Thursday, January 28, 2010

China - MNOs spent RMB 1.16 trillion constructing 325,000 3G base stations

[jlm pacific epoch] China's three telecom operators invested RMB 1.16 trillion in the 3G network to construct a total of 325,000 3G base stations in 2009: 108,000 TD-SCDMA base stations covering 238 cities for China Mobile; 117,000 3G base stations covering 342 cities for China Telecom; and 100,000 3G base stations covering 335 cities for China Unicom, reports quoting data released by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) at an annual telecom industry press conference on January 27.

Excluding revenue from calls, China's telecom industry took in revenue of RMB 313.55 billion in 2009, up 8.8% year-on-year, while telecom tariffs fell 9.2% year-on-year in the period, reported January 27 quoting the MIIT data.

In 2009, China produced 182 million computers, up 27.5% year-on-year, 620 million handsets, up 9.8% year-on-year, and 99.66 million color TVs, up 9.3% year-on-year, said Xin Guobin, the director of MIIT's Operation, Supervision and Co-ordination Bureau, according to information on MIIT's website.

China had 15 million 3G subscribers by late 2009, including 5.1 million TD-SCDMA users, MIIT Telecom Development Bureau Director Zhang Feng said. MIIT announced earlier this month that China's 3G users reached 13.07 million by the end of November 2009 and were expected to exceed 15 million by the end of the year.

MIIT Announces Annual Telecom Stats

China - Ministry says 3G users reached15 million at the end of 2009

[jlm pacific epoch] China recorded 13.07 million 3G users by the end of November 2009, and the number is expected to have exceeded 15 million by the end of that year, the China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced January 14.

China's three telecom operators -- China Mobile(NYSE:CHL, 0941.HK), China Unicom and China Telecom -- have together invested a total of RMB 160.9 billion in 3G by the end of November and completed 325,000 3G base stations in 2009, the report said.

China had 9.77 million 3G users by the end of October 2009, MIIT said on December 15.

MIIT: China's 3G Users Hit 15m by End of '09

VoIP - HTML5 Frees Google Voice from Phone App Stores

[newsfactor] HTML5 offers developers freedom from smartphone app stores, as Google has shown with Google Voice for Palm's webOS and Apple's iPhone OS 3 and up. HTML5 lets Google Voice store tools right in the browser, so users can interact even without a network connection. Google is also challenging AT&T to back up its FCC promise.

Google said Tuesday that it's harnessing HTML5 to deliver Google Voice to Palm webOS and iPhone OS 3.0 and higher smartphones. As the next major revision to the web's core hypertext markup language, HTML5 introduces a number of new elements and attributes that let developers Relevant Products/Services construct powerful new services with the look and feel of stand-alone mobile apps.

Google, which released an HTML5-based version of its Chrome browser Monday, noted that handset load times and network Relevant Products/Services requests are significantly reduced for web services based on the new hypertext language. "Overall, this results in a much faster and smoother user experience," a spokesperson said.

HTML5 Frees Google Voice from Phone App Stores

USA - CTIA defends early termination fees for mobile

[network world] The leading trade group for wireless telcos is defending carriers' right to charge early termination fees to customers who break their contracts early.

Responding to the Federal Communications Commission's inquiry into early termination fees, the CTIA said that the fees were an integral part of carriers' pricing structure that helped them provide several benefits to consumers, including heavily subsidized smartphones.

"We hope that there is a recognition by the FCC that these fees are part of the rate and rate structure that allows wireless carriers to, among other things, subsidize phone purchases," said the CTIA. "Additionally, consumers of all of the carriers that received letters from the FCC have multiple options when it comes to choosing plans and devices without early termination fees. About 20 percent of Americans have chosen a prepaid plan without a contract."

The CTIA's defense of early termination fees came just hours after the FCC said it had sent letters to AT&T, Google, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon "to gather facts and data on the consumer experience with early termination fees." In particular the FCC cited concerns that early termination fees "have an important impact on consumers' ability to switch carriers" and said the commission must make sure that "consumers fully understand what they are signing up for… when they accept a service plan with an early termination fee."

The practice of charging early termination fees has come under fire in recent months after Verizon doubled its standard early termination fee from $175 to $350 last November. The release of the Google Nexus One smartphone has only added to the controversy, as both Google and T-Mobile say they plan to charge users separate early termination fees if they ditch their Nexus One in less than four months. Taken together, the twin fees could add up to $550 for customers who break their contracts early.

The FCC's inquiry into early termination fees is part of a broader examination of wireless industry practices that the commission announced last summer. Specifically, the FCC is looking for betters ways to "support and encourage further innovation and investment" within the wireless industry, to assess the state of competition within the wireless market and to assess whether carriers can do more to disclose relevant billing information to their customers. The FCC has also previously riled the wireless industry with its stance favoring network neutrality rules stating that ISPs should not be allowed to block or degrade Internet traffic from their competitors in order to speed up their own.

CTIA defends early termination fees

Leased lines - Telecommunications Private Line Services Revenue to Decline through 2012

[PRNewswire] After years of steady growth, the $34 billion private line services market is entering a period of declining revenue, says a market analysis study from Insight Research. Private lines are point-to-point circuits leased by enterprises from telecommunications carriers in order to link enterprise sites to each other and to the Internet. Private lines are also used by cellular carriers to link their towers to land line networks.

According to Insight's report, "Private Line and Wavelength Services, 2009-2014," the transition from frame relay/ATM networking to IP networks will put a drag on private line revenue growth for several years. Revenue from frame relay/ATM legacy services have been counted as private lines since they provide dedicated transport between locations. Enterprise customers are migrating away from legacy services to IP networks because, bit for bit, IP is priced lower. Private line revenue is thus taking a hit.

"The transition away from frame and ATM will put a break on overall private line industry revenue growth for a couple of years," says Insight president Robert Rosenberg. "However, private line demand remains strong for wireless backhaul, local bandwidth for caching IPTV video services, and for facilitating VoIP. These are the growth areas for private line, and will be in the years ahead. The transition away from frame and ATM is a temporary blip, and we expect to see overall growth return to the private line sector by 2013," Rosenberg concluded.

"Private Line and Wavelength Services, 2009-2014" evaluates the total private line market and segments it by local and long distance private line service revenue, wholesale and retail private line revenue, revenue by type of carrier, revenue by T1, T3 or OC-n circuit class, as well as the number of T1, T3, and OC-n private lines sold. Estimates of wavelength revenues are also provided.

Telecommunications Private Line Services Revenue to Decline through 2012, Says Insight Research Corporation.

Avoid The Top Five Telecom Expense Management Pitfalls

[prweb] Telesoft, trusted experts in fixed and mobile telecom expense management (TEM) software and services, today published a new white paper entitled “Avoid the Top Five Telecom Expense Management Pitfalls.” The white paper details specific mistakes enterprises can avoid in order to optimize their telecom spending for a positive impact on the bottom line. The paper is the first in a series Telesoft will publish to provide useful information for enterprises with significant telecom budgets that can benefit the most from telecom expense management (TEM) solutions.

For more than 25 years, Telesoft has driven the TEM market, optimizing every aspect of an organization’s telecom spend, usage, and assets. In addition to the five pitfalls corporations should avoid, the paper provides an overview of what is involved in automating telecom expense management for increased control over spending. The top five pitfalls the paper explains include:

* Inaccurate telecom inventory
* Disconnected telecom data and functional groups
* Labor intensive telecom invoice processing
* Manual telecom invoice validation
* Out-of-control wireless spend

“Telesoft published the top five TEM pitfalls white paper to provide valuable information to enterprises struggling to control telecom expenses,” said Thierry Zerbib, chief executive officer and co-founder. “Continually changing inventory, complex billing for a wide range of offerings, and baffling contracts with hard to understand amendments makes telecom expense management a major challenge for the enterprise. Our intention is to help companies alleviate this headache.”

Avoid The Top Five Telecom Expense Management Pitfalls
Registration is required to obtain a copy of the report

Apple Lifts 3G VoIP Restrictions, iCall with 3G Support Available Immediately

[preweb] Apple Computer, Inc. has updated the iPhone developer SDK to allow VoIP over cellular networks. iCall is the first and only VoIP application that functions on the iPhone and iPod Touch over cellular 3G networks.

iCall is a market leader in desktop and mobile-based desktop calling platforms, including its highly popular version for the Apple iPhone. Until today, restrictions imposed on developers prohibited VoIP functionality on any 3G network.

VoIP on the iPhone has been the source of many debates with companies such as Google being denied access to the platform and the FCC inquiring as to the restrictions in the Apple APP store, iCall is one of the few VoIP applications that has been permitted by Apple to operate on the iPhone platform.

With the latest revisions Apple has made to the iPhone developer agreement and Software Development Kit, iCall for the iPhone and iPod Touch now enabled unrestricted free local and long distance calling over 3G data networks. iCall with support for VoIP over 3G networks is now available in the App Store for download. iCall is the first and only VoIP application available for the iPhone platform that allows use over 3G networks.

iCall CEO Arlo Gilbert is quoted as saying “I applaud Apple’s decision to allow iCall to extend it’s functionality beyond Wi-Fi and onto the 3G networks. This heralds a new era for VoIP applications on mobile platforms, especially for iCall and our free calling model. I hope that now more developers will begin using our VoIP as a platform to integrate VoIP into their applications.”

Apple Lifts 3G VoIP Restrictions, iCall with 3G Support Available Immediately

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

USA - FiberTower Expands Fiber Network Reach Through Transaction With FiberLight

[prnewswire] FiberTower Corporation (Nasdaq: FTWRD), a wireless backhaul services provider, announced today that it has expanded its fiber footprint with a purchase of approximately 4,000 miles of dark fiber from FiberLight, a leading optical transport company. The transaction increases FiberTower's current fiber footprint in eight of its core markets. In addition to the initial purchase, FiberTower secured contractual rights to increase its capacity by up to an additional 8,000 fiber miles over the next 6 years.

Over the past several quarters, FiberTower has received growing interest in its Ethernet and high capacity transport solutions that require circuits of at least 50 Megabits per second. Bandwidth forecasting at FiberTower's sites have also indicated a need for a higher proportion of fiber-fed sites. In response to these trends, and in order to maintain control over costs and network quality, FiberTower has assumed a greater ownership of Company managed fiber solutions. The transaction with FiberLight provides FiberTower with scalable capacity on eight diverse routes across the southern United States, including key markets such as Washington D.C., Atlanta and Dallas.

"Customer interest in our traditional and high capacity backhaul services requires that we ensure sufficient access to additional fiber as we grow our network," said Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FiberTower. "Expanding our relationship with FiberLight through this transaction enables FiberTower to immediately expand capacity and to continue scaling the network on a cost-effective basis."

FiberLight's network, spanning over 500,000 fiber miles in length, is comprised of 21 metro networks located in the mid-Atlantic, southeast and southwestern regions of the United States. "We are delighted to have completed this significant transaction as it enhances FiberTower's position as the leading alternative backhaul provider in the U.S.," said Michael P. Miller, CEO and Founder of FiberLight. "FiberTower has been and continues to be an important customer of ours. We look forward to continuing our long-term relationship with the company during this evolving and exciting period in the wireless industry's growth."

FiberTower Expands Fiber Network Reach Through Transaction With FiberLight

Bahrain - New TRA regime to encourage competition

[zawya] The country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) yesterday announced a new regime that will give more freedom to operators to enhance competition but ruled out a third operator entering the market for the time being.

Announcing the launch of the TRA Telecommunications' Competition Framework that will govern all the services and special packages in a transparent manner with more freedom, Mohammed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA Director-General, said the new regulation will be fully implemented by the end of the year.

Under it, the authority will assess and define the telecom sector's products and services to help protect the interests of both operators and consumers.

Al Ghanim said: "In 2009, we worked to establish a competition framework for our licencees in the country. The law has given us the power to issue specific regulations that deal with competition within the telecommunication sector.

"We have developed this framework in consultation with etisalat and du. It has been approved by the TRA board. It has three instruments - one deals with policy and ex-ante regulation, the second deals with competition safeguards and the third deals with ex-post procedures."

According to him, the new framework will give operators more freedom to introduce new packages and services to stimulate further competition. However, he said if an offer was lower than its cost and intended to hurt a competitor, it would not be allowed.

"Earlier, operators first used to submit the packages they wanted to introduce in the market to the TRA for evaluation and approval. Normally, we assess if these packages contain any anti-competitive element and are sold below cost price. Depending on these factors, we sometimes approve and sometimes reject them," he said.

Al Ghanim said under the new framework, the TRA will assess and define different products and services offered by licencees in the country and will then assess the level of competition in the market.

"If we see the level of competition is high and does not require a pre-approval procedure, we will allow more competition among the operators to offer their services without the TRA's pre-approval."

However, he added, if the TRA finds anti-competitive practices, they will be controlled. "If a customer or a company complains against one or the other party, we will investigate according to procedure and take action."

Al Ghanim also ruled out the entry of a third company in the market for the time being or in the immediate future. When asked if any international company had applied to operate in the UAE, Al Ghanim told Emirates Business: "So far we have no plans or intentions to have a third supplier in the market. There have been rumours that X or Y has applied to operate in the UAE. This is not true. We have not received any request from international companies so far.

"The more competition we have among the two existing players, the better prices will the consumer get. Hopefully, our new regulations will drive the prices down."

However, he said any proposal from international or local companies to enter the market will be looked into.

"It does not relate to a third or a fourth comer. It is a procedure that we have set in the market and it will stay regardless of the number of competitors. We are in the process of organising a national telecom policy that will set the roadmap for the sector ahead. The policy is strategic and is based on basic and specific market conditions."

New TRA regime to encourage competition

USA - Verizon Wireless and AT&T remain relatively unscathed by mounting competitive pressures

[tekrati] The U.S. wireless industry is undergoing dramatic changes, and continued to bifurcate in 3Q09, according to industry analysts TBR. On one end of the spectrum, Verizon Wireless and AT&T continue to take advantage of the growing adoption of smartphones and the resultant data revenue, maintaining their industry-leading performances.

At the other end, operators such as Sprint and T‑Mobile USA experienced net subscriber losses and increased their focus on the low-end, prepaid market, where they face intense competition from MetroPCS, Leap Wireless and MVNOs such as TracFone. In TBR’s view, the hyper-competitive environment for prepaid service in the United States raises the likelihood that Leap Wireless and MetroPCS could merge in 2010.

According to NBQ Director John Byrne, “The Leap/Metro merger scenario has been around for years but has never come to pass, largely due to longstanding bad blood between the two companies. But with both operators falling fall short of growth targets recently, both sides may be ready to put differences aside and come back to the negotiating table.”

* Verizon Wireless maintained the lead in TBR’s Mobile Operator Benchmark, aided by continued subscriber and revenue growth – though at a pace that has slowed steadily over the past five quarters. To differentiate itself in the market and maintain future revenue growth, Verizon Wireless is employing two overarching strategic initiatives: leadership in LTE technology and aggressive adoption of the Android platform.
* AT&T took the No. 2 position in the Mobile Operator Benchmark, continuing to benefit from strong iPhone sales; however, the company is bracing for a challenging 2010, when its iPhone exclusivity is likely to expire.
* Meanwhile, Sprint’s wireless financial results continued to deteriorate in 3Q09: its revenue decline worsened; its operating loss widened; and it was plagued by subscriber losses. Sprint’s greatest strength continues to be its Boost Mobile unlimited prepaid offering, the only one of its subscriber segments to grow during the quarter.
* T‑Mobile USA’s disappointing 3Q09 results included a net loss of 77,000 customers. The company did make a major step forward from a technology standpoint, deploying HSPA+ technology in its first market, Philadelphia, in September, with plans for widespread deployment by mid-2010.

As smartphone usage grows, mobile operators increasingly rely on device differentiation to woo subscribers. Since the launch of the first Android device more than a year ago, the operating system has earned a reputation as a valid option in the smartphone market. With acceptance from all four of the largest U.S. operators, Android continues to improve with each upgrade, and is becoming a staunch competitor to Apple’s iPhone OS. TBR believes Android handset sales may exceed iPhone sales in 2010.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T remain relatively unscathed by mounting competitive pressures, says TBR

Mobile - Wireless operators accelerate upgrade plans

[cnet] Smartphone customers and the bandwidth-hungry applications they're using have forced wireless carriers to accelerate their plans for big upgrades as they move toward the next iteration of their networks.

The biggest challenge these wireless operators will face is making sure they have enough capacity in a part of their networks known as backhaul to feed the hungry appetites of wireless data customers.

In short, this ongoing effort is meant to ensure smartphone customers, today and in the future, aren't as routinely annoyed as some iPhone customers say they have been over the past year.

"Backhaul is at the top of the list of issues to resolve before building their 4G networks," said Scott Imhoff, a director of enterprise mobility products at Motorola. "You can upgrade the radios on all your cell phone towers, but if you don't have big enough pipes aggregating that traffic then it doesn't do you any good. "

Here's the problem: wireless operators have spent billions of dollars over the past several years upgrading cell phone towers with 3G wireless radios to bring data services to wireless phone customers. And soon they will be dropping billions more to upgrade these networks to 4G technology.

The radios have gotten faster and operators have put up more towers to increase their footprints, but the technology used in the backhaul network, which connects those towers to the carriers' nationwide networks, has not changed much in the past several years. In many instances, operators are still using old copper lines called T1 line. These lines designed specifically for voice networks offer a maximum transfer speed of 1.5 megabits per second.

Wireless operators accelerate upgrade plans

Australian Enterprises Demand More Control and Savings on Telecoms Expenses

[prnewswire] Australian enterprises are showing increased demand for Telecom Expense Management (TEM) services, as CFOs and CIOs seek more accountability and efficiency from their telecommunications spend, according to Cable&Wireless Worldwide.

"Telecom expenses can be amongst the most opaque corporate expenses today. In a time of increasing cost pressures, corporations in Australia - and indeed globally - are looking for more control, visibility and predictability of their communication expenses to help plan and forecast operating expenses. We anticipate this trend will continue into 2010, as corporations plan for growth after the most significant recession of our time. Corporations are not just looking for the usual 'cut costs' approach, instead, they're looking to implement a long-term fix for the perennial corporate challenge of managing telecom charges," said Nick Lambert, Managing Director - Global Markets, Cable&Wireless Worldwide.

Cable&Wireless offers Australian organisations a fully managed TEM service including detailed baseline analysis of the telecom assets of the enterprise, live dashboard tracking and reporting of telecom spends with multiple vendors, accurate billing for cost efficiency as well as the charting of a future roadmap for managing telecom assets more cost effectively and with greater control.

In addition to driving greater cost efficiencies and transparency within existing operations, Australian companies are increasingly investing outside their home market and setting up manufacturing, sales, and service organisations around the world; a recent Cable&Wireless Worldwide survey showed that more than 68% of key decision makers in MNCs are looking beyond their home market, to newer and less saturated global markets, for growth. Similarly, Australia is growing in importance as a market for other Asian and western multinational companies (MNCs).

The survey of executives from more than 300 MNCs was conducted in 2009 by Cable&Wireless, and asked Executives about their plans to sustain growth in the current economic climate. The survey also found that intra-Asia Pacific trade and commerce is set for a boost with more than 60% of all executives citing that they will look at Asia Pacific markets (outside their domestic market) for continued business expansion.

Cable&Wireless has made strategic investments to expand its world-class network infrastructure, build on its partnerships as well as grow its portfolio of telecommunications solutions for customers in Australia. Cable&Wireless leverages its strategic partnerships with Tier-1 Carriers; Telstra and Optus to offer its customers from Asia, Europe and the United States access to domestic telecommunication infrastructure within Australia.

The company recently extended its Ethernet over Synchronous Digital Hierarchy coverage to Australia; has enhanced its network Points-of-Presence (PoP) in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and increased the number of sales and service delivery professionals based across Australia. Cable&Wireless also offers a suite of value-added telecommunications services such as Managed IP- Voice and Video Conferencing solutions which help optimise investments organisations have already made in traditional enterprise voice and video solutions, and offers them a clear roadmap towards a unified communications environment that aligns with their investment appetite and strategy timelines.

Cable&Wireless currently provides Australian company, Infoplex, with Asia Pacific-wide Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network connectivity and value-added telecommunications services. Cable&Wireless also works with Crosspoint - an Australian IT services organisation - to deliver innovative IP communications solutions tailored to meet the needs of large organisations.

Australian Enterprises Demand More Control and Savings on Telecoms Expenses, According to Cable&Wireless Worldwide

Enterprises - Cisco Accelerates Intercompany Collaboration With Telepresence Interoperability

[cisco] Building on its history of using open standards to break down the barriers to intercompany collaboration, Cisco today announced the release of an interoperability protocol to the public domain that allows multiscreen telepresence systems to interoperate. TelePresence customers now have a way to improve communications with vendors, suppliers and partners while maintaining an immersive telepresence experience. LifeSize, TANDBERG and RADVISION have signed agreements to license the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP). Cisco has offered to license its protocol to industry participants royalty free.

Cisco also announced five new Cisco TelePresenceTM experiences that extend the value of telepresence beyond the virtual meeting, and it has released enhanced versions of its flagship Cisco TelePresence System 3000 and Cisco TelePresence System 3200 endpoints. The five new Cisco TelePresence experiences take face-to-face virtual collaboration to classrooms, facilitate virtual brainstorming, provide instant in-person help desk support, create a worldwide virtual showroom, and deliver a new streaming service for global virtual events. The new Cisco TelePresence System 3010 and Cisco TelePresence System 3210 offer better energy utilization and faster installation for cost-effective information technology support and new in-room enhancements for an improved user experience.

Telepresence-to-Telepresence Interoperability

* The Telepresence Interoperability Protocol has helped establish a standard of experience that customers have come to expect from immersive telepresence offerings. By licensing the protocol, Cisco offers vendors the opportunity to take advantage of a switched architecture, using the network as a platform, to improve media processing and intercompany security, lower the cost of media resources, and decrease latency.
* Release of the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol marks a significant step in creating a new open standard for telepresence, similar to other industry video standards. Cisco already supports H.323, which allows Cisco TelePresence to interoperate with standard- and high-definition videoconferencing systems and other collaboration applications. Cisco supports HD videoconferencing interoperability solutions via the Cisco MXE 5600 (Media Experience Engine) and Cisco Unified Video Conferencing.

Cisco Accelerates Intercompany Collaboration With Telepresence Interoperability

Mobile Cloud Application Revenues To Hit $9.5 billion by 2014

[prweb] New research has found that annual revenues from cloud-based mobile applications will reach nearly $9.5 billion by 2014, fuelled by the need for converged, collaborative services, the widespread adoption of mobile broadband services and the deployment of key technological enablers such as HTML5 and the Open Mobile Alliance’s Smart Card Web Server (SCWS).

Juniper Research LogoThe Juniper Research report found that enterprise applications will account for the majority of revenues over the next five years, with businesses increasingly seeking to capitalise on the ability of Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers to offer scalable, flexible data storage solutions allied to device agnostic, synchronised office services. However, consumer-oriented apps will comprise an ever-larger proportion of total revenues, derived both from time-based subscriptions to services such as mobile online gaming and advertising from cloud-based social networks.

However, the mobile cloud applications & services report warned that many enterprise customers still remained wary of entrusting their personal data to remote third-parties, and that recent high-profile data losses amongst corporate mobile users in the USA would only exacerbate these concerns. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “Not only is it imperative for cloud providers to ensure that access to and storage of customer data is secure, but that the procedures that they put in place in this regard – including data backup strategies – are transparent to the customer.”

Other findings from the Juniper report include:

* While the onset of a cloud-based ecosystem may further erode the strength of the mobile operator/customer relationship, cloud offers operators the opportunity to develop new revenues streams as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and PaaS providers
* Lack of network capacity may continue to be a constraint on the growth of network-based services even after LTE and WiMAX networks are deployed

Mobile Cloud Application Revenues To Hit $9.5 billion by 2014, Driven by Converged Mobile Services, according to Juniper Research

USA - A ban on "texting" by truckers and bus drivers

[reuters] The U.S. government on Tuesday banned hand-held "texting" by drivers of large commercial trucks and buses to avoid the danger of distracted driving.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement the prohibition takes effect immediately. It follows a similar ban in December for drivers of federal government vehicles.

"We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe," LaHood said. "This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving."

The new ban carries fines of up to $2,750.

Research by trucking regulators show that drivers take their eyes off the road for much of the time that they send and receive text messages, and they are significantly more at risk of getting into an accident than someone who is not texting.

U.S. bans "texting" by truckers, bus drivers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ireland lags other states in broadband delivery

[irish times] IRELAND IS lagging behind other countries in the roll-out of next generation networks, a new broadband report has said.

The report, published by Forfás, said the country had made “significant progress” in improving broadband coverage in the past two years, with an average of 21.4 subscribers per 100 people, compared with the OECD average of 22.4. This excludes mobile broadband, and countries like the Netherlands, which has a 38.1 average.

However, while broadband accounts for 90 per cent of internet connections and speeds have improved, they remain below the fastest speeds available to customers in other OECD countries. Only 0.6 per cent of connections in Ireland are fibre connections, compared to an average of 11.3 per cent in OECD-28 countries.

The report says Ireland has fallen behind in the deployment of fibre infrastructure for both wired and wireless networks.

“Advanced broadband services are essential to underpinning entrepreneurship and innovation and are needed to position Ireland for export-led recovery,” said Forfás chief executive Jane Williams.

Among the report’s recommendations are a review by the Department of Communications and the communications regulator of options to increase revenues and reduce costs and risks for private-sector operators.

Ireland lags other states in broadband delivery

Mobile - Number of Embedded Mobile & M2M Connected Devices to Rise to 412 Million Globally by 2014

[prweb] According to Juniper Research, the number of Mobile Connected M2M and Embedded Devices will rise to almost 412 million globally by 2014 with several distinct markets accounting for the increase in their number.

Juniper Research LogoThe markets include: Utility metering, Mobile Connected Buildings, Consumer & Commercial Telematics and Retail & Banking Connections. These areas will all show substantial growth in both device numbers and in the service revenues they represent, while Healthcare monitoring applications will begin to reach the commercial roll out stage from 2012:

“The most widespread category will be connections related to smart metering, driven partly by government initiatives to reduce carbon emissions,” says Anthony Cox, Senior Analyst at Juniper Research. Other areas, such as the healthcare sector, will ultimately see more potential in achieving service revenues he says.

Further findings from the Embedded Mobile and M2M research include:

* Saturation in operators’ core businesses is leading mobile operators to re-evaluate and invest in the potential of M2M
* Operators and M2M specialists recognise that scale is key, since ARPU for M2M and embedded devices is lower than for standard mobile services
* Regulatory initiatives in different geographical areas will provide an important fillip for the M2M market such as European Directives on smart metering
* With the exception of certain consumer applications such as mobile gaming and eReaders, 3G’s use for M2M applications will be limited for the immediate future as M2M usually does not require the high bandwidth 3G affords

The report includes major analysis of the current state of play in the Embedded Mobile and M2M market and contains six year forecasts for key mobile M2M parameters and attributable service revenues including; the number of connected buildings, mobile connected utility meters, new consumer vehicles, on-board M2M systems - mobile connected commercial vehicles, mobile telematics devices, mobile healthcare - number of monitored individuals.

Number of Embedded Mobile & M2M Connected Devices to Rise to 412 Million Globally by 2014, says Juniper Research

Iran: Strong Telecom Growth Expected, Despite Political Uncertainties

[tekrati] Despite formidable regulatory and legal hurdles, Iran's telecom market will grow to $12.9 billion by 2014, a CAGR of 6.9 percent, according to a new report from Pyramid Research, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network.

From a revenue point of view, Iran is one of the most attractive markets in the Middle East region given its size – by year-end 2009, it was the fourth-largest market in the region at $9.2 billion and is expected to grow to $12.9 billion by 2014 at a CAGR of 6.9 percent, notes Dearbhla McHenry, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report. Regulatory and legal hurdles forbid foreigners from owning majority stakes in telecom companies, and with most of the fixed sector still under the monopoly of the government-owned incumbent, TCI, the Internet sector in particular is still only beginning to enter the growth phase.

"The country's comparatively late introduction of competition means that the market is still in a rapid-growth phase, with the data segment in particular (both fixed and mobile) developing very fast in terms of number of users and amount of use," says McHenry. "We expect data's share of total revenue to double over the next five years, reaching $4.5 billion by 2014; important drivers of new growth in both segments will keep the split between fixed and mobile services steady over the forecast period," continues McHenry. "On the mobile side, Pyramid expects the launch of a third operator to boost adoption and revenue, while on the fixed side, the launch of new WiMax operators will herald the beginning of Iran's broadband era."

Iran: Strong Telecom Growth Expected, Despite Political Uncertainties

Monday, January 25, 2010

Argentina - Govt says ‘There is a monopoly position in local telecommunications market’

[ba herald] Planning Minister Julio De Vido said the Gov't is considering canceling Telecom's license. The official added that this measure would be implemented if the appeal lodged on the common plea, which has suspended the deadline for Telecom Italy to sell its stakes in the local communication market, is not successful.

"We will keep moving forward battling monopolies in the sector. We will not waiver to do what we ought to," De Vido added.

"The Congress will take part at the most suitable time," he said, and warned that the government could cancel Telecom's license "if necessary."

"We will act as we did with Correo Argentino, San Martín and Roca railways, Aguas Argentinas and Aerolineas Argentinas," he expressed.

This situation takes place after Justice suspended the deadline set by Argentina's anti-trust commission (Comisión Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia) for Telecom Italia to sell its stakes in the local communication market.

"This proves that the Judiciary system does work in Argentina. Indeed, it has backed up us in many important occasions," Telecom CEO Franco Bernabe told reporters.

Argentina's anti-trust Commission set the August deadline to enforce its August 2009 ruling that Telecom Italia had to sell its local telecommunications holdings following a review of Argentine assets controlled by key Telecom Italia investor Telefonica.

‘There is a monopoly position in local telecommunications market,’ Gov’t says

Haiti - TSF has deployed two telecentres in Haiti

[tsf] Responding to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which left a widespread damage and thousands of deaths and missing people still trapped in rubble, a second TSF team, deployed from TSF headquarters in Pau, arrived in Port-au-Prince to reinforce the first team in the field since Wednesday.

Flying with a UN rescue aircraft from Santo Domingo, the second team of TSF experts landed at the airport of Port-au-Prince on January 15th, 11:30 am local time. They carried further fixed and mobile satellite telecommunications tools.

Haiti_2010Haiti017_PhotoReduktoAt the very beginning of the mission, TSF installed reliable and durable connections for local authorities and emergency responders. TSF’s support in emergency telecoms was requested by UNICEF and by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams (UNDAC).

The airport gathers a great part of emergency operations, with individual organizations coordinating their efforts in order to respond as soon as possible to immediate needs (search and rescue, medical services and supplies, clean water and sanitation, emergency shelter, food, logistics and telecommunications).
After their arrival, TSF experts immediately installed a satellite connection mostly dedicated to UNDAC teams and to emergency responders.

TSF experts have been setting up multiple broadband access points (internet connections and phone lines) in the coordinating and logistics centres located near the airport.
At the same time, TSF teams are providing IT support to the Minustah (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti). This complex, located close to the airport, gathers all United Nations agencies and NGOs as well. Due to the capacity issue there, TSF is planning to open a telecom centre dedicated to NGOs.

Thanks to TSF, Haitian government coordinating offices are also connected to the outside world and can coordinate the emergency responses thanks to fixed and mobile connections.
They also aim at opening TSF long-term emergency telecom centres to the benefit of the entire humanitarian community.

Haiti_2010Haiti120_PhotoReduktoOn January 16th, TSF started running humanitarian calling operations. A phoning centre was opened in Saint-Pierre square, located in Petion-ville district in Port-au-Prince. Today, two centres are established in the district of Boyer and to Sylvio Cator Stadium.
The first days of the calling operations reveals that Haitian community is very important abroad (100% of the calls were international), and especially in the United States (95% of those calls). In this desperate situation, giving affected people a link with the outside world is vital and the possibility to reassure their loved ones only with one single sentence “I am alive” is essential for them, as a Haitian student told us on the ground:

When the earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday January, 12th, Vilemé Emmanuel, student, was fortunately outside. He first thought that it was an explosion, with such a loud noise. But, when he saw building collapsing, including a church, he understood that it was an earthquake. People began running and crying. Thanks to the free call provided by TSF, he could call his brother in the United States, in Massachusetts, to reassure him about his situation and his father’s, safe and sound as well.

Humanitarian calling operations allow affected populations to reassure their loved one but also to ask for personalized assistance:

Cherisca Ronald was in his house when the earthquake began stricking, he was watching the television. After the first tremors, he began running outside. Tremors went stronger and stronger. Everything collapsed around him, his house was destroyed and above all, his friends and familly died in this disaster. The call offered by TSF allowed him to call his father in Boston and to ask him for money to survive.

Fixed phones lines are severely damaged and there is no electricity, no water supply.Access to people in need remains very difficult due to debris and obstacles on the roads and traffic congestion. Populations are gathering in open spaces. Within this context, the death toll, still unknown, is expected to be high.

TSF teams will continue their operations through the affected region struck by the disaster in order to respond to the population’s needs in the whole zone.

MISSION HAITI 2010: two calling centres in Port-au-Prince are open for the populations: one in Girardeau (Bremond field) and other in Sony Square.

Quake Sets Back Haiti's Efforts to Improve Telecommunications

[wsj] The improvement in Haiti's communications in recent years suffered a severe blow from the earthquake, complicating relief efforts.

The country's new and only undersea fiber link, which carries voice and data traffic, suffered major damage from the earthquake, according to Marlon Johnson, vice president of marketing for Bahamas Telecommunications Co., which operates the link with a Haitian partner.

The base station in Port-au-Prince that links the undersea cable to the communications network in Haiti was "destroyed," Mr. Johnson said. The cable itself may still be in tact, he said, but the critical link to the network inside the country is no longer working.

That loss has made coordinating relief efforts even more difficult.

Quake Sets Back Haiti's Efforts to Improve Telecommunications

Costa Rica to open up mobile phone sector

[reuters] Costa Rica on Monday kicked off the process of opening its cell phone market to private companies, ending the state telecommunications company's more than four-decade monopoly.

The telecommunications regulator, known as Sutel, said it will open up bids in April and hopes to complete the award of the new concessions in the second half of the year.

"We believe that in September, we'll be giving the operators the new concessions," said Sutel's president, George Miley.

Companies interested in bidding include America Movil, Latin America's leading cellphone operator, Spain's Telefonica SA, and privately-held regional mobile operator Digicel, Sutel said in a statement.

Costa Rica to open up mobile phone sector

USA - The FCC has launched a Consumer Task Force

[information week] The FCC has launched a consumer task force to investigate ways to safeguard consumer rights in the context of proliferating telecommunications networks and technologies.

Armed with a Government Accountability Office report urging the FCC to tighten its consumer protection rules, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said Joel Gurin, currently chief of the commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, will head the cross-agency Consumer Task Force. The new FCC unit will include every Commission bureau chief, the chief of the office of engineering and technology, the general counsel, and the managing director.

"As communications networks and technologies become increasingly complex and essential to Americans' everyday lives," Genachowski said in a statement, "the Commission must be a vigilant watchdog for the consumer."

The GAO released a report in December entitled "Telecommunications: FCC Needs to Improve Oversight of Wireless Phone Service." The report said that consumer complaints about wireless service -- although small in number -- represented "millions of customers" when extrapolated to the entire wireless consumer population.

"Our lack of competitive focus in telecommunications raised consumer bills, I believe, by billions of dollars," said FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. "Our blissful blessing of evermore media industry consolidation was another costly assault on consumer well-being."

Wireless industry trade association CTIA has long maintained that the existing structure of the wireless industry has served consumers well, because prices have generally been lowered and service has improved.

In a related development this week, the FCC said it will work to tighten restrictions on so-called "robocalls," the automated calls placed to residential telephone subscribers often without their approval. Genachowski noted that rules regulating robocalls were adopted nearly two decades ago. He added that new technologies enable telemarketers to make more than 1,000 prerecorded message calls a minute.

New rules applying to the automated calls would also be developed to harmonize rules between the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule.

FCC Launches Consumer Task Force

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thailand - AIS's 3G plan attacked

[bangkokpost] Five companies providing 3G services in Bangkok for TOT Plc are crying foul over a plan by the mobile market leader Advanced Info Service (AIS) to partner with the state telecom enterprise, with one threatening to quit the business.

TOT, meanwhile, has cautioned that it would be impossible for AIS to start offering the services on Feb 1 as the latter had claimed, because more details have to be negotiated.

The planned co-operation between TOT and AIS was just for a trial period and no firm conclusion had been reached, said Vichian Narkseenuan, senior executive vice-president and head of the TOT 3G project.

He added that allowing unlimited data roaming by AIS customers on the TOT network would be impossible, since only 500,000 numbers are available, which places severe limits on the number of customers and amount of data that can be handled.

Other concerns over network congestion and business agreement conditions with the five existing operators need further work, said Mr Vichian.

The five companies currently are operating under a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business model. They are Samart I-Mobile, Loxley, 365 Communication, IEC International and M Consultant Corporation.

TOT is offering the high-speed mobile broadband service initially through 548 base stations in Bangkok and surrounding areas. The second-phase _ to add 3,800 base stations worth 20 billion baht _ remains stalled as the government has yet to clarify regulations for 3G licence auctions.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has been unable to hold the auction because of questions about the bidding terms, which appear not to favour the state telecom enterprises, and questions about its legal authority.

An executive of one of the MVNO companies said the five operators would be forced out of business if AIS joined the service, given the latter's huge size, with 30 million customers, and financial resources.

''We will immediately end our services if TOT allows AIS to join,'' said the executive, who asked not to be named.

Two other providers said TOT had never told them anything about the possibility of participation by AIS, which in any case would breach the MVNO agreements with the five operators.

Suroj Lamsam, the executive vice-president of Loxley for the MVNO project, said the even though TOT had the right to allow AIS to offer the service, it would be unfair to the others since the mobile leader had such a huge advantage in terms of distribution and airtime refill points.

In any case, he said market response to TOT's month-old 3G service had been low so far because of the state enterprise's weak marketing and advertising activities, while the MVNOs themselves were weak in distribution and operational management.

The second-ranked mobile operator DTAC said stepped-up 3G activity by AIS would affect the company as long as 3G licensing was still unclear.

Chief marketing officer Thana Thienachariya said DTAC this week asked its concession holder, CAT Telecom, for permission to expand 3G coverage in Bangkok by at least 500 base stations.

DTAC now has only 40 3G cell sites in inner Bangkok to provide 3G trial service.

Mr Thana urged CAT to quickly approve the upgrade, as both CAT and DTAC would benefit. DTAC is open to a co-operation deal for 3G with TOT if licensing remains stalled, he said.

AIS's 3G plan attacked

Thailand - AIS says 3G service will be limited at first

[bangkok post] Advanced Info Service clarified yesterday that it would limit 3G services on the network of the state telecom enterprise TOT to 10,000 customers.

The country's largest mobile operator intends to begin 3G data roaming with TOT on Feb 1. The prospect has dismayed the five small companies now offering the service for TOT, as they say the network could not handle potentially huge demand from AIS customers.

AIS chief executive Wichian Mektrakarn said the company had already completed some data roaming trials and they had been successful.

He acknowledged that the 3G network of TOT would be congested if all of the company's 6 million data users turned to the network. TOT earlier said its network could handle no more than 500,000 customers.

Mr Wichian said that with strict limits on the number of AIS users, other operators need not worry about the traffic.

In a related development, True Move chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont said the third-ranked mobile operator was also interested in partnering with TOT to provide 3G service.

He said that as far as the regulations of the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) were concerned, TOT should open free roaming service with all operators.

True was willing to talk with TOT or CAT Telecom about the issue, he said.

True Corporation, the parent company of True Move, expects to maintain its revenue growth of 3-5% this year from 60 billion baht estimated in 2009, he added.Mr Suphachai said the company had average revenue growth of 3-5% each year. True Corp sees a good prospect for most of its businesses in 2010, with True Move projected to rise by 3%, the same rate as last year.

Broadband business is also expected to see double-digit growth while advertising revenue should improve the TrueVisions pay-TV business by up to 10%. Fixed-line telephones may generate flat growth due to declining numbers of users every year.

Mr Suphachai also expressed the hope that wider 3G service should be able to start by the middle of this year. The company has a budget of 12-15 billion baht for the first phase of its 3G service if it wins a licence.

The company many need to find a business partner after receiving a 3G licence, he added.

AIS says 3G service will be limited at first

China - Distributors of pornographic images from cellphones to be banned

[AFP] Mobile users in China will be banned from sending short messages if they are found to have distributed pornography or other "illegal" content by phone, state media said Wednesday.

China Mobile, the world's biggest cell-phone operator, is helping Chinese police in a campaign to crack down on "illegal short messages", the Nanfang Daily newspaper reported.

Subscribers will have their text messaging services cut if they are found by the company's "checking system" or reported by other users to have distributed obscene, violent or other "unhealthy" messages, it said.

They will also be required to promise in writing not to distribute such content in future if they want their services to be restored, the report added.

China Mobile had 518.1 million subscribers at the end of November, according to the latest company figures -- more than 70 percent of the country's mobile phone users.

China strictly censors the Internet and other media, saying it is aimed at curbing pornographic or violent content.

But critics allege the so-called "Great Firewall of China" is used to curb the spread of political content deemed a threat to Communist Party rule and strangle dissent.

More than 15,000 pornographic websites, including over 11,000 mobile WAP sites -- websites that users can access via cell phones -- have been shut down or blocked in 2009, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

Beijing has vowed tougher online policing in 2010 as a key element of "state security."

China mobile users risk SMS ban in porn crackdown

Standard for magnetic induction power charging to be agreed in 6 months

[zdnet] A standard for the wireless charging of electronic devices will be agreed within six months, the chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium has said.

On Friday, Menno Treffers apparently promised to eat his hat if the magnetic induction standard, which is intended to provide power of up to 5W, had not been agreed by that point.

The WPC includes members such as Olympus, Nokia, Philips, RIM, Sanyo, Texas Instruments, ST Ericsson, Samsung, Duracell and Energizer.

According to an IDG report, this first standard will cover smaller devices such as mobile phones and cameras, while a further standard will be needed to wirelessly charge larger devices such as laptops.

According to the WPC website, wireless charging is far less energy efficient than wired charging, unless multiple devices are charged from one wireless charger simultaneously. The group claims that two devices being charged at once will use roughly the same energy as two devices being charged separately by wires.

Wireless power standard due 'in six months'

iPhone Piracy May Have Cost Apple, Developers $450M

[newsfactor] An analysis estimates that jailbroken iPhones have downloaded three applications for every paid app, costing Apple, Inc. and App Store developers $450 million. Sites such as Cydia offer iPhones pirated software free or cheaper than Apple's App Store. The report's authors estimated the number of jailbroken Apple iPhones at 7.5 million.

Apple iPhones that have been jailbroken, modified to allow unapproved applications, have cost the computer giant and its developers Relevant Products/Services some $450 million, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the financial news site 24/7 Wall St. The reports says a staggering 1.53 billion pirated applications have been downloaded, or three for every legitimate, paid download.

Citing research by Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, the report says between 13 percent and 21 percent of the three billion downloads from Apple's App Store since it began in July 2008 were for paid applications at an average cost of $3. The store also offers many free apps.

That amounts to income of between $60 million and $110 million per quarter as of the time of the research, when 127,632 applications were available.

iPhone Piracy May Have Cost Apple, Developers $450M

Mobile Internet - Apple and Google setting out the battle lines

[newsfactor] Google's latest salvo is the Nexus One mobile, the first mobile phone created by the company. Apple is expected to respond by the end of January with the introduction of its tablet computer, slated for a late March release. Thus, two companies that have had friendly relations until now are likely to start acting more like rivals.

When tech gurus try to project the big trends for 2010, they keep coming back to one topic: mobile Internet connections.

People want to be able to surf the web with their multimedia mobile or their netbook. Google and Apple are both lining up to be the primary provider of such services, creating a showdown between the search engine powerhouse and the creator of the iPhone.

Google's latest salvo is the Nexus One mobile, the first mobile created by the company. Apple is expected to respond by the end of January with the introduction of its tablet computer, slated for a late March release.

Thus, two companies that have had friendly relations until now are likely to start acting more like rivals.

Apple and Google Lay Battle Lines in Mobile Internet War

Wharton - Will Google's Nexus One Change the Wireless Industry?

[wharton] On January 5, Google launched the Nexus One -- the company's new "superphone" -- with a good deal of fanfare. At a press event, Google executives showed off the sleek device, based on the search firm's own Android operating system with integrated services such as Google Earth, an online map and satellite image tool. Google's software, combined with a speedy processor, represent a new category of phones "as powerful as your laptop computer of three to four years ago," said Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, in a statement. The phone also includes voice recognition technology for speaking text messages and emails, and touts a 3-D interface, among other features that had the tech world buzzing before the launch event.

Although the launch itself was quickly overshadowed by the online giant's surprise showdown with China over censorship, the company's attempt to rewrite the rules of the wireless industry has not gone unnoticed. Google unveiled its own online store to sell the phone independently from wireless service providers that operate as device gatekeepers under the traditional sales model. The goal: Break down distribution barriers and sell the Nexus One directly to consumers. Through Google's web store, consumers can buy the Nexus One unlocked -- separate from carrier service -- for $529. For $179, the Nexus One can be purchased with a two-year contract from T-Mobile. Google announced it would offer more devices through its web store in the future.

The honeymoon didn't last long, however. Google quickly encountered a deluge of customer service complaints about everything from wireless network coverage, buggy touchscreens that wouldn't allow customers to type, batteries that didn't hold a charge and high fees associated with returns. These problems were compounded by the fact that customers could only communicate with the company through online forums and email -- not live customer service agents.

Will Google's Nexus One Change the Wireless Industry?

WTO - USA asked to open a dispute with China over Google hacking and censorship issues

[afp] Some groups are calling on the United States to challenge China?s "firewall" before the World Trade Organization, as a bilateral row over cyberattacks on Google adds to trade tensions.

As President Barack Obama awaits answers from Beijing on the cyberstrikes, Washington is being asked to contest China?s Internet censorship as a breach of global trade rules to which the Asian giant, as a WTO member, is subject.

The nonprofit US-based free speech group has petitioned US Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk, Obama's top trade official, to invoke World Trade Organization treaties to curtail China?s censorship of the Internet.

China's action to halt Internet commerce at its "borders" is akin to a government regulation requiring perishable agricultural exports from the US to sit for days on China?s docks prior to transhipment to internal distribution facilities, Scheer said.

Kirk's office confirmed that it was discussing the issue with the First Amendment Coalition and other groups.

"This is a very complex area that we continue to think through, in consultation with interested groups including the First Amendment Coalition and have not made any decisions one way or another," USTR spokeswoman Debbie Mesloh told AFP.

Asked on the prospect of a WTO action if China, for example, did not respond to a US request for a thorough and transparent probe of Google's claims, Mesloh said, "This is an issue of broad concern to the Administration -- going far beyond USTR.

"The Administration awaits China?s response to our concerns; we have no comment beyond that."

China has the highest number of online users at nearly 400 million, surpassing even the United States, making it among the most appealing markets for foreign technology companies.

When China acceded to the WTO in 2001, it agreed to give unlimited access and equal treatment to foreign-based or foreign-owned businesses in many categories of services, including online services, according to a recent report of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.

"These services count as imports to which China is supposed to be opening itself, even if they are delivered over a wire instead of in a shipping crate," it said.

"The online market in China is simply too big for Europe and the US to let trade-distorting regulations pass without action. Victories at the WTO on this front would be wins both for commerce and for civil rights," the report said.

The United States and China are also locked in other trade disputes ranging from tires, steel and poultry to patents, Hollywood films and currency.

The WTO has ruled against China in several cases that were brought before the Geneva-based global trade watchdog.

In the latest case, the Appellate Body, the final authority of WTO dispute settlement, turned down last month an appeal by China in a dispute over its restrictions on the distribution of US printed books, films and music.

Beijing is now forced to either open that market or face retaliatory tariffs.

China has also increasingly turned to the WTO, mounting challenges to an American ban on Chinese poultry imports and US anti-dumping policy.

Scheer underlined the "considerable" advantages of a WTO strategy over the Internet censorship issue following the cyberattacks on Google.

"China in other recent trade disputes has shown it will abide by WTO rulings it disagrees with (reserving its right to request WTO rulings, to China?s benefit, in other matters)," he said.

"For the US government, playing the WTO card also demonstrates seriousness about curbing Chinese censorship, while confining the dispute to an international legal process and avoiding a direct confrontation with China."

US asked to drag China to WTO over Google dispute

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 Deloitte TMT Predictions provide an in-depth look at the emerging issues that will impact the Technology, Media & Telecommunications sectors

[deloitte] The 2010 Deloitte TMT Predictions provide an in-depth look at the emerging issues that will impact the Technology, Media & Telecommunications sectors in the coming year.

Technology predictions Technology has never been changing so rapidly, what does your business need to know?

Media predictions Media continues to change and grow, find out what will impact your business needs.

Telecommunications predictions As Telecommunications evolve, what does your business need to know?

Challenges and opportunities for 2010. Take a closer look.

Jordan - Zain has signed an MVNO deal with the FRiENDi Group

[jordan times] Under a strategic cooperation agreement signed with Zain, the mobile operator in the Middle East and Africa, FRiENDi Group will be allowed to provide mobile virtual network services through Zain's existing network and provide offers and services to specific customer segments.Signed by Zain's Chief Executive Officer Abdul Malek Al Jaber and FRiENDi Group's Chief Executive Officer Mikkel Vinter, the strategic agreement, is considered to be the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

A mobile virtual network operator is an operator that can provide mobile telephony services through leveraging capacity offered from an existing network operator, under its own name and brand. As the first mobile virtual network operator in Jordan, FRiENDi Group will start to offer services to the Jordanian market during the second quarter of 2010 and will target the prepaid consumer market. Jaber said: "The strategic agreement with FRiENDi Group is in line with Zain's overall strategy that is based on targeted and segmented acquisitions in light of the current market situation which has reached saturation with the number of subscriptions exceeding the number of inhabitants," adding that this pushed Zain to offer services that distinguish it from other operators, while averting from engaging in a price war.

Mobile virtual network operator partnership signed

UK - BT has launched a 40 Mbps "infinity" service trials

[bbc] BT has launched a broadband service that offers speeds of up to 40 megabits per second (mbps).

Based around fibre optic cables, BT said the Infinity service could change the way that people use broadband.

It will give some customers an upload speed of up to 10 mbps.

Trials have been held in London's Muswell Hill, Whitchurch and Glasgow.

BT said 4 million homes and businesses would be able to get it by 2011.

The current highest speed service from BT available to homes is 20 megabits per second (mbps), though not all homes can get this headline speed.

BT Retail said the basic 40mbps service will be offered for £19.99 per month on an 18 month contract. It will also charge an installation fee of £50 for those on the lowest tariff.

Only those who opt for BT's most expensive tariff, £24.99 per month, will get the 10mbps upload speed. With the basic package upload speed is up to 2mbps.

BT said the higher speed would make it easier to share broadband among multiple computers and improve video streaming and net TV services.

As with lower speed services only those closest to the street cabinets that the fibre connects to are likely to get the full 40mbps.

A spokesman for Virgin Media wondered why anyone would buy a service from BT that has yet to launch when it could get higher speeds via cable already.

He said Virgin was already trialling future technology that could see cable speeds reach 200mbps.

BT puts price on higher speed broadband

Europe - 4th call for Proposals ICT Policy Support Programme has been opened

[ec] A call for proposals has been launched under the 2010 Work Programme of the Information and Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (2007 to 2013). The Work Programme 2010 focuses on 6 themes: ICT for a low carbon economy and smart mobility; Digital Libraries; ICT for health and inclusion; Open innovation for future Internet-enabled services in smart cities; ICT for improved public services for citizens and businesses; Multilingual Web.

ICT Policy Support Programme: the 4th call for Proposals based on the 2010 Work Programme is now open

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pre Pay Mobile Broadband will become the norm for the majority of users to access the Internet worldwide

[tcl] In a new report published by Tariff Consultancy Ltd called ‘Pre Pay Mobile Broadband Services: Pricing, Trends & Products from around the world ‘ dynamic worldwide growth is predicted for Pre Pay Mobile Broadband (defined as being PC based internet connectivity usually using a USB flash modem which is capable of supporting download speeds of up to 384 KB and beyond).

Pre Pay Mobile Broadband services are being launched by more operators as 3G and HSPA services are being deployed, with over 300 HSPA networks currently in operation.

In particular, it is users in the Asia Pacific and Americas region who will lead Pre Pay Mobile Broadband subscriber adoption. Asia Pacific Pre Pay Mobile Broadband subscriber numbers will increase 10 fold over the 3 year period to 160 million users over the period with the Americas region seeing a growth rate of almost 7 times.

User take up of Pre Pay Mobile Broadband is being spurred by the increase in 3G and HSPA network deployments across all regions. Additionally in many countries as the majority of mobile users (as high as 90 per cent of mobile users across South America) are Pre Pay subscribers the availability of Pre Pay Mobile Broadband is required if Mobile Broadband is to become a mass market service.

Pre Pay Mobile Broadband providers are following a range of strategies. In many countries providers are charging a premium for mobile internet connectivity with a relatively small data allowance.

But in other countries Pre Pay Mobile Broadband providers are offering high data allowances with a low cost per GB which are on a par with fixed Broadband services. For example, in Cyprus MTN offers a month to month contract (with no contract) with a data allowance of 25 GB, and in Honduras Tigo offers a data allowance of 16 GB.

Other providers such as Virgin Mobile UK and 3 UK are offering Mobile Broadband services without a contract term as a hybrid month to month service. In the Asia Pacific region operators are launching Pre Pay Mobile Broadband services with low denominations of less than 1 Euro. They are also seeking to offset the once off purchase cost of the USB modem by offering a data SIM card only package.

Daily Pre Pay Mobile Broadband rates are provided at an average of 3.4 Euro in the EMEA region, with a spread of pricing from 9 Euro to 1 Euro with Weekly rates in the region cost an average of almost 8.9 Euro. The most popular tariff worldwide is a flat rate bundle of Hours or per flat rate per GB/MB followed by a Daily (24 Hour) flat rate.

Mobile operators around the world are seeking to differentiate their services in the face of market maturity by bundling additional services rather than competing on price. Service bundles now include the bundling of WiFi with the 3G mobile internet (for example by TMN Portugal). Examples of Pre Pay Mobile Broadband service bundling highlighted in TCL's report include the following:

* Mobile Broadband USB modem with 100 Hours 3G internet usage plus unlimited Hot Spot usage offered by Globe Telecom in the Philippines,
* Pre Pay vouchers which can be used both by both for a fixed line Broadband service and a Mobile Broadband service offered by CTM Macau.

"Data allowances are increasing and are buoyed by the introduction of a large number of data bundles which are becoming more complex," commented Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy Limited.

"For example both Optus in Australia, Reliance in India and Telkomsel in Indonesia are offering at least 8 different bundles with data allowances available of up to 8 GB," she added.

"Although some operators continue to price their Pre Pay Mobile Broadband product at a premium, a large number of Pre Pay Mobile Broadband providers are in fact positioning their service to replace fixed line services".

In some countries such as India, the lack of existing copper infrastructure coupled with the mass market potential of pre pay services means that Pre Pay Mobile Broadband will become the norm for the majority of users to access the internet worldwide.

Pre Pay Mobile Broadband will become the norm for the majority of users to access the internet worldwide with third of a Billion users by the end of 2013

Mobile - Nokia maps out new front in mobile phone wars

[the times] Nokia today announced that it would make full GPS navigation available to all users of its current mobile handsets worldwide, with a new version of its Ovi Maps application.

Although mapping services are common on mobile devices such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia's own smartphones, this is the first time that turn-by-turn voice navigation, normally a feature of dedicated GPS units, has been made available for free by any handset manufacturer.

Nokia claims that the new version of Ovi Maps will include all essential car and pedestrian navigation features for 74 countries in 46 languages, and traffic information for over 10 countries, as well as detailed maps for over 180 countries. Users will pay data charges to their mobile carrier for GPS usage, but Nokia itself will not levy any charges.

“We want to make using your mobile for navigation as familiar as using it to send a text or take a picture," Anssi Vanjoki, the Executive Vice President of Nokia, said. "We believe that making the best maps with voice guided navigation available for free will be the catalyst to do this. We can help you get around almost any city in the world, whether you’re on foot or driving.”

Nokia maps out new front in mobile phone wars

Tsunami - Possibility of detection using underwater undersea cables

[wired] Tsunamis may be detectable with underwater fiber-optic cables, according to a new detailed model of the electrical fields the moving water generates.

The charged particles in the ocean water interact with Earth’s magnetic field to induce voltage of up to 500 millivolts in the cables that ferry internet traffic around. With relatively simple technology, those voltage spikes could serve as a tsunami-warning system for nations that can’t afford large arrays of other types of sensors.

“What we argue is that this is such a simple system to set up and start measuring,” said Manoj Nair, a geomagnetist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the research. “We have a system of submarine cables already existing. The only thing we probably need is a voltmeter, in theory.”

The salt in ocean water makes it a good electrical conductor. Positively charged sodium and negatively charged chlorine ions in the solution are free to move. In a large movement of ocean water, these ions are carried across the Earth’s magnetic field creating an electrical field.

Decades ago, Bell Labs researchers revealed that the movement of ocean water after the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake created “a large-scale motional electric field” that was detectable by an underwater cable. But the work wasn’t followed up because alternative technologies were available that could take better measurements.

Rich countries like the United States can install sea bottom pressure arrays like those used by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. These directly detect the motion of large amounts of water.

But some countries can’t afford to install and maintain those arrays, so it could be critical to have a lower-cost alternative.

Nair’s work, which will be published in February’s Earth, Planets and Space, quantified the physics of this lower-cost alternative by building a model of the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. He and his team showed that the voltages induced in the submarine cables would be large enough to measure.

It’s a major step towards turning this speculative idea into a real system, and he stressed that other groups would have to confirm the results of their model through observations.

“We treat this as a novel idea that we’re putting forth, but it still needs to be taken seriously and verified by other groups,” Nair cautioned.

Undersea Internet Cables Could Detect Electromagnetic Tsunami Signals

Roaming - Zain to offer in-flight roaming

[ame] Kuwaiti telco Zain has launched its international telephone service aboard Wataniya Airways flights, Kuna has reported. Passengers using the service will be able to receive calls while in flight and use SMS messaging, as well internet and Blackberry services.

Zain offers in-flight phones services

Germany - Deutsche Telekom sets out position on access charges for FTTH

[DTAG] Deutsche Telekom has applied to the Federal Network Agency to approve the charges for use of three elements of its fiber-optic infrastructure. The Group is offering access in multi-function cabinets for a monthly unit price. Telecommunications companies who use slots in the multi-function cabinet pay a corresponding portion of the unit price. Niek Jan van Damme, Member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom AG responsible for Germany: "We have developed a simple, transparent and fair pricing model. This makes it easier for our competitors to calculate their broadband investments. There is no doubt that Germany needs more fiber-optic infrastructure, but competitors must also contribute to the expansion."

The Federal Network Agency specified the criteria for wholesale products in December, which Deutsche Telekom has used as orientation in calculating its prices. The charges in detail:

* Total monthly charge for access in the multi-function cabinet: EUR 173.32. This price is apportioned to the telecommunications companies (including Deutsche Telekom) according to the number of slots they use. There are a maximum of four slots per multi-function cabinet.
* Monthly charge for access to cable channels: 43 euro cents per meter used for one quarter-pipe.
* Monthly charge for access to dark fiber: Flat rate for the use of two fibers for a single section from the main distribution frame: EUR 353.96.

"It is vital that the Federal Network Agency ensures the pricing is structured in such a way as to stimulate further expansion. No companies will invest in additional infrastructure if it is too cheap to use our networks. Setting charges that are too low will also devalue the fiber-optic infrastructure that city network operators in particular have already installed," said Mr. van Damme.

Deutsche Telekom applies for fiber-optic infrastructure charges

USA - FBI broke law in phone searches

[reuters] The FBI collected more than 2,000 records on U.S. telephone calls by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or by persuading phone companies to provide them, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

FBI officials issued approvals afterward to justify their actions in collecting the phone records between 2002 and 2006, the newspaper said.

"This practice ceased in 2006 and never involved obtaining the content of telephone conversations. Additionally, steps have been taken to ensure similar situations do not occur in the future," FBI spokesman Michael Kortan told Reuters.

FBI broke law in phone searches

Thailand - AIS plans to start 3G services using its concession with TOT

[bangkokpost] Advanced Info Service (AIS) plans to start providing 3G wireless broadband services in Bangkok on Feb 1 along with TOT Plc's 3G services through a data roaming agreement.

The country's largest mobile-phone operator says it is ready to work with its concession provider TOT in a joint venture or co-investment in the state enterprise's 3G project if 3G licensing remains stalled.

CEO Wichian Mektrakarn said co-operation was necessary for AIS to keep its subscribers and deal with the uncertainty over 3G licences.

It would also allow it to cash in on increasing mobile data demand as 3G will be a key strategic marketing tool for operators to attract new customers this year, he said.

Mobile internet demand soared by 400% last year with 12 million users out of 69 million mobile users. Mobile internet users are expected to reach 18 million this year.

AIS will provide trial 3G services in the first month targeting heavy data users. It plans to offer 3G commercial services for postpaid customers in the first phase. Customers are required to purchase a SIM card for a new phone number allowing use of three network services: TOT 3G in Bangkok, AIS 3G in Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Hua Hin, and AIS's Edge services outside of TOT 3G service areas.

It is discussing tariff rates with TOT, he said.

"We expect to have at least 20,000 subscribers in the first month of our services," said Mr Wichian.

He said AIS planned to spend 11 billion baht in 2010, with an additional planned budget of 45 to 50 billion for 3G under a three-year plan.

It plans to expand its 3G services on 900 MHz into another 15 provinces this year and wants to invest in fixed-line broadband service in underserved residential areas and with new businesses.

AIS projects revenue to grow by 3-5% this year, exceeding 100 billion baht after contracting in the first nine months of last year. It expects its data and non-voice revenue to grow by 20%.

AIS expects to add 1.5 million new subscribers this year out of an industry total of 3 million, bringing its total to 30 million by year-end.

The mobile industry is expected to grow 3-5% with a market value of 205 billion baht in 2010.

AIS shares (ADVANC) closed down 50 satang yesterday on the SET at 83.25 baht, in trade worth 516 million baht.

AIS plans Bangkok 3G service for Feb 1

Sunday, January 17, 2010

South Africa - Union wants Vodacom facts - Demands release of forensic report on former chief

[times live] Though Vodacom says it will take no action against former chief executive Alan Knott-Craig Snr in connection with allegations that he exploited the cellphone company's resources for the benefit of his family, there are calls for the report alleging misconduct to be released.

Following a Sunday Times report into the alleged misconduct, Aubrey Tshabalala, an official of the Communications Workers' Union at the cellular giant, told The Times that senior union leaders would meet this morning to discuss the allegations.

Tshabalala said the union had received a "huge response" from workers who wanted answers about the allegations that Vodacom was trying to suppress a forensic report into Knott-Craig Snr's dealings compiled by auditors KPMG.

The Sunday Times reported that the KPMG report into damaging claims made by two whistle-blowers, both senior executives in the company at the time, were of nepotism, corporate malpractice and violations of corporate governance standards.

" We want a full report and investigation ," said Tshabalala. "We have been saying for a long time that there should be a disclosure of information from the KPMG report. Some of our members were dismissed because they wanted to disclose the information in the report." He was referring to a Labour Court dispute with one of the whistle-blowers - whom the company claims it fired for "grossly inappropriate conduct".

Union wants Vodacom facts - Demands release of forensic report on former chief

DRCongo - Vodacom’s partner says it’s owed US$166 Million, may sue

[bloomberg] Congolese Wireless Networks, the minority shareholder in Vodacom Congo Sprl, said the venture with Vodacom Group Ltd. is owed more than $166 million in dividends, according to a complaint filed Dec. 17 with Congo’s attorney general.

The attorney general could take the case to court “if he believed the complaint had merit and was serious,” CWN’s lawyer, Roger Masamba, said by phone in Kinshasa yesterday.

Neither the attorney general nor CWN have filed the case in court yet, Masamba said.

The legal filing accuses Vodacom of usury, fraud, and abuse of trust, mainly over a loan that allegedly resulted in CWN paying improper interest payments, fees, and a bank guarantee. It also asks for $25 million in damages and 8 percent interest on the disputed payments.

Richard Boorman, spokesman for Johannesburg-based Vodacom, denied the allegations.

“It is absolutely incorrect to say Vodacom owes any money to CWN, nor does it owe money to Vodacom Congo,” Boorman said in a phone interview Jan. 12. “Payments to Vodacom Group were made in accordance with terms explicitly agreed with CWN partners.”

Vodacom Congo is the Central African country’s joint market leader with Kuwait’s Zain. Vodacom, the largest provider of wireless services to South Africans took control of Congolese Wireless in 2002. France Telecom SA and Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd. last year also expressed interest in entering Congo, Africa’s fourth-most-populous nation, with 65 million inhabitants.

Vodacom’s Congo Partner Says It’s Owed $166 Million, May Sue

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Egypt - Court preliminary ruling blocks FT's bid for fulll control of Mobinil

[ft] France Telecom’s hopes of taking full control of ECMS were dashed on Wednesday when an Egyptian court blocked its offer for minority stakes in the Egyptian mobile operator.

The Cairo court placed an injunction on the French group’s €1.5bn bid for outstanding stakes in ECMS, due to expire on Thursday after concluding that the price was too low.

France Telecom thwarted in ECMS bid

USA - Verizon modifies price plans to emphasize growth of data usage

[connected planet] Verizon Wireless today made several moves to simplify its devices and services structure, introducing lower unlimited price points, streamlining device categorization and offering new options for unlimited prepaid. The new plans came as the nation's largest carrier gears up to roll out its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks throughout this year and looks to drive as many consumers to data as possible.

"To me, the future here is about data, and this is about data in my view," said VZW President and CEO Lowell McAdam referring to the new plans on an investors call today. "It's the smartphone portfolio teamed together with very simple data pricing. We're about adding that high-end customer really as an on-ramp to LTE."

The new monthly service plans take VZW's unlimited price point down from $99 to $69.99 for unlimited monthly calling or $89.99 for unlimited talk and text. In addition, Nationwide Family SharePlans will now have unlimited options for $199.99 monthly voice access or $149.99 per month for voice and text for plans based on two lines. In terms of data, VZW expanded its $9.99 25-megabyte-per-month package to all of its 3G multimedia phones, discontinuing its $19.99 data package option.

Those customers on the lower tier, using what VZW is now dubbing Simple Feature phones, will continue to pay $1.99 per megabyte or choose either a $9.99 or $29.99 data package. Consumer data packages for 3G smartphones, including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Android devices, will remain at $29.99 per month.

"Based on the usage we are seeing from the Droid and other high-end smartphones and the apps we see on the devices, we think this is an excellent value," McAdam said, adding that VZW can use the plans to upsell both its customers and its competitors' customers to unlimited data plans. "We think it'll drive penetration of data services. There won't be surprises for customers, so we'll see more satisfaction."

Verizon simplifies phones, pricing as it preps LTE
see also coverage in FT

USA - Justice Dept ends investigation into SMS pricing

[wsj] The Justice Department has informed several wireless carriers that it has concluded an inquiry into whether the carriers colluded to set text-messaging rates and has no plans to take action on this issue, according to industry and government officials with knowledge of the agency's inquiry.

The Justice Department antitrust division's conclusion is a win for the nation's largest wireless carriers, including AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc., which have defended their text-messaging fees.

Justice Ends Probe of Texting Rates

USA - Donations to charity by mobile phone users sees massive growth

[prnewswire] Following the disaster in Haiti, mobile donation programs are seeing a dramatic increase in usage. Donations via text message continue to be popular and now donations via voice calls to Mobile Dialing Codes (MDCs) are seeing tremendous growth due to their ease of use and convenience. Single Touch Systems (OTC Bulletin Board: SITO) provides the platform for mobile giving via Charity Call™, where AT&T subscribers dial #505 and select a charity or cause of their choice and simply make a one-time donation of $25. Callers can select the cause 'International Humanitarian Relief' to make a donation.

"Single Touch creates programs that make charitable giving via the mobile phone as easy as making a phone call. Single Touch is thankful that we're able to help the families by using our MDC technology to make it easier to donate, just dial #505 to help now," said Anthony Macaluso, CEO of Single Touch Systems. Single Touch has won industry awards and recognition for its innovation and programs across a variety of industries.

Donations Via Mobile Phone See Massive Growth, Single Touch Now Powers a New Way to Donate to Charities

USA - 'Phones for Haiti' Cell Phone Recycling Program Launched

[prnewswire] -ReCellular today announced a new way for Americans to provide support to the millions of victims of the January 12th earthquake in Haiti. Used cell phones can be sent in by downloading a prepaid mailing label at, with the proceeds going to the American Red Cross' charitable efforts.

"The devastation in Haiti is slowly becoming all too clear," said Steve Manning, ReCellular CEO. "Sending in your used phone is a simple and effective way to help with the rescue and rebuilding efforts already underway."

There are an estimated 130 million phones retired in the United States every year. If even a small percentage of them are sent to Phones for Haiti, it would contribute millions of dollars towards relief from the devastating earthquake. ReCellular will give 100% of the phone value as a contribution to the American Red Cross; charities have already earned more than $20 million dollars in contributions through their partnerships with ReCellular.

With rescue and repair missions already underway, it is critical that funds get to the region quickly. By using the postage paid label, supporters can have their used phones to ReCellular within just a few days, allowing for the rapid distribution of funds. All phones are accepted, though newer phones will provide the most value to the charity – in some cases $100 or more.

"The overwhelming response from all Americans to the crisis in Haiti reflects the depth of generosity of the American people," said Manning. "We are proud to be able to coordinate this opportunity when the need is so great."

'Phones for Haiti' Cell Phone Recycling Program Launched

California - report assesses whether policies to raise broadband availability will contribute, as hoped, to local economic development

[Public Policy Institute of California] The federal government and the state of California, as well as other states throughout the nation, have made universal access to broadband service a public policy goal, assuming that multiple economic and social benefits will accrue from increasing broadband access. This study assesses whether policies designed to increase broadband availability—especially to unserved and underserved communities—will contribute to local economic development. It finds a positive relationship between broadband expansion and employment growth, but the benefits for local residents are ambiguous.

Does Broadband Boost Local Economic Development?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti - Earthquake severely strains telecommunications services

[usa today] Telecommunications providers in Haiti will continue through the weekend to try to accommodate the enormous demand for phone and broadband services as they struggle to overcome massive damage to the island's infrastructure from Tuesday's 7.0 earthquake.

"The logistics and the security situation are really bad," says Paul Margie, U.S. representative for international relief organization Télécoms Sans Frontières (Telecommunications Without Borders). "There's so much rubble in the street, it's hard to drive places."

The group plans to set up a site in Port-au-Prince where people can make free, two-minute phone calls via satellite to anywhere. It also will offer broadband service to relief workers from the United Nations and non-governmental organizations.

The island's leading wireless phone provider, Jamaica-based Digicel Group, wants to send technicians to the island to work on its network, which is damaged but still operational. Antonia Graham, who is head of public relations, says the network is severely congested "because of the number of people making calls and trying to receive calls."

Digicel couldn't do much Thursday. "We've been trying to get into Haiti but our plane got turned back because the airport's full," she says.

Officials in the U.S. also are trying to find answers to Haiti's communications needs.

The Federal Communications Commission said, in a release, that it is contacting providers as it tries to "determine their operating status and to offer technical assistance."

The needs likely will be enormous.

Even before the earthquake, the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook called Haiti's phone system "barely adequate" with an infrastructure that's "among the least developed in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Haiti's government-owned Télécommunications d'Haiti controls the land-line phone service. But cellphone sales soared after 2006 when Digicel, Comcel and Haitel began to offer low-price services.

The earthquake could accelerate demand for wireless and satellite communications.

After massive natural disasters, "Countries don't have many alternatives, or the resources to build a new infrastructure," says Jay Yass, vice president of network services at Intelsat, which provides satellite services to video, data and voice providers in many countries, including Haiti. "Satellite is able to be rapidly deployed."

Haiti quake severely strains telecom services