Friday, July 31, 2009

World Bank: High speed internet is key to economic growth and job creation in developing countries

[world bank] A new report from the World Bank Group finds that access to affordable, high quality internet and mobile phone services enables development across all levels of the economy and society.

Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact takes an in-depth look at how ICT impacts economic growth in developing countries. The report finds that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points. It also identifies the mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

“Internet users in developing countries increased tenfold from 2000 to 2007, and there are now over four billion mobile phone subscribers in developing countries,” says Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies. “These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers.”

Broadband also provides the basis for local IT services industries, which create youth employment, increase productivity and exports, and promote social inclusion. Developing countries should seize this largely untapped opportunity, with less than 15 percent of the potential global market for IT services industries currently being exploited. In 2007, this market represented nearly US$500 billion.

“Governments should proactively encourage the development of local IT services industries through policies and incentives directed at entrepreneurs and the private sector, and through investments in skills and infrastructure,” says World Bank Economist Christine Zhen-Wei Qiang, editor of the report.

The report also contains new empirical evidence from Brazil, Ghana, India and other countries demonstrating that modern, technology-enabled governments can become more efficient, transparent and responsive. A survey of over 30 countries shows that successful e-government requires organizational and behavioral changes that must be driven by high-level political commitment and effective coordination.

“Access to broadband completes the information foundation for a modern economy and should be a priority in national development plans.” says Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “Governments can play a key role in expanding broadband access by policies and incentives that encourage competition and private investment.”

The report builds on experience drawn from the Bank’s own significant involvement in the sector. The Bank Group is the largest international donor in the field of ICT for development and supports ICT activities projects in over 100 countries with a portfolio amounting to more than US$3 billion.

High speed internet is key to economic growth and job creation in developing countries, says new World Bank Group report

USA: Ranking of pre-paid mobile customer satisfaction gives top place to NET10, TracFone and Boost Mobile

[PRNewswire] Prepaid carrier NET10 ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among non-contract wireless users, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 U.S. Wireless Prepaid Customer Satisfaction Index Study(SM) released today.

NET10, included in the study for the first time this year, achieves a score of 774 on a 1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in three of the six factors that drive overall satisfaction: performance and reliability; cost of service; and account management. Also ranking at or above the industry average in rank order are TracFone, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Alltel and T-Mobile.

"NET10 differentiates itself from other companies by simplifying the wireless experience with straightforward pricing, virtually no roaming charges and robust nationwide network coverage," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "Users find they don't have to worry about restrictive calling areas and can maintain their account without hassle."

The study finds that product offerings in the prepaid segment have changed dramatically during the past year, with many wireless carriers increasing their offerings of monthly plans--some of which mimic traditional contract plans, while others offer unlimited calling and texting. More than 40 percent of non-contract plans are monthly plans, compared with less than 30 percent in 2008.

In addition, overall satisfaction among users of pay-as-you-go plans (756, on average) is considerably higher compared with users of monthly plans (742, on average), driven by satisfaction with the performance and reliability and account management factors.

The study also finds several demographic differences that distinguish pay-as-you-go users from users of monthly prepaid service. The average pay-as-you-go user is older, more likely to be retired and has fewer wireless phones in their household. The average monthly prepaid plan user more closely resembles the average contract plan user--desiring a large network, mid-range feature phones and messaging, but without the commitment or penalties of a contract. Two-thirds of monthly plan users report that they have switched service from their former contracted service carrier.

"As the non-contract wireless market continues to evolve, users need to be sure to explore all of the alternatives available to them in order to determine the appropriate plan that suits their needs," said Parsons. "With this increased breadth of options, wireless users can find a plan that optimizes their wireless experience and meets their budget without requiring them to sign a contract."

The study also finds the following key non-contract wireless usage patterns:

* Pay-as-you-go users spend an average of $35 for each airtime purchase, a decrease of $5 from 2008.
* Monthly non-contract users spend an average of $25 less per month than do those with contracts. Monthly non-contract users report spending $56 per month compared with an average monthly service cost of $81 for contract users.
* Non-contract users report using 320 minutes per month--a notable increase from 233 minutes in 2008. Pay-as-you-go users report using an average of just 145 minutes, while monthly non-contract users report an average of 573 minutes per month.
*During the past 12 months, 16 percent of non-contract users have switched carriers. *More than half (51%) of these users previously had contract service.
*Switching intent within the next year remains steady at 12 percent, compared with 13 percent in 2008. Among users intending to switch, 24 percent intend to switch to contract service.

The 2009 U.S. Wireless Prepaid Customer Satisfaction Index Study, now in its fourth year, measures customer satisfaction with current non-contract wireless service across six key factors. In order of importance, they are: performance and reliability (28%); cost of service (19%); account management (17%); initial activation (15%); offerings and promotions (12%); and customer service (9%). The study is based on responses from 4,229 wireless users who currently subscribe to non-contract service plans. Findings are based on a continuous fielding period between January and June 2009.

Customer Satisfaction Index Rankings (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

J.D. Power Circle
Provider Index Score Ratings For Consumers
-------- ----------- ---------------------

NET10 774 5
TracFone 773 5
Boost Mobile 771 5

Virgin Mobile 755 4

Alltel 751 3
T-Mobile To Go 750 3
Industry Average 750 3

Verizon Wireless 741 2
AT&T GoPhone 735 2
Cricket 732 2
MetroPCS 730 2

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: NET10 Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Non-Contract Wireless Users

Economic growth: Access to affordable, high-quality broadband and cell phone services promotes development across all levels of an economy

[teleclick] The World Bank Group has released a new study exploring the relationship between technology and economic development, and concluding that access to affordable, high-quality broadband and cell phone services promotes development across all levels of an economy.

Every 10-percentage-point increase in high-speed internet connections results in an average 1.3-percentage-point increase in overall economic growth, the study suggests. Mobile technology, meanwhile, was found to be the single most powerful way of delivering information and services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas of the developing world.

“Internet users in developing countries increased tenfold from 2000 to 2007, and there are now over four billion mobile phone subscribers in developing countries,” noted the World Bank Group’s director for global information and communication technologies, Mohsen Khalil. “These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate roll out of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers.”

Broadband and Mobile Technologies Integral to Economic Development

Australia: The regulator is prosecuting the promotion of mobile premium services by means of scratch cards

[accc] ACCC takes legal action against scratchie phone promotions

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings against Star Promotions Club Pty Ltd alleging breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974 over the promotion of mobile premium services through scratch cards.

The scratch cards, offering prizes including a holiday, a plasma television or a car were distributed as magazine and newspaper inserts and also letterbox drops.

The ACCC alleges that the scratch cards did not adequately disclose the nature and cost of participating, particularly that anyone responding to the 19 number to claim a prize would be signed up to a premium rate mobile subscription service costing $6.60 per week.

A scheduling conference has been set down for August 28 2009 in the Federal Court in Sydney.

This action against Star Promotions Club follows other ACCC actions against a number of mobile premium services providers. These include TMG Asia Pacific Pty Ltd, Teracomm Limited, AMV Holdings Limited and Clarion Marketing Australia Pty Ltd.

ACCC takes legal action against scratchie phone promotions

Puerto Rico: As the voice telephony market shrinks, operators are expecting to double data revenues, despite the recession

[PRNewswire] With the voice market shrinking, telecom operators face an opportunity to expand data services in Puerto Rico, as data revenue is expected to more than double by 2014 despite the deep economic contraction, according to the latest report from Pyramid Research, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network.

Communications Markets in Puerto Rico offers a precise profile of the country's converged telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from our research in the Puerto Rican market. The 28-page report provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies such as WiMax, IPTV, and VoIP. The executive study provides a comprehensive view of the Puerto Rican communications market by analyzing key trends, evaluating near-term opportunities and assessing upcoming risk factors.

Despite the deep economic contraction that Puerto Rico is facing, we see interesting opportunities in mobile data services, mobile content, and prepaid fixed services, notes Jose Magana, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "Several years of economic contraction and operators focusing on the more lucrative postpaid segment have constrained subscription's growth, but Pyramid expects penetration to advance to 84 percent by 2014," says Magana.

The recent incursion of big telecom operators, such as AT&T and T-Mobile, looking to expand beyond the U.S. in the mobile market may also put additional pressure on tariffs but will spur offerings in data services, such as mobile Internet and infotainment content. "Pyramid forecasts infotainment content to gain share in the total data market at the expense of messaging while connectivity revenue grows thanks to uptake in mobile Internet and datacards," says Magana. "Data as a percentage of ARPS will advance to more than 30 percent by 2014 from 18 percent in 2009," he adds.

In the fixed segment, Pyramid expects broadband to expand at a CAGR of 16.7 percent to generate $390 million by 2014. "Broadband will also encourage subscribers to migrate to cheaper VoIP plans and will hasten a decline in PSTN lines," Magana explains.

Puerto Rico's Telecom Market to Double its Data Revenue by 2014 despite Economic Contraction, finds Pyramid
See also an excerpt of this report

Estonia: Is claiming to be the leading Internet nation in Europe with 70% of residents making regular use

[prweb] - GfK's- research indicates that 70 per cent of the residents of Estonia use the Internet regularly, which is the highest result among the 17 Middle and Eastern European countries. These results may explain the country's thriving place as an international business hub.

Second place is held by Slovenia with 68 per cent. After Slovenia comes Latvia, Lithuania and Austria with 55 to 60 per cent. In last place on the list is Ukraine, where only 20 per cent of the population uses the Internet regularly. Exactly 1000 people from every country took part in the survey.

Margus Reinsalu, an international business figure based in Estonia, believes that Estonia's high info-technological level considerably facilitates doing business there.

"The numerous e-solutions make it possible to start a business, carry out various everyday business-related tasks and even conduct international business without getting up from your computer. This accompanied with the advantageous tax system has encouraged the emergence of many investment companies with western origins in Estonia whose aim is to have a healthy, prosperous international business," says Reinsalu.

Estonia: Europe's Leader in Internet Usage is Great for International Business
see also GFK

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

USA: Sprint's losses increases with prepaid gains not offsetting loss in postpaid customers

[ft] Sprint Nextel’s net loss widened by 12 per cent year over year to $384m in the second quarter, as the wireless carriers increase in prepaid revenues failed to offset the decline in its contract wireless service.

Sprint lost 4 cents a share, excluding special items, missing analysts’ average expectations of a loss of 1 cent a share. Operating revenue fell 10 per cent to $8.1bn.

The wireless company has moved to expand its pre-paid business as it struggles to stem customer attrition in its post-paid business following its disastrous $36bn merger with Nextel in 2005.

The number of Sprint’s contract subscribers fell by 991,000 to 34.4m in the second quarter, a steeper loss than the 776,000 subscribers it lost in the same period last year, but narrower than the 1.25m it lost during the first quarter.

But the company’s pre-paid Boost mobile business grew by about 777,000 subscribers to 5m over the quarter, compared with a loss of 138,000 over the same time last year.

Sprint moved on Tuesday to expand its pre-paid business, announcing a $420m deal on Tuesday to acquire Virgin Mobile USA, the wireless phone company in which Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is the largest shareholder.

The Virgin Mobile USA transaction should enable Sprint to more than double its customers on pre-paid packages. Virgin Mobile USA had 5.3m pre-paid customers at the end of March.

Shares of Sprint fell by 4.58 per cent to $4.38 in pre-market trading on Wednesday.

Sprint loss widens as customers defect

CDNs: Limelight now offers turnkey customizing and monetizing media delivery in a mobile world

[Marketwire] Limelight Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: LLNW) today announced the immediate availability of LimelightREACH™ and LimelightADS™, two new services that provide turnkey capabilities for customizing and monetizing media delivery in a mobile world. These new solutions are based on technology from Kiptronic, which Limelight Networks acquired in May 2009.

According to Nielsen(1), US consumers are watching more content per month than ever before, and viewing is wide spread across three screens: traditional television, Web browsers, and media-enabled mobile devices. As audiences continue to fragment across devices, publishers need a simple way to deliver content wherever those audiences go. LimelightREACH and LimelightADS solve this problem by using contextual awareness and an intelligent delivery platform to customize media assets on the fly. The technology delivers a high-quality playback experience for consumers and new targeted revenue opportunities for content publishers. This means publishers can create content once, yet distribute and monetize it across many networks and connected devices.

"Consumer viewing habits are evolving rapidly with the expectation that media should be available not just at home, but on the go. As a result, many of our customers are looking at aggressively expanding the reach of their online media in the mobile arena," said Bill Loewenthal, vice president and general manager, mobility and monetization solutions, Limelight Networks. "Our solution is a combination of mobility products and robust, media-grade infrastructure that provides the scale necessary to support ever-growing audiences, and the field-proven success of mobile infrastructure technologies that target and personalize media delivery."

LimelightREACH uses the company's intelligent global computing platform to auto-detect end-user devices and deliver device-optimized media files, with no change in the publishing process, for the best consumer media experience. The solution enables publishers to distribute properly-formatted content to almost any media-enabled mobile handset -- from early video-capable phones to smartphones such as the Apple iPhone™ 3GS or Palm Pre™ -- using a single, Universal URL. Based on an ever-growing library of device profiles, LimelightREACH delivers the right file over the right protocol and network to the specific device that requested the content. Through an open architecture, LimelightREACH can be paired with Limelight Networks' own media-grade content delivery service, or service from other major CDN providers.

LimelightADS helps publishers move beyond the Web browser to reach audiences in widgets, mobile applications, video games, and more. The service allows publishers to present dynamic pre-, mid-, or post-roll video and audio advertising into media that is delivered to mobile or connected users. LimelightADS works seamlessly with a publisher's existing ad insertion process, integrating directly into leading ad decision engines like DoubleClick DART and Microsoft Atlas, and allowing publishers to maintain any existing management interface for measuring ad success. Publishers can change ads dynamically and even rotate multiple campaigns and advertisers within the same content segment. With LimelightADS, publishers remain in control, managing their ad sales and operations as they always have -- whether they are using their own internal ad sales teams or are working through a trusted partner. Limelight Networks supports Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) mobile video standards.

LimelightREACH and LimelightADS Bring Device-Optimized Targeting to Mobile Media Delivery, Allowing Publishers to Customize Content and Advertisements for Individual Devices
see also LimelightREACH and LimelightADS

Nortel Networks: Courts agree to sale of CDMA and LTE business to Ericsson for US$ 1.13 Bn

[Marketwire] Nortel Networks Corporation announced that at a joint hearing today, it, its principal operating subsidiary Nortel Networks Limited, and certain of its other subsidiaries including Nortel Networks Inc., obtained orders from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware approving the sale agreement with Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson ("Ericsson") for substantially all of Nortel's CDMA business and LTE Access assets for a purchase price of US$1.13 billion.

As announced on July 25, 2009, under the asset sale agreement, Ericsson will purchase substantially all of Nortel's CDMA business which is the second largest supplier of CDMA infrastructure in the world, and substantially all of Nortel's LTE Access assets giving it a strong technology position in next generation wireless networks. Also as part of this agreement, a minimum of 2,500 Nortel employees supporting the CDMA and LTE Access business will receive offers of employment from Ericsson. Completion of the sale is subject to regulatory and other customary closing conditions, and the purchase price is subject to certain post-closing adjustments. Nortel will work diligently with Ericsson to close the sale later this year.

Nortel Obtains Canadian and U.S. Court Approvals for Sale Agreement With Ericsson for CDMA Business and LTE Access Assets for Purchase Price of US$1.13 Billion

Smartphones: strong interest in voice commands to avoid typing or touch screens

[PRNewswire] A study released today reveals that smartphone users are more inclined to buy a device that offers them the ability to push one button, say what they want and get it, making them more efficient on the go. The research, conducted by Sanderson Studios for Tellme Networks Inc., a Microsoft subsidiary, shows that 75 percent of people would choose a smartphone that allows them to compose a text message, search the Web or dial a contact simply by speaking, rather than by typing or using a touch screen. The study also reveals that cell phone etiquette seems to be evolving, with an overwhelming majority of respondents saying they would feel comfortable using voice to perform tasks in places such as a restaurants and gyms.

Most people use smartphones while conducting other tasks in order to make better use of their time. Those surveyed say they use their smartphones while shopping or running errands (88 percent), waiting at appointments (80 percent), walking between places (78 percent), visiting friends (68 percent) and in many other places, such as while eating at restaurants, commuting, exercising or attending school. While typing and touching are not perceived as difficult, respondents acknowledge that using their smartphones in these situations can be distracting. If given the option to simply push a button and speak to call or text a friend or search for information, such as the location of a restaurant, directions or stock quotes, most say they could accomplish more and feel less distracted.

"If you've ever tried typing or touching on your smartphone while walking down the street or paying at the checkout line, you know how distracting it can be," said Anne Truscott, brand strategist at Sanderson Studios. "But using your voice while walking or checking out is like walking and chewing gum at the same time; it just comes naturally. And we were surprised how many people said they'd feel comfortable using their voices to interact with their smartphones while in public places as well."

If this study is any indication, it seems that cell phone etiquette is changing. While some respondents said they would feel awkward using their voice with their smartphone at a restaurant, 71 percent said they would feel just fine doing so. An overwhelming majority of respondents said they would feel comfortable using voice to perform tasks on their smartphones while walking (93 percent), exercising (92 percent), and shopping or running errands (87 percent).

Not surprisingly, studies also show that the ability to use voice to perform tasks and get information while in the car is also very popular. In another study performed by Sanderson Studios, people who spend at least one hour in their car five or more days per week while regularly using their phone overwhelmingly like the idea of using their voice to get what they need (90 percent). Convenience and safety were cited as key reasons these respondents wanted to use their voice to perform tasks while driving.

"The research is confirming what we believed would happen as people more widely use smartphones to multitask while on the go, away from the home or office," said Dariusz Paczuski, senior director of Tellme Mobile Speech at Microsoft. "Our 'say what you want and get it' voice products and services are making it easier to get more done with your phone no matter where you are or what you're doing."

Tellme is already integrated into the Ford SYNC(TM) Service Delivery Network, the in-vehicle communications and entertainment system developed by Ford and Microsoft Corp. that allows playing music, making hands-free phone calls and getting traffic, directions and information all with the power of their voice. Tellme also announced the first mobile voice service to combine content and communications, due out on Windows Mobile 6.5 phones this fall.

On the Go, Running Errands or Waiting in Line, Study Shows Smartphone Users Prefer Using Their Voice to Typing or Touching

Spam: Has reached 92% or more of all e-mail, dominated by pharmaceutical spam, delivered from botnets

[network world] Spam, often linked to phishing attacks or fraud, now constitutes 92% of all e-mail, according to McAfee's "Threat Reports Second Quarter 2009" released Wednesday, while another firm in the spam-stopping business, MX Logic, sees that figure as even higher: a whopping 94.6% of all e-mail sent.

The McAfee report states, "June produced the highest amount of spam we have ever seen, beating the previous high month, October 2008, by more than 20%."

Both security firms see "pharmaceutical spam," at almost 90% of all spam, as the single largest type of spam in terms of content, with one in particular, known as Canadian Pharmacy, the undisputed dominant force.

Criminals sending spam rely on hijacked "zombie" machines that have been taken over by malware, and the number of zombies around the world is said to be rising by an estimated 150,000 every day. "In the U.S. alone, there are 2.1 million new zombies, up 33% from the last period," the McAfee report states. McAfee estimates there are a total 14 million computers "enslaved by cybercriminal botnets"

are elaborate command-and-control systems operated by botmasters to remotely control compromised computers, and they tend to be specialized for various tasks such as spam distribution, stealing identity and financial data, selling fake antivirus software or click fraud.

In both the McAfee and MX Logic reports, the United States is seen as the top country for spam-producing volumes. Other countries cited as significant sources of spam volume are Brazil, China, Russia, Poland and India.

USA: SK Telecom is selling its stake in Virgin Mobile to Sprint

[afp] South Korea's top mobile carrier SK Telecom said Wednesday it planned to sell all its 15.3 percent stake in US-based wireless operator Virgin Mobile USA.

Sprint Nextel announced it will buy Virgin Mobile USA for 483 million dollars and absorb it.

"As Virgin Mobile is being absorbed by Sprint Nextel, we will be offered a 0.53 percent stake in Sprint Nextel," an SK Telecom spokesman told AFP.

"As this 0.53 percent stake will have no strategic significance, we plan to sell this stake," he said.

Local newspapers have said SK Telecom scrapped a plan to forge a business tie-up with Sprint due to a worsening business environment.

SK telecom to sell stake in US mobile company

UK: Orange, Universal and Channel 4 will offer "Monkey" a streaming music for younger persons

[bbc] Orange is teaming up with Universal and Channel 4 to offer a music streaming service which it hopes will help combat piracy.

Dubbed Monkey, the service is aimed at the young mobile customers who are less likely to have expensive handsets or mobile internet packages.

Users who top up their talk time by at least £10 a month will get access to 600 minutes of music streaming.

Channel 4 plans to promote the Monkey service via its 4Music brand.

Mobile music for teens who top up

Brazil: Mobile broadband will overtake fixed, with rapid growth of data cards

[PRNewswire] Mobile broadband will surpass fixed broadband in Brazil by 2011, reaching nearly 27 million data card users in 2014 from 1.5 million in 2008, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network (

Brazil's Brave New Mobile Broadband World: The Rise of Data Cards examines the potential of mobile broadband computing devices to reach significant adoption levels in Brazil and mobile broadband's prospect of surpassing fixed broadband in the near future. The 12-page report provides Pyramid Research's five-year forecast on data cards adoption in Brazil and discusses the strategies of the main mobile players, including two case studies: Claro and Oi. The report discusses the latent demand for broadband in Brazil and points to it as one of the key drivers for our positive mobile broadband estimates.

Data cards are set to become an important driver of broadband adoption in Brazil. Operators should be prepared for strong, sustained growth going forward as mobile broadband becomes a true alternative to fixed broadband in Brazil, notes Fernando Faria, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "According to Anatel, the number of mobile data devices in May 2009 was nearly 4.3 million, which represents roughly 30 percent of the total broadband market, already a clear indicator that there is significant pent-up demand still in the marketplace," he says. "Pyramid expects mobile broadband to surpass fixed broadband in Brazil by 2011 and to reach nearly 27 million data card users in 2014, from 1.5 million in 2008, a 62 percent CAGR," he adds.

The value proposition for mobile broadband is unquestionable: Data cards offer an easy way to connect in a variety of locations with competitive speeds. "Besides this, there are a few other aspects people are starting to pay attention to in Brazil, such as shorter installation time fewer hurdles with LAN compatibility and absence of wires and cabling, to name a few," says Faria. Although mobile broadband is considered to be more expensive than fixed broadband, as data cards reach significantly higher adoption levels, it becomes financially viable for mobile operators to drop prices.

"Despite this immense potential, Pyramid is observing an early issue with an unexpectedly high churn rate in mobile broadband service, which we credit to the 'frustration effect,' " explains Faria. "Provided operators keep improving network quality to address a few early coverage issues, data cards could become the dominant broadband access device in Brazil," he says.

Mobile Broadband to Surpass Fixed Broadband in Brazil by 2011, finds Pyramid Research
see also an excerpt of the report

USA: AT&T reports significant growth in use of its Wi-Fi hotspots in Q2 2009, fueled by smartphones

[PRNewswire] AT&T, which operates the nation's largest Wi-Fi network with more than 20,000 U.S. hotspots, today reported a significant second-quarter increase in the number of Wi-Fi connections on the AT&T network, fueled by the rising number of customers with Wi-Fi enabled smartphones.

In the second quarter, AT&T handled nearly 15 million Wi-Fi connections on its network -- a 41 percent increase over the first quarter. With approximately 25.6 million connections so far in 2009, AT&T Wi-Fi connections this year have already surpassed the 20 million connections seen in all of 2008.

Additionally, the number of customers with Wi-Fi access as part of their AT&T service continues to grow. AT&T broadband connections -- which include both wireline broadband and wireless LaptopConnect cards -- grew by 209,000 in the second quarter to reach 16.9 million in service. AT&T includes unlimited Wi-Fi access with qualifying AT&T High Speed Internet plans, 3G LaptopConnect plans and with select smartphone plans.

Wi-Fi Connections Increasingly From Smartphones Versus Laptops

In the second quarter, 49 percent of the total connections were made by integrated devices. This is an increase of 41 percent over the first quarter 2009 -- a significant shift that tracks with the growth of Wi-Fi enabled devices.

"Our Wi-Fi network is a competitive differentiator for AT&T and a major value for our customers," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We include unlimited Wi-Fi access with the majority of our broadband and smartphone plans, and our customers are clearly taking advantage of it. It's another reason that twice as many smartphone customers choose AT&T than any other carrier."

AT&T Investing in Wi-Fi Network

Since the beginning of the year, AT&T quadrupled its Wi-Fi network authentication capacity in preparation for increased sessions, the ongoing rise in consumer demand for Wi-Fi, and to ensure reliable performance on the network.

"Our customers want both speed and mobility," said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. "They love the convenience that AT&T Wi-Fi offers, and we continue to enhance our Wi-Fi network, expand our portfolio of Wi-Fi enabled devices and extend our hotspot footprint to offer the best customer experience."

Also in the second quarter, AT&T made several Wi-Fi enhancements and formed strategic relationships including smartphone-friendly upgrades to the Giants Digital Dugout Wi-Fi portal at AT&T Park in San Francisco, which serve to enhance the fan experience at Giants home games, and a strategic agreement with Barnes & Noble bookstores nationwide to provide complimentary Wi-Fi to any customer that visits a store.

AT&T's Wi-Fi network complements its wired broadband and wireless 3G networks, offering Wi-Fi connectivity in more than 20,000 hotspots in the U.S. -- including retail stores, restaurants and airports from coast-to-coast.

Largest Wi-Fi network claim based on non-municipal company and owned and operated hotspots. An 802.11 b/g enabled device required.

AT&T Sees Significant Rise in Wi-Fi Hotspot Connections During Second Quarter
see also A full list of AT&T Wi-Fi locations

Nortel Networks: The courts have approved the sale to Ericsson

[teleclick] Ericsson’s $1.13 billion acquisition of Nortel Networks was approved by bankruptcy courts in both Ontario and the U.S. earlier today, but still faces challenges from a number of Canadian politicians.

Ontario’s Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, called on the federal government to block the transaction; as did federal NDP leader, Jack Layton, arguing that Nortel represents decades of Canadian innovation and should remain under Canadian ownership.

Canada’s Conservative government has agreed to review the deal, but Industry Minister Tony Clement says it would be premature to take action at the present time.

“What I am saying, we are obviously reviewing the bid, and we will have more to say once that review is done,” Clement told reporters in Ottawa.

Columnist, John Ivison, laid out the case against government intervention in today’s National Post, presenting evidence that the free flow of corporate capital is of net benefit to Canada.

Ericsson-Nortel Deal Approved by Courts, Challenged by Politicians

Mobile Apps: Apple's App Store has reject Google Voice software that forwards calls to protect mobile carriers

[teleclick] Apple’s popular App Store has rejected Google’s ‘Voice‘ software, an application to forward all incoming calls to a single number.

Google confirmed in a statement yesterday that “Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store.”

Some have speculated that the decision may have been driven by AT&T, Apple’s exclusive carrier-partner in the United States, because Google Voice allows users to pick up voice mail as text transcriptions, effectively allowing for free incoming text messages.

Google says that despite the setback, it will “continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users–for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.”

In the mean time, the Google Voice application is available (on a limited basis) for BlackBerry and Android-based smartphones.

Apple Excludes Google Voice from iTunes App Store

OECD: Global production of and trade in ICTs is showing signs of improvement after a steep drop

[oecd] The recovery in global production and trade of information and communications technology (ICT) goods in May and June may be a harbinger of recovery, according to a new OECD report. Asian production plunged by 30-40% on an annual basis as exports collapsed. But it is now showing month-to-month improvement and Chinese production is up nearly 3% year-on-year.

ICT industry poised to rebound, says new OECD report

India: The regulator has suggested 2Mbps as the minimum speed for fixed broadband to replace 256kbps

[sify] TRAI now wants 2mbps as minimum broadband speeds!

There is good news for every internet user in the country. TRAI has finally heard our cries.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has now recommended that the government should make it mandatory for broadband speeds to be at least 2 mbps.

This means that any broadband service offered to customers in the market would have to be 2mbps more.

Currently, the definition of broadband as per the Indian government’s ruling is 256kbps and above.

This means that an ISP can offer packages of 256kbps labelled as broadband. This was made a requirement a couple of years ago. Times have changed and the ruling has to be updated.

TRAI said that other countries are already touching speeds of 20mbps and more. India has to catch-up to stay competition at a global level.

An industry representative was not happy with these developments. He said: “We do not think it is feasible to move from 256 kbps to 2Mbps in one shot. If at all the definition has to be revised then they should move to 512kbps, otherwise it will be too costly for both operators and subscribers.”

TRAI’s move is however supported by the Wimax industry.

We really hope that something happens in this direction. We are internet users in this country are tired of pricey connections which are sold in the name of broadband.

2mbps unlimited (real unlimited) without fair usage policies should be offered at affordable prices.

TRAI now wants 2mbps as minimum broadband speeds!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nigeria: Key economic sectors are outsourcing IT infrastructure to the infant outsourcing industry

[PRNewswire] Although the Nigerian IT infrastructure market is in its infancy, key sectors such as the financial, telecommunications, and oil and gas industries have begun outsourcing elements of their IT functions to third parties. Technological developments, government promotion of ICT and Nigeria's exposure to the global stage have provided additional growth stimulus.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan Nigerian IT Infrastructure Outsourcing Market, finds that the market earned revenues of $58.0 million in 2007 and estimates this to reach $330.0 million in 2014.

If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides a brief synopsis of the research and a table of contents, then send an e-mail to Patrick Cairns, Corporate Communications, at, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state and country. Upon receipt of the above information, a brief brochure will be sent to you by e-mail.

"The unreliable power supply in Nigeria is promoting the growth of outsourced services such as disaster recovery and dedicated hosting," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Mpho Moyo. "This is because companies need to have contingency measures in place to ensure business continuity during power failures."

Some business requirements may demand 24-hour access to networks or e-mail. Therefore, frequent power outages can be extremely disruptive. IT outsourcing services such as disaster recovery provide backup systems for companies to ensure business continuity.

However, the growth of IT outsourcing services is constrained by the limited number of companies that offer these services. The lack of aggressive marketing by IT outsourcing providers poses a further challenge to market expansion.

"Existing market participants need to take advantage of the growing awareness of the benefits of outsourcing in key sectors," advises Moyo. "This will ensure that companies have a head start as competition intensifies and the Nigerian IT market develops."

Experience and accreditation will be important, as Nigerian companies are highly brand-conscious. It is also important for market participants to build strong customer relationships through the provision of consulting services to boost awareness of their IT outsourcing services.

"IT outsourcing service providers need to be able to anticipate customer requirements and design appropriate solutions," comments Moyo. "They need to engage in a close consultative process with their clients to guarantee success."

Key Sectors Boost Expansion of IT Infrastructure Outsourcing in Nigeria, Reveals Frost & Sullivan

USA: Sprint is to acquire Virgin Mobile USA to join its existing Boost Mobile business

[FT] Sprint Nextel, the third largest US mobile network operator, agreed to acquire Virgin Mobile USA, a leading prepaid phone company, in an all stock deal valued at $5.50 per share or $483m including Sprint’s existing 13.1 per cent stake in Virgin Mobile USA.

The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter or early next year, will enable Sprint to significantly expand it presence in the US prepaid phone market and combine Virgin Mobile USA, set up by Richard Branson’s Virgin group, with its existing Boost Mobile prepaid unit.

Boost Mobile has emerged as a key growth driver for Sprint which has been struggling to stem post paid subscriber losses following its $36bn acquisition of Nextel in 2005.

The prepaid market in the US has benefited recently as consumers, concerned about job losses and facing an uncertain economic outlook, have turned to prepaid plans as a way to control mobile phone spending.

Sprint-Nextel to acquire Virgin Mobile USA

France: Competition Authority condemned the practices of France Telecom in the overseas departements

[zdnet] A la grande époque, l'opérateur historique imposait aussi ses règles du jeu dans les départements d'outre-mer. Des pratiques "graves" aujourd'hui condamnées par l'Autorité de la concurrence.

Ce n'est pas un scoop, au début des années 2000, France Télécom profitait de sa situation de quasi-monopole sur plusieurs marchés pour imposer ses règles et étouffer la concurrence. Des pratiques qui ont été maintes fois condamnées par les autorités.

Cet abus de position dominante s'est également exercé dans les départements d'outre-mer où l'opérateur historique a toujours été en position de force. Au grand dam d'une concurrence (Outremer Télécom et Mobius) qui a décidé en 2008 de saisir le Conseil de la concurrence devenu aujourd'hui Autorité de la concurrence.

Amende de 27,6 millions d'euros

Un an plus tard, l'Autorité a rendu son verdict condamnant France Télécom à 27,6 millions d'euros pour "avoir entravé abusivement le développement de nouveaux opérateurs concurrents dans les DOM" entre 2001 et 2006.

"France Télécom a utilisé sa position dominante résultant notamment de son ancien monopole pour s'octroyer, de manière déloyale, des avantages sur ses concurrents". Ces pratiques "ont eu pour effet de limiter le développement des opérateurs alternatifs dans les DOM qui n'ont pu atteindre une taille critique suffisante pour faire peser une contrainte concurrentielle sensible sur l'opérateur historique", a estimé l'Autorité.

La liste des griefs est longue comme le bras : niveau excessif des tarifs, refus de sécurisation de liaisons, appels vers d'anciens abonnés ayant choisi des concurrents qui ont été dénigrés ou encore maintien de services de restriction d'appel "incompatibles avec la présélection d'un opérateur alternatif".

Pour l'Autorité de la concurrence, "les comportements de France Télécom sont particulièrement graves car, en tant qu'opérateur historique, il lui incombe de ne pas brider une concurrence naissante en abusant de la puissance qu'il tire de son ancien monopole".

De plus, le dommage causé à l'économie par ces pratiques "est d'autant plus lourd que celles-ci ont affecté des territoires dans lesquels les consommateurs disposent de revenus relativement faibles et pour lesquels les services de communications électroniques revêtent une importance particulière compte tenu de l'enclavement insulaire qui peut constituer un handicap sensible au développement de l'économie locale"

L'opérateur condamné, droit dans ses bottes a néanmoins jugé cette amende "disproportionnée" notamment par rapport à la taille du marché concerné.

Même si Outremer Télécom et Mobius ont retiré leur plainte en 2009, "la procédure a suivi son cours", a précisé l'Autorité dans un communiqué.

Rappelons qu'en février dernier, les manifestations en Guadeloupe et en Martinique ont poussé les pouvoirs publics à (enfin) s'interroger sur les tarifs des communications fixes et mobiles dans les territoires ultra-marins. Une série de mesures a ainsi été annoncée.

France Telecom devrait être invitée à ouvrir davantage son réseau aux opérateurs tiers pour "encourager" la concurrence.

Mesures pour faire baisser les prix

Le régulateur devrait adopter, un plan de réduction des terminaisons d'appel. La terminaison d'appel -le prix de gros que se facturent entre eux les opérateurs lorsqu'un appel est passé depuis un opérateur vers un autre- devrait être réduit de 30 à 50%. Néanmoins, une baisse ne changerait que partiellement la donne.

Les prix de gros Outre-mer, compris entre 10,5 et 27,2 centimes entre 2007 et 2008, devraient rester supérieurs à ceux que le gendarme des télécoms entend appliquer en Métropole (6,5 à 4,5 centimes la minute pour Orange France et SFR et de 8,5 à 6 centimes la minute pour Bouygues Télécom). Le gouvernement devrait quant à lui favoriser la mise en place d'une tarification à la seconde pour les offres prépayées.

L'Arcep devrait également imposer une baisse de prix des tarifs de gros pour les SMS, une manoeuvre qui devrait aboutir à l'émergence d'offres illimitées d'envois de messages courts.

L'annonce officielle de ce train de mesures devrait se faire à la fin du mois d'août.

Concurrence : les anciennes pratiques de France Télécom une nouvelle fois condamnées. Cette fois dans les DOM

USA: A Federal court has struck down a Florida Anti-Caller ID Spoofing Law as unconstitutional

[PRWEB] In a landmark case that could lead to limits on states' attempts to regulate activities conducted over electronic networks, including the Internet, the U.S. District Court in Miami ruled that Florida's recently enacted Caller ID Anti-Spoofing Act was unconstitutional and issued a judgment in favor of's parent company, TelTech Systems Inc, and other plaintiffs. The Act prohibited most callers, and service providers, such as SpoofCard, from using Caller ID spoofing (which is the changing of the Caller ID to show any desired number) when making a call within Florida, or to any person in Florida.

The plaintiffs, who also included callers that use the Caller ID spoofing feature on their business and personal calls, claimed that the Florida law violated the U.S. constitution (TelTech Systems Inc. v. McCollum, 08-61664-CIV (U.S. D.Ct. S. D. Fl.)). The court agreed and held the Act unconstitutional, reasoning that the proliferation of mobile phones, call forwarding and other technological developments, made it impossible for callers or service providers outside of Florida to ensure that they were not violating the Florida law except by not using Caller ID spoofing at all. Thus, the law had the practical effect of regulating commerce outside the state's borders, in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. constitution.

The court's reasoning applies broadly to state attempts to regulate activities conducted over electronic networks, including the Internet. Moving forward, this landmark court decision is an important precedent for challenges to any potential legislation regarding anti-Caller ID spoofing laws in other states.

SpoofCard is the world's largest Caller ID spoofing service provider. SpoofCard recently began offering its service outside the United States and Canada, in a groundbreaking global expansion. SpoofCard is available to anyone, is purchased as a prepaid service similar to a calling card, and works to and from any phone. SpoofCard customers range from individuals, to business professionals, to celebrities.

Federal Court Strikes Down Florida Anti-Caller ID Spoofing Law
See also SpoofCard

Asia and Middle East: Telecoms sector has shown resilience not only in the revenue generated by operators but also in their spending capacity

[PRNewswire] Global economies have had to face the heat of recession in recent years. Sectors which were growing by leaps and bounds and were at a time the most sought after markets to invest in, turned to dust in no time. During such trying times, the only sector, which has remained unscathed, has been telecom.

A recent study done by Frost & Sullivan on 'Telecom Companies Capital Expenditure' for South Asia and Middle East market reveals that this sector has shown resilience not only in the revenue generated by operators but also in their spending capacity. The sector will see investments in developing markets like India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh as well as in mature markets like the U.A.E and Saudi Arabia.

The analysis from this Frost & Sullivan study finds that the Indian market with its sheer size will continue to dominate the spending in the region. The total telecom spending in the Indian market was USD 21,553.1 million in 2008; this is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 2.2 percent till 2015 to reach USD 25,128.9 million. The CAPEX will be driven by 3G operations that are expected to start in the next 1-2 years and the thrust on broadband and carrier services by incumbent larger operators.

Girish Trivedi, Deputy Director, South Asia and Middle East, Frost & Sullivan states "While fixed line services will have lesser investment, mobile services are anticipated to constitute major CAPEX in the South Asia and Middle East region. Technological advancements like 3G will continue to spur the spending pattern. Investments in Broadband and Carrier networks and multimedia and value-added services will gain significant traction in these regions."

The high competition amongst the Sri Lankan telecom companies market for a relatively small population of 20 million has impacted investments in the country. The spending was led by two big operators while other operators struggle to survive. Frost & Sullivan estimates that the total telecom spending in the Sri Lankan market was around $589.4 million in 2008; this is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 0.08 percent between 2008 and 2015 to reach $592.68 million. The end of the civil war has opened up the northern and eastern parts of the country thereby driving the country's CAPEX levels.

The Bangladesh telecom market is plagued with taxation issues and the introduction of SIM tax has adversely affected growth in the sector. Most of the operators are partly owned by global telecom firms and hence spending capacity will be impacted in the next 1-2 years due to the current economic situation. In line with current trends, Frost & Sullivan estimates that the total telecom spending in the Bangladesh market was USD 1,744.9 million in 2008; is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 2.4 percent between 2008 and 2015 to reach USD 2,060.1 million. The growth in spending will be led by the foray into the untapped rural market.

The telecom network in the U.A.E. is one of the most technologically advanced in the world with 3.5G (HSDPA) and 3.75G (HSUPA) networks being deployed. The introduction of a second operator in the U.A.E has led to some rationalization in tariff levels and also increased spending levels in the market. The country has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world and hence despite penetration levels being around 160 percent, ARPU of the operators will continue to be high. The total telecom spending in the UAE market was estimated by Frost & Sullivan at USD 1,263.8 million in 2008; is expected to decline with a negative CAGR of around 0.02 percent between 2008 and 2015 to reach USD 1,261.9 million.

Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and also has the highest spending levels. The entry of new operators has spurred spending in the market. According to Frost & Sullivan, the total telecom spending in the Saudi market was USD 6,576.5 million in 2008 and is expected to decline with a negative CAGR of around 1.59 percent between 2008 and 2015 to USD 5,875.1 million. Broadband penetration is one of the lowest in the region; this segment will constitute a major portion of CAPEX of the operators in the next 3-4 years.

Frost & Sullivan Study Reveals Telecom Sector to be the Most Resilient Sector in South Asia and Middle East Markets

Australia: ACCC alleges Prepaid Services and Boost engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct

[accc] The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted legal proceedings in the Federal Court, Perth, against Prepaid Services Pty Limited and Boost Tel Pty Limited for alleged contraventions of the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to the sale of their pre-paid phone cards.

Prepaid Services Pty Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Optus Mobile Pty Ltd, which is a member of the Optus Group of companies.

This matter follows recent Federal Court action taken by the ACCC against Tel.Pacific Limited and Cardcall Pty Ltd in relation to pre-paid phone cards.

The ACCC alleges Prepaid Services and Boost represented:

certain phone cards would provide consumers with a specified amount of call time when that was not the case that no fees other than timed call charges would apply when in fact other fees were charged, and that a rate per minute for calls would apply regardless of the number and length of calls made when in fact that call rate is highly unlikely to be achieved.

The ACCC alleges Prepaid Services and Boost have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made certain false or misleading representations in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC also alleges that Prepaid Services has been knowingly concerned in the contraventions of Boost. Boost does not have its own telecommunications services but buys telecommunication services through Prepaid Services.

The ACCC is seeking declarations that Prepaid Services' and Boost's conduct contravened the Act, injunctive relief, corrective advertising, community service orders and its costs of the proceeding.

The matter has been filed in the Federal Court's fast track list and is listed for a scheduling conference in Perth on September 14 2009.

ACCC institutes proceedings against Optus pre-paid phone card company

UK: OFCOM has reported very disappointing results of trials of broadband speeds, often only half the advertised speed

[ofcom] Ofcom today published the results of its research into fixed-line broadband speeds in the UK.

Speed has become more significant as people increasingly use the internet for bandwidth-hungry applications such as downloading video and audio, but there has been a lack of reliable information on the actual speeds delivered by ISPs.

The research, carried out in conjunction with technical partner SamKnows and market research agency GfK, provides independent, robust data on the actual speeds that UK consumers are getting from their broadband providers. Over 60 million separate service performance tests were carried out in over 1600 homes between November 2008 and April 2009. The research sample allowed Ofcom to compare the performance of the UK’s nine largest ISPs by market share over this period.

A consumer perceptions survey conducted alongside the research found that speeds were a key issue for broadband consumers. The majority of consumers were happy with the speeds they received although over a quarter of consumers (26 per cent) said that the speed they received was not what they expected when they signed up to the service.

Factors affecting broadband speeds

The research found that there were significant differences in the download speeds offered by providers, with speeds depending on the technology used to deliver broadband and the capacity of the provider’s network.

In April 2009, the latest month for which data was gathered, Ofcom’s research showed the following:

Nationwide performance

The average broadband speed in the UK in April 2009 was 4.1Mbit/s. This compares to an average ‘up to’ headline speed of 7.1 Mbit/s.

The actual speeds received varied widely. Fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of our sample on 8Mbit/s headline packages received actual average speeds of over 6Mbit/s and around one in five (19 per cent) received, on average, less than 2Mbit/s.

Those living in urban areas received significantly faster speeds than those living in rural areas. The average speed delivered to urban consumers was 4.6Mbit/s, compared to an average of 3.3Mbit/s delivered to rural consumers.

Consumers with all ISPs experienced a slowdown in actual speeds during peak evening hours (8-10pm), with speeds in this period around 20 per cent slower than over a 24-hour period.

ISP performance

Overall, consumers on ‘up to’ 8Mbit/s packages whose broadband service is delivered through second-generation DSL technology (ADSL2+) received faster speeds than those who use the more common first-generation ADSL1. But the results also showed that ISPs using ADSL1 who invest in network capacity are able to deliver speeds as good as ADSL2+ operators. Cable customers received significantly faster speeds than both ADSL technologies.

Ofcom reveals UK’s real broadband speeds

Europe: Agreement of the Council of Ministers to the use of 900 MHz for UMTS as an alternative to GSM, as technology neutrality

[ec] Europe took an important step towards a new generation of mobile services today. The Council of Ministers followed the European Parliament in approving a proposal from the European Commission to modernise European legislation – the so-called GSM Directive – on the use of the radio spectrum needed for mobile services. The GSM Directive of 1987 reserves the use of part of the 900MHz spectrum band to GSM (Global System for Mobile or originally Groupe Spécial Mobile) access technologies such as mobile phones. The updated Directive now allows the 900 MHz frequency band to be used to provide faster, pan-European services such as mobile internet while ensuring the continuation of GSM services. This new flexibility will foster stronger competition on Europe's telecoms market and contribute to a more rapid and more widespread roll-out of wireless broadband services, one of the drivers of economic recovery. Industry savings of up to € 1.6 billion are expected from the reform of the GSM Directive. The renewed Directive will enter into force this October. The Commission had proposed the reform of the GSM Directive in parallel to the reform of the EU Telecoms Rules. The reformed GSM Directive is the first of several important Directives in the telecoms sector being negotiated where the agreement of Parliament and Council now paves the way for a stronger wireless economy.

EU frees new spectrum for new and faster mobile services

Monday, July 27, 2009

South Korea: Qualcomm has been fined for anti-competitive practices in supplying chips for CDMA handsets

[zdnet] Chipset manufacturer Qualcomm has been fined a record amount by South Korea's Fair Trade Commission for antitrust violations.

The 260bn won (£127m) fine — the largest-ever levied by the KFTC — was imposed on Qualcomm for anti-competitive practices. These include providing discounts and rebates to South Korean mobile-phone manufacturers that mainly use Qualcomm chips in their handsets. The fine was accompanied by an order to stop the practices in question, which are seen as harming smaller, rival chipset manufacturers.

Qualcomm said in a statement on Thursday that it "firmly disagrees with the KFTC decision that certain discounts and rebates it provides to its Korean customers on the purchase of its CDMA chipsets are in violation of Korean competition law". The chipset maker said it will file an appeal against the fine.

The US company also called the fine "excessive and unwarranted", and said there was no indication of how the KFTC arrived at the figure of 260bn won.

South Korea is home to some of the world's largest handset manufacturers, notably Samsung and LG. In its statement, Qualcomm said it was "very proud of the long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships [Qualcomm has] enjoyed with the Korean wireless industry [and] the discounts and rebates which have been characterised as violating competition law were put in place for the benefit of Korean handset manufacturers".

Qualcomm has had several other run-ins with antitrust regulators around the world. The European Commission began an investigation into its practices in 2007, but that probe ended last year when Nokia, the chief complainant, settled with Qualcomm.

South Korea hits Qualcomm with antitrust fine

Kuwait: Some limited use of VoIP is being sanctioned for call centres and Internet cafes by the Ministry

[ame] Kuwait's ministry of communications has announced it will soon license international phone call centres and internet cafes where VoIP (voice over internet protocol) will be sanctioned, the Kuwait Times has reported. The ministry is waiting for a number of internet service providers who have not yet renewed their contracts with the ministry, which is currently working on introducing new guidelines to regulate the plan.

Kuwait to license international call centres

Mobile Apps: A few developers have already made $1 million from the apps they wrote for the iPhone

[bbc] Once upon a time, most applications for mobiles were limited in what they could do and appealed to few. For most developers striking it rich by writing them was unthinkable.

Apple's iPhone has changed all that and now this tech industry is gaining a reputation as a potential goldmine for some developers.

Some lucky coders are not only managing to earn a living out of their apps, but some have earned their first million that way.

Mac novice Rob Murray is one of the lucky ones. He is now one million dollars richer thanks to a game called Flight Control.

He wrote the basic code for it in days, and managed to complete it within two months with some help from graphic artists.

The interest in handset apps is so high that Stanford University is offering a free online course on how to build them.

Handset apps: is there gold in the code?

Russia: Domestic industry lobbies strongly against foreign VoIP services such as Skype and ICQ

[FT] Russia’s most powerful big-business lobby has declared Skype, the telecoms group that offers free calls over the internet, a threat to national security and is working with the government to regulate it.

Leading Russian telecommunications executives told Russia’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs this week that rapid growth in free voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype threatened domestic companies’ profits and could undermine security because VoIP services are more difficult for security services to intercept.

Singling out Skype and Icq, the most popular VoIP programmes, the business lobby said their growth “without any control by the state was unavoidably leading to fears about security problems”.

“The majority of brands operating in Russia, such as Skype and Icq, are of foreign origin and therefore we need to ensure the defence of national producers in this sector,” the business lobby said after the meeting this week.

The telecoms executives, including a representative of Altimo, Alfa Group’s telecoms arm and Megafon, the number three mobile provider, proposed creating VoIP services within their own companies, and then making them available to the Russian public.

Russian telecoms aim to limit Skype surge

Mobile Internet: AdMob reports iPhone and iPod Touch users accounted for over 47% of web traffic in June

[teleclick] Apple’s popular iPhone device continue to consolidate its leading position in the mobile web browsing market last month, according to AdMob’s latest Mobile Metrics Report.

iPhone and iPod Touch users accounted for over 47% of traffic on AdMob’s wireless advertising network during the month of June.

Google’s open source operating system, Android, is also becoming more popular with mobile internet users, posting a 25% month-over-month increase in ad views, and reaching a global market share of 5%. This jump in growth is likely due to the launch of Europe’s first Android smartphone, the Samsung I7500.

iPhone Continues to Dominate Mobile Web Traffic; Android Posts Gains
see also AdMob report

USA: The Senate finally confirmed the remaining two FCC Commissioners as Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker

[hollywood reporter] The Senate on Friday afternoon confirmed the nominations of Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker to the FCC, getting the five-member commission back to full strength.

The women fill the two remaining unfilled FCC commissioner posts after the recent approval of Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman.

Clyburn, daughter of House majority whip James Clyburn, has been a South Carolina utility regulator. Baker is former acting head of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association president & CEO Kyle McSlarrow lauded the appointments and said he is looking forward to working with the new FCC team "as they work together to craft policies that will spur innovation, promote private investment and contribute to our nation's economy."

FCC adds two to commission - Mignon Clyburn, Meredith Attwell Baker fill last spots

USA: Verizon Wireless had 87.7 million customers, growth of 1.1 million in 2009 Q2

[PRNewswire] Verizon Wireless today announced second-quarter 2009 net customer additions of 1.1 million.

At the end of the quarter, the company had 87.7 million customers, including 85.2 million retail customers, which are those it directly serves and manages, and who choose the Verizon Wireless brand. More customers use the Verizon Wireless brand than any other wireless brand in the U.S.

Verizon Wireless has the most reliable coast-to-coast wireless voice and data network, including the largest 3G broadband wireless network - key in attracting new customers and earning the loyalty of existing customers. The company consistently has had the highest loyalty level in the industry, as measured by the rate of customer churn.

Verizon Wireless Reports Solid 2Q 2009 Growth of 1.1 Million New Customers

France: while everyone has a mobile phone, some citizens are using the courts to move masts further away from their schools

[bbc] The mobile phone has become indispensable to modern life. But some communities in France believe they are paying too high a price for this convenience.

The infrastructure that allows mobile phones to work is continuing to spread and change the world's landscape.

But a storm is brewing in France over the location of mobile phone masts, with French courts ordering a number to be moved.

Residents living near them have health concerns, but scientists cannot agree if the technology has an impact on not.

Locals in the town of Brindas, in the south-east of France, voiced their opposition after a base station was put up in the middle of the village's schools.

French mobile mast debate raging

Friday, July 24, 2009

Enterprise mobility: 80 per cent of enterprises will overspend on wireless services over the coming half decade

[gartner] Eighty percent of enterprises will overspend on their wireless service costs by an average of 15 percent through 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts said that as mobility has grown among enterprises, costs have also grown, and companies need to become better at managing their mobile voice and data costs.

“Our research shows that the majority of companies are not adequately managing their mobile users or services,” said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner. “They need to look more closely at their key user segments and requirements in order to match those needs with the right services and optimize their spending.”

Mr. Redman said that during the next year, companies should look to four main areas to manage their wireless costs:


How enterprises buy services has changed in the past few years and more than 60 percent of midsize and large companies have moved away from buying individual plans, which are the least efficient in reducing costs. However, newer services, such as pooling plans, flat-rate plans, and zero–minute phones all need to be carefully evaluated to ensure that they are offering maximum value across the organization. Gartner also advises companies to move from individual liability plans (where the user is responsible for the payment and contract) to corporate liability plans that allow for better control of costs through the optimization of wireless services and corporate discounting.

International Roaming

International roaming costs become increasingly difficult to manage as companies extend international travel. Through 2010, 10 percent of users that travel internationally will make up 35 percent of the total service costs for companies that support travel. Although there are no "magic" solutions for reducing costs beyond reducing the number of users who travel, reducing the minutes used and making users aware of the costs, companies can negotiate with the carrier for roaming cost reductions and look to adopt mobile roaming plans. International data roaming can be even more costly with some bills reaching thousands of dollars in a short period. Gartner recommends that companies disallow all ad hoc use of international wireless data and instead promote the use of smartphones for e-mail or ask carriers for bundles for remote workers.

Mobility Management

Active management practices are important to organize services and control expenses. According to Gartner, the two main areas to focus on in management are policy — used to eliminate undesirable practices and promote a set or desirable practices and compliance across the organization — and the use of outsourced services, called telecom expense management (TEM), which provides extensive mobility management services to enterprises.

Desktop Replacement

Some companies are already beginning to integrate their cellular phones into their corporate system, which can support cost routing for reduced service calls or the elimination of desk phones. Both are part of fixed mobile convergence (FMC) plans, FMC being the intersection of where fixed and mobile unified communications (UC) meet and share services and functionality. In this scenario, instead of literally being "chained" to their desk, users will have the freedom of conducting business in a mobile environment but maintain enterprise functionality in the wireless device.

Gartner Says 80 Percent of Enterprises Will Overspend on Their Wireless Service Costs Through 2014 - Gartner Outlines Four Areas of Focus to Better Manage Enterprise Wireless Costs
see also Gartner report “Best Practices for Managing Mobile Voice and Data Costs" (Costs $495)

Americas: Operators have issued a policy document calling for better assignment of spectrum for mobile broadband

[Marketwire] 3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including HSPA and LTE, today announced that it has published key recommendations for utilizing non-standard spectrum bands in a white paper titled, "3GPP Technology Approaches for Maximizing Fragmented Spectrum Allocations." The paper discusses the emerging challenges for spectrum stakeholders involving how to permit wider spectrum usage by operators using various broadband technologies and current spectrum allocations. These challenges are especially poignant in "fragmented" spectrum bands (which depart from globally or regionally harmonized bands), such as the AWS III band in the U.S., and in the potential for country specific allocations of the 2.6 GHz IMT band and "Digital Dividend" spectrum outside of the U.S.

"Policymakers have an important and challenging role in obtaining additional spectrum and bringing it to the market to serve society and meet the growing demands of consumers," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "Smartphones and mobile Internet devices are moving from the headlines, out of the shops and into the hands of customers who are quickly exploring a wide variety of productive services and applications for education, healthcare and safety."

Various analyses have demonstrated the singular importance of spectrum harmonization in meeting emerging mobile broadband. Among the most serious impacts of spectrum fragmentation are the cost and performance of mobile devices. Handset size constraints and component costs place limits on the number of bands and technologies that wireless devices can efficiently incorporate. As a result, support for fragmented spectrum allocations is frequently minimized in favor of more common regional and global brands that leverage economies of scale as well as the capabilities for international roaming.

3G Americas emphasizes the criticality of spectrum harmonization. At the same time, it supports the efforts of standards bodies and industry players in developing techniques to put fragmented spectrum bands to use, while promoting service provider coexistence. In particular, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) continues to develop technical approaches, including various carrier aggregation techniques (permitting the asymmetric pairing of radio channels), to address existing and potential spectrum fragmentation challenges. These approaches are showcased in the paper.

The white paper also reviews steps taken internationally by policymakers to maximize the use of spectrum by diverse parties while concurrently minimizing the potential for harmful inter-system interference. The report summarizes the important considerations for policymakers, which need to be factored hand-in-hand with the technical approaches. Conclusions of the white paper include:

-- Spectrum should be harmonized and coordinated to the maximum extent feasible
-- New spectrum should facilitate access by new technologies of all stripes
-- Appropriate protections should be established for incumbent and/or adjacent service providers to protect against interference
-- Spectrum policy should foster, as far as possible, the efficient use of spectrum
-- Rules covering the allocation, auction and deployment of spectrum should be predicable and transparent, prior to auctions

"Spectrum is a limited resource and yet it is a key ingredient to the success of mobile broadband in the Americas," Pearson added. "The challenge and opportunity for countries throughout the Americas is to properly inventory and identify new spectrum for the wireless industry."

3G Americas Recommends Plan to Maximize Broadband Spectrum
see also 3GPP Technology Approaches for Maximizing Fragmented Spectrum Allocations (registration required)

Kenya: One hour with a bicycle can recharge a mobile phone

[bbc] Two Kenyan university students have invented a device that allows bicycle riders to charge their mobile phones.

Jeremiah Murimi, 24, and Pascal Katana, 22, said they wanted their dynamo-powered "smart charger" to help people without electricity in rural areas.

"We both come from villages and we know the problems," Mr Murimi told the BBC.

People have to travel great distances to shops where they are charged $2 a time to power their phone, usually from a car battery or solar panel.

"The device is so small you can put it in your pocket with your phone while you are on your bike," said Mr Murimi.

Kenyans invent bike phone charger

China: Telecoms market growth, with 3G and with rural adoption of 2G will overtake Japan to become the largest market in Asia

[PRNewswire] Fueled by mobile penetration into the rural market and by uptake of 3G services, China's telecommunications market will generate $187 billion by 2014, surpassing Japan to become the largest telecommunications services market in Asia, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network (

Communications Markets in China offers a precise profile of the country's converged telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from our research in the Chinese market. It provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies such as WiMax, IPTV, and VoIP. Published annually, this executive study provides a comprehensive view of the Chinese communications market by analyzing key trends, evaluating near-term opportunities and assessing upcoming risk factors.

China's telecommunications market generated US$110 billion in 2008, making it the second largest telecommunications services market in Asia/Pacific after Japan, notes Daniel Yu, analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. "Given continued demand for connectivity and rising adoption of mobile and fixed broadband services, the Chinese market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 percent between 2009 and 2014, reaching $187 billion by 2014, surpassing Japan as the largest telecommunications services market in Asia," Yu says.

"China, like many emerging markets, is becoming an increasingly mobile market, adding 71.2 million mobile subscriptions in 2008, roughly 12 percent of all additions worldwide and second only to India's 113.3 million net additions," says Yu. Mobile service revenue growth will be supported by a penetration increase from 58 percent at year-end 2009 to 80 percent at year-end 2014. Pyramid expects mobile services to account for more than 76 percent of total services revenue in China by 2014.

Despite the declining rate of growth in the economy, Pyramid Research expects the mobile industry to experience healthy growth in 2009 as mobile operators roll out 3G networks and extend coverage to rural areas. "China Mobile, for example, is dedicating 30 percent of its total Capex on 2G network expansion, and 70 percent of the allocated portion will be used in the rural market," Yu says.

China will Surpass Japan in 2011 to Become Largest Telecom Services Market in Asia, finds Pyramid
see also an excerpt of this report

FTTH: The number of households will grow by 30% in 2009 and continue through to 2013

[PRNewswire] Despite the global economic slump, the number of households with fiber-optic network connections will grow by more than 32% worldwide in 2009 and will continue to grow at rates close to 30% a year through 2013, when the number of fiber-connected households will reach nearly 130 million globally, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (, the market research division of Light Reading (

FTTH Review & Five-Year Forecast: The Road to Next-Gen PON provides a comprehensive global view of the ongoing transition to fiber to the home (FTTH). The report analyzes the prospects for existing and new technology, focusing in particular on the likely lifetime of existing PON technologies and the prospects for their replacement or augmentation by next-gen PON technologies. It offers an overview of important FTTH projects and developments over the past year in all geographies, including North America, Asia/Pacific, and Europe, as well as detailed discussion of major countries in each region and snapshots of many smaller countries.

The cornerstone of the 85-page report is an in-depth five-year forecast for homes connected with fiber through 2013, breaking down market growth by region, type of technology, and type of network builder and looking at anticipated penetration rates and households connected in all major economies. The report also presents a detailed technical comparison of FTTH products from 24 leading suppliers, focusing on each company's flagship optical line terminal (OLT) product, as well as examining their offers in related areas, plans for future development, and strengths and weaknesses.

"FTTH deployments continued to make strong progress in 2008 and early 2009, despite the economic downturn, and prospects for continued growth through 2010 look good," says Graham Finnie, Chief Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Last year, more than 9 million homes were added to the FTTH total, and in 2009 we expect that total to increase by almost 9 million again, to reach 47 million homes worldwide at the end of the year."

Progress in FTTH rollouts varies widely, creating the scenario for a significant deployment gap between regions and countries, Finnie notes. "Some countries, notably China, are making a big leap forward, while others, such as France, have seen disappointing delays to ambitious rollout plans," he says. "These variations will also occur at the national level, creating some dilemmas for regulators and politicians. Already, a ten-year gap in fiber development has opened up between fiber-heavy countries such as Japan and European nations, including Germany and the U.K. -- and this gap could widen."

Key findings of FTTH Review & Five-Year Forecast: The Road to Next-Gen PON include the following:

The number of households connected directly to fiber will grow from about 36 million at the end of 2008 to 129 million at the end of 2013. This would represent roughly 7.8 percent of all households worldwide -- a compound annual growth rate of about 29 percent.

Asia will continue to account for a large majority of FTTH deployments over the next five years. The number of fiber-connected households in Asia will grow to almost 85 million by the end of 2013. About 23 million will be in the Americas, with the majority in the U.S.; while about 24 million homes will be connected across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), with very wide variations within this territory.

Most vendors report only modest impact on FTTH buildouts from the economic downturn so far. However, views are mixed: Some suppliers report business down by as much as 40 percent year-over-year, while others report little or no impact. The effect of the economy has been fragmentary, with buildouts by major telcos such as Verizon unaffected, but it is having a clear impact on Tier 2 U.S. telcos and incumbents in some other countries, as well as competitive telcos elsewhere. Municipal fiber deployments seem largely unaffected, and there are hopes of an upsurge in activity resulting from government stimulus programs.

Cable MSOs could become important providers of FTTH in the next few years. Cable operators are examining a variety of approaches, and one in particular -- RFoG -- will likely lead to widespread cable-deployed FTTH in the next five years. This development, however, is still at an early stage.

Because GEPON is now the technology of choice in Japan and several other leading Asian countries, it will continue to dominate global FTTH deployment over the next few years. However the future of FTTH will be strongly influenced by developments in China -- which will become by far the largest FTTH nation by the end of 2011 -- and it remains unclear whether the major Chinese telcos intend to switch from GEPON to GPON.

GPON will dominate in the U.S., since it is being used by both the major ILECs and many independent telcos. GPON is now by far the most widely deployed FTTH technology in the U.S., partly because it is primarily used by telcos that want to provide triple-play services and often are using the RF capability that is part of the GPON standard.

FTTH Review & Five-Year Forecast: The Road to Next-Gen PON is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

FTTH technology suppliers: How will demand for FTTH progress in coming months and years? How will the global economic downturn affect FTTH deployments? Which regions are going to see the most FTTH buildout activity, and which network operators will be leading the way? Which technology choices are deployers most likely to make? Are your products and marketing messages in line with customer plans and expectations? Are there significant gaps in your product line coverage that need to be addressed to meet future demand for FTTH solutions?

Other equipment suppliers: How will demand for your products be affected by FTTH deployment plans? Which technologies are emerging as the most likely winners for tomorrow's access networks? Is your company in position to take advantage of those anticipated changes?

Network operators: How do your plans for FTTH deployment compare with those of your competitors? Does your access strategy deliver the best cost-control option for your network, or are there other alternatives that will deliver greater efficiency? How do your projected costs for FTTH deployment match up with the rest of the industry? What is the competitive threat posed by FTTH from other operators?

Investors: Which technologies are emerging as the winning solutions for FTTH, and which companies are the leading providers of those solutions? How will FTTH affect profitability for the telecom service sector in the coming months and years?

Fiber-to-the-Home Deployments to Grow More Than 32% This Year, Heavy Reading Finds
Note: FTTH Review & Five-Year Forecast: The Road to Next-Gen PON costs $3,995.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

AT&T: The recession and iPhone "subsidies" trim 2Q profits, with earnings falling 15% in Q2

[AP] AT&T Inc.'s earnings fell 15 percent in the second quarter as it subsidized a record-setting launch of the newest iPhone. The weak economy also continued to sap its landline business.

The profit beat Wall Street estimates, however, and investors sent AT&T's shares up.

Cutting-edge products like the iPhone and AT&T's new cable TV service continue to do well, said Rick Lindner, AT&T's chief financial officer. But with businesses laying off workers and shutting down offices, AT&T's business services division has suffered.

"The sectors where we've seen the most impact, as you would expect, are finance, transportation and manufacturing," Lindner said.

AT&T has tried to keep pace by cutting its own costs, and reduced its employment by 6,000 workers in the quarter. That followed 8,000 cuts in the first quarter. It now has 289,000 employees.

The country's largest telecommunications provider said Thursday it earned $3.20 billion, or 54 cents per share, in the April to June period. That was down from $3.77 billion, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 51 cents per share.

Dallas-based AT&T's revenue fell 0.6 percent to $30.7 billion, matching analyst expectations.

In midday trading, AT&T shares rose 94 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $25.78. While the stock held up well in the market meltdown last fall, it has failed to keep pace with the recent recovery. AT&T has traded between $20.90 and $33.56 over the past year.

AT&T activated more than 2.4 million iPhones in the quarter, and more than a third of those were for customers who were new to the carrier. Apple Inc. and AT&T launched a new model of the phone on June 19.

AT&T, the exclusive U.S. carrier for the device, subsidizes each new iPhone by hundreds of dollars, expecting to make the money back in service fees over a two-year contract. AT&T's operating margin in wireless declined to 23.8 percent from 25.5 percent a year ago.

AT&T added a net 1.37 million wireless subscribers, a strong showing in a market that's approaching saturation, and more than analysts had expected. Together with the evident popularity of the iPhone, it could mean that AT&T has benefited at the expense of other carriers this quarter.

The popularity of the iPhone has raised questions about what would happen to AT&T if another carrier, like Verizon Wireless, were allowed to sell it as well. More than a quarter of new AT&T subscribers went for the iPhone in the quarter. At the same time, iPhone users are complaining about slow data speeds on AT&T's network, likely the result of crowding. Recent tests have shown AT&T's data speed and reliability lagging behind other major carriers.

AT&T isn't saying how long its exclusive deal with Apple extends, but Lindner sought to allay investor concerns on a conference call, pointing out that most smart-phone owners are on family plans, and many other phones are paid for by employers. Both types of users are unlikely to jump to another carrier, he said.

Ovum analyst Jan Dawson questioned that assumption, saying that a carrier offering better network coverage with the iPhone might be a big lure for people, even if they're on a family plan.

"The characteristics of the iPhone are different enough and people's behavior associated with the iPhone is different enough that the usual rules don't apply," Dawson said.

AT&T ended the quarter with 79.6 million wireless subscribers of which just under 9 million had iPhones, according to Lindner. In terms of overall subscribers, only Verizon Wireless is bigger.

AT&T is the first major telecom company to post results for the season. Verizon Communications Inc. reports on Monday, followed by Sprint Nextel Corp. and Qwest Communications International Inc. on Wednesday.

A long-running trend continued in the second quarter as AT&T lost 921,000 residential phone lines. Households are signing up for phone service from cable TV providers or opting to rely on cell phones alone.

In the business segment, revenue fell to $10.6 billion from $11.3 billion a year ago.

AT&T said its earnings for the quarter were weighed down by pension and retiree benefit expenses that were $400 million higher, or 5 cents per share, than in the same period last year.

Economy and iPhone subsidies trim AT&T's 2Q profit

Telenor posts 61 pct drop in Q2 profit, despite good results in Bangladesh, Norway and Pakistan

[yahoo] Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor ASA on Thursday reported a 61 percent slump in second-quarter profit, due to sliding revenues and losses in its stake in Russian mobile operator VimpelCom.

Net profit tumbled to 1.38 billion kroner ($220 million) during the quarter, a sharp decline from 3.54 billion kroner in the same period last year. Second-quarter revenues held steady, slipping slightly to 26.9 billion kroner this year from 27.1 billion kroner in 2008.

The group's shares closed up 1 percent at 53.93 kroner in Oslo.

A strong quarter for Telenor's Bangladeshi, Norwegian, and Pakistani operations contributed to the sustained revenue stream.

However, the Nordic group sustained heavy losses in the Ukranian market, due both to that country's ongoing recession and to drops in the value of Ukraine's currency, Telenor vice president Paal Kvalheim said.

This year's second-quarter revenues from the group's Ukranian operation were almost 1 billion kroner lower than they were in the second quarter of 2008.

In addition, a 414 million kroner loss from associated companies, in particular due to write downs of Telenor's VimpelCom stakes, was especially damaging to the Norwegian concern's net profits.

In April, a Russian court ordered Telenor to pay $1.7 billion to VimpelCom as restitution for earlier dealings in Ukraine. The court also froze the Nordic company's 29.9 percent stake in VimpelCom, pending further litigation. Telenor has appealed both rulings.

In a statement, Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas called the VimpelCom claims "unfounded."

The Nordic telecom group warned that losses attributable to VimpelCom are estimates and may change following an external audit of VimpelCom-related finances, which Telenor will finalize in the third quarter.

"For the rest of the year we expect revenues to remain under pressure. We will continue to scale our activities to deliver a strong operating cash flow and sustain our market positions," Baksaas said.

Telenor posts 61 pct drop in Q2 profit

Wi-Fi: IEEE is close to the final ratification of 802.11n for faster wireless Ethernet

[zdnet] The latest version of the Wi-Fi standard 802.11n is close to final ratification.

802.11n is much faster and of higher bandwidth than its predecessor, 802.11g. Last Friday, the 802.11 working group — a subset of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) — held its final approval vote on the standard, according to Trapeze Networks's Matthew Gast, a member of the working group.

Gast blogged on Monday that the vote was passed overwhelmingly, after which the working group passed the standard on to the "higher layers" of the IEEE 802 wireless standards group for publication. Those higher layers voted unanimously to approve the standard, and 802.11n has now gone to the IEEE Standards Board Review Committee for final approval on 11 September.

"In an interesting twist, 11 September is a date relevant to the history of 802.11n," Gast wrote. "Bruce Kraemer, the long-time chair of Task Group N and the current chair of the 802.11 working group, noted that the first meeting of the 'High Throughput Study Group', the precursor to [Task Group N], was 11 September, 2002. If approved, the 802.11n effort will have taken exactly seven years, at least by one measure."

Delays over the final ratification of 802.11n led many manufacturers of Wi-Fi equipment and PCs to start implementing the specification in 2007, ahead of ratification, under the 'Draft 2.0' moniker. As a result, the high-speed technology is already found in many devices today.

High-speed Wi-Fi standard nears ratification

East Africa: SEACOM landed a 1.28Tbps cable linking South Africa, Kenya and Uganda to India and Europe

[cisco] SEACOM today announced that its 1,28 Terabytes per second (Tb/s), 17,000 kilometres, submarine fibre optic cable system linking south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe has been completed and commissioned. Backhauls linking Johannesburg, Nairobi and Kampala with the coastal landing stations have been established and SEACOM is also working with its national partners to commission the final links to Kigali and Addis Ababa shortly.

The launch of SEACOM opens up unprecedented opportunities, at a fraction of the current cost, as government, business leaders and citizens can now use the network as the platform to compete globally, drive economic growth and enhance the quality of life across the continent.

Highlights/ Key Facts:

The unprecedented capacity, quality of bandwidth and connectivity brought to Africa by the SEACOM network will be demonstrated today at simultaneous events in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique.

SEACOM, in conjunction with Cisco Systems, will provide media and invitees direct access to true broadband connectivity, carry out live broadcasts and interactive real-time presentations across the system.

The demonstration has been made possible by the collaboration of SEACOM and Cisco Systems who have jointly built a voice, data and video platform, relying on the SEACOM network, to create a collaborative environment.

This first-hand experience of the high-speed capabilities will take place through a one-gigabit-per-second live international connection at all locations as well as a live high-definition video feed over an Internet Protocol (IP) network to interconnect representatives and dignitaries across the five countries.

Supporting Quotes:

Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO:

"Today is a historic day for Africa and marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world. Our tireless efforts of the past 24 months have come to fruition, and we are proud to be the first to provide affordable, high quality broadband capacity and experience to east African economies. Turning the switch 'on' creates a huge anticipation but ultimately, SEACOM will be judged on the changes that take place on the continent over the coming years."

Yvon le Roux, Cisco VP for Africa:

"Cisco and SEACOM share a common goal to enable accessible broadband across Africa while lowering the cost of communication to spur growth within urban and rural communities. We're working with SEACOM to help transform Africa by outlining process change, building networks, and then providing the application services and expertise that support key services for citizens, such as education, healthcare, public safety, economic development, and national security. SEACOM will provide the catalyst for African consumers, business and government to realise the benefits of connectivity and collaboration across the globe."

Mr. Nizar Juma, SEACOM Chairman:

"Today is a momentous day for all associated with SEACOM. Milestones such as this one are unique to any company and even more so to any country or region. It also clearly demonstrates that provided with an enabling environment, the private sector can efficiently mobilise the resources required to deliver complex and expansive projects for the benefit of our people. The SEACOM cable will change the lives of every man, woman and child in the countries connected by making previously unavailable technology accessible to everyone. We truly look forward to the positive utilisation of the cable and the realisation of infinite social and economic possibilities unleashed by our arrival".

Seacom Goes Live - Undersea fibre optic network ready to deliver unprecedented capacity and connectivity to Africa