q and up from 89.318 million subscribers at 31 March 2013. Finally, the ‘Small opco cluster’ (comprising units in Yemen, Afghanistan, Benin, Congo [Republic], Zambia, Guinea (Conakry), Rwanda, Cyprus, Liberia, Botswana, Guinea-Bissau, Swaziland and South Sudan) registered 32.426 million connections, up from 31.882 million at the start of the year and 29.825 million at end-March 2013.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:19:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Mauritian telecoms regulators the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) and the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA), are reportedly working on the development of a quality of service (QoS) guide for internet service providers (ISPs) in the country, Agence Ecofin reports. According to the article, the QoS guidance will impose a minimum speed threshold for broadband access, with ISPs likely to be required to indicate all relevant service specifications in a customer’s contract.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:18:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Greenland’s incumbent wireless operator TELE Greenland has announced that it will significantly lower its mobile tariffs from 1 May. According to a company press release, the country’s telecoms watchdog, the Telecom Agency (Telestyrelsen), has approved a number of new tariffs, with the price for mobile data decreasing by DKK0.75 (USD0.14) per 1MB, to DKK1. Further, the cellco will halve the prices for sending SMS/MMS to DKK0.60, while voice calls will be charged at DKK1.23 per minute, regardless of the call time. TELE Greenland will also introduce two new mobile packages on 1 May: ‘Mobile Akulleq’, priced at DKK275 per month, includes 120 minutes of voice calls, 500 SMS/MMS and 500MB of data, while ‘Mobile Angisooq’, which costs DKK350 per month, comprises of 180 minutes of voice calls, 1,000 text or multimedia messages and 1GB of data. Meanwhile, the ‘Mobile Data 300’ plan will be discontinued, and current subscribers will be automatically migrated to Mobile Angisooq from 1 May.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:17:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

National fixed and mobile operator Office des Postes et Telecoms de Nouvelle-Caledonie (OPT-NC) is to deploy 4G mobile services in New Caledonia, as part of its strategy plan ‘OPT2017’, according to online journal Megazap. The first 4G antennas are expected to be put in place in November/December this year, with the OPT-NC board saying that commercial offers could be in place by February 2015 under the branding ‘THD Mobile’. To support the 4G deployment, the operator intends to capitalise on its extensive 2G/3G+ network, which currently comprises 320 cell sites. In the first phase, OPT-NC intends to invest XPF1 billion (USD11.6 million) on the rollout of 150 4G sites. By 2017, the carrier says it will have extended the new network to more than 50% of the total sites on its network, which at that date will exceed 380 (2G/3G) sites. More than 85% of the population will be covered by 4G by the end of 2017, including all towns and main residential areas.

OPT-NC has seen a sharp rise in internet traffic in the past year or so, with volumes rising by 40% between January 2013 and March 2014. Further, OPT-NC reported a total of 255,522 mobile subscriptions as at the start of this year, a cellular penetration rate of 104%, noting that an extensive wireless coverage rollout in 2008 has significantly reduced the number of uncovered areas. At the same date there were a total of 44,000 mobile broadband internet users, of which more than 21,000 were signed up to its 3G ‘Mobile Internet’ offer.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:16:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Latvian mobile operator Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT) has expanded the coverage of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to 50% of the country’s population, according to Telecompaper which did not cite its sources. It is understood that LMT’s 4G network currently comprises 393 LTE base transceiver stations (BTS) across Latvia. The cellco had a total of 1.079 million cellular subscribers as at 31 March 2014, while quarterly revenue reached EUR41 million (USD56.7 million) and EBITDA stood at EUR12 million, with a ‘stable’ EBITDA margin of 30%.

Source: TeleGeograhy.

LTE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:15:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Pakistan has completed the long-awaited auction of third- and fourth-generation (3G and 4G) concessions, awarding 3G licences to Mobilink, Telenor Pakistan, China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak/Zong) and Pakistan Telecommunications Mobile Ltd (PTML/Ufone), whilst Zong was the only winner of 4G spectrum rights. ProPakistani writes that Zong and Mobilink each won 10MHz in the 2100MHz band whilst Ufone and Telenor were awarded 5MHz apiece in the same range. Zong also walked away with a further 10MHz in the 1800MHz band for 4G services. Under the terms of the auction, providers were only eligible to bid for a 4G authorisation if they had won 10MHz of 3G frequencies, and whilst Ufone had also expressed an interest in bidding for 4G rights, its failure to secure a 10MHz 3G lot made it ineligible to bid for an 1800MHz licence. Ufone will have a second opportunity to acquire the frequencies, however, with sector watchdog Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) revealing that the unsold 4G licence would be sold off at a later date. The sale raised a total of USD1.112 billion for state coffers with the two 5MHz lots and the 4G lot each selling for their reserve prices of USD147.5 million and USD210 million respectively, whilst the 10MHz blocks sold for USD306.92 million and USD300.9 million, the Chinese provider paying the larger sum.

Commercial 3G services are expected to be made available within the next month, the cellcos having already deployed 3G networks in anticipation of the auction date. Capitalising on its 4G win, Zong has launched a new marketing campaign titling itself as Pakistan’s first and only 4G network, accompanying the programme with a change of logo. Whilst currently the smallest of the bidding cellcos in terms of subscribers, Zong’s 4G coup is expected to give the provider the edge needed to close the gap with its larger rivals. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zong represented 18.0% of Pakistan’s wireless market at the end of 2013, compared to 28.2% held by Mobilink and 25.0% and 18.7% claimed by Telenor and Ufone respectively. Backed by China Mobile, the world’s largest cellco by subscribers, Zong is well-positioned to exploit its 4G advantage, benefiting from substantial economies of scale, especially given its parent company’s ongoing Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network rollout in China, and its imminent re-entry into the Chinese fixed broadband market. Indeed, CommUpdate noted earlier this month that Zong had also purchased licences to enter the fixed market in all 14 of Pakistan’s regions.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | LTE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:14:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Oscar Coca, the general manager of Bolivia’s state-owned telco Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel), has announced that just seven days after launching commercial LTE-based services at the start of this month, some 2,000 residential subscribers had signed up. With coverage initially restricted to the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, the network footprint is expected to be expanded gradually to other departmental capital cities and larger cities in the coming months.

Source: TeleGeography.

LTE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:13:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

South African telco MTN has announced plans to commercially launch a 100Mbps fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband service in its domestic market on 1 June 2014, TechCentral reports. According to the article, MTN demonstrated its FTTH technology at the Monaghan Farm estate, located 30km north of Johannesburg, on 12 April 2014, and is currently rolling out fibre-optic networks, which utilise Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) technology, to business parks and residential estates in all major cities. Residents of Monaghan Farm will gain access to the fibre-optic network in mid-May, with around 60% of them already signing up for the service. Speeds on offer will reportedly vary between 10Mbps and 100Mbps, although the company has not provided any pricing details, as costs are to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the amount of infrastructure required for each estate.

Meanwhile, rival Vodacom has also revealed that it is actively deploying fibre cabling in business parks and is preparing to start fibre-optic network rollouts in selected gated communities. ‘We’re currently building the fibre backbone to make this possible’, a company representative told TechCentral, although he added that it was too early to give any ‘concrete details’ at this stage.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:12:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The fledgling market for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the Czech Republic continues to grow apace in 2014, following the setting up of no fewer than 50 MVNOs and other secondary brand offerings in the latter stages of last year, according to a report from the Czech News Agency (CTK). Some of the more notable newcomers to the Czech mobile market – which was only opened up to virtual players in late-2012 – include BLESKmobil, Gorila Mobil, Tesco Mobile, Mobil od CEZ, Lama Mobile, Euro Operator and recent addition, betting firm Sazka.

BLESKmobil was the first to hit the ground running, thanks to a hosting deal with mobile network operator (MNO) Telefonica O2 CR. According to CTK, the MVNO segment accounted for some 700,000 users at 31 December 2013, equivalent to 5% of the total mobile market. Along with BLESKmobil, Telefonica O2 CR also has network hosting agreements in place with the likes of Tesco Mobile, Mobil od CEZ and another newcomer, Bonerix. Meanwhile, Vodafone CR also supports MVNOs and works with mobile virtual network enablers (MVNEs) such as Quadruple, and third player T-Mobile CR utilises an agreement with GTS Czech to allow it to set up wholesale arrangements with smaller companies. Furthermore, keen not to be left behind the three incumbents have established their own ‘no-frills’ secondary brandings to exploit niche market segments. T-Mobile has a successful ‘Kaktus’ brand with 35,000 subscribers, Vodafone has relaunched ‘Oskarta’, and all three MNOs are gearing up their 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollouts.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:10:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has opened bidding for 3G concessions and has completed the first four rounds of bidding, ProPakistani writes. Bids have been entered for four blocks of spectrum, two of 2×5MHz and two of 2×10MHz, all in the 2100MHz range. After three rounds of bidding, the two smaller blocks (B and C) have not moved above the reserve price of USD147.5 million, whilst of the two larger blocks, block A had edged up to USD306.92 million from the base price of USD295 million, whilst block D had increased to USD300.9 million. Incumbent cellcos Mobilink, Telenor Pakistan, China Mobile Pakistan (CMPak/Zong) and Pakistan Telecommunications Mobile Ltd (PTML/Ufone) are competing for the spectrum rights, whilst Warid has elected not to participate in the auction. Bidding is due to continue until winners are determined, potentially extending the auction to a second or third day: ProPakistani cites unnamed cellco officials as saying that bidding is expected to carry on to a second day. Bidding for 4G concessions, meanwhile, will take place upon the completion of the 3G sale.

Marring the auction somewhat was an eleventh-hour bid to close down the tender, with a challenge filed with the Supreme Court shortly before the sale was due to begin. The petition, submitted by the Watan political party, claimed that the USD1.3 billion revenue targeted by the auction was far less than anticipated by the government and that the PTA were under-valuing the spectrum. Challenging the legality of the sale, the petition also alleged that the participating cellcos were defaulters on bank liabilities and that the auction had not followed the rules of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA). The apex court dismissed the allegations, however, allowing the tender to go ahead as planned.

Source: TeleGeography.

3G | LTE
Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:09:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chilean telco Entel has revealed that it intends to invest USD200 million annually in its Peruvian operations over the next three years, TeleSemana writes. The funds will be used to upgrade and expand the mobile infrastructure of its local wireless unit Nextel, including the deployment of a 4G network in the 1700MHz/2100MHz band. The investment is also expected to fund the rollout of a fibre-optic backbone network to replace existing microwave backhaul. As previously noted by CommUpdate, Entel has selected Huawei to carry out the development work on Nextel’s networks

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:08:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

State-owned Angola Telecom will launch a new standalone fixed broadband service under the ‘Navegue So’ (‘only browse’) banner next month (May 2014) in the central Huambo province, available for individual, business or public sector users, Angolan news agency Angop reports. Ahead of the launch of Navegue So packages, Angola Telecom is highlighting the service’s Wi-Fi capabilities and the fact that its data-only broadband connections can be used for VoIP telephony. The upcoming standalone internet service augments the telco’s existing ‘Fale & Navegue’ (‘talk and browse’) packages, which offer unlimited fixed line calls to Angola Telecom numbers and ‘unlimited’ monthly volume of ADSL-based internet usage, payable on a pre- or post-paid basis. The Fale & Navegue ADSL service, which was launched officially nearly a year ago in April 2013, requires a user to have a connection to Angola Telecom’s fixed telephony network, and according to the Angola Telecom website is currently available in four regions: Luanda (14 districts), Benguela (seven municipalities/districts), Lobito (five areas) and Kwanza Sul (two areas). Download speeds advertised range from 512kbps to 4Mbps.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:07:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent study by the US-based Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI) has concluded that Senegal’s telecoms industry generates 10.6% of the African nation’s GDP, Agence Ecofin reports. According to the study, the influence of the communications sector also extends more widely, given its positive influence on the development of other industries, and is estimated to represent 23% of Senegal’s overall economic growth. Dr Raul Katz, director of research at the agency, notes too that the proposed introduction of a fourth mobile operator would be unproductive in a heavily penetrated market dominated by three players – Orange, Tigo and Expresso.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:06:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

European Union report released Tuesday has found that the continent’s 400 million Internet users “face a geographic lottery regarding the price, speed, and range of choice of broadband.Furthermore, the options Europeans have are presented in confusing ways, with line rental, router fees, and loads of bundle packages limiting their ability to choose wisely.  Switching providers is just as complicated, the report shows.

The combination of the four studies, shows  66% of people do not know what Internet speed they have purchased, and that, on average, consumers only get 75% of the broadband speed they sign up for.  While there’s a slight drop in speed due to interference, distance from the exchange, and how many devices you’re using at home, getting three quarters of what you pay for seems unfair.

According to the @SamKnows study, actual download speed is 75.6% of the advertised speed—although this varies a lot between copper and fiber.

“There is no single market for internet and that has to change,” EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda @NeelieKroesEU said. “There is no good reason why one person should pay over 4 times more than another in Europe for the same broadband.”

Looking at prices across the EU, the study shows price differences can range up to 400%. While broadband prices are much higher in the U.S., they don’t vary so much between states .

The measurements for the study were taken by 9,467 small white boxes which plug into internet connections, supplied by Sam Knows, who carried out the survey spread across 30 countries. There are 28 countries in the EU but the study included Norway and Iceland.

“These findings mirror our own concerns about the broadband market,” said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? —the U.K. consumer lobby, which is also campaigning on these issues. “We found millions enduring poor customer service and paying for speeds they don’t get.”

Source: WSJ.

Thursday, May 01, 2014 2:04:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service reveal that demand for international bandwidth grew 39 percent to 138 Tbps in 2013, a 4.5-fold increase from the 30 Tbps of bandwidth used globally in 2009.

Internet backbones remain the primary users of international bandwidth, accounting for 75 percent of demand in 2013. However, the drivers of international bandwidth demand are changing. As private network operators, including large content providers like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, expand their internal networks, their bandwidth requirements increasingly exceed those of the largest carriers.

International Internet Backbone and Private Network Capacity Growth

Source: TeleGeography.

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