Sunday, September 04, 2011

Kenya - Regulator has published a detailed analysis of ICT access by location

[Communications Commission of Kenya] More than 1,100 sub-locations in Kenya (out of a total of 7,149) lack access to voice telephony services.

According to statistics released by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) today, only 893 sub-locations in the country have access to broadband data/Internet services, with a total of 85,000 broadband subscribers.

These statistics are part of the ICT Access Gaps Study findings released to stakeholders at a Nairobi hotel today. The Study, aimed at assisting CCK in developing the most appropriate framework for provision of affordable ICT services, was carried out by Apoyo Consultoria of Peru, South America.

According to the study, less than five percent of people living in rural areas use the Internet in spite of growth in the number of internet users from 1.7 million in 2007 to 10 million in June 2011. In most counties, Internet usage stands at below five per cent.

Mobile penetration grew by an average of 31% annually from 34% in 2007 to 65% by June 2011. Mobile subscribers on the other hand increased from 11 million in 2007 to 25million in June 2011.

At the sub-location level, more than 50% of the population uses mobile phones, with sub-locations in Nairobi, Kiambu and Nyeri counties leading with mobile telephone usage of about 70%.
In the postal/courier market, all counties have at least three PCK offices.

The main obstacles for increasing coverage in un-served areas include the high operation and maintenance costs occasioned mainly by lack of electricity, access to roads and cable vandalism. The Study identified low population, and high licence and spectrum fees as additional obstacles to universal access to voice and data services.

Opening the workshop, Information and Communications Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said the Government would soon put in place the requisite policy interventions to address the access gaps identified in the Study.

He said the Government has facilitated international broadband connectivity and the construction of national terrestrial broadband network with a view to transforming Kenya to a knowledge economy. The remaining challenge, added Dr. Ndemo, is to expand broadband infrastructure to cover the last mile.

The PS challenged the Commission to explore mechanisms to spur the usage of the available broadband connectivity for e-learning and other socio-economic activities. He said the Postal Corporation of Kenya and the courier industry in general would benefit from enhanced business opportunities in light of impending uptake of e-commerce in the country.

Addressing workshop participants, acting CCK Director-General Francis Wangusi said the ICT Access Gap Study was part of the wider CCK initiative towards evidence-based regulation.

CCK releases ICT Access Gaps Study results

Thailand - DTAC is to launch a 3G service in Bangkok this week, despite legal threats

[the nation] Total Access Communication (DTAC) will press ahead with the launch of its third-generation wireless broadband service in Bangkok this week as planned, despite a possible legal threat from its concession owner CAT Telecom.

DTAC has about a million subscribers with 3G-850-megahertz mobile phones, of whom about 400,000 are in Bangkok. It believes it has to debut the service now or it might lose premium subscribers to competitors Real Move and Advanced Info Service, which launched full 3G services last month.

CAT has warned DTAC that it should wait for a ruling by the Office of the Attorney-General on whether the launch of a commercial 3G service is appropriate under its CAT concession. The office recently warned DTAC that launching the service before its ruling could put the telecom at risk of legal action.

DTAC believes it can launch the service under a permit it secured from

the National Telecommunica-tions Commission to install and use a 3G network. It argues that this is not in fact the launch of |a new commercial service but |simply an upgrade of network data-transmission speeds for its customers.

A telecom-industry source said CAT had asked DTAC to withdraw its complaint at the Central Administrative Court against the state agency and its board in connection with the CAT-True Group deals on collaboration in 3G business first, and then CAT would urge the Office of the Attorney-General to expedite its ruling.

The source added that DTAC might want to wait to see how the new minister of information and communications technology handles the CAT-True deals. If the minister declines to look into the matter, DTAC might consider withdrawing its court complaint.

DTAC has said many times that its complaint against the deals and its 3G service launch are two separate issues.

CAT and True's subsidiaries Real Move and Real Future signed deals in January to develop jointly a nationwide 3G-850MHz service. In April, DTAC filed the court complaint against the legitimacy of the deals and against the CAT board for allowing the state agency to sign them with True group.

DTAC had its staff try the new 3G service last month. It will install 2,000 3G base stations by next year to cover 40 provinces, of which 400 are already available in Bangkok.

DTAC to go ahead wIth 3G launch thIs week

Thailand - Govt and Shin Sat are in continued debate over satellite commitments and costs

[the nation] However much it has tried, Intouch Group, formerly known as the Shin Corp group, cannot avoid the political spotlight for long.

The group still has many hot issues on which it has to deal with Yingluck Shinawatra's government, which could draw it into close public scrutiny.

On the latest issue, its satellite-operator flagship Thaicom will have to talk with the new Information and Communications Technology Ministry on the country's attempt to reserve the 120 degrees east and 50.5 degrees east longitude orbital slots before its reservation rights expire in January and October next year respectively.

The ICT Ministry in the previous government gave the nod to Thaicom to help seek ways to maintain the reservation rights.

Intouch executive chairman Somprasong Boonyachai said Thaicom was in talks with some foreign satellite operators for possible deals to buy their satellites and reposition them to maintain the country's right to reserve the slots.

"But Thaicom has to talk with the new government on many issues, such as who will pay the cost of buying and repositioning the two satellites, which parties will manage them, and whether the two new satellites will be included in Thaicom's concession," he said.

Thaicom also still has to talk with the ICT Ministry on the plan, which was acknowledged by the previous Cabinet, to rectify Thaicom's concession amendments by having it resume its original concession conditions.

As part of that move, Thaicom has to build a backup satellite for Thaicom 3, Intouch has to raise its stake in Thaicom to the original 51 per cent from the current 41 per cent, and Thaicom has to return US$6.7 million (Bt201 million) in insurance proceeds to the ministry.

The ministry will discuss with Thaicom what to do with iPSTAR, which was perceived as not part of its original concession.

Somprasong said Intouch had yet to promise to raise its stake in Thaicom to 51 per cent, as it has to consider all aspects of the matter, including the share price.

Somprasong has continued to affirm that the Intouch Group has never been involved in politics. According to its latest survey, the group is perceived less as politically associated firm when compared with 2006 and 2007. He said the result of the survey makes him feel more relaxed.

In an attempt to get rid of its image as a politically linked company, in April Shin changed its group corporate logo to "Intouch". Its securities-trading name was also changed from SHIN to INTUCH, and Shin Group was renamed Intouch Group.

Thaicom also appointed the former head of IBM Thailand, Suphajee Suthumpun, as its chief executive officer, replacing Arak Chonlatanon.

Suphajee, 47, took over Thaicom's office on August 1. She was even speculated to be the future successor of Somprasong as Intouch executive chair.

Before joining Thaicom, she held the positions of managing director of IBM Thailand and general manager of Global Technology Services Group, IBM Asean.

Somprasong said Suphajee was qualified to run Thaicom. She has well-rounded knowledge of management, finance, and international markets, and puts forth a professional executive image.

Somprasong said Thaicom's business had bright prospects, given that the iPSTAR utilisation rate is expected to surge to 50 per cent next year from about 26 per cent at the present.

Thaicom currently has a broadcasting satellite, Thaicom 5. and broadband satellite iPSTAR.

'Apolitical' Shin Corp successor in the spotlight

Thailand - Official has accused DTAC of violating the foreign ownership law

[the nation] Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Ponlaboot today said Total Access Communication (DTAC) has breached foreign business law.

Alongkorn also recommended the Business Development Department to file charges against seven corporate shareholders of DTAC, believed to hold shares in DTAC on behalf of foreigners.

Alongkorn did not specify the names of the companies. On the shareholders' list as of December 2010, corporate shareholders of DTAC included Telenor Asia (Singapore) and Thai Telco Holdings Co Ltd. Holding shares in Thai Telco Holdings included Bolero Co Ltd, Abaroni Co Ltd and Sandalwood Holdings Co Ltd.

Banyong Limprayoonwong, director-general of the Business Development Department, said at a press conference today that Alongkorn could just give the recommendation given that he is a caretaker minister who has no authority in this case.

Banyong added that the Business Development Department, which enforces the Foreign Business Act BE2542, would stick to the original schedule: to decide within 7 days whether to file charges against "nominees" or to forward the investigation to the police.

DTAC reiterates its high commitment to do business in Thailand with high standard of good corporate governance.

In a statement, it said "we are in full compliance with the Thai laws and regulations. The company is willing to cooperate with the authorities and sincerely hope that the investigation process will be fair, transparent and not discriminatory. DTAC affirms that its customers, partners and all stakeholders as well as its business operations will not be affected by the ongoing entity investigation process."

DTAC breaches foreign business law: Alongkorn

USA - 40% of adult consumers have smartphones with Android the most popular operating systems

[nielsen] Forty percent of mobile consumers over 18 in the U.S. now have smartphones, according to July 2011 data from Nielsen. Android is the most popular operating system, with 40 percent of mobile consumers reporting they have a smartphone with an Android OS. Apple’s iOS is in second place, with 28 percent.

Among those who say they are likely to get a new smartphone in the next year, approximately one third say they want their next smartphone to be an iPhone and one third say they want an Android device. However, among those who say they are usually the first to embrace new technologies, “Innovators” or the earliest of early adopters, Android leads as the “Next Desired Operating System” – 40 percent for Android compared to 32 percent for iOS. (Survey respondents were asked several questions to determine their attitudes toward new technologies.)

40 Percent of U.S. Mobile Users Own Smartphones; 40 Percent are Android

Fiji-Tonga undersea cable - This is to be funded by the Asian Development Bank

[fiji times] THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) will assist in Tonga's high-speed Internet access by financing the development of a submarine cable system.

The ADB board of directors on Tuesday approved grant funds of $18.9million to help finance the establishment and operation of an 827 km submarine cable system from Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable in Fiji which will provide widely accessible information and communication technology (ICT) services.

"The new ICT services the cable will bring will improve Tonga's economic performance and delivery of public services," ADB said in a statement.

"The Tonga to Fiji Submarine Cable Project aims to improve existing businesses' efficiency and create new business opportunities, especially in the ICT sector.

"The cable technology will boost telecommunications, computer, information, maintenance and repair services.

"It will also allow ICT-based education, health, and government services to overcome the small island country's challenges - distance and scarce human resources."

The project is estimated to cost $61m and is being co-financed by the World Bank Group and Tonga Cable Limited.

The fibre optic cable will connect Tonga to the Southern Cross Cable, the main trans-Pacific link between Australia and the United States.

It will generate economic opportunities and social benefits starting mid 2013 when the cable is in place.

"The project aims to deliver good quality, affordable broadband Internet to Tonga's population of 100,000," said Robert Wihtol, director general of ADB's Pacific Department.

"In addition to the positive socioeconomic impact of the initiative, the project will contribute to regional integration."

The cable will increase the frequency and quality of communications among countries in the region, encouraging trade in services and will allow the region to form a sizeable market for digital products and services.

Tonga's Ministry of Finance and National Planning will be the executing agency for the project, which should be completed by 2016.

ICT project to link Tonga to the world

Pakistan - Regulator has suspended 11 service providers for non-payment of regulatory fees

[the news - Pakistan] Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has suspended licences of 11 service providers’ for a month due to non-submission of audit accounts and non-payment of annual regulatory dues in the last couple of years.

“PTA is curbing the menace of grey traffic and willing to punish heavily all the defaulters. These operators have been given show cause notices but they are yet to deposit their dues to the regulator. Hence PTA comes with a harsh action by suspending licences of eleven operators,” sources in the PTA said.

Reliable sources disclosed that the Standing Committee of the Senate on Telecommunications and Information Technology is putting pressure on the PTA to put a hard hand on the defaulters and grey traffickers. The suspension of licences of these operators which came after continuous monitoring, shows the commitment and persistent efforts of the Authority.

The Authority had also asked operators to pay annual licence fees, which has been calculated on the basis of their annual gross revenues, along with late payment at the rate of 2 percent of the outstanding amount. However the operators failed to comply with the instructions and the Authority had to issue them show-cause notices under section 23 of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (Re-organization) Act 1996.

PTA has directed all LDI, fixed line and cellular operators to suspend all telecommunication services, extended to these service providers under any agreement, with immediate effect till further orders.

The regulator said the licences of all the operators shall stand terminated in case of non-compliance upon expiration of one month after the date of issuance of suspension order. Moreover it may recover its outstanding dues as arrears through land revenue without any further notice and initiate recovery proceedings under section 30 of the Company Act.

The suspended operators are:

Ace Connect (Pvt) Ltd, ASCUL (Pvt) Ltd, Brogstelling Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, e-World (Pvt) Ltd, Gujjar Communication (Pvt) Ltd, Live Line Broad Band (Pvt) Ltd, Nom Communication (Pvt) Ltd, Samsung Voice Call (Pvt) Ltd, Vision Soft Technologies (Pvt) Ltd, Zain Business Empire (Pvt) Ltd and Eagle Technologies (Pvt) Ltd.

PTA suspends licences of 11 defaulting service providers

Mobile - Analyst challenges the view that smartphones generate enough revenue to pay for network investments

[fierce wireless] The gospel in the wireless industry the past few years has been that increasing smartphone penetration will deliver immediate and significant benefits to carriers: higher ARPUs and stickier customers.

However, in a research note entitled "The Dark Side of Smartphones," Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin challenges that conventional wisdom. Chaplin argues that ARPU growth has been disappointing, smartphone-driven costs are rising faster than ARPU, pressuring margins, and capital expenditure requirements are rising, again due to smartphones.

Chaplin said three things need to happen for the smartphone situation to improve: competitive intensity needs to return to pre-Verizon (NYSE:VZ) iPhone levels, carriers need more spectrum to blunt capex costs, and there needs to be industry consolidation.

Some carriers are clearly feeling the "dark side" effects of smartphones. For example, MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) said it will increase capex this year from a previous estimate of $700 million to $900 million to a new target of $900 million to $1 billion. On the company's earnings conference call, CEO Roger Linquist said, according to a SeekingAlpha transcript, that the increase is "primarily driven by an increase in capacity expenditures for future subscriber and data growth driven by the popularity of our Android handset offering."

Are smartphones worth the cost to carriers?

Mobile - Networks are almost full requiring significant investment in upgrading to cope with demand

Traditional network management practice says that network element usage level should not exceed 70% of its capacity. If it does - it is time to do something - buy more or manage it better. So, according to a recent Credit Suisse report - it is time to do something for wireless networks, globally. For North America, where current utilization at peak time reaches 80% it is even urgent.

Survey mobile networks are near full

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

South Africa - Govt wants to issue spectrum licences to new operators in 2.6 and 3.5 GHz bands

[tech central] The department of communications wants to use the sale of radio frequency spectrum in “high-demand bands” to facilitate the entrance of new infrastructure competitors in SA’s telecommunications industry.

“We should allow licensees that don’t have spectrum so they can compete with the incumbents,” says Robert Nkuna, special adviser to communications minister Roy Padayachie. “The opportunity should allow us to introduce new operators.”

Industry regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), is expected to license access to two key frequency bands — 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz — either later this year or early next year.

Operators are particularly keen to get access to the 2,6GHz band, which is ideally suited for providing the next generation of wireless broadband networks using a technology called long-term evolution.

“Engagements with Icasa are ongoing to see how fast we can conclude the process,” says Nkuna.

Incumbent operators such as Vodacom and MTN are lobbying hard for access to the spectrum, arguing they’re best resourced financially to fund the roll-out of national networks.

Communications director-general Rosey Sekese adds that the “real issue” the department is grappling with around spectrum is ensuring that whichever companies are granted licences roll out services in rural areas and not only in urban areas that are already well served.

“It’s not about ensuring people continue to roll out where there is already infrastructure,” says Sekese.

Meanwhile, Nkuna says government will direct Icasa to conduct a full review of the spectrum currently used by television broadcasters, and not only the spectrum expected to be freed up around 800MHz — usually referred to as the “digital dividend” spectrum.

It will direct Icasa to conduct a review of all spectrum between 470MHz and 862MHz to determine which of it could be freed up for other purposes, including broadband.
The department is also discussing whether to license access to the digital dividend spectrum to telecoms operators ahead of completion of digital migration to ensure companies can begin offering wireless broadband services as soon as possible after analogue switch-off. Nkuna says all issues related to spectrum are being “fast tracked”.

Gov’t wants to license new telecoms operators

Africa - Google cache servers are helping local exchange of content - content delivery neworks

[computer world] The availability of Google cache servers has encouraged more African Internet and content providers to exchange content locally, according to experts at last week's Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum in Accra, Ghana.

Google cache servers allow YouTube, search and other services to be available locally, which means lower latency for users because there is no international transit involved.

Africa has 15 exchange points, and they all acknowledge that the presence of Google cache servers has been a major motivation for ISPs and other content providers to exchange content locally.

"Google cache has been a major attraction," said Ayitey Bulley, a network consultant. "Telcos are advertising how YouTube videos do not buffer and download faster on their network, but it is only because they are peering at the exchange."

With the recent entry into Africa of several fiber optic cables connecting the whole continent, focus has shifted from infrastructure projects to ways to make connectivity cheaper. Local hosting and peering has been identified as a major factor in lowering Internet connectivity.

"Africa is having extensive infrastructure but we can not lower costs if we keep buying transit links instead of exchanging content locally," said Adiel Akplogan, AfriNIC CEO, speaking at the opening ceremony of the peering forum last week. "Efficient interconnection is the critical element to lower costs."

Google has a policy of encouraging the establishment of cache servers, mainly within bigger ISPs carrying volumes of traffic. In areas where there is higher traffic, Google sets up Points of Presence (PoP).

Google has also been working closely with SeaCom, one of the fiber optic cable providers, to host some of the servers and allow providers to exchange content at a neutral point.

"SeaCom has an open policy, we work with all providers to encourage content exchange," said Willem Marais, head of sales, Southern and West Africa for SeaCom. "We are hoping to bring in other content providers, which will lead to growth."
For the last four years, Google has been leading the drive to develop more African online content through app contests, university interconnection program and the digitization of government data.

"At the Nigeria IXP, we have a Google cache server and four universities are peering in order to interconnect to the Google program, which has driven up the content at the exchange," said Yen Choi, a board member at NIXP.

While it has been easy for some IXPs with high numbers of Internet users to attract Google, it has not been easy for Malawi. The country has eight major ISPs peering at the Malawi IXP but the policy was that only members could see the amount of traffic and activity. Two months ago, the members decided to use public IP addresses instead of private IP addresses and now the IXP has initiated the process of obtaining Google cache.

However, the issue of private IP addresses has affected Africa's global appeal to content carriers. With private addresses, the number of users are not publicly visible online. In some cases, 2,000 users are able to use two public IP addresses, meaning to an international content carrier viewing online, there appears to be only two users.

With the ongoing digitization and innovation projects going on in Africa, Google is hoping to bring more people online and in the process grow its business portfolio in the region.

Google cache servers drive interconnection in Africa

USA - Investment in 4G would be $25-53 billion, causing $73-151 billion in GDP growth and creation of 371,000 to 771,000 jobs

[prnewswire] A new Deloitte report states that wireless telecommunications companies in the United States could invest $25 to $53 billion in fourth generation cellular wireless networks (4G) between 2012 and 2016, triggering $73 to $151 billion in gross domestic product growth and creating 371,000 to 771,000 jobs. Additional growth could occur as high-tech companies create new mobile broadband products and services, further changing the way people live, work and learn.

The Deloitte report, "The Impact of 4G Technology on Commercial Interactions, Economic Growth, and U.S. Competitiveness," investigates the economic dynamics surrounding 4G technology and explains how the U.S. can maintain the global leadership position in mobile broadband innovation it won during the 3G era.
The $25 billion figure assumes a baseline scenario in which U.S. 4G deployment proceeds at a moderate pace and the transition from 3G to 4G extends to the middle of the decade. Under these conditions, U.S. firms are vulnerable to incursions by foreign competitors capitalizing on aggressive efforts in their home markets to deploy 4G networks and develop 4G-based devices and services.

The $53 billion figure assumes a scenario in which U.S. carriers invest more rapidly in 4G networks and start to produce popular 4G-based offerings before global competitors gain traction. In this scenario, the demand stimulated by new offerings justifies more network investment, setting off a virtuous cycle of investment and market response that positions the U.S. to retain its mobile broadband leadership.
"Investment in such a powerful form of communication contributes to the economic recovery and provides a job-creating engine for the future," said Phil Asmundson, vice chairman and U.S. media and telecommunications sector leader, Deloitte LLP. "The key to harnessing the potential benefits of 4G technology lies in America's market-driven wireless sector, which encourages the emergence of innovative applications that spur productivity and could produce the same surge of innovation and demand we experienced during the 3G era."

Global Competition Should Spur U.S. Innovation and Investment

According to the report, more than 150 carriers in 60 countries are currently committed to 4G deployments and trials. South Korea, Sweden and China are examples of countries moving rapidly to reap the benefits of 4G technology.
Cloud Computing Accelerating 4G Capabilities
Rapid adoption of cloud computing further enables the U.S. to take full advantage of 4G's potential impact by allowing developers and entrepreneurs to analyze the market's response to new applications, content, solutions and business models – cheaper and quicker.

"Cloud computing will allow handheld devices to be more compact and efficient while making them tremendously more useful and powerful," Asmundson said. "Applications, storage and computing power all can largely reside in the cloud, but only if connectivity is robust, reliable and secure. The benefits of 4G and cloud go beyond the telecom sector. Together, 4G and cloud technologies support the kind of entrepreneurial ecosystem that has made the United States a mobile broadband leader."
The advent of high-performance wireless capacity, coupled with cloud infrastructure and other advances, is proliferating new offerings and capabilities that exceed what has been possible with 3G technology, the report notes. In addition to consumers, a variety of U.S. end-user industries, including nonprofit and government entities, are likely to use devices and services incorporating the capabilities of 4G technology to better serve their customers, patients, clients and students. This includes applications such as augmented reality for businesses, machine-to-machine technology involving the use of sensors and actuators and the development of smart highways.

4G Enabling Marginalized Groups

Deloitte's report indicates that the deployment of 4G mobile broadband has special implications for certain disadvantaged markets including minority groups, rural communities and localities with limited access to full broadband connectivity, and some small businesses. The report explains how equipping these marginalized groups with 4G access helps move them further into the nation's economic mainstream, thereby serving the public interest while boosting U.S. competitiveness.

Lessons from the 3G Revolution

Deloitte's analysis emphasizes that America's success in 3G was driven by entrepreneurial innovation. When the government auctioned large amounts of spectrum, removed spectrum caps limiting individual carriers' spectrum holdings and permitted market forces to operate, private enterprise pursued new opportunities and a robust 3G ecosystem was born.

The FCC is moving to expand spectrum supply through a new incentive auction, but the report indicates that it will be difficult to keep pace with projected demand. Accordingly, there is a continuing need to find additional ways to make better use of available spectrum and to unlock additional spectrum.

Deloitte: U.S. Could See $53 Billion in 4G Network Investments by 2016, Creating 771,000 New Jobs

Monday, August 22, 2011

South Africa - Vodacom will "deregister" 1 million SIM card where no personal details have been recorded

[telecom lead] Vodacom announced it is deregistering approximately one million inactive SIM cards as part of a series of steps to help improve the effectiveness of the RICA Act.

On 1st July 2011, the requirement for the de-activation of all unregistered SIM cards as per the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act, 2002 ('RICA') became effective.

Following the cut-off date, at a joint press briefing between the Department of Justice & Constitutional Development (DoJ) and the Department of Communications (DoC), the issue of the sale of fraudulently preregistered SIMs was addressed.

Vodacom has identified almost one million SIMs which have been registered but not yet activated. All of these SIMs have now been deregistered. This means that these SIMs cannot be sold and used without first being registered in the new customer's name.

Supporting this measure, Vodacom has also implemented a process whereby all SIMs registered but not activated within 30 days will automatically be deregistered. The company is also checking all instances where numerous SIM cards were registered in the name of a single customer.

In the case of company registrations, Vodacom will verify the details of these companies with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. All new registrations undertaken in a company name will also be checked in the same way.

In addition to this, Vodacom is embarking on an education campaign to remind customers that all SIMs must be registered in the user's name. Furthermore, Vodacom will reiterate that the RICA Act imposes severe penalties on anyone who fails to register their details or provides fraudulent information.

The potential penalties include a fine or imprisonment, or both. Customers will also be reminded of their legal obligation to report lost or stolen SIM cards to the police.

"Vodacom fully supports the goal of reducing crime and we're pleased to work with the Department of Justice to ensure that not only the letter but also the spirit of RICA is being implemented. By taking these actions, we're closing down avenues that criminals could use to hide their identity. We'll continue to engage with the relevant authorities as they implement additional measures to stamp out fraudulent activity," said Portia Maurice, chief officer corporate affairs, Vodacom.

Customers can report RICA fraud such as the sale of preregistered SIM cards by calling 082 111. The information will be handed to Vodacom's forensic department who will investigate and take the appropriate action. Customers can alternatively report such incidents to the police.

Vodacom to deregister one million inactive SIM cards

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Privacy - NY Times warns over the privacy settings for

[ny times] Move over Facebook. It’s time to pay attention to privacy on LinkedIn.

That was is the message of last week’s mini controversy over LinkedIn’s quiet effort to introduce a new type of advertising on the site that would commandeer users’ names and pictures for product endorsements.

LinkedIn first announced the new “social ads” in an upbeat blog post in late June. The ads would include the names and photos of people’s LinkedIn contacts if they were connected to the advertiser in some way and the company had changed its privacy policy. At the end, it mentioned that users may opt-out of the ads.

LinkedIn’s Social-Ad Misstep

Australia - Consumers of mobile services have high expectations not always satisfied

[it wire] Mobile consumers have high expectations of their service providers and, it seems, not all of them are satisfied with what they are getting at the moment, with a significant number experiencing poor levels of service.

According to a survey of more than 500 Australian mobile users commissioned by Compuware, users’ expectations are not being met, with a majority of users experiencing “slow or unreliable mobile and application performance.” This is despite their expectation of quick, anytime transactions that work flawlessly every time.

Mirroring their counterparts in other countries, Australian users expectations for mobile website speed continue to increase, with most expecting websites to load just as fast on their mobiles as they do on their computers.

Rafi Katanasho, application performance management director at Compuware Australia and New Zealand, says user expectations for mobile continues to increase, but he maintains that companies in Australia are not meeting mobile users’ need for fast and reliable experiences, resulting in many of them failing to take advantage of the opportunities being provided by increased mobile access. Compuware

“Today’s mobile users demand exceptional web experiences and highly satisfying, convenient, on-the-go mobile site speeds regardless of their mode of access,” Katanasho said.

Other key findings of the Compuware survey include:

• Mobile users’ expectations for mobile website speed continue to increase. Sixty two percent of Australian mobile web users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone compared to the computer they use at home. However, over a third of Australians said websites load more slowly on their phone. Globally, an average of 71% of global mobile web users expect websites to load as quickly, almost as quickly or faster on their mobile phone compared to the computer they use at home - up from 58% in 2009. However, almost half (46%) said websites load more slowly on their phone.

• Fifty percent of Australian web users say they expect a website to load on their mobile phone in three seconds or less and 62% are willing to wait five seconds or less for a single web page to load before leaving the site. Thirty-four percent are only willing to wait five seconds or less for an application to load before exiting. Globally, nearly 60% of web users say they expect a website to load on their mobile phone in three seconds or less, and 74% are only willing to wait five seconds or less for a single web page to load before leaving the site. Fifty percent are only willing to wait five seconds or less for an application to load before exiting.

• Fifty-four percent of Australian mobile web users had a problem accessing a website in the past year and 45% had a problem accessing an app on their phone. More than 82% of mobile web users would access websites more often from their phone if the experience was as fast and reliable. Fifty-seven percent of global mobile web users had a problem accessing a website in the past year, and 47% had a problem accessing an app on their phone. More than 80% of mobile web users would access websites more often from their phone if the experience was as fast and reliable.

• Mobile users do not have much patience for retrying a website or application that is not functioning initially; just under a third will go to a competitor’s site instead. The majority of Australian mobile web users are only willing to retry a website (77%) or application (79%) two times or less if it does not work initially. Globally, the majority of mobile web users are only willing to retry a website (78%) or application (80%) two times or less if it does not work initially.

• A bad experience on a mobile website leaves mobile web users much less likely to return to, or recommend, a particular website. Forty-one per cent of Australians are unlikely to return to a website that they had trouble accessing from their phone and 64% are unlikely to recommend the site. Nearly half of mobile web users are unlikely to return to a website that they had trouble accessing from their phone, and 57% are unlikely to recommend the site.

Mobile services not up to scratch for consumers

Mobile Adverts - growth of 22%, over the previous quarter, served 112.5 billion mobile advertising impressions across the globe

[prnewswire] Today, InMobi, the world's largest independent mobile ad network, released its Mobile Insights Report: Global Edition, Quarter Ending July 2011. This comprehensive report is part of an on-going series to analyze quarterly data trends on InMobi's network and it projects that Android will be the top global mobile ad platform by the end of the year. InMobi experienced global ad impression growth of 22%, over the previous quarter, served 112.5 billion mobile advertising impressions across the globe and reports that smartphone growth is the primary driver, outpacing advanced phone ad growth rate by two to one.

InMobi Mobile Insights Report: Android Projected as Top Global Mobile Ad OS by the End of 2011

Australia - National research and academic network trialing 8 Terabits per second

[it wire] Australia’s Academic and Research Network, AARnet, is hoping to get an 8 terabit per second communications trial up and running later this, or early next, year as it responds to the dramatically rising data demands of researchers which are doubling each year. The organisation has also finally released its five year strategic plan, several months after it was originally slated.

University network plans 8 terabit per second trials

Mobile - Analysis of means to increase innovation in mobile in Africa and the Middle East

[prnewswire] As success stories continue to emerge from mobile innovation (mInnovation) experiences in Africa and the Middle East (AME), interested stakeholders must devise ways to leverage their resources and position themselves as mInnovation industry leaders, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.

Three Steps to Accelerate Mobile Innovation in Africa and the Middle East explains the basic components of mInnovation and discusses why AME is fertile ground for mInnovation to take root. The report identifies the three enabling conditions in the mInnovation arena, along with the roles these conditions play in the mInnovation ecosystem, and highlights the benefits of mInnovation for interested stakeholders.

The report concludes with four case studies from the region that present mobile innovators, the new ideas they have created involving the use of the mobile phone and the funding sources that supported the development of mInnovation.

Mobile innovation may be a recent phenomenon in AME, but the field is quickly becoming sophisticated. Pyramid Research predicts that as the sector matures, the marketplace will become increasingly competitive, which will spur further mInnovation developments. "Pyramid believes that three important ingredients to ensure mInnovation success are: a place to exchange knowledge, the talent of human resources and investments to facilitate the transformation of mInnovation ideas into business realities," indicates Matt Donnelly, Managing Editor at Pyramid. "Pyramid Research projects that these conditions will come together in AME to enable the generation and implementation of new mobile-based services, businesses and content that can have a significant impact on the way (and the amount) that mobile network services are consumed," he adds.

Three Steps to Accelerate Mobile Innovation in Africa and the Middle East, Pyramid finds

USA - A study found 6.2% of users had scanned QR codes, mainly in 18-34 years old

[prnewswire] comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released results of a study on mobile QR and bar code scanning based on data from its comScore MobiLens service. A QR ("Quick Response") code is a specific matrix bar code (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by smartphones. The study found that in June 2011, 14 million mobile users in the U.S., representing 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience, scanned a QR or bar code on their mobile device. The study found that a mobile user that scanned a QR or bar code during the month was more likely to be male (60.5 percent of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4 percent) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1 percent). The study also analyzed the source and location of QR or bar code scanning, finding that users are most likely to scan codes found in newspapers/magazines and on product packaging and do so while at home or in a store.

"QR codes demonstrate just one of the ways in which mobile marketing can effectively be integrated into existing media and marketing campaigns to help reach desired consumer segments," said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. "For marketers, understanding which consumer segments scan QR codes, the source and location of these scans, and the resulting information delivered, is crucial in developing and deploying campaigns that successfully utilize QR codes to further brand engagement."

14 Million Americans Scanned QR or Bar Codes on Their Mobile Phones in June 2011

India - Regulator is to reduce international call rates by cutting costs of cable landing stations

[the mobile indian] TRAI is likely to reduce the landing charges paid by the operators on international calls, which will result in reduction in ISD rates.

International call rates may soon get cheaper if Telecom Regulator Authority of India or TRAI, the regulator of the telecom business in India, has its way.

TRAI is reviewing charges paid by International Long Distance Operators (ILDOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to Cable Landing Stations (CLS) in India for landing international voice and data traffic on India's shores.

These landing stations connect the country to rest of the world through undersea cables and charge for all the calls originating and terminating in India.

A number of undersea cable-based international consortiums like SMW4, SMW3, TIC and Falcon provide international bandwidth to Indian ISD (all the mobile and landline operators) service providers. These submarine cables terminate at cable landing stations which are operated and managed by Tata, Bharti, Reliance Communication and BSNL.

It is expected that the review will result in lower charges in the next two months and will in sync with ISD tariff of other Asian countries.

This charge constitutes a major chunk of the ISD call rates and therefore any reduction in landing charges will bring down the international call rates further.

While ISD rates have come down for countries with major expatriate Indian population like USA, Canada, UK and Gulf to as low as Rs 3 per minute (at times even lower than that), charges to other countries remain very high which goes up to Rs 10 per minute. Even Nepal which is a neighbour the call rates are more than Rs 9 per minute.

ISD rates may get slashed

Semiconductors - Intel is commissioning Science Fiction writers to imagine future uses of its technologies

[bbc] Chip maker Intel has commissioned leading science fiction authors to pen short stories that imagine future uses for the firm's technology.

The collection, called "The Tomorrow Project", aims to capture the public's imagination regarding the company's current research.

Intel believes this can help anticipate consumer aspirations, and drive future adoption of its products.

The anthology has been made available online as a free download.

The Tomorrow Project is led by Intel futurist Brian David Johnson, who regards the scheme as an important way to assess future technology trends.

Intel recruits sci-fi writers to dream up future tech

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wi-Fi - WLAN market revenues are expected to surpass $8 billion in 2015, a 49% increase over 2010 revenues

[prnewswire] In a newly released market forecast report by Dell'Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, overall Wireless LAN (WLAN) market revenues are expected to surpass $8 billion in 2015, a 49% increase over 2010 revenues.

"The wireless LAN market continues its rapid expansion, as it tries to keep pace with the large growth in the number of Wi-Fi enabled devices," said Chris DePuy, Analyst of Wireless LAN research at Dell'Oro Group. "802.11n technology has helped to propel this market, and is continuing to evolve, providing for higher bandwidth connections and the ability to seamlessly roam from the cellular network to WLAN. The small office/home office (SOHO) segment, driven by huge growth in broadband CPE with WLAN and wireless routers, will continue to account for the majority of the revenue, but the enterprise segment, with its faster growth rate, will close the gap within the next few years. Universities and schools, one of the critical vertical segments for WLAN, benefit from government subsidy programs, like the US Federal Communications Commission's E-rate program," added DePuy.

Wireless LAN Market to Expand by 49 Percent in 2015, According to Dell'Oro Group

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mobile TV - US Cellular has launched a mobile TV service powered by MobiTV with live and on-demand programmes

[prnewswire] Delivering on the increasing demand for mobile media services, U.S. Cellular has launched U.S. Cellular Mobile TV, powered by MobiTV.

U.S. Cellular Mobile TV, a downloadable application, features live TV, video-on-demand programming and the option to download content for offline viewing. Subscribers will have access to top programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, The Disney Channel, MTV, Comedy Central and more. In addition to the core entertainment package consisting of news, sports and other select entertainment, genre-specific content packages are also available, including a Spanish-speaking package featuring content from Univision and other providers, and a children's programming package featuring premium content from Nickelodeon, PBS Kids and more.

"Our partnership with MobiTV represents another opportunity for us to delight customers with quality TV entertainment whenever and wherever they want," said Joe Settimi, Senior Director of Data Strategy and Services for U.S. Cellular.

"Additionally, U.S. Cellular Mobile TV will operate on our high-speed nationwide network so users can access information quickly and enjoy everything their cell phone has to offer."

U.S. Cellular Mobile TV provides subscribers with access to compelling features powered by the latest version of MobiTV, Inc.'s converged media platform. These include an enhanced user interface for simple discovery, providing subscribers with tools to create a more personalized experience, and the ability to download and store content for offline viewing.

"Being selected by one of America's top carriers not only showcases the strength of the MobiTV technology platform, but also the demand for a reliable and flexible platform on which a service can grow upon," said Charlie Nooney, CEO, MobiTV, Inc.

U.S. Cellular Launches Mobile TV Service Powered By MobiTV

Mobile - Routers and switches expected to constitute 30% of mobile backhaul market

[prnewswire] In a newly released market forecast report by Dell'Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, Mobile Backhaul market revenues are expected to approach $9 billion by 2015. This updated report tracks two key market segments: Transport, which includes microwave and optical equipment, and Routers and Switches, which includes cell site devices, carrier Ethernet switches, and service provider edge routers.

"We're at the initial stage of the mobile broadband wave with only a few LTE deployments underway. As radio access networks across the globe get upgraded to newer mobile radio technologies like 4G LTE, availability of sufficient backhaul capacity will be a key enabler to customer experience. Our latest report indicates high-capacity optical and microwave deployments will have to maintain a growth curve to deliver the requisite backhaul capacity through 2015," said Jimmy Yu, Sr. Director of Optical and Microwave research at Dell'Oro Group.

Furthermore, "Our research has found that operators around the world are concerned with the rate of mobile traffic growth and are transitioning to Internet Protocol (IP) technologies to build a more efficient and scalable backhaul network. Our latest report forecasts the demand for IP-based routers and switches will continue to grow through 2015, almost doubling the market size of the Router and Switches segment in the five-year forecast period," said Shin Umeda, Vice President of Routers research at Dell'Oro Group.

Mobile Broadband to Drive Backhaul Market to $9 Billion by 2015, According to Dell'Oro Group

Mobile - Shoppers remain highly uncomfortable with mobile payments

[prnewswire] Most shoppers are still very fearful about using their mobile phone to pay for their shopping, according to a poll by money saving website
Just over 70% of respondents said they would not use their mobile phone to pay for shopping, even if the technology was secure. Shoppers said they still preferred the more traditional cash or cards.

Doug Scott, managing director of, says: "This proves shoppers are still very suspicious of shopping with their mobiles. If security is robust, there's nothing to worry about."

Shoppers Suspicious of Using Mobile Phones to Pay for Shopping

Zambia - Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the suspension of import duty on telecommunications equipment as a spur to growth

[Times of Zambia] THE Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has hailed Government for suspending duty on telecommunication equipment as this will stimulate growth in the industry.

ZACCI president Geoffrey Sakulanda said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday the measure would accelerate tele-connectivity across the country.

Mr Sakulanda said the development would result in reduction of capital expenditure and in turn accelerate network spread for service operators Airtel, MTN and Zamtel.

Other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector players constructing and installing communication equipment would also benefit from the development.

Recently, the ministry of Finance and National Planning passed Statutory Instrument No. 23 of 2011 under the Customs and Excise Act which waives all taxes for telecommunications site equipment.

“We applaud the Government who through the Ministry of Finance and National Planning recently passed a Statutory Instrument, which suspends duty on taxes related to all Active and Passive GSM telecommunications equipment.

“As we all know, telecommunications is a catalyst to development. People are able to access communications services. It is most likely that development will follow”,” Mr Sakulanda said.

He expressed happiness at the accelerated mobile network rollout particularly in the rural areas.

The ZACCI president called on service providers to share their infrastructure so that speed is enhanced and competition is extended in all areas.

ZACCI hails State over telecommunications duty stance

Mobile - Adoption of this technology is a factor in reshaping industries ahead of other trends

[zd net] Although multimedia adoption trends vary by industry, mobile is single-handedly “remaking entire industries,” according to the first annual “Technology Outlook” research report conducted by Bluewolf, which specializes in enterprise-class cloud adoption.

The survey highlights what Bluewolf researchers believe to be the top five tech trends of 2011. Mobile is at the forefront of the pack thanks to increased HTML5 adoption as well as an exponentially growing pool of apps designed for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

As for those industries that are being remade? Without a doubt, media is the leader here from a variety of angles as print publishers are finally going forward faster with digital, and then major networks and movie studios are licensing their material for online streaming.

Retail and “high-tech” (i.e. cloud providers, front-end developers, etc.) companies have also made significant gains in mobile, and financial services have made a small push.

Specifically, Bluewolf found that HTML5, Android and iPhone/iPad app development increased by more than 200 percent, although development for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile apps has dropped by roughly 50 percent.

The other four major themes we’re seeing this year, according to Bluewolf, are user engagement, big data, the consumerization of IT and, unsurprisingly, cloud computing.

Cloud computing as a major trend of 2011 has been drummed to death already, but the other three trends could really be considered as off-shoots from the cloud from certain perspectives.

For example, Bluewolf cited that big data revolves around “everything from data storage, warehousing, and integration to Business Intelligence.” Well, cloud storage and virtualization are definitely going to be options there.

Bluewolf concluded that there are a few lessons that can IT managers can learn from these findings — namely, the value of the user experience and keeping the technology portfolio simple.

Even though most of the study findings make it look like companies should starting betting on mobile more than anything, it’s still a good idea to pay considerable attention to the cloud.

Tom Gooding, account director for financial services at Bluewolf, noted in the study, “Look seriously at what you can move to the cloud now (processes, applications or infrastructure), otherwise you will be the last in your industry to do so.”

Mobile is remaking entire industries, study says

South Africa - Telkom under (again) new management seems to be setting out a new strategy

[tech central] SA’s most important telecommunications operator has been abused for years. Telkom has been fraught with political infighting and plagued by shocking management decisions. Now, finally, indications are new CEO Nombulelo Moholi is steering the ship away from the rocks.

The billions of rand Telkom squandered on Multi-Links in Nigeria — an acquisition made by axed former CEO Papi Molotsane — must count as one of the most spectacular failures in SA corporate history.

It was under pressure from government to expand elsewhere in Africa, but the purchase of Multi-Links was doomed from the start. The company was one of four operators in the West African market using a wireless technology called CDMA in a sector dominated by GSM operators. This made it difficult for Telkom to get a toehold in the competitive Nigerian market and, coupled with bad management decisions on the ground, Multi-Links became a financial millstone around the operator’s neck.

This wasn’t the only management decision made during Molotsane’s tenure that still haunts Telkom. Its decision to get into the pay-TV business through Telkom Media — later reversed by Molotsane’s successor, the technocrat Reuben September — cost it hundreds of millions of rand more.

For years, Telkom’s senior leadership team has been embroiled in political battles that have caused incalculable damage to the company. September, for example, became embroiled in skirmishes with Jeff Molobela, the former chairman, who didn’t like him or want him at the helm — a fight September eventually lost when he tendered his resignation last year.

Former Cell C CEO, US national Jeffrey Hedberg who had been brought into the Telkom fold to try to rescue Multi-Links, was appointed in an acting capacity to replace September but left the company earlier this year after declining to make himself available for the position on a full-time basis. Instead, the job went to Moholi, who, apart from a brief interregnum at Nedbank — she quit Telkom after being effectively demoted by Molotsane before being hired back by September — has been at the company for most of her working career.

Early indications are that Moholi, with the support of new chairman, the clearly level-headed Lazarus Zim, is righting the Telkom ship. Since Moholi took the helm, what was an almost constant flow of anonymous “dossiers” containing allegations about top management has dried up.

And, although it’s still early days, Telkom does appear to realise it needs to up its game in a market that has become much more competitive in recent years. It must do much more to remain relevant in the voice and data markets, but it’s no longer behaving like it’s the only game in town.

Moholi has an enormous amount on her plate. The company’s “last mile” of copper wire infrastructure will be opened to competitors in some or other way, possibly as early as this year, through a regulatory intervention called “local-loop unbundling”; it’s coming from behind in mobile with 8ta; its monopoly over national long-distance fibre is being eroded; and it remains overstaffed and pressured by powerful trade unions. The list goes on.

In the next few years, Telkom is going to have to make several important calls if it wants to survive in a cutthroat market. One of the biggest of these may involve committing tens of billions of rand to a project to replace its copper network with high-capacity fibre into millions of homes and businesses.

The company is not ready to make a big call like that just yet, though it should already be thinking along those lines. For now, it’s good that stability and normalcy are returning to the company. Without this, Telkom won’t achieve much.

Telkom on the mend?