Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pakistan - Etisalat to pay government for telco stake

[ame] Etisalat has denied the cancellation of its stake purchase in Pakistan Telecommunication Co, and said it is committed to paying $1.2bn to the Pakistani government, Al Bayan newspaper has reported. Etisalat had signed a $2.6bn agreement, of which $1.4bn was paid, in 2006 for the purchase of 26% of the company's shares and for the right to manage the telecom operator. 'The remaining amount of $1.2bn will be paid in installments over a period of four years and a half, on the condition that some obligations to Etisalat are met by the Pakistan side,' the firm said in statement cited by the paper.

Etisalat to pay Pakistan for telco stake

China - MIIT starts new round of testing of 4G

[jlm pacific epoch] TD-SCDMA equipment manufacturers including ZTE Corp., Huawei Technologies, Motorola and China Datang Corporation will start a new phase of TD-LTE (4G) equipment testing, China Business News reported citing a Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) official on December 28. The testing will measure basic functions of the manufacturers' 4G equipment, the report said.

MIIT Starts New Round 4G Testing

China Mobile - Has passed 5 million TD-SCDMA subscribers

[jlm pacific epoch] China Mobile has more than 5 million TD-SCDMA subscribers as at December 31, and offers 266 models of TD-SCDMA-enabled terminals, including 80 models of mobile phone handsets, reports. China Mobile has completed construction of the third phase of TD-SCDMA network, and now has more than 100,000 base stations, giving it coverage in over 70% of Chinese cities, reported December 31.

China Mobile had previously announced that by the end of November, its 3G users numbered around 2.98 million.

China Unicom's WCDMA-based 3G network now covers 335 cities, according to according to a separate report. The carrier is ready to start commercial operations of its second phase network in 50 cities in the next few days, the report said.

China Mobile TD-SCDMA Users Hit 5m

USA - AT&T Looking to Exit the Land Line Business

[internet news] AT&T told U.S. telecom regulators that it should set plans for phasing out older telephone networks if the government wants to make high-speed Internet access available across the country.

AT&T, the original U.S. phone operator, described older voice-based "circuit switched" telephone systems and service as "relics of a by-gone era" in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission dated December 21.

It said that the government's goal of 100 percent broadband Internet access is in reach only if resources are moved away from "plain-old telephone service", known in the industry as POTS and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Otherwise "Congress's goal of universal access to broadband will not be met in a timely or efficient manner if providers are forced to continue to invest in and to maintain two networks," AT&T said in the filing.

"Due to technological advances, changes in consumer preference, and market forces, the question is when, not if, POTS service and the PSTN over which it is provided will become obsolete," AT&T said.

More than 90 percent of the population has access to broadband, according to AT&T, the country's biggest operator with expected 2009 revenue of about $123 billion. It said that phone companies will continue to work to cover the rest of the country, but will need some encouragement from regulators.

AT&T was created in the late 19th century to build a communications network that would stretch across the United States, and became the dominant U.S. phone company.

It has gone through multiple changes since then, including a breakup in the 1980s, but remains the largest U.S. telephone company by revenue.

AT&T Looking to Exit the Land Line Business

Telefonica - buying Jajah could speed up mobile VoIP

[investors business daily] Telefonica's purchase of Internet calling startup Jajah likely will speed up big changes in Europe's mobile phone market, analysts say.

Spain-based Telefonica last week agreed to acquire Jajah, a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) provider, for $206 million. Initially, Telefonica plans to make Jajah's calling service available to customers of O2, its European wireless unit. Telefonica is also a big wireless carrier in Latin America.

Mountain View, Calif-based Jajah has about 25 million users, compared with VoIP leader Skype's 520 million.

Most Jajah and Skype users make free or low-cost international calls using personal computers, but Web calling on mobile phones moved forward in 2009, in part spurred by the launch of Google's Google Voice VoIP service in March.

Deutsche Telekom had owned a small stake in Jajah before Telefonica bought the whole company.

"Over time, more or less everyone will be using (VoIP) on (mobile) handsets," said Aapo Markkanen, an analyst at IHS Global Insight. He says Telefonica could offer its customers low-cost international calling via Jajah. He says VoIP would also make it possible for mobile phone users to talk with friends while sharing music, photos or other content at social-networking Web sites such as Facebook.

"The acquisition of Jajah seems to imply that Telefonica has concluded that the most rational approach to VoIP, rather than rejecting it, is to embrace it and start innovating new services based on it," Markkanen said.

Some European phone companies seem to be jumping on the mobile VoIP bandwagon faster than U.S. wireless firms, says U.K.-based research firm Informa Telecoms & Media.

In the U.K., Hutchison-owned carrier 3 lets customers make unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls for free, without incurring data charges. Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit began allowing mobile VoIP calls over its network in June, but charges for them.

The one pure-play VoIP firm traded in the U.S., Vonage, last week added mobile phones to its unlimited calling plan that covers some 60 countries, for a flat fee of $24.99. It's called Vonage World Mobile.

"Many European operators are reluctant to allow voice services to be cannibalized and are still blocking or charging extra for mobile VoIP on top of the data fee," says an Informa report.

In the U.S., Apple and AT&T ran into regulatory trouble last year over mobile VoIP policies. Apple pulled the Google Voice application from its iPhone app store, prompting the Federal Communications Commission to open a probe.

In October, AT&T shifted its position, saying it would let Skype, Google Voice and other VoIP applications run on its 3G network.

Consumers need data-ready 3G phones to use VoIP software. While analysts say mobile VoIP has the potential to disrupt the wireless industry, for now only 12% of phones used worldwide are 3G. The figure is higher in countries with many smart-phone users, such as the U.S.

Wireless companies say the quality of normal cell phone calls will be higher than VoIP calls, giving customers a reason to keep voice plans.

The emergence of 4G services, which are faster than today's highest-end 3G, is expected to promote VoIP calling. Analysts say U.S.-based Clearwire will start to offer mobile VoIP calling in 2010. Clearwire is building a 4G WiMax network.

Long-range, Telefonica could offer Jajah services on 4G LTE networks it plans to build, analysts say.

Telefonica's purchase of Jajah is just the latest deal involving VoIP companies. In September, EBay sold 65% of Skype to private equity investors for $1.9 billion. Skype charges for calls to regular phones but provides free computer-to-computer voice services.

In November, Google acquired Web calling startup Gizmo5 for a reported $30 million.

Analysts say wireless firms might partner with other mobile VoIP startups, such as Fring, Vyke and Freshtel Holdings.

Telefonica has dabbled in Web acquisitions, but not all have worked out. In 2000, its Terra Networks unit bought Web portal Lycos for $5.4 billion. In 2004, Terra sold Lycos for under $100 million.

Telefonica has done better in telecom deals. It bought U.K. wireless firm O2 for $31.5 billion in 2006, expanding its footprint in Europe.

While Telefonica has run up its debt, it's still being aggressive, says Markkanen. In November, Telefonica bought German Internet service provider Hansenet for $1.3 billion.

Telefonica Answering The Call For VoIP In Europe

China - 296 million mobile online searches made in 3Q of 2009

[digitimes] In the China market, there were 296 million online searches made from handsets, smartphones, PDAs and other types of hand-held devices, but not including notebooks and netbooks, during the third quarter of 2009, increasing by 8.9% on quarter and 127.7% on year, according to China-based consulting company Analysys International.

China market: 296 million mobile online searches made in 3Q09

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

USA - The virtual economy is set to make billions

[bbc] Virtual goods such as weapons or digital bottles of champagne traded in the US could be worth up to $5bn in the next five years, experts predict.

In Asia, sales are already around the $5bn mark and rapidly growing.

For many, virtual goods are one of the hottest trends in technology and are fuelling huge growth in the social gaming sector.

"This is just an exploding part of the gaming business right now, said venture capitalist Jeremy Liew.

"It is the most exciting area in gaming," he said.

Mr Liew, whose firm Lightspeed Venture Partners has invested $10m in virtual goods companies, said the rapid growth of the sector was unprecedented.

"We have seen companies go from nothing in the last 18-24 months to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue."

The US virtual economy is set to make billions

UK - BT threatens judicial review over spectrum policies

[zdnet uk] BT has said it may apply for a judicial review of government mobile broadband spectrum plans.

A BT spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that the company had sent a letter to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), objecting to proposals to make existing 3G licences indefinite, and to allow greater infrastructure sharing in rural areas.

The proposals, put forward by Independent Spectrum Broker Kip Meek in May, are designed to extend mobile broadband coverage.

"BT has major reservations around the wireless spectrum proposals from the Independent Spectrum Broker," the BT spokesperson said. "The proposal to extend current 3G licences indefinitely represents a gift of several billion pounds from the UK taxpayer to the mobile operators and is a barrier to competition and innovation in the mobile market."

The letter stated that should the government proposals go ahead in their current form, BT would seek a judicial review, as the company has "serious concerns" over the plans, BT's spokesperson said. "We are discussing our concerns with BIS and are hopeful that these will be addressed."

A BIS spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that it had extended a consultation on the Independent Spectrum Broker's proposals, and that the BIS would not want to prejudge the outcome of the consultation.

"We have received a letter from BT," the spokesperson said. "Our consultation over a proposed direction to Ofcom on spectrum matters is ongoing and BT, like any other interested party, is welcome to comment on the government's proposed plans."

Ofcom said in February that it would consult on proposals in Lord Carter's Digital Britain report designed to boost available spectrum and ensure universal broadband access.

BT may take legal action over gov't broadband plans

India - Experts differ over whether or not there is predatory pricing

[rediff] Even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has started investigating into the complaints of predatory pricing offered by some of the new operators, experts are divided over whether the current scenario actually resembles predatory pricing.

Mahesh Uppal, a telecom expert, said, "The term predatory pricing cannot apply here. Only players having a large chunk of the market can be accused of predatory pricing, and that too, if they offer their services below cost to make competitors unviable."

"The pricing offered by new players cannot be predatory as their market share and subscriber base is much lower," he added.

Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel had approached Trai some weeks ago asking the regulator to look into the 'predatory pricing' offered by new operators.

The 'rock bottom' tariffs were lower than the cost structure for some operators and their business model was unsustainable and needed to be inspected, Bharti had said. The new operators, however, said, "We are offering lower prices through our business model. We have worked out our economics well."

Following the Bharti complaint, Trai had asked some of the other prominent players, including Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, seeking details of various plans offered by them. Currently, tariff is under forbearance, leaving it to the market forces.

A senior Trai official said, "As of now, it would be early to say whether the pricing offered by mobile operators are predatory or not."

"Trai would look into the economics of all the tariff plans offered by the service providers, specifically the new players. We should ensure that the mobile consumers are getting a fair deal. On the other hand, we also need to see whether the telecom industry will sustain on this model, wherein prices have come down to a new low," the official added.

Almost in retaliation, the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, the association for CDMA operators, has accused Bharti Airtel of indulging in predatory pricing.

"We see instances of predatory pricing where large incumbent operators offer highly subsidised on-network (within the operators' own network) calling rates. A similar proposition by smaller players is not as attractive due to their limited subscriber base," Auspi secretary general S C Khanna said.

Romal Shetty, a telecom analyst with consultancy firm KPMG, said, "Both new and existing players are offering tariffs at a very low price.

"The pricing war was started by new operators as they wanted to grab more and more subscribers. But, this business model is not sustainable, and would impact the telecom industry in the long term."

Telecom: Experts differ over predatory pricing

Algeria - Orascom appeals USD 596m tax claim

[ame] Orascom Telecom, the largest mobile phone operator in the Middle East and Egypt's first multinational company, has filed an appeal with Algerian tax authorities for the $596m allegedly owed by its Algerian subsidiary, Orascom Telecom Algeria or 'Djezzy'. Algeria claims that during the 2005-2007 period, the mobile operator failed to keep correct tax records and must now pay back taxes; OT denies the claim, stating that it was exempt from taxes during the period in question.

Orascom appeals $596m tax claim

Africa - network expansion is being bankrolled by China

[cio] African governments are banking on renewed relations with China to spread communication networks into underserved and rural areas, but their use of condition-free Chinese loans for funding has raised concern in a continent rife with corruption and poor governance.

African governments are banking on renewed relations with China to spread communication networks into underserved and rural areas, but their use of condition-free Chinese loans for funding has raised concern in a continent rife with corruption and poor governance.

Chinese network gear vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE have swept African telecom markets with products priced lower than those of their Western rivals. Their gear has helped expand local mobile and fixed-line networks, but many contracts for the two vendors have been partly or wholly funded by low-interest loans from the Chinese government, analysts say. Those loans are given in Africa largely without conditions such as improved government transparency or protection of human rights, unlike loans from the World Bank or International Monetary Fund that usually have strings attached.

"The fact that a growing number of telecom companies have contracts with Huawei and ZTE is indicative of the fact that the two companies offer good financing arrangements," Mike Theuri, an analyst at Africa Telecoms, said via e-mail. Equipment from the companies is also reliable for its price, said Theuri.
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"When a cost-benefit analysis is performed, the Chinese vendors are likely to top their European counterparts," he said.

But China's use of loans with few strings attached "is a double-edged sword in the sense that in nations where corruption is condoned, it can easily lead to the fostering of greater corruption," Theuri said.

Business by Chinese companies in Africa has ramped up in recent years in sectors like minerals and energy as well as network gear. The increased business has come as China, a rising geopolitical power hoping to win friends abroad, has also started offering major aid and loan packages to African countries. Last month, at a meeting in Cairo, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged loans worth US$10 billion for African governments over three years.

The telecom industry is among the fastest growing in Africa and most of the funds are committed to expanding mobile infrastructure. Huawei and ZTE have both worked to tap that growth. ZTE, which earned one-fifth of its total revenue in Africa last year, aims to build its market share there to at least 30 percent, a company spokeswoman said.

Huawei and ZTE are supplying network gear and services in most sub-Saharan African countries for providers such as MTN, Safaricom and Orange (FTE). ZTE's deals have included the construction of an EV-DO network in Morocco and a WiMax network in Libya, which was billed as Africa's first and for which Huawei also supplied equipment. ZTE is eyeing populous countries like Nigeria and South Africa for more business, the company spokeswoman said.

Chinese Gear Boosts African Telecom Networks, Draws Fire

China - Mobile data market forecas to nearly double by 2013

[isuppli] The release of 3G licenses in China is spurring a wireless data boom, with national revenue from such services rising by 18.9 percent in 2009 and nearly doubling from 2008 to 2013, according to iSuppli Corp.

As the one-year anniversary of the issuance of 3G licenses in China approaches, wireless data revenue, including both messaging and non-messaging service, is set to rise to $19.3 billion in 2009, up from $16.3 billion in 2008. By 2013, data revenue will surge to $31.5 billion, increasing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.1 percent from $16.3 billion in 2008.

Non-messaging revenue soon will exceed messaging revenue, as carriers expand mainstream adoption of 3G services. Non-messaging service revenue will reach $20 billion in 2013, up by a factor of three from $6.8 billion in 2008.

The rapid growth of China’s data services is being enabled by the monumental spending by China’s wireless carriers on mobile infrastructure equipment. The carriers this year will spend about $6.3 billion on mobile infrastructure equipment, up 28 percent from 2008. This will represent a near-term peak, with spending in 2010 declining by 2.4 percent to $6.1 billion. During the next five years, carrier spending will continue to decline, but will remain at a high level of more than $5.5 billion annually.

Although China Mobile achieved a strong financial performance this year, its subscriber growth rate will decline. This is because China Telecom and China Unicom will place greater competitive pressure on China Mobile, especially in non-messaging services, by leveraging their network and handset advantages.

In fact, China Mobile already has lost substantial market share in terms of new subscribers. The company’s share of wireless subscribers dropped to 58.2 percent in September, down from 78 percent in January.

iSuppli forecasts mobile subscribers at China Telecom and China Unicom will exceed 100 million and 200 million respectively in 2013. By leveraging their advantages in networks and handset products, China Telecom and China Unicom will place even more pressure on China Mobile. iSuppli expects that China Mobile’s incremental market share will be stable at around 60 percent for the next few years.

Some financial institutions have expressed concern about the cash flow of China Telecom and China Unicom. They doubt that these two firms will have sufficient capital to support their aggressive handset subsidy policies.

However, iSuppli sees the situation differently.

China Telecom and China Unicom will continue to subsidize mobile phones in order to provide attractive consumer prices. And both carriers will be supported by their parent companies, keeping them solvent. iSuppli also believes China Telecom and China Unicom will focus on the long term return to gain more market share rather than on short term profit.

Because of these factors, iSuppli remains optimistic about the future development of China Unicom and China Telecom.

China’s Wireless Data Service Market to Nearly Double by 2013
see also China’s Mobile Infrastructure Market in 2009: Unique Global Growth Center

Telecom - after the downturn, telecoms markets are to grow in 2010

[zawya] After witnessing one of the worst downturns in 2009, the telecom markets will grow, albeit at a slower pace in 2010, a UK-based business intelligence provider said.

The growth of telecom markets in 2010 will be propelled by the sale of smartphones, Informa Telecoms and Media (ITM) said in its "Industry Outlook" for 2010.

The year 2010 will also force a rethink of the term "emerging markets" as mobile phone penetration in many such markets would match the figures of developed economies, ITM analysts said.

"For only the second time in history, the mobile handsets market is forecast to downturn in 2009. ITM predicts a year-on-year drop of 10 per cent in the sales of new mobile handsets to 1.07 billion in 2009 with a number of major vendors also predicting as much. Growth is expected to pick up in 2010, albeit at a slower rate than previously expected," ITM said in the report.

Handset sales will again hit 2008 levels in 2011, the analysts said. "Informa Telecoms believes that the handset sales will eventually return to 2008 levels in 2011, when year-on year growth of just under eight per cent is expected," they added.

In spite of the industry downturn, smartphones sales will continue to grow and are on track to pass sales of 200 million units in 2009, meaning that one in five of all handsets sold will have been a smart phone.

The sale of smartphones will rise 36 per cent in 2010 and such phones will occupy 27 per cent of the total handsets sold in 2010, the report said. "Sales of these devices will reach 33.5 per cent year-on-year growth in 2009 and 36 per cent in 2010. While smartphones will account for 27 per cent of total handsets sold in 2010, the value of this segment will exceed 55 per cent of the total mobile handsets market value."

ITM expects that in 2010, profits from smartphones will represent an impressive 64 per cent of the total mobile handsets markets profits.

A reduction in cost and rise in multimedia capabilities of smartphones will drive their sales, ITM said.

Deteriorating economic conditions caused by the global downturn, falling consumer index leading to end- users keeping their devices for six to nine months longer than in the past thus elongating the replacement cycle and mobile operators reducing subscription acquisition costs were cited as the prime reasons for a lackluster performance of the telecom sector in 2009.

ITM?said the impact of fall in the device markets will be more pronounced in the developed markets. This is because sales generated from replacement markets in these countries are a much larger proportion of total sales than in developing markets. All major countries and regions are forecast to see declines in device sales in 2009, with the exception of India. Major emerging markets long the engine of growth for device sales and subscription counts, are not expected to escape fall in sales, it said.

Handset sales in Asia Pacific, the world's largest market, will fall 7.2 per cent to $470 million (Dh1.72 billion) in 2009, accounting for 43.8 per cent of the global total. Although the Chinese market falls by 7.2 per cent in the year, the Indian market will continue growing; in 2009, India is set to overtake China as the country with the world's largest handset sales market, ITM said.

Europe is set to see the biggest fall in 2009 of 12.8 per cent with Latin America close behind with an expected drop of 12.7 per cent, ITM analysts said.

Device sales figures are expected to return to growth in 2010, with a worldwide average of 3.3 per cent. In 2010, North America is set to see the biggest year-on-year growth of 4.3 per cent ITM pointed out.

Telecom to grow, but at steadier pace in 2010

Bangladesh - Bharti Airtel to acquire control of Warid Telecom

[economic times] Telecom major Bharti Airtel is close to acquiring a majority stake in the Bangladesh operations of Warid Telecom, with officials of both companies meeting key officials to wrap up the deal, a newspaper report said on Wednesday.

The Indian company is looking at buying a 70 per cent stake in Warid and has received a favourable response from the Bangladeshi firm's promoters -- the Abu Dhabi group -- who are here to thrash out the deal.

"A memorandum of understanding (MoU) could be signed between the companies during the visit," the daily quoted a Warid Telecom official as saying.

The MoU is the primary step before signing the final deal between the companies to share confidential business strategies.

In a related development, chairman and group chief executive officer of Bharti Enterprises Sunil Bharti Mittal called on Bangladesh telecom minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju at his office Tuesday.

Both Bharti Airtel and the Abu Dhabi group, which has diversified business interests in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Uganda, Congo and West Asia, have sought the approval of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the country's sectoral watchdog.

BTRC has asked for some details from the companies such as Airtel's investment plans in Bangladesh, and the approvals of the two companies' board of directors.

BTRC also asked the two firms to clarify how Warid Telecom would clear its liabilities, including bank loans, after the stake sale.

"BTRC has asked the companies to submit these documents before signing the deal," said The Daily Star quoting the commission chairman Zia Ahmed.

Bharti Airtel has placed a $300-million initial investment plan to BTRC, which will be implemented after signing the deal.

According to The Daily Star, Bangladesh telecom secretary Sunil Kanti Bosh has confirmed that Airtel would invest in Bangladesh.

Bosh said the company wanted to develop the voice market in Bangladesh and planned to provide telecom services between that country and India at affordable rates.

SingTel, Vodafone and Etisalat have also approached Warid to form a partnership in Bangladesh.

Incidentally, another Indian telecom operator, Essar Group, acquired a majority share in Warid's operations in Uganda and Congo for $318 million.

Warid entered Bangladesh as its sixth mobile operator in May 2007 and has 2.79 million subscribers.

Bharti Airtel moves to close deal with Dhaka telecom firm

Enterprise mobility - Overspending by 15 per cent through to 2014

[newsfactor] Enterprises will overspend on wireless service costs by an average of 15 percent through 2014, according to Gartner. Implementing voice and data management can reduce costs, according to Aberdeen, which said it's not uncommon to find live cell phones tossed in a box. New plans are available and outsourcing management can be worthwhile.

Are you spending too much on your enterprise Relevant Products/Services wireless service? If you're like most large companies, the answer is an overwhelming yes.

About 80 percent of enterprises will overspend on wireless service costs by an average of 15 percent through 2014, according to Gartner. As mobility has grown among enterprises, Gartner said, costs have also grown. The good news is you can curb wireless costs if you understand contracts, data Relevant Products/Services usage, roaming and mobility management.

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

Managing Enterprise Wireless Costs Yields Big Savings

CIO - Challenges of containing costs in a recession

[newsfactor] The need to do more with constrained budgets was the top headache for CIOs in 2009, but telecom, Apple, Inc.'s iPhone, and Oracle Fusion also caused pain. Ignoring telecom inefficiencies can be costly, and CIOs strived for control. The iPhone explosion also was a problem, as was Oracle Fusion as Oracle melds multiple technologies.

If you ask a dozen CIOs what their top 10 headaches were in the past 12 months, they'd probably offer up a few dozen different answers. But there are a few headaches that seem common to CIOs no matter what industry or what part of the world they work in.

Beyond the ongoing Microsoft Relevant Products/Services Patch Tuesdays, keeping up with the latest technology standards, and the proliferation of diverse mobile gadgets, CIOs report headaches around the unexpected and newly encountered tasks that fell in their laps in 2009. The most common answer: Accomplishing more with a smaller budget.

"In a stagnant or shrinking economy -- which is what we were facing going into 2009 -- CIOs are frequently asked to accomplish technology delivery in the context of efficiency Relevant Products/Services but also budgetary limits or even shrinkage," said Laef Olson, CIO for RightNow Technologies, an on-demand customer Relevant Products/Services experience software developer in Bozeman, Mont., with customers like Electronic Arts, eBay and Virgin. "The headache comes when the business needs are pressing -- say executing on improving customer experience to retain existing customers -- but the budget is fixed."

Budgets, Telecom Among Top CIO Headaches in 2009

GSM - The encryption of mobile wireless calls has been cracked and the method published

[bbc] A German computer scientist has published details of the secret code used to protect the conversations of more than 4bn mobile phone users.

Karsten Nohl, working with other experts, has spent the past five months cracking the algorithm used to encrypt calls using GSM technology.

GSM is the most popular standard for mobile networks around the world.

The work could allow anyone - including criminals - to eavesdrop on private phone conversations.

Mr Nohl told the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin that the work showed that GSM security was "inadequate".

"We are trying to inform people about this widespread vulnerability," he told BBC News.

"We hope to create some additional pressure and demand from customers for better encryption."

The GSM Association (GSMA), which devised the algorithm and oversees development of the standard, said Mr Nohl's work would be "highly illegal" in the UK and many other countries.

"This isn't something that we take lightly at all," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Nohl told the BBC that he had consulted with lawyers before publication and believed the work was "legal".

Secret mobile phone codes cracked

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tanzania - Telecoms is helping drive the economy, growing 20 per cent

[tanzania daily news] The communication sector has emerged as a strong growth-driver of the economy for the year 2008/09.

According to the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Mr Mustafa Mkulo, the communication sector grew at 20.5 per cent during the period followed by the financial mediation with 11.9 per cent.

In his annual economic performance report to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released last month, Mr Mkullo said that the strong performance in communication sector was mainly explained by the increase in mobile phone subscribers and the attendant increase in sales of airtime.

He said the construction sector was the third with 10.5 per cent in the ranking.

He said that strong performance of financial intermediation mirrored the effect of the ongoing financial sector reforms, strong growth in credit to the private sector and increased competition in insurance services.

However, he noted that despite the good performance of the economy as a whole, a notable slow down of growth was observed in mining and quarrying sub-activities which dropped to 2.5 per cent from 10.7 per cent in 2007.

Tanzania economy grew by 7.4 per cent in 2008, slightly higher than the 7.1 per cent recorded in 2007, with the economy slowing toward the end of the year.

Tanzania:Communication Growth Records 20.5 Percent

Kenya - Grey market in handset sales to increase in 2010

[business daily] A challenging year lies ahead for mobile phone manufacturers as sales of grey market phones continue to increase, new research shows.

An acceleration in the grey market will drive worldwide mobile device sales to end users to 1.214 billion units, according to the latest outlook by research firm Gartner.

In September, Gartner had forecast sales to decline 3.7 per cent in 2009 but the firm now predicts sales in 2010 will show a 9 per cent increase from 2009.

Most new sales in the coming year will be in grey market models, the term used to describe the growing number of Chinese manufactured gadgets and phones brought into the country through unofficial channels.

"All manufacturers will have to compete with grey-market players as they expand into emerging markets, bringing a lower weighted average selling price (ASP). The grey market will affect Nokia's market share in 2010 the most," said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.

Local players, who were just relishing the gains made from a cut in value added tax charged on handsets implemented after the budget, say grey market phones continue to affect their sales.

The VAT reduction meant volumes of their phones imported from places like Dubai shrunk as there was no longer a vast price differences between local and foreign phone prices.

"The VAT removal has been beneficial as it means we can now compete with grey market on the pricing front as well as add value. Consumers can now get more value in the form of warranties and customer service for the same price," said Dorothy Ooko, Communications Manager at Nokia East Africa.

But the effects are yet to trickle down to consumer consciousness, as grey sales continue to top those made through official channels.

"Despite our market share rising over the last few months, we continue to battle grey sales. This is still a big challenge for us," said Patricia King'ori, GSM General Manager at Samsung East Africa.

According to data collected by Business Daily, grey market phones still command the lion's share of the market, with over 40 per cent of phones in the market coming from off-trade imports and Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE.

The remainder of the market is divided amongst Nokia, Samsung and LG, with Nokia claiming the largest market share.

"Although the grey market or 'white label' is not a new phenomenon and has been generated by Chinese device manufacturers who do not have a licence to sell and manufacture devices without a valid international mobile equipment identity (IMEI), today grey-market sales are no longer limited to China," said Ms Milanesi.

In 2009, overall market economic conditions impacted disposable income and extended replacement cycles in mature markets from 12 to 18 months.

Due to the harsher economic climate, more people are hanging onto their phones for longer, but Gartner expects replacement cycles globally to return to normal within two years, with the introduction of more aggressively priced phones.

Gartner also expects second-hand sales in emerging markets and SIM - only sales globally to stabilise in 2010 and to start decreasing from 2011 as consumers feel less macro-economic pressure.

Fewer sales of smart phones - currently the fastest growing segment - will mean ASPs for enhanced phones and smartphones to decline by 3 per cent in 2010.

Smart phone volumes represent 14 per cent of total mobile devices sales in 2009, growing by 23.6 per cent from 2008 and to 38 per cent by 2013.

"Despite a projected return to growth in 2010, the times of 20 per cent growth are certainly over as mature markets are saturated and most growth will come from emerging markets," said Ms Milanesi.

"Pressure will remain for manufacturers to sustain and grow margins as ASP continues to decline. Software, services and content will be much bigger drivers than hardware, pushing traditional mobile phone vendors to reinvent themselves to remain at the top of their game."

Kenya:Grey Market Phone Sales to Increase Next Year

Uganda Telecom cuts call rates by seventy per cent

[new vision] UGANDA telecom has discounted its tariffs by 70% for the Christmas holiday that will see its subscribers pay as little as sh100 per minute or sh3 per second until January 15.

According to a press statement said the discount underscored the company's appreciation for the support rendered by its customers in 2009.

"Communication being integral to the key bonds that keep people happy together, Uganda telecom wants its subscribers to facilitate easy connection and reunions of family members, friends and loved ones in the long festive season.

"We are in that time of the year when every one wants to lay-back and cool off the heat of the year's labours.

"People will need to connect and speak to long lost friends, family members and all manner of acquaintances.

"It is a time of boundless delight and we want to do our part to ensure this once-in-a-year party time is enjoyed to the full.

"With our unparalleled tariff discount, all our customers will be able to talk to whoever they want to talk to," explained Mark Kaheru, the communications manager.

Uganda Telecom Cuts Call Rates By Seventy Percent

Enterprise mobility - accelerates again - a set of predictions

[cio] Android phones will make significant headway in the smartphone market and 4G service providers will zero in on apps in 2010.

Their new report is called "Predictions 2010: Enterprise Mobility Accelerates Again," and here's a summary of their ideas:

1. The top tier mobile operators will be ramping up 4G network investments, and looking to business and vertical applications as high value offerings for users who appreciate much faster download speeds and reduced latencies.

2. Machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and services will be available from most top tier mobile carriers. And they're expecting a big uptick in business, fueled by the spread of IP-based wired and wireless networks into whole new areas. One big one: so-called green IT and the overall trend toward "smart grids" to manage and reduce electric demand. Consumer M2M applications will cover remote monitoring of homes, appliances, automobiles; enterprise M2M will take off in focused vertical markets like healthcare, energy, transportation.

3. Mobile devices based on the Google Android operating systems will take 10% of the mobile device market in 2010. According to Forrester that uptake will be due to "heavy industry support" from Qualcomm (QCOM), Verizon (VZ), Motorola (MOT) and Google (GOOG), as well as the growing embrace of the open OS by developers.

4. About 15% of non-mobile employees in 2010 will pressure IT to support their personal mobile devices for work activities, compared to 10% currently, according to Forrester. Smartphone-class devices are becoming more available, affordable and widely purchased, and their users want easy access to easy-to-use email, calendars, and corporate portals. Will IT accommodate the trend or fight it?

5. Mobile "app stores" will become a key software distribution channel for small-medium businesses, in addition to consumers. If permitted, smartphone users with app store access will be searching, buying, downloading and using a growing wealth of tools like expense management, staff approval and other productivity applications.

6. To cost-effectively manage this growth in mobile users, devices, and data, IT will look to emerging cloud-based mobility services. Rather than creating in-house device management, deployments, end-user support and security management, IT will look to a new breed of third-party managed services for these functions. A related trend: cloud services that reach deeper into the enterprise to deliver information on demand to smartphones, and coordinate the user's identity and information across several devices and applications.

7. Without any specifics, Forrester expects enterprise mobility vendors, especially application vendors, to continue merging or going out of business. Service providers and systems integrators will invest more in mobility solutions for vertical markets.

Forrester: Google Android Smartphones to Take 10% of Market in 2010

Pakistan - Etisalat has a dispute with Govt over USD 1 billion payment for stake in PTCL

[zawya] Etisalat has become embroiled in a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) payment dispute with the Pakistan government over its 2006 purchase of a stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL), the country's largest telecoms operator.

Etisalat agreed to pay $2.6bn to the government in instalments for a 26 per cent stake in PTCL in January 2006. But it has withheld payments for more than a year because of a dispute over the ownership of several properties in Pakistan that were part of the deal.

"Transfer of land is part of the contract. It says if it doesn't happen we can stop the payments," said Mohammed Omran, the chairman of the UAE's largest telecoms operator.

Mr Omran declined to confirm the number of properties in dispute.

"We have estimates but we don't want to discuss specific numbers outside for contractual reasons," he said. "I can tell you the properties are in main cities and very valuable."

A senior Pakistan government official who declined to be named said that the government was owed close to $1bn and had not received any payments for more than a year.

Senior Etisalat officials met Yousaf Raza Gilani, the prime minister of Pakistan, in Islamabad this month to seek a resolution to the dispute.

"We've informed the government. They are fully aware of the situation," Mr Omran said.

A committee that is led by Waqar Ahmed Khan, the Pakistani minister for privatisation, and includes two other federal ministers has been established to negotiate with Etisalat

"The Pakistani premier has assured the Etisalat delegation of his full support, but at the same time he has expressed concern over the payments owed to Pakistan's government," Mr Khan said.

"We will do all we can to assist Etisalat but we want this issue resolved and cash transferred to the exchequer as soon as possible." Mr Khan added that formal negotiations would start "within days".

Mr Omran said in April that Etisalat was considering plans to raise its shareholding in the Pakistani operator by another 25 per cent, giving it a controlling stake.

Etisalat hopes to boost its customer base in the country by expanding into rural areas, where most of Pakistan's population of 170 million lives. It also hopes to bid for a coming 3G licence in the country.

"There are a lot of opportunities with PTCL," said Irfan Ellam, a telecoms analyst at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

"PTCL, when Etisalat bought its stake, was overstaffed but things changed after they gave voluntary redundancies to reduce their cost base. The revenue line has been impacted by the competition but it's still a very good growth story."

Etisalat has recently stepped up its involvement on the subcontinent. This month, it became the controlling stakeholder in its Indian subsidiary, Etisalat DB, with an additional investment of 3.8bn Indian rupees (Dh298.4 million). It also bought the Sri Lankan operator Tigo for $155m in October.

Mr Omran said his company's future investments in Pakistan would hinge on a satisfactory resolution to its existing disputes.

"We have informed the Pakistan government that we are interested in the next licence and are willing to work with them on a majority stake," he said. "But we need to resolve the issues before we could think of more investments."

PTCL is Pakistan's third-largest mobile operator, with more than 20 million mobile subscribers, and also offers broadband and landline services. But increased competition within the market has affected its earnings.

The company reported third-quarter revenues of 14.5bn Pakistani rupees (Dh632.6m), a decrease of 13 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.

Etisalat has Pakistan on hold

Top Ten for Government 2.0 in 2009


10. European Declaration on E-Government (C-)
9. Barcamps and Gov 2.0 Conferences (C)
8. U.S: Open Government DIrective (C+)
7. UK G-Cloud Strategy (B-)
6. British Smarter Government Report (B-)
5. U.S. Federal Cloud Computing Strategy (B)
4. GovLoop (A-)
3. Obama’s Technology Team (A-)
2. Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce (A)
1. The Unsung Heroes: Government Employees (A+)

A Year in Review: Top Ten for Government 2.0 in 2009

India - IT services market forecast to rise to USD 13 billion

[rediff] The domestic IT services market in the country is estimated to more than double to $12.8 billion in 2013, a study said.

According to a report by IT research firm Springboard Research, the domestic IT services market is estimated to grow from $5.7 billion in 2008 to $12.8 billion in 2013, growing at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.6 per cent.

The report added that the vertical would be heavily dominated by infrastructure services, which are expected to reach $7.2 billion in 2013, while applications services, with a CAGR of 19.6 per cent would be the fastest growing segment.

"The Indian domestic IT Services market is at par with international levels in terms of average gross margin and provides immense opportunity to the vendors," Springboard Research Senior Research Analyst (Services) Sudip Saha said.

However, to meet high consumer expectations, vendors need to strategies around services delivery by implementing efficient processes, reusable tools and templates and replaceable models, he added.

Services and Insurance (BFSI) leads the Indian IT services market with 21.5 per cent market share, followed by the public sector (including education) and telecom industry. However, energy and utilities, followed by healthcare remain the fastest growing vertical.

"With industries such as public sector, healthcare, energy and utilities, and transportation and logistics stepping up their IT spending, the appeal for the Indian domestic market has increased tremendously and is drawing the attention of domestic and MNC IT Service Providers," Springboard Research Vice-President (Services Research) Phil Hassey said.

The key challenge remains the disability to convert the potential demand into successful client engagement," Hassey added.

India's IT services market to double by 2013

Mobile - Augmented reality is set to explode on handsets

[bbc] Virtual Reality has been a mainstay of sci-fi for decades but 2010 could see a pared-down version become mainstream.

Augmented reality (AR) has had a quiet launch on mobile handsets but it set to explode next year, experts say.

AR is a technology that allows data from the web to be overlaid on a view of the physical world.

Although a relatively small sector at the moment, analyst firm Juniper Research predicts that AR will generate incomes of $732m (£653m) by 2014.

AR allows mobile operators to combine the increasing functionality of smartphones, such as GPS, video and accelerometers, with the increasingly available number of location-based apps.

Already mobile phones use location technology to help people find their way around, such as an iPhone app developed by UK firm Acrossair to help people find their nearest tube station.

Mobiles offer new view of reality

Netbooks - squeezed in the market by more powerful laptops

[internet news] Netbooks, those ultralight, basic notebooks that can easily fit in a backpack and perform basic computing tasks, doubled in unit sales and saw a 72 percent jump in dollar sales over 2008 figures, according to a report released today by DisplaySearch, a subsidiary of NPD Group.

DisplaySearch puts 2009 netbook revenues at $11.4 billion, a 72 percent jump from 2008's $6.65 billion, while units shipped grew even faster. This year, DisplaySearch projects 33.3 million units were sold, 103 percent better than the 16.4 million sold in 2008. That's close to ABI Research's earlier projection of 35 million sold. The gap between units and dollars reflects pricing pressure due to increased competition.

Not surprisingly, this came at the expense of laptops. Notebook sales as a whole rose only five percent this year, and that comes from lumping in netbooks with other groups. Ultraportable sales fell 23 percent in 2009, regular notebooks were down 13 percent, and desktop replacement notebooks fell 12 percent.

"To a degree, consumers bought netbooks as cheaper alternatives to notebooks," said John Jacobs, director of notebook research at DisplaySearch. "I wouldn't say they made up the majority of sales, though. I would say there are people saying I got a desktop, I want a laptop but I don't want to spend a lot."

But it looks like change is afoot for the coming year. For 2010, DisplaySearch projects notebook sales to accelerate to 16 percent year-over-year growth while netbooks slow to just 19 percent growth.

The largest growth segment will be desktop replacement PCs, which the company projects will jump 21 percent year-over-year in 2010. This will likely come from replacement of aging systems.

Jacobs said netbooks will slow due to a combination of factors: saturation, the uptick in notebooks, and being squeezed on both sides, by notebooks on the higher end and smart phones on the low end. People buying netbooks for the most part bought them as second or third PCs, so that market has matured quickly.

"Those folks buying netbooks instead of notebooks will return to their former buying behaviors. The evidence we have is a lot of people are buying these as secondary devices. So the number of people buying these as an alternative is pretty low," he said. "I think a fair number of consumers will pick a laptop over a netbook."

Ultra-portable notebook PCs are expected to show strong growth thanks to new 11.6-inch and 12.0-inch products built on ultra low voltage (ULV) platforms and with aggressive, sub-$500 average selling prices. These will put the squeeze on netbooks on the high end.

The low prices of netbooks makes them appealing as secondary PCs and that is not likely to change, at least in mature markets like the U.S., DisplaySearch notes. The company also thinks sales will start to grow in emerging markets and become more attractive to wireless service providers that hope to add to their revenue by offering subsidized mini-notes with data plan contracts.

Netbook Sales to Cool Off in 2010?

USA - Groups oppose Google's acquisition of AdMob

[reuters] Two advocacy groups asked U.S. antitrust regulators on Monday to block Google's purchase of AdMob, a provider of advertising services for mobile phones, on antitrust grounds and to address privacy issues raised by the deal.

Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy organization, and the Center for Digital Democracy, an advocate of open access to the Internet, said in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission that the proposed deal would "substantially lessen competition in the increasingly important mobile advertising market."

The groups also said the deal created privacy concerns, which are not normally considered in antitrust analyses.

"Google amasses a gold mine of data by tracking consumers' behavior as they use its search engine and other online services. Combining this information with information collected by AdMob would give Google a massive amount of consumer data to exploit for its benefit," said the emailed letter, which was addressed to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

Advocacy groups urge FTC to bar Google-AdMob deal

USA - A Nielsen review of mobile usage makes Apple and Google the winners

[internet news] Apple's iPhone 3G is the most-used individual mobile device in the U.S., according to new figures from Nielsen. The report covered U.S. users over the period of January through October of 2009.

Google headed Nielsen's list of top 10 Web sites accessed by mobile devices.

The iPhone 3G lead the list of top 10 mobile phones in use with a 4 percent share, followed closely by Research in Motion's BlackBerry 8300 series with 3.7 percent of the market. RIM's BlackBerry Storm 9530 also snared 1.4 percent of the market, while the 8100 series Perl snagged 1.2 percent.

iPhone Reigns in Mobile Use - Nielsen examines the year in mobile activity -- and finds one name stands out
see also Nielsen blog on top mobile sites and brands

Monday, December 28, 2009

UK - disconnecting filesharers to cost STG 500millions to be met by consumers

[the times] Proposals to suspend the internet connections of those who repeatedly share music and films online will leave consumers with a bill for £500 million, ministers have admitted.

The Digital Economy Bill would force internet service providers (ISPs) to send warning letters to anyone caught swapping copyright material illegally, and to suspend or slow the connections of those who refused to stop. ISPs say that such interference with their customers’ connections would add £25 a year to a broadband subscription.

Ministers have not estimated the cost of the measures but say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their internet connections. Impact assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the film and music industries over the next ten years, as well as £350 million for the Government in extra VAT.

ISPs have called on the content industries to lessen the burden on broadband consumers by contributing to the costs. Charles Dunstone, chief executive of Carphone Warehouse, whose subsidiary TalkTalk is the biggest consumer provider of broadband, said: “Broadband consumers shouldn’t have to bail out the music industry. If they really think it’s worth spending vast sums of money on these measures then they should be footing the bill; not the consumer.”

Broadband consumers to foot £500m bill to tackle online piracy

France - regulator wanrs SFR and Orange they must meet their coverage requirements

[total telecom] Telcos had not reached required coverage standards by 21 August, according to French regulator.

French telecommunications regulator Arcep Wednesday said it has warned the mobile operators of France Telecom and Vivendi SA they must respect their obligations in terms of third-generation mobile coverage.

The 3G coverage of France Telecom's Orange and Vivendi's SFR as of Aug. 21 didn't meet the commitments made at the time of tenders for 3G licenses, Arcep said.

Orange France's 3G network covered 84% of the population and SFR's covered 74% Aug. 21, Arcep said.

Click here to find out more!The regulator noted that on Dec. 1 Orange France had improved its coverage to 87% of the population and SFR to 81% of the population.

However, Orange France must continue to improve coverage to reach 91% of the population by the end of 2010 and 98% by the end of 2011, Arcep said.

Arcep insists Orange, SFR must meet 3G obligations

UK - Mobile television viewing matches conventional patterns

[the guardian] The technology may have changed, but tech-savvy consumers still watch their favourite TV shows on mobile phones at the same times as they used to watch TV, with a healthy dose taking the BBC iPlayer to bed at weekends.

The BBC, which has provided a revealing snapshot into how consumers are using BBC iPlayer on their mobiles to watch TV, found that peak time viewing is about 9.30pm.

The prime time period for evening mobile viewing runs from about 7.30pm to 11pm across the week, a similar pattern to the viewing habits of people watching on a television. The BBC is keen to learn more about the trend and is contemplating research into the pattern. The corporation also found that mobile TV watching is lower on Friday and Saturday evenings when the younger people are likely to be out socialising.

Weekend mornings, when users are having a lie-in, have also proved to be a hit for the iPlayer on mobiles with a significant bump in viewing between 7am and 10am. The BBC said that, overall, Sunday is the most popular day for watching catch-up TV on mobiles.

Mobile viewers watching favourite TV shows in prime time - BBC iPlayer figures provide revealing snapshot

Survey: Enterprises will keep an eye on billing-services costs

[smartbrief] Cost-conscious large businesses will make a major effort this year to reduce telecom expenses by keeping closer track of their bills and simplifying back-office payment procedures, according to a survey of CEOs and top tech officers conducted by Telesoft, a provider of expense-management tools. Of those surveyed, 35% said they intended to pare telecom spending next year, compared with 16% who plan to increase their budgets.

Survey: Enterprises will keep an eye on billing-services costs
see also Light Reading

WiMAX faces an LTE broadband crunch

[tgdaily] The WiMAX standard for fixed wireless access is under increasing pressure from other broadband technologies and late deployments are casting doubt on whether it will end out to be a winner in the race.

According to Future Horizons in its December report to its clients, mobile radio technologies including WDA-HSDPA, LTE, CDMA EVDO, IEEE802.20 and improved wireless LANs including IEEE802.11n for buildings will give WiMAx a run for its money.

But says chief analyst Malcolm Penn, WiMAX is being considered as a broadband data component of 4G mobile radio. He said: "The idea is to make an interim solution using 3G plus WiMAX. This may persuade operators to move to WiMAX rather than to an expensive LTE or 4G solution in one step."

He said that while there is WiMAX roll out in South Korea, India, and the Middle East, "there has been delay following delay in the USA. The last but one delay was instrumental in the US Spring/Clearwite partnership breakup."

British implementations such as the PIPE/Freedom4 rollout is limited by very sparse coverage and there are also worries about too little spectrum available in the rest of Europe.

This leaves a gap that other technologies may well fill. "Deployments of HSDPA are well underway and it looks like LTE will be following closely on its heels during 2010."

WiMAX, however, "is not yet dead". Future Horizons anticipates it will grow through the next five years, although the next 18 months will test its viability.

WiMAX faces an LTE broadband crunch

Switzerland - Competition authority to investigate Orange/Sunrise merger

[wsj] Switzerland's competition body said Monday it will probe the planned merger of Danish telecommunications provider TDC A/S' (TDC.KO) and France Telecom's (FTE) Swiss operations.

Swiss Competition Body Looks At Orange,Sunrise Merger

Top Ten Mobile Media Trends for 2010

[prnewswire] The year 2009 was a turbulent one for the global economy. However, the mobile industry has weathered the storm remarkably well, as MEF's quarterly Business Confidence Index (BCI) has shown. In the last BCI, the global mobile media industry predicted growth of 33% in the next year; although MEF believes that the industry has the potential to beat this projection.

This time last year, MEF made a number of predictions that came to fruition in 2009. It predicted that mobile applications would emerge as a content category in their own right and with more than 24 application stores now launched and several billion apps downloaded this has clearly been realised. MEF also predicted the proliferation of touch screen devices would drive discoverability and content usage which is self-evident with seemingly every OEM producing a touch-screen device and strong consumer demand for the interactive functionality this interface provides.

Such a creative and richly diverse industry will continue to deliver new and exciting challenges and opportunities. With MEF's previous success in anticipating, defining and addressing these key issues, we share here our forecast of top trends in mobile media for 2010.

MEF's Top 10 Mobile Media Trends for 2010:

1. Fragmentation and variance amongst handsets and now application stores will continue to plague the industry, however the growth of applications on the Android platform will close the gap on Apple's App Store
2. Operator enabling services will start to be widely deployed, facilitating the growth of rich media content that is simpler, faster and offers a better user experience
3. Media publishers will start to experiment with micro-payments, subscription service models and alternative payment methods which challenge the operators' dominance, with Rupert Murdoch's decision to charge for online media content highlighting an already fierce debate
4. Books will emerge as a new and popular content category for smartphones
5. Technology innovation will continue, with content developers experimenting with 3D mobile video viewers and augmented reality for mobile
6. The emerging risk of illicit charging by in-app billing will be met by firm regulatory action
7. Significant tightening of premium rate regulation in the Atlantic region will spread across the world
8. 2010 will be the year of multiplatform dual-delivery of content including music, video and games, across mobile phones, TVs and PCs
9. The growing consumer demand for data-heavy services will put greater pressure on networks, with flat rate data tariffs increasingly subjected to stringent download limits
10. Complexity, confusion and ambiguity in the application of rights to the mobile platform will be addressed seriously in 2010

MEF Releases its Top Ten Mobile Media Trends for 2010
see also Mobile Entertainment Forum

40G/100G Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey from Infonetics

[marketwire] As part of its Continuous Research Service (CRS) series of service provider surveys, Infonetics Research this week published 40G/100G Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey.

Infonetics analysts Michael Howard and Andrew Schmitt surveyed telecom operators that represent 26% of the world's telecom capital expenditures and 25% of the world's telecom revenue about:

-- Their plans for deploying 40G and 100G technology
-- The applications they are targeting for this technology
-- The pricing inflection points that will result in adoption of higher speed technology

"The most notable feedback was the widespread interest in deploying 40G and 100G once cost-per-bit improvements of only 20% are reached, because the network simplification these technologies offer is worth the price. The widely accepted 'four times the capacity at two-and-a-half-times the cost of the previous generation' maxim isn't reflected in carrier responses here. Moving from 10G to 40G/100G is a different story, though; 10G prices are so low now that it will remain a tough opponent for some time," notes Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.

"Router manufacturers will be happy to know that 83% of the service providers we surveyed plan to use 40G for router-to-WDM connections by 2012, and 84% will do the same for 100G at some point," adds Michael Howard, Infonetics Research's co-founder and principal analyst for carrier and data center networks.

All of Infonetics' survey respondent operators have deployed optical transport networks and have either deployed or evaluated 40G and 100G optical transport equipment, and all survey respondents are knowledgeable purchase decision-makers for optical networking equipment.

The service providers participating in the survey are a mix of incumbent (58%), competitive (25%) and wireless (17%) operators; 50% are based in North America, 25% in EMEA, and 25% in Asia Pacific.

Infonetics Research: 40G vs. 100G optical technology battle will be decided by cost; 10G remains tough competitor

Top Digital Trends for 2010

[adweek] As a rough 2009 draws to a close, the digital marketing world is looking ahead to 2010, hoping to deliver stronger growth in the sector, which is one of the few bright spots in the media world. What lies ahead? We identified 10 trends that are sure to make waves in 2010.

1. Content at Scale.
2. The End of the Digital Agency.
3. Social Gaming.
4. Demand-Side Platforms.
5. Engagement Pricing.
6. Augmented Reality Grows Up.
7. Social Media Morphs into Digital.
8. Privacy Wars.
9. Data Gets Creative.
10. The Year of Mobile, Finally.

Top Digital Trends for 2010
The drive for content at scale ranks among the developments set to make waves

Sunday, December 27, 2009

UK - Britons are currently enjoying some of the lowest broadband prices in the world

[compare & save] Britons are currently enjoying some of the lowest broadband prices in the world, according to a new report released today.

Communications regulator Ofcom revealed that the UK offers the cheapest single-service broadband compared to providers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US.

The pricing analysis also suggested that a typical 'family' basket of fixed-line phone, mobile phone, broadband and subscription TV costs £102 per month in the UK, which is 28% lower than its nearest rival, Italy.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards commented: "The report shows that UK consumers have benefited from competition in the form of lower prices.

"Innovation means that the UK is well placed in the take-up and availability of digital services."

In addition, the report noted that the lowest-priced broadband offerings in the UK had become 14% cheaper in July 2009 when compared with 12 months earlier.

Ofcom also revealed that, over the five years to 2008, the UK witnessed the second-largest growth in broadband lines (23 connections per 100 people) among the 12 countries included in the pricing analysis.

Last week, chancellor Alistair Darling included a 50p-per-month broadband tax in his Pre-Budget Report.

Britons receiving competitive broadband prices

Broadband - UK came 21 out of 20 in an OECD study after Spain, Portugal and Greece

[broadband finder] The UK comes 21st for broadband speeds in a list of 30 countries recently studied by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development - so getting the best internet deal on the market could be a wiser choice than ever.

According to the data, the UK ranks below fellow European nations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece.

Japan and Korea took the top spots for fibre broadband, while regions such as the US, Norway, Denmark and Sweden are all making progress with this technology.

Overall broadband penetration levels saw the UK perform a little better in the table, placing it at number 13. It was also found that a majority of consumers in the country connect to broadband using a DSL line, as opposed to fibre.

The BBC reported on the study and followed up on the ideas for how the UK is planning to roll out super-fast broadband and make it widely accessible.

While BT intends to offer varying fibre network technology to about two-fifths of consumers, Virgin Media's cable supply could reach half of the homes in Britain.

Alistair Darling's Pre-Budget Report outlined a general plan for the development of next-generation broadband last week.

The chancellor of the exchequer said the aim is for 90 per cent of the population to have access to super-fast broadband by 2017. Funding for this is intended to come from a 50p monthly levy placed on UK landline users.

UK ranked 21st out of 30 for broadband speed

Australia - Internet industry argues competition at infrastructure is essential for aggressive broadband pricing

[it wire] The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has released its ninth broadband index saying it shows that competition at the infrastructure level is essential to aggressive broadband pricing.

This, IIA says, suggests that price regulation of the NBN will be critical given its natural monopoly characteristics. According to the report, prepared for IIA by Venture Consulting, "Overall, our analysis of the Australian broadband market suggests that where infrastructure competition exists, as in ADSL2+ and wireless broadband, service providers will more aggressively price their offerings, driving down the access price for consumers. However, in the case of limited infrastructure competition such as ADSL, broadband access price remains high for consumers."

According to the study, high speed (17Mbps+) broadband has experienced significant competition due to continued decline in the price of the unbundled local loop and easier installation of DSLAMs, which has resulted in a proliferation of ADSL2+ service providers in high population density areas.

"Not surprisingly, the highest decline in pricing, 32 percent, has been experienced in the ultra-high usage segment (20 GB/month)," the report says. "Wireless broadband has experienced tremendous declines in pricing...driven by the continued strong competition in wireless broadband market and proliferation of HSDPA wireless technology."

In the three years Venture Consulting has collected data the cost per month of a 1Mbps wireless broadband service with 1GB of usage has fallen from $100.70 to $25.00, a decline of 75 percent. In contrast, low speed fixed broadband access prices have remained stable over the last three years. "We believe this is because competition is limited to the service level as competitors to Telstra resell its broadband product," the report says.

The Venture Consulting/IIA Broadband Index, now in its third year, analyses all broadband packages offered by four major Australian fixed ISPs (Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Primus), as well as the wireless offerings of Hutchison, Vodafone and Unwired. The total cost of broadband - start-up cost plus headline fees plus usage charges - for each broadband package and usage profile is calculated and compared. Usage profiles have been redefined for this edition and are now: 'Low' (1GB per month), 'Medium' (5GB per month), 'High' (10GB per month) and 'Ultra high' (20GB per month).

Infrastructure competition key to broadband price reductions
see also Internet Industry Association and
Report for 2009 Q3

Mobile - operators report jump in "mobile broadband" connections to 167 million

Mobile broadband connections jumped by two thirds this year compared to last year, with Europe and Asia leading the way, an industry group said.

In a recent statement, the GSMA also said more than 9 million new HSPA connections are added every month; compared to 5.5 million connections every month last year.

The industry body said Europe and Asia Pacific each account for an estimated 3 million of these new connections, with North America contributing 1.3 million. The GSMA said 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.

In terms of networks and carriers, the GSMA said there are currently 321 HSPA networks across 120 countries worldwide.

Some 285 of these networks are commercially live, supporting more than 167.5 million connections, the GSMA further claimed.

In terms of devices, the GSMA added that these networks are being served by more than 1,600 HSPA-enabled devices, such as smartphones, netbooks and notebook PCs and dongles, delivering mobile broadband connectivity to users around the world, ” Dan Warren, director of technology at the GSMA said.

Warren further said the industry body sees a trend towards even faster mobile technologies.

“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,” Warren said.

As mobile operators around the world continue to see a huge growth in the amount of mobile data traffic across their networks, the GSMA predicted that mobile devices will 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, it said.

“This gives a clear indication of the significant changes that mobile broadband will be having on network usage over the coming years” Warren said.

GSMA reports surge in global mobile broadband connections

Botswana - 2010 marks full competition and the end of managed liberalisation

[botswana gazette] The Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) has said the end of 2009 mark the end of a successful managed liberalisation process and heralds the beginning of full competition in the communication sector.

In its 2009 annual report, the Authority says it is working together with the parent Ministry to ensure that the transition to full competition is well managed so as not to create uncertainty for the players in the sector.

“The service-neutral licensing framework that has been the hallmark of the liberalisation process has broadened the scope of services and packages that service providers can offer and customers are beginning to enjoy the benefits of heightened competition in the telecommunication market.”

The report states that in the broadcasting arena, more broadcasters have entered the fray and serious efforts are made to provide services to consumers who have not always had such services.

More competition, improved service – says BTA

Turkey - Media and Telecoms regulators to be merged - report

[today's zaman] Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım has said the telecommunications sector’s two regulatory authorities -- the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and the Information Technologies and Communications Board (BTK) -- are likely to merge for the sake of efficiency, noting, however, that this may require a constitutional amendment since RTÜK is defined within the Constitution.

At a press conference in Ankara reviewing developments in the telecommunications industry over the past year and sharing his outlook regarding the coming year, Yıldırım said the government may take steps to combine the two regulatory bodies under the same roof. The transmission channels of data, audio and video are different from each other but are rapidly converging, the minister argued. This convergence would make combining the supervisory and regulatory structures into a single body feasible, he added. However, this may take a long time since making an amendment to the Constitution can be like climbing up a gum tree, Yıldırım argued.

When asked if the state-owned stake in Türk Telekom might be sold with a block sale method, he said the shares are likely to be offered to the public, but at the moment it is not possible to accurately estimate how many of these shares will be sold and when. “It depends on the trade cycle. We have to wait for the conditions that will be of greatest benefit to the public,” he argued.

When asked if a recently prepared bill on the General Directorate of Highways (KGM) contained premises regarding the privatization of Turkey’s highways, the minister said: “As a consequence of a set of recent amendments to the Public Administration and Control Law, some alterations to the KGM Law were deemed necessary. The bill that we recently sent to Parliament only aims to make these changes in the current law. It has nothing to do directly with the privatization of highways.”

Yıldırım discussed a bill on facilitating the adoption of a system that will allow all bureaucratic operations to be conducted via an electronic environment, known as the e-state. He said the preparation of the bill had been completed and the draft will be sent to the Cabinet in a few weeks. After receiving approval from the Cabinet, the bill will be sent to Parliament. Yıldırım defined the bill as an attempt to harmonize the current system with European Union standards. “The obstacles stemming from old institutional laws will be removed if this bill can obtain approval in Parliament,” he said.

The bill envisages the solution of all legal disputes regarding e-state applications under the surveillance of the Prime Ministry and the development of all software and provision of technical services by Turksat A.Ş.

Regulatory telecommunications authorities may merge

Africa - The rise of social networking using mobile phones

[guardian] Having swept America and conquered Europe, social networking site Facebook is now spreading rapidly through Africa.

From the deserts of Libya to the plains of Tanzania•Facebook is fast becoming the continent's most visited mobile site as Africans use their phones to access the internet, according to a new report.

Even micro-blogging phenomenon Twitter is making an impact, appearing as the ninth most visited mobile internet site in South Africa and Kenya, according to a study by Oslo-based mobile software developer Opera of the top ten 'mobile web' countries in Africa.

The most popular African destination on the mobile web, is Facebook. The social networking site is visited by users of Opera's mobile web browser in six out of the 10 countries surveyed by the company . Google is either number one or two in every African state except Kenya where Yahoo dominates.

Email services such as Hotmail and Gmail are also popular as is YouTube. The online video site has its highest rankings in Egypt, at number three, and Libya, at number four.

Among news sources, the BBC figures strongly in the top ten most visited sites in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Namibia and Zambia. CNN features prominently in the top ten in Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia. They are the only two western news sources among the most popular mobile internet destinations across the ten African countries analysed by the Opera survey.

Sport features strongly with French sports newspaper L'Équipe the sixth most visited mobile web site in Ivory Coast. Egyptian mobile phone users flock to Arabic language sports portal and Libyans prefer rival

Mobile usage is ballooning across the continent and the African mobile phone market – at more than 400 million subscribers – is now larger than in North America. Some countries, such as South Africa, have 'mobile penetration levels' - the number of handsets compared with size of population – close to those of Western Europe.

For many people in Africa, mobile telephones are the only way that they will ever get access to the internet because of the poor quality, and often complete lack, of fixed-line networks. Fierce competition has pushed mobile prices down for consumers while many of the latest crop of handsets available in Africa allow easy access to the mobile internet. Web browsers can also be installed on older phones.

The mobile web browser developed by Opera is the most popular in Africa, accounting for more than half the market, and in its latest State of the Mobile Web report, Opera estimates that the number of handsets using its browser across the top ten African states has leapt 177% in the past year. The report looks at South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia. Opera refuses to give overall customer numbers for Africa, but in its largest market – South Africa – it had 1.5 million 'unique users' in October.

Africa sees massive growth in mobile web usage

Africa - opportunities for BPO and telecoms are top investment opportunities

[itweb] Business process outsourcing (BPO) and telecommunications in Sub-Saharan Africa rank among its top investments for next year, says Frost & Sullivan.

The global research company has ranked BPO and telecommunications in Sub-Saharan Africa among other investment opportunities, such as biofuels, renewable energy, water treatment and coal-mining.

Africa has garnered new interest from investors over the last year, as the economic slowdown in developed economies highlighted the growth potential on the continent. Many sectors in Africa have continued to shine, despite the global economic turmoil.

“Africa is emerging as a significant frontier for growth in the current economic climate,” notes Frost & Sullivan corporate communications manager Patrick Cairns. “Frost & Sullivan has identified areas of potential we believe investors should keep an eye on over the coming year.”

African telecoms top investment for 2010

Kenya-USA voice traffic analysis

[prweb] A new study issued this month shows several remarkable changes in the ways Kenyans in the U.S. are communicating with loved ones and family in Kenya. The research provided by Rebtel, based on its calling volume from January 1, 2009 to November 1, 2009, shows several key findings.

Perhaps expectedly, Sunday is the most popular day that Kenyans in the U.S. call their homeland. Texas followed by Minnesota, Georgia, Maryland and California make up the most active states calling Kenya. But surprisingly, Wichita, Kansas is the No.1 city on the list where calls to Kenya originate. Nairobi and Mombasa are the top two destination cities, of course. But the vast majority of calls are now going to mobile phones in Kenya rather than landlines.

As of November 1, 2009, of those surveyed:
Kenyans in the U.S. spend just over 100 minutes per month – a little more than an hour-and-a-half – on their monthly calls to Kenya.

Calls are going to friends and families more often on their cell phones with service provided by Safaricom Mobile and Kencel Mobile vs. landlines.

Top Kenyan Phone Lines Receiving Calls from the U.S.:
1. Nairobi
2. Other destinations in Kenya
3. Mombasa

Top U.S. Cities Calling Kenya:
1. Wichita, Kansas
2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3. Dallas, Texas
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota
5. Fort Worth, Texas
6. Raleigh, North Carolina
7. Atlanta, Georgia
8. Rochester, Minnesota
9. Kansas City, Missouri
10. Houston, Texas

"Low rates combined with the most reliable and clear connections are driving the increase in international calling to Kenya," said Rebtel CEO Andreas Bernström.

Of callers participating in the survey, 58.4% said Rebtel is easier to use than other international calling services and 48.2% said Rebtel’s call quality is much better than other services.

Nearly 78% of all calls to Kenya with Rebtel go to family members, respondents said.

Founded in 2006, Stockholm-based Rebtel was established to give people around the world an alternative to mobile operators' rip-off rates for making international calls. Today, thousands of people living in the U.S. use Rebtel to call Kenya for $0.083 per minute to landlines or $0.109 per minute to mobile phones.

Rebtel has been ranked No.1 in international calling by Technology Appraisals and has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and The International Herald Tribune for its unique calling service.

Rebtel Releases First-Ever Report on International Communications Habits of Kenyans in U.S.

Telepresence - A handbook on inter-company video conferencing

[prweb] Independent research firm and consultancy, Human Productivity Lab and Brockmann & Company, the customer insight firm, have published the industry’s first comprehensive handbook on inter-company telepresence and video conferencing. “The Inter-Company Telepresence and Video Conferencing Handbook” educates CIOs, executives, managers, telepresence and video conferencing professionals about the opportunities, challenges and solutions for inter-company telepresence and video conferencing with partners, vendors, and customers.

The Handbook comes during a week when a blizzard shut down much of the northeastern United States, 2,000 rail passengers are abandoned below the English Channel for hours, and a British Airways union threatened to strand tens of thousands of passengers.

“These recent events, in combination with wars, terrorism, pandemics, airline strikes, bankruptcies, and blizzards all demonstrate the need for organizations to have a disaster recovery plan – a business continuity plan – whenever physical travel becomes disrupted, dangerous or just plain impossible,” said Howard Lichtman, handbook co-author and President and founder of the Human Productivity Lab.

“Beyond the benefit of business continuity, it has been proven time and again that the value of networks – telephone, radio, TV, mobile, computer networks – increase dramatically as you expand the potential connections. Network, security, and cultural issues have relegated most telepresence and video conferencing to internal company meetings. These issues are being addressed and smart business leaders are “moving to the puck” to connect their organizations with customers, suppliers and partners. This handbook helps organizations accelerate adoption of inter-company telepresence and video conferencing,” said Peter Brockmann, co-author and President of Brockmann & Company.

The financial support of these industry leaders: BCS Global, BrightCom, Cisco Systems, IPeak Networks, MASERGY, TC&C Carin, and TATA Communications enabled the free download at

New Handbook for Inter-Company Telepresence and Videoconferencing Arrives as Blizzards and Travel Failures Underscore Need for Alternatives to Travel

Zain - Data roaming deal extended across the African network

[ame] Kuwait's Zain has said its roaming data transfer and internet access services are now available through its networks in Africa. The company's customers in Kuwait will no longer have to pay any international roaming surcharges for mobile phone services in all its 13 African markets in which it operates, the firm said in a statement.

Zain extends roaming services to Africa

Egypt - A total of 53 million mobile connections has been achieved, but with high levels of churn

[ame] According to the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre, the total number of mobile phone subscribers in the country had dropped to 52.978 million in October, Reuters has reported. More than a million accounts had been created every month since late last year, but some 450,000 accounts had been closed during the month, the centre said.

Mobile phone subscribers fall in Egypt

USA - strong growth in Internet usage among Latino adults

[pew] Latino adults are increasing their use of the Internet faster than other ethnic groups, according to a new survey from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Internet and American Life Project...

Latinos who were born in the U.S. were much more likely to go online than those born outside the U.S. This gap persisted even after accounting for differences in education levels, household income and English proficiency, the report said.

Poor Latinos went online less than those with higher incomes. But overall, groups that traditionally have had low rates of Internet use were increasingly embracing the Web. In 2006, for example, 31 percent of Latinos without a high school diploma reported ever going online. In 2008, this number grew to 41 percent.

Survey: Internet use grows fast among Latinos

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thailand - proposal from govt to reform telecom operator concessions and recover THB 138 billions

[bangkok post] The State Enterprise Policy Office will soon propose that economic ministers move forward with amendments to concession agreements between TOT and CAT Telecom and private operators. Supa Piyajitti, the director-general of the State Enterprise Policy Office, said economic ministers on Dec 2 directed both TOT and CAT to investigate the issue and report findings within 90 days.

But she noted that over the past month, no meeting had been held about the matter, despite the clear policy direction given by the government.

The Finance Ministry has estimated that amendments to more than a dozen concession contracts between operators and TOT and CAT over the past decade or more should be ruled illegal and amended.

The contract changes, involving concessions to private companies such as Advanced Info Service, DTAC, True and Jasmine, are estimated to have resulted in damage to the state of 138 billion baht in foregone and future revenues.

At issue is a ruling by the Council of State, the government's legal advisory body, that the amendments should be considered void because of the state enterprises' failure to comply with the 1992 law governing large contracts and joint ventures between public agencies and the private sector.

The damage estimates include estimated losses of 87.3 billion baht for TOT and 50.6 billion for CAT Telecom.

Under the 1992 joint public-private act, a co-ordinating panel must be established to consider proposed concession amendments and impact on the government. The findings must then be submitted to the Information and Communications Technology Ministry and the cabinet for review.

The co-ordinating panel is to be chaired by a representative of the public agency that is the counterparty to the contract, in this case TOT or CAT, with other directors representing the Finance Ministry, the National Economic and Social Development Board, other state bodies as well as a representative of the private company involved.

Push to amend concessions

Telenor - study of the potential benefits of broadband in Thailand, Serbia and Bangladesh

[telenor] With this study we aim at estimating how the Internet will impact three countries, economically and socially over the next ten year period. Bangladesh, Serbia and Thailand span a broad geographical as well as developmental range, and may hardly seem comparable at the first sight. However, the different development levels of the three countries enable general implications to be drawn also for similar countries across the range, from the least developed to economies that are poised to join the ranks of developed economies in the near future.

The three study countries occupy different positions on the scale of Internet adoption. Currently, less than 2% of households in Bangladesh are Internet subscribers, whereas Serbia has a household penetration rate of 31%. This suggests that Internet is still in its infancy in Bangladesh, while Serbia is already in a rapid growth phase. Thailand is currently somewhere in the middle,
poised for takeoff.

In Bangladesh, Internet adoption will start accelerating first after 2018. reaching 10% in 2020., while Thailand sees rapid growth from 2014, tapering off slightly towards the end of the study period and reaching 26% in 2020. In contrast, Serbia grows at a high but decelerating rate and will be at 42% uptake in 2020.

Economic benefits

This increasing Internet density has the potential to generate significant economic benefits. In terms of overall GDP contribution in 2020, the Internet is expected to contribute 2.6% of total GDP in Bangladesh, 3.8% in Thailand, and 5.2% in Serbia. The bulk of this contribution comes from the increased productivity that users of the Internet enjoy, in services, manufacturing as well as agriculture.

Towards a Connected World Socio-economic Impact of Internet in Emerging Economies

Thailand - Telenor funded study suggest 26 broadband lines per 100 by 2020

[bangkok post] Increasing Internet penetration not only accelerates economic growth but also improves social welfare while poor technology readiness will affect Thailand's competitiveness and attractiveness to foreign direct investment according to a study entitled "Towards A Connected World - Socio-Economic Impact of Internet in Emerging Economies" by the Boston Consulting Group which was commissioned by Telenor.

The study, which covers Thailand, Bangladesh and Serbia, indicated that under the right conditions and with the right regulatory environment, Thailand could have 17.9 million Internet subscribers by 2020, approximately 26 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. At the household level, 70 percent could have at least one Internet subscription, whilst business adoption could lie around 91 percent in 2020.

Overall contribution to GDP from the Internet in Thailand is expected to be 3.8 percent per annum in 2020. The key driver of this is the productivity gains experienced by business users in all industries, which reaches 4.9 percent for service firms and 2.4 percent for manufacturing firms. This allows them to contribute 1.9 percent and 1.2 percent to GDP, respectively.

The Internet could potentially increase the number of new businesses created each year by up to 52,000 in 2020, which corresponds to 114,000 new jobs, of which only 11,000 are projected to be created within the Internet value chain.

This economic activity will also generate revenues for the government, expected to amount to 4.2 percent of total government revenue during the 10 year period 2010-2020. Almost 90 percent of this tax is expected to come from corporate taxes on the users of the Internet, while only 13 percent will come from taxes and fees paid by the providers themselves.

This highlights that the Internet is a capital good that enables increased production across the economy. High taxes on the provision of such services, although they might seem lucrative in the short term, will ultimately stifle development of the Thai economy.

Study spells out Net benefits