Friday, November 27, 2009

OECD - continuing decline in employment in the ICT sector

[oecd]Employment is continuing to drop in the information and communications technology (ICT) goods sector and remaining flat in most ICT services, according to a new OECD report.

Employment in ICT manufacturing dropped by around 6-7% year-on-year in most countries in the second quarter of 2009. Sweden is the only exception with a smaller decline (3%), but Swedish job losses were accelerating. The United States has fared worst and the year-on-year downturn in ICT manufacturing employment reached 10% in September 2009. Since 2004 Chinese employment in the ICT manufacturing sector has been growing strongly, dropping dramatically in the beginning of 2009, with a negative growth rate of 5% in the second quarter compared to second quarter 2008.

Employment in the ICT sector continues dropping

Monday, November 23, 2009

USA - Seven barriers to broadband identified by FCC

[ars technica] The Federal Commission has listed seven big bumps in the road towards universal use of broadband in the United States, including the TV set-top box innovation gap and the spectrum gap. The document may be a sneak preview of the agency's National Broadband Plan, to be released in February.

1. The Universal Service Fund.
2. The broadband adoption gap.
3. The consumer information gap.
4. The spectrum gap.
5. The deployment gap
6. The television set-top box innovation gap.
7. The personal data gap.

FCC outlines seven biggest barriers to broadband adoption

USA - Bigger federal role in broadband is seen as likely

[wsj] The Federal Communications Commission began to lay the groundwork for a bigger federal role in the broadband business Wednesday, outlining the hurdles the U.S. needs to overcome to improve the availability of high-speed Internet access.

The FCC identified a number of issues the government should address, including the high cost of laying new broadband lines in rural areas, a lack of airwaves for wireless Web access and ill-informed consumers.

"This focus on broadband is a reflection of a recognition that the U.S. is lagging behind," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Wednesday at the agency's monthly meeting.

The FCC is drafting a National Broadband Plan, which will lay out ways the government can improve broadband service in the U.S. The plan is scheduled to come out in February, and it's uncertain how many of its suggestions will ultimately be adopted. Already, some big cable and telecommunications companies are concerned the agency wants to impose rules that could undermine their business strategies and profitability.

FCC officials noted Wednesday that because more Americans are relying on smart phones to access the Internet, more airwaves need to be devoted to wireless broadband service. Agency officials have previously floated a plan to take some airwaves from television broadcasters and use them for wireless devices instead. Broadcasters are unhappy about that plan.

The agency took a step toward expanding wireless Web access by passing a new rule Wednesday to help wireless companies speed up local officials' decisions on new cellphone towers. Wireless companies asked the FCC for help, because they have had problems in the past getting state and local land-use regulators to make decisions on siting new cellphone towers.

Bigger U.S. Role in Broadband Is Likely

Australia - TransACT and Alcatel-Lucent roll out first 1Gbps-capable residential FTTP service in Australia

[prwire] Alcatel-Lucent today announced that TransACT has successfully trialled the delivery of bandwidths up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) to residential users, supported by Alcatel-Lucent’s GPON optical network termination (ONT) devices. A first for Australia, TransACT is now committed to provisioning these ONTs in all of its future fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) deployments.

The trial has enabled TransACT to extend the current capabilities of its Alcatel-Lucent gigabit passive optical network (GPON) architecture, and prepare itself to meet future demands for new, bandwidth-hungry services and media-rich content.

TransACT Chief Executive Officer Ivan Slavich said: “TransACT has been deploying an open fibre-to-the-home network for two years now and we are committed to keeping our eye to the future, investing in the best technology available to ensure higher speeds and richer services moving forward. We recently announced that we are turning on 100Mbps services for our FTTP network customers in parts of the ACT. Whereas ONTs used to be the blocking factor, this latest trial with Alcatel-Lucent affirms our capability to boost these speeds even further as our customers’ appetite for higher bandwidth services increases.”

Alcatel-Lucent’s ONT, which is effectively the optical equivalent of today’s DSL modem, is capable of delivering 1Gbps from day one, demonstrating the seamless path that FTTP architectures provide as new services require even higher bandwidth into the future.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Australian NBN lead John Turner said: “As Australia moves closer towards the build of the National Broadband Network, ONT devices become a critical component in the delivery of a range of advanced new services, beyond just internet access, over an open wholesale network. Via Bell labs, we are continually innovating in optical access technology and it is great to work with TransACT in the ACT to introduce the 1Gbps ONT capability to Australia.”

Alcatel-Lucent is currently involved in over 95 FTTP projects worldwide, over 80 of which are with GPON. Additionally, Alcatel-Lucent’s GPON network has been deployed by a considerable number of utility companies as well as municipalities and regions around the world. Alcatel-Lucent was awarded the 2009 Optical Vendor of the Year in Asia Pacific at this year’s Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific ICT Awards.

TransACT and Alcatel-Lucent roll out first 1Gbps-capable residential FTTP service in Australia

Global mobile voice service revenues to start declining in 2011

[tekrati] Mobile voice service revenues are on a trajectory to reach their peak in 2010, after which they are likely to start declining, according to the latest forecasts from ABI Research.

Vice-president for forecasting Jake Saunders comments, “Mobile voice has had a meteoric rise since digital cellular networks such as GSM were deployed in 1992. ABI Research forecasts annual mobile voice revenues to reach $580 billion in 2010. From 2011 on, rising subscriber saturation will increasingly erode mobile voice revenues, not just in developed markets but also in a number of emerging markets. By 2014, mobile voice revenues will have contracted by 9.6%.”

While mobile operators have received a substantial boost from value-added services such as messaging and Mobile Internet, competition is squeezing margins for a variety of services and carriers. Total mobile data services should generate $169 million in 2009 and will grow at a CAGR of 9% until 2014.

By the end of 2009 the declines in annual average revenue per user (ARPU) will have been felt most severely in Asia-Pacific (-8.7% to $105) and Africa (-7.8% to $134). ARPU in 2009 in North America will have contracted, but only by -0.6% to $526). Mobile Internet revenue ($52) from use of smartphones, netbooks, etc. will help to prop up overall service revenue for the region.

Wireless capital expenditure, on the other hand, shrank 5% in 2009 to $132.5 billion. The global recession was widely felt in all parts of the world.

Saunders notes, “As handset sales plummeted in 4Q-2009, end-users did not return their handsets nor did they put their handsets aside and refuse to use them. They did, however, try to cap tariff plan usage. Carriers therefore held up a number of CAPEX-related projects to free up some cashflow.”

As the economy has stabilized in 2H-2009, carriers have started to resume capital expenditure. Key areas of spending are core network and radio access network upgrades to support higher data throughput.

Global Mobile Voice Service Revenues to Start Declining in 2011, Says ABI Research

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UK - DTAG and FT refuse to concede return of spectrum in proposed merger

[ft] Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have signalled that they are unwilling to make concessions to competition regulators who will decide whether to allow the merger of their UK mobile phone businesses.

Hamid Akhavan, Deutsche Telekom's chief operating officer, and Olaf Swantee, head of France Telecom's mobile operations worldwide, said they saw no need to relinquish valuable radio spectrum in order to gain regulatory approval for the merger.

But Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, the UK telecoms watchdog, signalled that regulators were likely to give the transaction intense scrutiny because of the risk of consumer harm.

France Telecom's Orange UK and Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile UK are proposing to form a joint venture that would become the largest British mobile business by some distance, with a 37 per cent share of revenue paid by phone users.

Orange and T-Mobile are currently the third and fourth largest mobile operators, behind Telefónica's O 2 and Vodafone.

Telecoms groups stand firm on UK regulation

UK - Tesco in deal with Cable & Wireless to build its telecoms business

[guardian] Supermarket seals deal with Cable & Wireless that will allow it to offer discounted internet and landline phone packages

Tesco is building up its assault on telephone and broadband firms with plans for hundreds of new in-store telecoms outlets and discounted packages of internet and landline services.

Britain's dominant retailer is already a growing force in the cut-throat telecoms market and said it saw more opportunities for big returns from mobile-phone users and broadband customers as it sought to build up its non-grocery revenues.

Bosses announced a five-year deal with Cable & Wireless for it to supply Tesco with wholesale broadband services. Lance Batchelor, the company's telecoms chief executive, said the tie-up would allow Tesco to offer customers home-phone and broadband packages for the first time. That will pit it against names such as Virgin Media and BSkyB, which have long wooed customers with bundled services.

Batchelor flagged up Tesco's "unique ability" to differentiate its offerings through Tesco's rewards scheme and by bundling a wide range of goods and services, for example a laptop sold with a broadband package. "Our goal: to become a leading provider of telecoms services and products to Tesco customers, with the medium-term potential to generate around £2bn revenue and around £200m profit," he said on Tesco's website.

The supermarket already has a fast-growing mobile network, which it launched in 2003 as a joint venture with O2, and it sells handsets as well as mobile and broadband contracts through 100 phone shops in its stores. By also selling telecoms services online and from the supermarket aisles in Tesco stores that do not have a phone shop, the retailer's weekly sales rate of mobile contracts has quadrupled during 2009.

It now plans to double its number of phone shops to 200 by the end of 2010 and eventually hold a nationwide network of 500, pitting it against high street specialists such as Carphone Warehouse .

The new details of Tesco's telecoms push come weeks after it outlined plans to build a full-service bank offering current accounts and mortgages. Andrew Higginson, the chief executive of Tesco's retailing services arm, today reiterated the company's focus on financial services and telecoms as "big, profitable sectors".

He said: "We have demonstrated we can be successful in specific product categories with modest market shares ... However, significant parts of these markets remain untapped."

The retailing services arm – including the home delivery service – contributes about £500m to Tesco group profits and the company wants to double that to £1bn.

Tesco plots to conquer telecoms sector

China - Telecom sector reports RMB 700 billions in revenue in Jan-Oct

[china daily] China's telecom industry reported 698.9 billion yuan ($101 billion) in main business revenue for the first ten months this year, up 3.4 percent year-on-year, according to a statement Friday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

To breakdown, business revenue of wireless telecommunications took 60 percent share while those for fixed-line business and data communications took 28 percent, and 12 percent share, respectively.

The ministry also released subscriber data which showed more and more Chinese people are choosing mobile phone services while fixed-line subscribers are decreasing.

The number of fixed-line subscribers was down by nearly 19 million for the first ten months while mobile phone users were up by more than 88 million, reaching 730 million by the end of October.

Total phone users reached 1.05 billion at the same period, according to the statement.

Telecom sector reports 700b yuan revenue in Jan-Oct

Friday, November 20, 2009

GSMA - 3 white papers on its smart SIM initiative

[PRNewswire] The GSMA today announced that it has completed the first phase of its Smart SIM initiative and has published three white papers outlining the commercial implementation of the technology. Led by the GSMA, this initiative aims to drive the development and adoption of the Smart SIM, which will enhance the mobile user experience by providing simplified, transferable and consistent access to services, data, applications and settings, irrespective of device type. The first phase of the project worked to ensure that consistent interoperability between mobile handsets and SIMs can be achieved, aligning device requirements and analysing the various SIM business models and sharing them with industry partners.

"Use of Smart SIM technology will mean that operators will be able to deliver a variety of capabilities without having to manage extensive and complex commercial relationships or a mix of handset, operating system and chipset technologies," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA. "With the backing of some of the world's largest operators, OEMs and software developers, the mobile industry will address customer demand for the simplicity and transferability of user device settings, applications and data, from handset to handset."

The completion of the first phase of the project was achieved through the participation of 23 members, including 12 mobile operators representing more than 1.2 billion subscribers, as well as SIM vendors, handset and device OEMs, software developers and other key players across the mobile ecosystem. The 23 members include AT&T, China Mobile, Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient, Infineon, KT, Latvian Mobile Telephone, LG, MCCI, Microsoft, Oberthur Technologies, Option, Orange, Sagem Orga, Samsung, SK Telecom, Softbank Mobile, SST, STC, Swisscom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and Telenor.

The GSMA's Smart SIM initiative will provide operators, handset manufacturers, software developers and chipset vendors with the ability to create a 'smart execution' environment and provide a common and interoperable approach to application and service development. The initiative is focused on creating a business environment whereby data mobility, service mobility and enhanced user experience is guaranteed resulting in standardised, interoperable and rich environments that will be used to build new services and applications.

The completion of this first phase lays the groundwork for the next phase of the Smart SIM initiative. The focus for phase 2 is to promote the technology across the mobile industry and expand the Smart SIM ecosystem by carrying out global trials of Smart SIM services in 2010.

GSMA Completes First Phase of Smart SIM Initiative

Europe - Rules on eCommerce are 'counter-productive'

[euractiv] The EU is in corrective mode on eCommerce after it created a web of burdensome rules in order to inspire more consumer confidence, argues the author of a report examining European rules on online shopping.

Patrick van Eecke, a specialist lawyer who was asked by the European Commission to examine laws on cross-border eCommerce, has come to some damning conclusions on EU laws designed to streamline the way cross-border online shopping is done.

A recent EU survey on current conditions for both the consumption and sale of online goods across borders concluded Europeans are being turned off the idea by payment difficulties and a lack of trust in online shopping (EurActiv 23/10/09).

60% of online purchases failed in the EU-backed test of 11,000 separate orders on cameras, CDs, books and clothes, the consumer survey showed.

EU rules on eCommerce 'counter-productive'

Broader broadband - FCC Scrutinizes Barriers to Broadband Access in the U.S.

[wharton] The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today reached a milestone in a process to devise a National Broadband Plan that may include the controversial goal of significantly expanding access to high-speed Internet and other telecommunications services. Advocates of the goal say it will provide a long-lasting stimulus to the economy and improve health care for many Americans. But the price tag is high -- $20 billion to $350 billion, according to Commission estimates -- and no one is volunteering to pay.

The goal could also require telecommunications companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to open up their infrastructure to competitors, which would theoretically foster competition and lower prices for consumers.

An FCC taskforce working on the plan -- the final version is due on February 17 -- reported today on the barriers to the goal, including the fact that the Federal Universal Service Fund, to which most Americans contribute through fees associated with phone service, does not support broadband development. Instead, it supports efforts to ensure that almost all Americans can have access to affordable basic phone service.

Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach, who has advised the FCC on other issues, says the laws underpinning the Universal Service fund "are out of date and not sustainable" given the rapid changes in communications technology. But he also notes that there remains much debate over whether to expand the fund to include support of wider deployment of broadband. "Most [industrialized] countries have funds to support broadband, and they also have greater access" than Americans, he says.

FCC Scrutinizes Barriers to Broadband Access in the U.S.

Australia - ACCC varies class exemptions for wholesale voice services

[accc] The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued its final decision varying the class exemptions granted in August and October 2008 for the wholesale line rental (WLR), local carriage service (LCS) and public switch telephone network originating access (PSTN OA) services. The variations will align the obligations of Telstra and other providers of these services.

The class exemptions mean providers other than Telstra will be exempt from the requirement to comply with the standard access obligations in the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to the supply of these wholesale voice services in certain metropolitan areas.

The original class exemptions were granted when the ACCC made the individual exemption orders for Telstra’s supply of the WLR, LCS, and PSTN OA services. The ACCC considered that granting the class exemptions would promote the long term interests of end-users by ensuring that all access providers, including Telstra, would have the same incentives to invest in wholesale voice services. The class exemptions were designed to be consistent with the dates and areas of operation specified in the individual exemption orders.

Following the decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal to vary the individual exemption orders, the ACCC issued a draft decision proposing to vary the dates and the areas of operation of the class exemptions so that they are consistent with the revised individual exemption orders. After considering submissions received in response to the draft decision the ACCC has confirmed its draft decision.

ACCC varies class exemptions for wholesale voice services

OECD - employment in ICTs is falling

[oecd] Employment is continuing to drop in the information and communications technology (ICT) goods sector and remaining flat in most ICT services, according to a new OECD report

Employment in the ICT sector continues dropping

Europe - progress report on i-2010 eGovernment Action Plan

[europe] The Progress Study is a qualitative progress evaluation of the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan, 2006-2010. The objectives of the study were to undertake a qualitative analysis of progress towards achieving the goals of the Action Plan, and to evaluate its stimulus effect across the Member States.

2009 Progress Report on the i2010 eGovernment Action Plan - Summary report
see also i2010 eGovernment Action Plan

Europe - EC welcomes Council approval of telecoms legislation

[europa] Today, the Council of EU Ministers unanimously approved the EU's telecoms reform package, first proposed by the European Commission in 2007. Today's Council decision comes after a political agreement on the package was reached in a breakthrough meeting between the European Parliament and Council on 5 November. The new rules will enhance competition and investment in Europe's telecoms market, by giving more certainty to companies investing in high-speed optical fibre and wireless networks. It will also open up airwaves for new mobile services. The European Parliament will vote next week, in its Strasbourg plenary session, to formally endorse the telecoms package. The reformed telecoms rules will become EU law once they are published in the EU's Official Journal in December 2009.

European Commission welcomes EU Ministers' approval of broad reform to bring about a competitive single telecoms market

Colombia - 14% growth in broadband connections with 254,000 additional connections

[cisco] Cisco announced today the results of the Cisco Broadband Barometer, which reported a 14 percent growth in broadband connections in Colombia from January to June 2009.

According to the study, 254,000 broadband connections were added during the first half of the year, when the country had reached 2,066,742 connections and a 4.65 percent penetration.

As shown by the barometer, growth was reported outside the metropolitan areas. The participation of the regions went from 16.6 percent to 29.9 percent of the total broadband market.

The first edition of Cisco's Broadband Barometer established a country goal of 3.5 million connections by 2010. Colombia will need to gain nearly 1.5 million additional connections by December 2010 to reach this goal.
Key Results:

* More than half (59.3 percent) of broadband connections are between speeds of 512 kilobits per second and 1 megabit per second. Connections with speeds of 1 Mbps or higher represent 29 percent of the market and will continue to increase. This trend was also shown in the Cisco Visual Networking Index study, which predicts that Internet traffic will increase between 2007 and 2012, due mainly to video.
* The market analysis by segment conducted during the first half of 2009 shows that home connectivity represents 80 percent of total broadband connections, followed by the enterprise segment with nearly 20 percent.
* The home segment grew 14.8 percent. The strategy of service providers to take advantage of TV subscriber contracts generated the increase.
* The enterprise segment grew 10.6 percent during the first half of 2009.
* Small and medium-sized businesses account for 19,5 percent of broadband connections in the country.
* Three-quarters (75 percent) of broadband connections are concentrated in metropolitan areas, and only 25 percent are in the rest of the country.
* Bogota continues to have the greatest broadband penetration in the country (12.30 percent).
* Antioquia (6.41 percent), Boyaca (5.87 percent) and Eje Cafetero (4.05 percent) were the regions that led in broadband penetration during the first half of this year.
* The regions with the lowest broadband penetration were Cundinamarca (3.31 percent) and Valle-Choco-Nariño (2.18 percent).
* ADSL-type connections and fixed wireless connections had a 12.9 percent growth. Cable modem connections grew 16.5 percent, and Internet dedicated lines (dedicated IP) decreased by 1 percent.
* The mobile broadband market in Colombia grew 185 percent during the first half of this year. The country reached 704,000 mobile broadband connections.
* Mobile broadband distribution by segments reveals that the home segment leads with 88 percent of all connections. The enterprise segment represented 12 percent of the market.
* According to World Bank, high-speed broadband networks will enable the creation of new companies that could produce software, applications and information technology services. The information technology services industry can address key development challenges by creating jobs, increasing productivity and exports, and promoting social inclusion.

Broadband Grew 14 Percent in Colombia During the First Half of 2009

Palestine - Zain acquisition of Paltel falls through

[Reuters] Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain) confirmed on Thursday that a deal with the Palestine Telecommunication co (Paltel) was off, blaming an inability to secure government approvals.

"Zain confirms that the Zain Jordan Paltel deal is cancelled due to their inability to secure the required government approvals which are conditions precedent to the deal," a Zain spokesman told Reuters.

Paltel earlier said it cancelled the deal announced in May, under which Zain would acquire majority control of Paltel, which has 1.5 million mobile telephone users and operates in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Zain says Paltel deal off on lack of approvals

Spain - guarantee of broadband for everyone from 2011

[Reuters] Spanish citizens will have a legal right from 2011 to be able to buy broadband internet of at least one megabyte per second at a regulated price wherever they live, the country's industry minister said on Tuesday.

The telecoms operator holding the so-called "universal service" contract would have to guarantee it could offer "reasonably" priced broadband throughout Spain, said Miguel Sebastian in a statement sent to media.

Former state monopoly Telefonica has always held the universal contract aimed at protecting consumers in poorly populated areas from being cut off in cases where operators would otherwise consider providing the service unprofitable.

Spain govt to guarantee legal right to broadband

The "digital divide" still exists in a big way for America's poorest citizens.

[PRNewswire] The "digital divide" still exists in a big way for America's poorest citizens. A major new survey by Options Marketing Research and Consulting, Inc. (OMRC) finds that four out of five low-income Americans now benefiting from SafeLink Wireless(R), the fast-growing TracFone Wireless, Inc. version of the federal Lifeline program that aims to ensure universal telecommunications access, have no access to the Internet at home and even fewer - just 10 percent - have access to broadband at home.

The 10 percent broadband penetration level is among the lowest found to date among adult Americans. For example, it is far below the 63 percent of all adults, 35 percent of all households earning $20,000 or less, and 30 percent of senior citizens reported in the June 2009 home broadband adoption report from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

SafeLink Wireless from TracFone, America's leading prepaid cell phone provider, is the first and only free offering of Lifeline -- a U.S. government supported program that ensures telephone service is available and affordable for eligible low-income households. The SafeLink Wireless service now provides more than two million eligible low-income households with a free cell phone, mobile access to emergency services and a set number of free minutes for one year. The cell phone offers in-demand features: voicemail, text, call waiting, international calling to over 60 destinations and caller ID. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created the Lifeline program in 1984 and worked to update the service after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the 9/11 tragedy.

Robin Naismith, vice president, Options Marketing Research and Consulting, said: "What we have uncovered here in these survey findings is a group of Americans who have not been parsed out sufficiently in previous surveys to recognize that they are way behind the curve when it comes to the benefits of broadband in the home. This very likely is due to the fact that, until TracFone came along, no one else had made such an aggressive effort to reach out and plug these Americans into the FCC's Lifeline program. The result is that we are getting a window for the first time into the lives of millions of Americans who are not yet part of the Age of Broadband."

Naismith added: "These findings should be of great interest to Congress and the Obama Administration as they look at how to deliver on promises of extending the important economic and educational potential of broadband to all Americans. We hear a lot of talk these days about how the 'digital divide' is either disappearing or already gone. However, what this survey clearly shows is that there remains a persistent pocket of millions of America's poorest people who need to be recognized and put at the front of the line as the people who will benefit the most from universal broadband access."

Titled "Internet Access, Usage and Interest Among SafeLink Users," the new OMRC survey looks at the broadband use and attitudes among 1,000 recipients of SafeLink Wireless. The survey was commissioned by TracFone Wireless.

Other key survey findings include the following:

* 52 percent of all SafeLink users would like to have broadband access at home.
* 32 percent would like to have Broadband access at home but do not own a computer.
* Affordability is a key concern for SafeLink users. Half said that broadband access would have to be free (38 percent) or cost less than $10 a month (12 percent) to fit into their budget. Seven out of 10 said that a computer would have to be free (54 percent) or under $100 (16 percent) in order to be something that would work for them.
* The average respondent was a female in her late 40s.
* More than three out of four SafeLink users (77 percent) said they would use their broadband access to search for a job or other employment opportunities. Nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent) highlighted educational uses for their broadband, 81 percent to send or receive email and 60 percent for online commercial transactions.

OMRC Survey: 'Huge' Broadband Access Gap at Home Persists Among Low-Income Americans Receiving Federal Safelink Wireless Cell Phone Aid Under Lifeline
see also OMR survey

GSM operators adopt a "Green Manifesto" to lower the emissions of others

[PRNewswire] Outlines how the Mobile Industry can Lower Emissions in Other Sectors by Over 4.5 Times Mobile's own Footprint

Today at the Mobile Asia Congress, the GSMA unveiled Mobile's Green Manifesto, developed in collaboration with The Climate Group. Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA, was joined at the launch by China Mobile's Chairman Wang Jianzhou, Kevin Tao, CEO Huawei Device, and Changhua Wu, Greater China Director The Climate Group, who outlined their existing environmental undertakings and goals for the future.

The Green Manifesto sets out how the mobile industry plans to lower its greenhouse gas emissions per connection, and demonstrates the key role that mobile communications can play in lowering emissions in other sectors and industries. It makes specific policy recommendations for governments and delegates attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), December 7-18, to realise the full potential of the role that mobile communications can take in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the Green Manifesto, the mobile industry outlines its goals;

- To reduce its total global greenhouse gas emissions per Connection by 40% by 2020 compared to 2009. This forecast covers all emissions from energy sources under the control of the mobile operators, including energy consumption from the radio network, buildings, and energy consumption and emissions from transport.

- The mobile industry is aiming for carbon neutral growth. The number of mobile connections is set to rise by 70% to 8 billion by 2020 as the industry builds out a new generation of mobile broadband networks, bringing billions of people into the information economy. Despite this growth, the mobile industry forecasts that, through its activities, its total emissions will remain constant at 245 mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e) - equivalent to 0.5% of total global emissions in 2020, or the greenhouse gas emissions of the Netherlands.
- To work with handset vendors to ensure that the energy consumed by a typical handset, in standby and while being used, is reduced by 40% by 2020.
- To work with equipment vendors to ensure that the life cycle emissions of network equipment components are reduced by 40% by 2020.

"With the right public policies in place, the mobile industry can make a major contribution in the fight against global warming, lowering emissions in other sectors by more than 4.5 times mobile's own footprint, which is the equivalent of taking one in every three cars off the road," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. "The mobile industry could enable greenhouse gas emission reductions of 1,150 Mt CO2e in 2020 - twice the present emissions of the United Kingdom. We will be calling upon governments at COP15 to ensure that mobile solutions are at the forefront of the global fight to prevent climate change and mitigate its consequences."

"Wasting energy is just that - a waste. Mobile technologies are at the forefront of a new energy information revolution and have a major role to play in helping individuals and businesses cut their emissions and save money by making it easier to monitor and manage energy use," said Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group. "Using our phones to cut energy in our homes and offices, from electric cars and solar panels, to washing machines, fridges and TVs is not rocket science and could soon become as commonplace and simple as sending a text."

Within the Green Manifesto, the mobile industry calls upon governments to sign a successor to the Kyoto Protocol and to establish binding global long-term targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Following from a new treaty, emissions reduction policies must be implemented or continued at a country, state and/or regional level. Greenhouse gas cap and trade schemes should deliver a stable and effective long-term price for carbon to stimulate innovation and the green economy.

Conway continued: "The mobile industry globally is taking great strides towards improving its own energy efficiency and enabling other industries to do the same. As the findings from our Asian Observatory research show, over the next five years an additional 1 billion connections are expected to be added as the Asia Pacific market is projected to exceed 3 billion connections in 2013. It therefore seems pertinent to launch the Green Manifesto in the Asia Pacific region, world's largest mobile market - which has the potential to make such a huge and positive impact in terms of the green goal that we are striving to achieve."

GSMA Launches Green Manifesto for the Mobile Industry
see also GSMA Green Manifesto

Alcatel-Lucent completes first LTE data call on 800 MHz

[PRNewswire] Alcatel-Lucent successfully completed the worldwide first long term evolution (LTE) data call on the 800 MHz "European Digital Dividend" (EDD) spectrum band in a live network. The call was completed in October at Alcatel-Lucent's 4G/LTE end-to-end solutions center in Stuttgart, Germany, involved transmitting high-definition video streaming over the air using Alcatel-Lucent's commercial infrastructure platforms and prototype mobile devices.

This first EDD call in a live LTE network marks a milestone for the introduction of LTE in the European market, and highlights Alcatel-Lucent's readiness to provide mobile operators with a commercial solution as soon as regulatory decisions on EDD will be made. In Germany, for instance, a frequency auction including the 800 MHz spectrum band is expected to take place in the 2nd quarter of 2010. The 800 MHz spectrum is particularly well suited to bringing mobile broadband Internet services to rural areas.

"This is a major breakthrough on our path to become the first vendor to offer a commercial solution for the 'Digital Dividend` spectrum", said Ken Wirth, President of Alcatel-Lucent's LTE/4G Solutions. "Our goal is to quickly and effectively support operators in their plans to further enhance the availability of broadband services all over the region, so we adapted our LTE solution to the 800 MHz frequency band quite early on and we are now working with customers on field trials."

Deploying LTE at 800MHz has a clear benefit for operators which can require fewer sites to cover rural areas, thus reducing overall environmental impact. 800 MHz spectrum LTE deployment could be an ideal complement to a 2.6GHz spectrum LTE deployment where smaller cells are required, in a dense urban environment for example. Alcatel-Lucent has live 2.6GHz LTE networks in Stuttgart and Velizy in France and its 2.6GHz radio modules are CE marked, clearing the way for shipment of 2.6GHz LTE base stations in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Alcatel-Lucent Completes the World's First Data Call on a Live LTE Network in the 800 MHz "European Digital Dividend" Spectrum Band
see also LTE

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Roaming - Zain expands One network to Egypt in a deal with Mobinil

[] Middle East and African operator Zain said Wednesday that it is expanding its pioneering One Network to Egypt via a strategic partnership with Mobinil.

The deal means over 27 million Zain customers in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan can benefit from One Network services – effectively being treated as local customers - when visiting Egypt, while Mobinil’s 24 million customers will benefit from similar treatment when visiting any of these Zain countries.

The One platform allows subscribers to make calls, send SMS and access the data services at local rates of the visited country and to receive incoming calls from their home country at free or minimal charge.

Middle East and African carriers are known for their innovation in the face of falling ARPUs, rising competition and the recession - something which has attracted many investors but also dissuaded them from moving into Africa markets. In Zain’s case, the company’s soaring ambition and presentational verve has not yet been matched by the performance of its operations in sub-Saharan Africa, where many of its units are loss-making.

This week Zain reported that net profit for the nine months to the end of September fell 17 per cent year on year to KWD195.7m ($677m), although revenues for the period were up 24 per cent year on year to KWD1.78bn. But Africa is causing much of the company’s financial pressure. The vast and capital intensive expansion of Zain’s network in key operations such as Nigeria, Zambia, Sudan, and Iraq, has resulted in increases in fixed costs from depreciation and amortization, with the company being further burdened by increases in financing costs.

In late September, confusion reigned as a consortium of buyers that included Indian operators BSNL and MTNL were thought to be carrying out due diligence on Zain in a bid to acquire some or all of Zain Africa. But nothing came of the supposed interest and at the recent Africa Com 2009 event in Cape Town, South Africa, Chris Gabriel, CEO of Zain Africa repeated a number of times that “Zain Africa is not for sale. We are focused on our objective to become a top ten player by 2011 and we still have an appetite for expansion,” he said.

Zain expands One network; Africa weighs on profits

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Canada - CRTC Rejects Globalive’s Bid to Operate Wireless Network

[teleclick] The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled today that aspiring wireless carrier, Globalive, does not meet the legal requirements to provide cell phone services in Canada.

In making its decision, the CRTC looked at the influence of Egypt-based Orascom Telecom Holding, which owns a 65.1% stake in Globalive. The Telecommunications Act provides that a telecom carrier may not operate in Canada unless it is controlled, in law and in fact, by Canadians.

“Despite the fact that Globalive made significant structural changes to reduce its dependence on Orascom, there were other factors that, taken together, led the Commission to conclude that Globalive does not meet the statutory test,” the regulatory body said in a statement.

In addition to holding a majority stake in Globalive, Orascom owns the ‘Wind’ brand name that the new carrier intends to use, and holds the overwhelming majority of Globalive’s debt.

The CRTC did set out a list of theoretical changes the company could make to bring itself into compliance with the Telecommunications Act rules. These could include changes to the board of directors, liquidity rights, and the threshold for veto power.

Globalive has already invested heavily in the Canadian market and will almost certainly try to overcome the regulatory barrier, according to telecom analyst, Carmi Levy.

“They will look at re-jigging their organizational structure, possibly seeking additional Canadian-based investment and re-approaching the CRTC at some future point in time,” he said.

In the mean time, Canadians will have one less choice in terms of wireless providers. So much for the plan to increase competition.

CRTC Rejects Globalive’s Bid to Operate Wireless Network in Canada

Apple store - 100,000 application now available for iPhone

[teleclick] Apple announced today that more than 100,000 third-party software applications are now available in the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

“The App Store, now with over 100,000 applications available, is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of product marketing.

Other smartphone manufacturers, including Research In Motion and Nokia, are also seeking to capitalize on the mobile software trend, but none has been able to duplicate the astounding success of the App Store. Apple’s marketplace is now available to users in 77 countries and has been used to download more than 2 billion apps, including everything from business software to games.

“The App Store has forever changed the mobile gaming industry and continues to improve,” commented Travis Boatman, vice president of the mobile division at U.S. video game giant, Electronic Arts. “With a global reach of over 50 million iPhone and iPod touch users, the App Store has allowed us to develop high quality EA games that have been a huge success with customers.”

100,000 Applications Now Available for iPhone Users

India bans pre-paid mobile phones in Kashmir

[sify] Indian government has now banned the sale and usage of pre-paid mobile connections in Kashmir region.

Sources say that this ban was implemented to stop the usage of these mobile devices for terrorist activities.

Prepaid phones are easier to get compared to postpaid ones and this is a preventive measure.

Government sources said: “All pre-paid mobile connections will stop functioning from November 1 after the home ministry’s order in this regard.”

India bans pre-paid mobile phones in Kashmir

Growth Of HSPA Mobile Broadband Increases By Two Thirds Year-On-Year

[rf globalnet] The GSMA recently announced that the rate of growth of HSPA Mobile Broadband connections has increased by nearly two thirds in the last year, according to figures released by Wireless Intelligence. There are now more than 9 million new HSPA connections being added globally every month, compared to 5.5 million a year ago. Europe and Asia Pacific each account for an estimated 3 million of these new connections, with North America contributing 1.3 million.

The rise in demand for Mobile Broadband will continue to accelerate, with a further 27 million HSPA connections forecast to be added by the end of 2009, with Africa, Eastern Europe and the Americas set to experience the strongest growth. There are currently 321 HSPA networks across 120 countries worldwide – 285 of these networks are commercially live, supporting more than 167.5 million connections. These networks are being served by more than 1,600 HSPA-enabled devices, such as smartphones, netbook and notebook PCs and dongles, for example, delivering Mobile Broadband connectivity to users around the world.

"HSPA technology continues its phenomenal growth as thousands of operators, vendors, application and service providers back the technology, ensuring the presence of a vibrant and competitive ecosystem," said Dan Warren, Director of Technology at the GSMA. "This expanding ecosystem also encompasses the next generation of GSM technologies, HSPA+ and LTE. These next generation network technologies will continue to deliver increased data speeds and enable mobile operators to constantly improve service experience by delivering the latest, feature rich multimedia applications to their customers."

Mobile operators around the world are seeing a huge growth in the amount of mobile data traffic across their networks. This trend is set to continue, with mobile devices predicted to send and receive more data in one month by 2014 than in all of 2008. Three quarters of this traffic will be attributed to Internet access, while nearly all the remainder will be due to audio and video streaming*. This gives a clear indication of the significant changes that Mobile Broadband will be having on network usage over the coming years.

Evolution to HSPA+ and LTE
The sharp rise in demand for Mobile Broadband devices, services and applications is driving mobile operators to constantly evolve their network infrastructures and embrace the latest technologies. There are now 56 HSPA+ networks in existence globally, with 28 commercially live. Furthermore, 50 mobile operators worldwide have already committed to LTE plans, trials or deployments, with the first LTE networks expected to be rolled out next year. LTE is widely regarded as the de facto Mobile Broadband technology that will be adopted by the vast majority of mobile operators globally.

Mobile operators are employing varying strategies in terms of network migration from HSPA to HSPA+ and/or LTE. There are a number of factors dictating the technology path an operator may choose, including the age of its legacy technology, the flexibility of its existing infrastructure, the ROI it has set, the spectrum it has available and the pricing models it has in place.

Warren continues: "There are several key questions operators need to address when building a business case for HSPA+ and/or LTE migration. The answers to these questions will determine whether or not they choose to deploy HSPA+ first or move straight to LTE. The one certainty is that nearly all operators globally are embracing the GSM family of technologies, in order to meet the rapidly increasing demand for Mobile Broadband services on a range of different devices."

Growth Of HSPA Mobile Broadband Increases By Two Thirds Year-On-Year

USA - Criticism of Incompleteness, innacuracy among complaints from cable and phone broadband network operators

[b&c] Cable and phone broadband network operators were highly critical of an FCC broadband study in comments filed with the commission this week.

A study on worldwide broadband commissioned by the FCC is incomplete, inaccurate, biased and should essentially be ignored said Verizon of the study, which was prepared by Harvard's Berkman Center. US Telecom, which represents broadband companies, added its two cents, saying that "the selective inclusion and exclusion of key facts and misguided characterization of the regulatory frameworks in different countries appears aimed at reaching a false and foregone conclusion that unbundling policies aid broadband deployment when a clear preponderance of empirical evidence reaches the polar opposite conclusion."

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association was only slightly less harsh than Verizon in its assessment. NCTA, in its comments on the study, said the study did not do what it was supposed to do, and is neither a complete nor an objective survey.

The study, released last month, said the U.S. is a "middle-of-the pack" country when it comes to various measures of first-generation broadband, including price and speeds, likely thanks in part to the FCC's decision not to apply open access conditions to ISPs.

The FCC published a draft online seeking public input on the study, which it commissioned July 14 as part of its data collection for the national broadband plan.

It got plenty of input.

NCTA said the study had drawn the wrong conclusions from its survey of other countries, particularly about open access policies, which were the focus of much of the study. But while Verizon said the study should be given "no weight," NCTA stopped short of dismissing it out of hand, saying it should be given no more authority than any other comments in the record.

Rather than being an expert review of independent literature, as it was advertised, the survey comprised "new studies and new data sources that serve the specific policy and ideological goals" of the author. In fact, it said, the report was "redolent" with bias toward government access mandates over policies that promote investment in competition.

That would make it antithetical to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's stated aim of having data, not ideology, drive conclusions.

"The Berkman Report, in short, is an advocacy piece, not the work of dispassionate scholarship that the Commission requested," NCTA said. The association said it recognized that that put the study at odds with the "intellectual rigor" the FCC was applying to its many many inquiries into broadband. "This Report is not consistent with that approach, it is
not what the Commission ordered, and it should not be granted special significance exceeding that of any comment submitted to the Commission in this proceeding."

Verizon says the paper "largely ignores" the literature that it says demonstrates "that unbundling and government-mandated open access policies have not only failed to improve broadband performance throughout the world, but have frequently had the opposite effect."

It is, in short, "merely an advocacy piece for the previously expressed policy opinions of its principal author," says Verizon.

Berkman Broadband Study Highly-Criticized - Incompleteness, innacuracy among complaints from cable and phone broadband network operators

UK - consultation on the use of "white spaces" between TV channels to transmit and receive wireless signals

[ofcom] Ofcom today published a discussion document to explore the potential of a new technology that could wirelessly link up different devices and offer enhanced broadband access in rural areas.

The technology works by searching for unoccupied radio waves called "white spaces" between TV channels to transmit and receive wireless signals.

Compared with other forms of wireless technology, such as Bluetooth and WiFi, white-space devices are being designed to use lower frequencies that have traditionally been reserved for TV. Signals at these frequencies travel further and more easily through walls.

This will potentially allow a new wave of technological innovation in wireless communications. Although at least three years away from commercial production, possible applications include improved mobile broadband access in rural areas; digital cameras that can automatically transmit photos back to your computer as soon as you click the shutter; and the ability to control appliances in your home - such as the oven and central heating - hundreds of miles away.

However, white space devices must first prove they can operate without interfering with TV broadcasts and other wireless technologies that share these frequencies, such as wireless microphones. A promising solution is for devices to do this is by consulting a "geolocation database" that contains live information about which frequencies are free to use at their current location.

Ofcom's discussion document focuses on the issues that need to be addressed for this solution to work. If there is strong evidence to show that white space devices can coexist with neighbouring TV signals and wireless microphones without causing interference, then Ofcom would allow them to use the frequencies without the need for individual licences.

Ofcom investigates potential for new wireless communications technology

Bahrain - Batelco was fined for preventing other operators from accessing the country's international data lines

[ame] Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has fined Bahrain Telecommunications (Batelco) for preventing other operators from accessing the country's international data lines, Reuters has reported. Batelco had refused to supply space to other operators to gain access to the kingdom's only connection to the international phone network which is located on Batelco's premises. The fine could increase or decrease depending on Batelco's response to an order to provide access to other operators, for which it has 30 days, the regulator said.

Batelco fined by telecoms regulator

Egypt - mobile connections have now passed 51 million

[ame] The Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre has said that Egyptian mobile phone subscriber growth had continued in August, with 1.4 million new accounts added, bringing the total number to 51.477 million, Reuters has reported. More than a million accounts have been created every month since late last year, the centre said.

Egyptian mobile subscribers exceed 51 million

Palestine - Wataniya launches West Bank network

[ame] Wataniya Palestine has announced the launch of its mobile phone service in the West Bank with only a partial range of frequencies agreed upon with Israel for the network, Reuters has reported. The company, the second mobile operator in the West Bank, has started with 40,000 users who had registered during a promotional campaign launched a month ago. Wataniya is owned by Kuwait's National Mobile Telecommunications, a unit of Qatar Telecommunications and a holding company for Palestinian public assets.

Wataniya launches West Bank network

Africa - The Abu Dhabi Group sold its interests in Congo and Uganda to Essar Group of India

[ame] Abu Dhabi Group is selling a majority stake in its African telecommunications business in Congo and Uganda to India's Essar Group, Reuters has reported. Warid Telecom Uganda and Warid Congo SA are valued at $318m, although the par have not said how much this deal is worth.

Abu Dhabi Group sells stake in African telco business

Europe - crack down on web sites selling mobile services, especially ringtones

[bbc] Websites mis-selling mobile ringtones and other services have been forced to clean up their acts, following a European Union crackdown.

Some 301 sites were investigated, resulting in the closure of 54 and the correction of 159.

The biggest problems were unclear pricing and misleading advertising suggesting ringtones were free.

The investigation was a direct response to hundreds of complaints from parents and consumers across Europe.

Over half of the websites specifically targeted children.

EU cracks down on mobile services

UK - Free public Wi-Fi scheme for the town of Swindon

[bbc] A major Wiltshire town is to become the first in the UK to offer free public wireless internet access to its entire population, it was claimed.

Swindon Borough Council plan for all 186,000 citizens to have blanket "Wi-Fi mesh" coverage by April 2010.

Line rental will be free, and there will be no connection charge, say council officials.

Wireless internet allows computer users to access the internet without the need for wired connection to phone lines.

Free public Wi-Fi scheme for town

UK - T-Mobile staff sold personal data to rival operators

[bbc] Staff at mobile phone company T-Mobile passed on millions of records from thousands of customers to third party brokers, the firm has confirmed.

Details emerged after the firm alerted the information commissioner, who said his office was preparing a prosecution.

Christopher Graham said brokers had sold the data to other phone firms, who then cold-called the customers as their contracts were due to expire.

A T-Mobile spokesman said the data had been sold "without our knowledge".

T-Mobile staff sold personal data

USA - a surge in non-voice mobile communications, driven by smartphones

[PRNewswire] The latest wave of Mobile Market View, a consumer study of adult U.S. mobile phone users conducted by BIA/Kelsey with research partner ConStat, reveals a rapid rise in mobile device usage for non-voice communications--text messages, e-mail and Internet access--driven primarily by the proliferation of smartphones.

Among mobile consumers surveyed in October for Mobile Market View, 18.5 percent searched the Internet for products or services in their local area, up from 15.6 percent in 2008, and 16.7 percent connected with a social network such as MySpace or Facebook, up from 9.6 percent in 2008.

"This third wave of our Mobile Market View study confirms several key trends taking shape in the rapidly evolving mobile advertising space," said Steve Marshall, director of research and consulting, BIA/Kelsey. "Not the least among these trends is that mobile is quickly developing into a viable platform for local commercial activity."

The study also reveals a growing class of "heavy users" of non-voice modalities. For example, the percentage of users making more than 10 mobile Internet accesses per week continues to increase significantly, now representing over one-fifth of all mobile users. Among mobile users:

* 48.2 percent sent or received more than 10 text (SMS) messages per week
* 21 percent had more than 10 Internet accesses per week
* 20 percent sent or received more than 10 e-mails per week

Mobile Local Advertising and Commerce

Mobile Market View also indicates use of mobile devices for commercial searches increased across the board in 2009. Of particular interest, searches for local products or services now exceed out-of-market searches by a wide margin. Among consumers using mobile devices:

* 18.5 percent searched the Internet for local products or services
* 15.9 percent obtained information about movies or other entertainment
* 13.3 percent obtained information about restaurants or bars
* 11.1 percent searched the Internet for products or services outside their local area
* 4 percent purchased a physical item that needed to be shipped (e.g., a book)
* 3 percent used a coupon from their mobile phone

In addition to consumer smartphone adoption, recent developments in the mobile marketplace--mobile-optimized Web sites, the rapid evolution and implementation of Google's Android OS, and its planned acquisition of mobile ad network AdMob--will drive mobile Internet use and advertising growth.

"Google is clearly interested in replicating its online dominance by positioning itself at the mobile OS level, and around the content that users increasingly consume on smartphones," said Michael Boland, program director, Mobile Local Media, BIA/Kelsey. "Its brand affinity among users and one-stop-shop approach for advertisers will accelerate the shift of dollars spent on mobile advertising in the coming months."

Mobile Video

The survey also reveals usage of mobile devices for viewing or sending video has increased appreciably, with the highest level of traffic in user-generated videos. Among those surveyed for Mobile Market View, 7.9 percent watched or purchased a TV program or segment, 11.7 percent watched or purchased a music video or Internet video and 17.7 percent sent or received videos.

"Between waves one and three of Mobile Market View, consumers have basically doubled their use of the mobile platform for non-voice communications," said Rick Ducey, chief strategy officer, BIA/Kelsey. "This represents a fundamental and rapid shift in media use, which needs to be considered in determining the appropriate mix and spending levels among local platforms. Media companies that do not currently offer a differentiated mobile advertising option had better get there quickly."

Mobile Local Media at ILM:09

The mobile local advertising opportunity will be a key topic at BIA/Kelsey's upcoming conference, Interactive Local Media 2009 (ILM:09), Dec. 9-11 in Los Angeles, California. The program features a fast-paced Mobile Local Media SuperForum, led by BIA/Kelsey's Boland, with a keynote address by Google's Surojit Chatterjee, followed by three micro sessions:

* Mobile Local 2.0 Demos: Beyond 'What?' and 'Where?'
* Location & Monetization: Ad Targeting in a Mobile World
* Apps, Web & SMS: What's the Right Mobile Strategy?

BIA/Kelsey Mobile Consumer Study Reveals Surge in Non-voice Communications, Driven by Smartphone Proliferation
See also ILM 2009

Haiti - Wireless company Voila repositions for future growth

[PRNewswire] Responding to increased competition, Voila - a leader in Haiti's wireless industry for 10 years - engaged Seattle advertising agency The Garrigan Lyman Group to redefine its brand position. The new campaign draws on Voila's strong commitment to Haiti and features a television spot with Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean.

Over the past 10 years, the founders of Voila's parent company, Trilogy International Partners, have invested more than $200 million in Haiti building the business and supporting education, sports, music, the environment, job creation and hunger relief. In recognition of these efforts, the U.S. Department of State nominated Trilogy for the Secretary of State's 2009 Award for Corporate Excellence.

Brand positioning: What you say matters

To create the brand platform, Garrigan Lyman looked to Voila's deep Haitian roots.

"Voila's corporate citizenship is a compelling differentiator," said Rebecca Lyman, Principal, The Garrigan Lyman Group. "The Voila brand is uniquely Haitian and celebrates self-expression and personal empowerment. We crafted the positioning of 'What you say matters' as a tribute to the strong Haitian spirit and voice."

Through energetic photography, bold colors and Haitian-inspired artwork, the visuals reflect a sense of community and shared celebration. Because landlines in Haiti are extremely limited, wireless phones are critical to keep people connected to friends and family.

"Garrigan Lyman really understood our deep commitment to Haiti and our desire to celebrate the Haitian culture," said Brad Horwitz, President/CEO, Trilogy International Partners. "This work embodies the essence of Voila."

Haitian Wireless Company Voila Repositions for Future Growth
see also Voila

Monday, November 16, 2009

Australia - competition by direct access continues to grow with consumers exercising choice

[accc] The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has published information concerning the number and distribution of services supplied over Telstra's widespread copper network.

Data indicates that in the two years to September 2009, the number of broadband services supplied by internet service providers through direct access to Telstra copper loops, coupled with investment in their own equipment, has more than doubled to reach 1.3 million services.

While the growth of broadband services via direct access has, as expected, slowed to around 288,000 lines in the past 12 months, investment has continued to expand with an additional 24 telephone exchanges now being serviced by alternative providers.

"This data shows that competition by direct access continues to grow with consumers exercising choice and seeking value by selecting alternate service providers for broadband," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said today.

Telstra, more generally, has recorded a decline in the number of retail and wholesale broadband services provided over its own fixed line equipment, while at the same time, broadband services through alternative providers have increased. The net result has been overall annual growth in broadband services of close to three per cent led by alternate providers.

At the same time, total fixed lines in operation have fallen below 10 million. This decline is likely to have resulted from the trend to disconnect second lines and a substitution of mobile services for fixed lines, though the relative importance of these factors remains unquantified.

ACCC publishes data on take-up of broadband access services

Enterprise demand for Unified Communications will drive SIP trunking growth

[PRNewswire] Growing demand by business users for unified communications (UC) applications will spur network operators to increase their investment in Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking technologies, finally propelling that market sector to the telecom services mainstream, according to the latest report from Light Reading Insider, a paid research service of TechWeb's Light Reading.

SIP Trunking: Market Strategies & Competitive Analysis examines the SIP trunking market, including a comparative analysis of solutions that explores their essential features, how they work, competitive differentiators, marketing strategies, and partners for each company. It examines market strategies for each company, including targeted verticals and market drivers. The report also explores the benefits and challenges of SIP trunking, including how carriers, enterprises, and SMBs benefit from the service. Additionally, the report provides a competitive analysis of nine top vendors in the industry, including trends each vendor expects in the future.

"SIP trunking is taking market share as end users are becoming educated on its benefits," says Denise Culver, research analyst with Light Reading Insider and author of the report. "Meanwhile, service providers are seeing more competition from new IP service providers, as well as feeling more pressure from the stringent requirements that enterprises require from their SIP trunking solutions."

As the push for UC becomes even stronger, SIP trunking will become a natural step in the development of IP-based telecom services, Culver notes. "Network managers can consider migrating the deployment to a client/server architecture, enabling UC servers to be located in the corporate data center," she says. "In the end, there is little question that SIP trunking will become a major force for service implementation."

Key findings of SIP Trunking: Market Strategies & Competitive Analysis include the following:

* SIP trunking continues to draw attention from carriers, end users, and IP PBX vendors
* The best verticals for SIP trunking are not defined by the number of employees a company has, but rather by its communications needs
* Contact centers and IVR-dependent companies are considered "sweet-spot" markets for many SIP trunking providers
* Cutting costs remains the biggest draw to SIP trunking, but its ability to deploy UC across the enterprise and provide hosted services will be future drivers
* All SIP trunking customers are looking to combine their communications services and eliminate redundancies

Enterprise Demand for Unified Communications Will Drive SIP Trunking Growth

USA - AT&T said customers made 25.4 million connections on its Wi-Fi network in Q3, more than the 20 million connections in 2008

[dallas business journal] AT&T has achieved a new milestone in its wireless segment.

The Dallas-based telecommunications company reported Friday that the company had the most Wi-Fi connections made on its network in a single quarter. AT&T said the new connections record shows more consumers are using smartphones and Wi-Fi enabled devices.

AT&T said customers made 25.4 million connections on its Wi-Fi network in the third quarter, which is more than the 20 million connections made in all of 2008, AT&T said. The connection record brings total AT&T Wi-Fi connections to more than 51 million since the beginning of 2009.

Another telling sign for the telecommunications giant was the fact that the total number of Wi-Fi connections made on smartphones, including the iPhone, surpassed connections made from laptops.

AT&T said 60 percent of all AT&T Wi-Fi connections reaching the network were made from smartphones and other integrated devices. That figure is up from 49 percent in the second quarter of the year.

Telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan is not surprised by the number of new AT&T service connections tied to smartphones and Wi-Fi enabled devices.

"AT&T has made strong gains in Wi-Fi. This has helped them on a number of fronts. Wi-Fi as part of a bundle helps the company offer more value to customers to win and to keep customers. It also helps with the Apple iPhone," Kagan said. "The iPhone is a mixed blessing for AT&T. While it does sell quite a few units and generates lots of Web traffic, it is a bandwidth hog. AT&T allows customers to log on either through the cellphone network or through the Wi-Fi option. Wi-Fi is usually faster than traditional cellphone speeds so customers use it. AT&T likes that because it keeps their traditional cellphone network from being overloaded."

AT&T: Smartphone trumps laptop connections

Australia - Minister threatens to introduce regulation to address inadequate service levels

[itwire] Government would have little choice but to introduce new regulations for the telecommunications sector if service levels did not improve, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told the Senate today.

Huge increases in complaints across mobile, landline and internet services reported by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman last week were "an absolute shocker," Senator Conroy said.

"This is simply not good enough. The Government is not sitting on its hands while the telco industry continues to treat its consumers with contempt," said during Senate Question Time.

"I have put the industry on clear public notice. The Government will have little choice but to regulate if the situation does not improve."

The TIO reported in Friday that the number of complaints from consumers and small businesses for 2008-09 had grown to 230,065, a 54 per cent increase over the previous financial year.

Though the biggest increase in complaints related to mobile phone services, Senator Conroy said a large number of the complaints were for fixed line and internet services, and pointed to the inadequacy of the existing regulatory framework as one of the problems.

A suite of regulatory reforms passed by the House and likely to be considered by the Senate this week would "see competition in the telecommunications sector improve and consumers and businesses will benefit through lower prices."

"Every day we delay these reforms is a day we fail to start to claw back the poor customer service levels and service quality performance in telecommunications across Australia," Senator Conroy said.

Conroy threatens industry over TIO 'shocker'

China - concern over the future prospects of China Mobile and China Unicom

[market watch] In the wake of mixed earnings from two of China's top telecommunications companies, analysts offered a downbeat outlook for the sector as competition grows more intense within an increasingly saturated market.

"We are still cautious on the Chinese telecos as we anticipate an increase in competition in the fourth quarter," Citigroup analyst Michael Meng said in a note Tuesday.

Meng's comment came as China Telecom Corp. reported a 34% on-year drop in January-September net income, due mainly to higher up-front costs to attract customers to its newly acquired cellular business from rival China Unicom Ltd.

China Telecom, the nation's largest fixed-line operator by subscribers, also saw average revenue per user eased slightly in the third quarter from the second.

Citi said investors shouldn't accumulate shares of the telecom in view of the risks arising from industry restructuring and an environment in which mobile phones are now cheaper than fixed-line service.

Citi was only slightly more upbeat on shares of China Mobile Ltd., maintaining its buy rating on the stock but cutting its price target to 94 Hong Kong dollars ($12.13) from 99 Hong Kong dollars to reflect a likely hit to earnings by slower subscriber growth. Shares of the company were at 77.50 Hong Kong dollars in late Wednesday trading.

China Mobile also announced earnings late Tuesday, reporting a 1.8% on-year rise in the nine months to September, with subscriber growth averaging 5.68 million a month during the period.

The new customers lifted China Mobile's total subscriber base to more than half a billion, but the company cautioned that it was likely to see slower customer-acquisition rates in the days ahead. It cited the economic slowdown, intensified competition after government-mandated industry restructuring, and a customer base that's glutted with phones.

China telecoms get glum reviews from most analysts

Palestine - launch of a second operator Watanya

[reuters] Wataniya Palestine launched its mobile phone service in the West Bank on Sunday even though Israel has yet to release the full range of frequencies agreed upon for the network, Palestinian officials said.

Mohammad Mustafa, head of the Wataniya Palestine board, said the company had begun functioning with a frequency range of 3.8 MHz, less than the 4.8 MHz Israel had agreed to open under an agreement with the Palestinian Authority signed last year.

"They will give us the additional 1 MHz as soon as possible," Mustafa told Reuters, adding that Tony Blair, envoy for the international Quartet of Middle East peace mediators, had promised the company it would acquire the remaining frequency.

A statement from Blair's office said he welcomed the launch of Wataniya and had received assurances from Israel that the remaining frequencies would be released.

Wataniya Palestine launches West Bank network

Canada - Cellphones top telecom complaints to Commissioner at 38 per cent

[cbc news] Cellphones are the most complained-about telecommunications service, according to the agency that resolves issues between consumers and companies.

About 38 per cent of the 3,214 investigations opened by the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services were cellphone-related, the agency reported on Monday. Home phone and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services were second, with 23 per cent of the complaints, followed by internet service, at 16 per cent.

Billing issues such as disconnection fees and overcharging were the most common complaint for telecommunications overall, making up about 34 per cent of the total. Contract disputes were second, with 27 per cent, followed by service delivery issues, such as installation and maintenance, with 16 per cent.

The CCTS is a self-regulating body set up by the industry in 2007 following government deregulation of the home phone market. It resolves complaints between consumers and telecommunications companies on most unregulated services but, notably, does not deal with television connections.

Overall, the number of complaints that were opened was up 44 per cent for the year ended July 31, 2009, versus the previous year. Total contacts with the CCTS were also up dramatically to 17,407, or 183 per cent. More than 2,600 contacts were rejected because they were related to areas the CCTS does not cover, such as telemarketing, pricing and outsourcing. About 1,400 were also rejected because they dealt with companies that are not members of the agency.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has required every telecommunications company with annual revenue exceeding $10 million to be part of the CCTS. The complaints body saw its membership grow to 38 from 16 in its first year.

The vast majority of consumers who contacted the CCTS were seeking further information on it.

Among the nation's biggest telecommunications companies, Bell Canada led the way in terms of total complaints opened, with 1,239. Rogers was second, with 672, followed by Telus, at 579. According to the companies' most recent financial reports, their total cellphone, home phone and internet customers are 15.7 million, 10.8 million and 11.5 million, respectively.

The CCTS expects the public's contact with the commissioner's office to increase dramatically over the next year as it implements its publicity campaign. Member companies will, over the next few months, be required to notify customers of the CCTS's services on their websites, on bills and in phone books. Some have already begun listing contact information on their bills, the CCTS said.

Cellphones top telecom complaints

USA - GAO issues warning about broadband stimulus program over excessive rules and conditions

[tmcnet] It should not come as any surprise -- given earlier delays -- that the first project awards under the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s “broadband stimulus” program will be late.

The program is supposed to allocate $7.2 billion to provide broadband services or training to rural and other underserved communities, through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.

The problem is that the work load required to evaluate and award funds so vastly exceeds the volume of work either agency has handled in the past. The NTIA must now disburse sums that are about 4.7 times greater than normal, while the RUS faces the task of disbursing amounts 192 times larger than normal.

Those would be challenges under the best of circumstances, so it is no surprise that the first awards may not be made until December, about a month later than anticipated. There are other risks, according to the Government Accountability Office, including a lack of funding for oversight beyond fiscal year 2010 and a lack of updated performance measures to ensure accountability for NTIA and RUS.

“Waste and fraud” potential, in other words, will exist. “NTIA and RUS face scheduling, staffing, and data challenges in evaluating applications and awarding funds,” GAO said in a report. The agencies have taken steps to meet these challenges, to be sure.

“While these steps address some challenges, the agencies lack the needed time to apply lessons learned from the first funding round and face a compressed schedule to review new applications,” said the GAO. “As a result, the agencies may risk awarding funds to projects that are not sustainable or do not meet the priorities of the Recovery Act.”

“During the first funding round, the agencies missed several milestones,” according to the GAO. “For example, RUS originally intended to select a contractor on June 12, 2009, and NTIA intended to select a contractor on June 30, 2009; however, both agencies missed their target dates, with RUS selecting its contractor on July 31, 2009, and NTIA selecting its contractor on August 3, 2009.”

Because of the compressed schedule within the individual funding rounds, “NTIA and RUS have less time to review applications than similar grant and loan programs,” said the GAO report. “In the first funding round, the agencies have approximately two months to review 2,200 applications.”

In contrast, from fiscal year 2005 through 2008, “RUS took from four to seven months to receive and review an average of 26 applications per year for its Broadband Access Loan Program,” said the GAO. “NTIA’s Public Telecommunications Facilities Program operated on a year-long grant award cycle,” and completed application reviews in roughly six months.

A month delay in getting the stimulus funds out is the latest setback for the broadband grant program, which has drawn criticism for being laden down with so many rules and conditions that the nation’s largest Internet providers, including AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and other smaller phone and cable companies didn’t bother applying for funds.

That Agriculture Department program has been criticized over the past few years by congressional investigators and the USDA’s own inspector general, which has found the program has offer low-cost loans for broadband lines in suburban areas with existing service and other problems, observers note.

GAO Issues Warning About Broadband Stimulus Program

South Africa - Telkom may face fine for abuse of dominance in provision of services to ISPs

[engineering news] South Africa’s Competition Commission has recommended that the Competition Tribunal fine telecommunications (telecoms) operator Telkom 10% of its yearly turnover, for the year ended March 2009, for abuse of dominance.

Telkom South Africa contributed R33,6-billion in revenue to the group's total revenue of R35,9-billion for the year ended March 2009, which meant that the group could face a fine in excess of R3-billion.

This came after the Commission investigated the company’s operations, following complaints, which were lodged at different times between 2005 and 2007.

The five complaints, which raised overlapping issues, were lodged by the Internet Service Providers Association, and other Internet service providers (ISPs), namely: Verizon; Multichoice Subscriber Management Services (MWeb); and Internet Solutions.

“The excessive prices charged by Telkom affect the prices that ISPs charge their customers. Given the widespread use of the Internet, and the extensive use made of virtual private networks by medium to large businesses to link various locations of a single enterprise, there is no doubt that these high prices detrimentally affect consumers and hinder economic development in South Africa,” the Commission said in an emailed statement.

In its investigation, the Commission found that Telkom abused its near-monopoly position in the market for the provision of telecommunications network facilities.

Telkom did this by charging excessive prices for the basic infrastructure needed by its downstream competitors, the ISPs, to access a range of telecoms services, while keeping its own ISP service charges low. In this way, Telkom also raised its downstream competitors costs, making it difficult for them to on sell cost effective services to end consumers, explained the Commission.

The Commission concluded that Telkom charged excessive prices after comparing the telecoms operator’s prices to: its costs; prices in other countries; prices of other operators offering similar services; and prices to customers of Telkom which posed a competitive threat to it.

These comparisons indicated, among other things, that in 2006, Telkom’s prices were more than double the average of South Africa’s major trading partners. Further, in 2007, Telkom’s prices were 30% more expensive than the average of a basket of 14 countries.

Significantly, the Commission also noted that Telkom’s downstream competitors have been consistently losing market share while the group’s share has been increasing over time, pointing to an inability on their part to compete effectively with Telkom.

The Commission stated that during the investigation it engaged with, and received cooperation from, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between the two regulators.

The cooperation of the two regulators would continue during the prosecution of this matter, particularly with respect to remedies for the conduct.

A fine of 10% of a company’s yearly turnover was the highest fine that could be handed down by the Tribunal, should it find that the company has in fact abused its dominant position in the market.

Telkom said that the Commission has engaged with the company over the last two years while completing its investigations.

It added that the Commission had clearly finalised its investigations and, in terms of the relevant provisions in the Competition Act, decided to refer certain aspects of the various matters to the Competition Tribunal for adjudication.

“Telkom will prepare its response to the referral in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures applicable to proceedings before the Competition Tribunal,” the company stated.

Telkom may face fine for abuse of dominance

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mobile advertising - Google has acquired AdMob for USD 750 millions to expand its Internet advertising business

[bbc] Google, the world's most popular search engine, has agreed a deal to buy the mobile advertising firm AdMob.

It is paying $750m (£449m) in stock for the firm in a bid to take advantage of opportunities in the booming market for mobile devices.

AdMob specialises in selling adverts displayed on small screens - for example the iPhone or the Blackberry.

Google said mobile advertising had "enormous potential" and praised AdMob's "exceptional progress".

Google snaps up mobile ad company

USA - Correcting high, inaccurate billing can slash expenses

[network world] Wireless plans are a great place to start for companies looking to cut communications costs, with one firm reporting at VoiceCon that it saved $33,000 per month by renegotiating unfavorable contracts.

The communications manager from an Ottawa construction firm told a peer discussion group on cost containment and control that the savings came as a result of pointing out how unfair its contracts were based on other more appropriate plans the wireless carriers offered.

The VoiceCon session was set up for attendees to share how they were cutting costs and to ask for advice from others in the same boat. Participants didn't identify themselves to promote candor.

"We were getting royally screwed," the Ottawa manager says. One provider involved was so contrite it gave the firm a one-year service credit, she said. The company never had to threaten to walk away from the contracts. "We didn't push that hard. We would have quit but it was unspoken. They realized we were a good customer that paid our bills."

How companies are cutting costs

The firm saved so much money it hired a full-timer to sift through the wireless bills every month looking for errors in its favor, she says.

Another participant says the County of San Bernardino, California, hired a former Verizon billing agent to comb through its Verizon wireline bills. She found $300,000 worth of overcharging. "She's paid her salary for the next five years," a workshop participant from the county said.

The county is following up by hiring a telecom billing consultant to audit its bills for the next two years in hopes of correcting even more overcharges. The auditor is working for a percentage of the errors it finds, so the contract costs the county nothing.

How not to get 'royally screwed' on wireless costs

Europe: Five ICT priorities for restructuring economies and societies and spurring growth

[ec] To achieve the potential of ICT for restructuring our economies and societies and to spur the economic upturn at a crucial moment in time, we need to address urgently the following five priorities:

  • High-speed broadband for all;
  • Copyright and content with a clear single market dimension;
  • Improve the services available to European consumers;
  • Deploy technologies already at hand – in particular developing what I would like to call the 'European cloud';
  • Make sure that ICT delivers its contribution to achieving the Copenhagen goals.

Viviane Reding Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media Bringing down walls and barriers in the digital world – priorities for the European Digital Agenda 'Visby Agenda: Creating impact for an eUnion 2015' Visby/Gotland, 9 November 2009

France: European Commission endorses access rules on fibre in-building wiring

[ec] The French telecoms regulator, ARCEP, sets out the terms and conditions for access to inhouse fibre wiring in France. The proposed access regulation is to be imposed simultaneously on all operators rolling out fibre lines into the homes of consumers, regardless of whether these operators – also referred to as in-building operators – have significant market power or not. ARCEP intends to oblige all in-building operators to provide access to its in-building fibre network to alternative operators. This way, French consumers will be able to choose between several competing providers of high speed internet connections. For the very densely populated areas (defined by ARCEP in the draft decision as those areas where it is economically most profitable for operators to roll-out their fibre networks into the homes), ARCEP also obliges any in-building operator to meet reasonable requests from alternative operators to roll-out extra, fibre lines on condition that the requesting operator is willing to co-invest. Additionally, ARCEP defines where the in-building fibre connection point must be located.

Telecoms: Commission endorses French access rules on fibre in-building wiring

In the ‘new normal,’ successful CIOs will search for value through experimentation with customers and partners.

[McKinsey Quarterly] As economies around the world emerge from the current downturn, many executives understand that what follows probably won’t be just another turn of the business cycle. This new period will see a restructuring of the economic order. Some are calling it the “new normal,”1 marked by persistent uncertainty, tighter credit, lower consumer spending, and greater government involvement in business.

For executives who run major IT organizations, the implications are clear: they will have to make the IT function dramatically more productive, use IT more effectively to meet larger company goals, and embrace disruptive technologies that will shape the new economic terrain. Drawing upon our experience with clients, recent McKinsey surveys of executives, and a range of interviews with experts, we have analyzed what the new normal means for CIOs in Europe. While some of the forces impinging on them are specific to that region, many of our findings are applicable to IT leaders elsewhere as well.

Time to raise the CIO’s game

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Europe - final agreement on the amendments to the telecoms legislations

[ec] Late last night (at 0:45), the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers reached an agreement on the EU Telecoms Reform, after intense negotiations brokered by the European Commission. The reform, proposed by the Commission in November 2007, substantially strengthens competition and consumer rights on Europe's telecoms markets, facilitates high-speed internet broadband connections to all Europeans and establishes a European Body of Telecoms Regulators to complete the single market for telecoms networks and services. Following the endorsement of the reform package by an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament in May this year, only one subparagraph had remained controversial between Parliament and Council: the degree to which access to the internet should, and could, be protected by EU law, as well as the procedural and judicial safeguards for internet users. After further talks, in a conciliation committee made up of representatives of the 27 Member States and an equal number of representatives from Parliament, the negotiators of Parliament, Council and Commission agreed last night – by unanimity – on a new internet freedom provision that will substantially strengthen the rights of internet users. The new internet freedom provision will be accompanied by new measures to reinforce the neutral character of the internet in Europe. Following final votes in Parliament and Council in November, these reforms could come into force in early 2010.

Agreement on EU Telecoms Reform paves way for stronger consumer rights, an open internet, a single European telecoms market and high-speed internet connections for all citizens

UK - Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom sign final agreement to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK

[dtag] Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom today signed the final agreement to combine their UK operations, T-Mobile and Orange, into a 50:50 joint venture company. Now that the confirmatory due diligence has been completed, this binding agreement confirms the terms of the transaction announced on 8 September 2009.

Completion is conditional upon approval by the relevant authorities and remains expected in the first half of 2010 as previously indicated. The agreement is subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom and the Board of Directors of France Telecom. Timotheus Höttges, CFO of Deutsche Telekom, said: "This joint venture is based on the full commitment of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom to a long term partnership. The negotiations were conducted in a fair way on both sides and I am certain that this spirit of professionalism and partnership will shape the future of our joint venture. It will set new standards as the number one in the UK mobile market."

Gervais Pellissier, deputy CEO in charge of Group Finance & Information Systems, said: "The relative terms of the transaction as announced on 8 September were fully confirmed. I would like to stress the excellent cooperation between the teams of Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, which enabled us to deliver on the timing and process objectives which we set out in September. This is an important step towards our objective of establishing an excellent platform to deliver operational synergies and offer innovative and high quality services to our customers."

Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom sign final agreement to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK