Friday, April 30, 2010

Lebanon - The head of the regulatory authority resigned for personal reasons not the controversy over mobile networks

[daily star] The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) issued a statement Thursday, in which it clarified its role in the technical fields of telecommunications, stressing that reasons behind its head’s resignation were personal.

The TRA statement said upon the request of Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas – its board of directors agreed on March 29 to include three of its members – Imad Hobballah, Patrick Eid and Daniel Hamadeh – in the committee investigating the US information request on Lebanon’s communication networks.

According to the statement, TRA has its legal duties of presenting its organizational and technical opinion to the Lebanese government and its representatives based on solid scientific foundations and on its experience and qualifications.

The statement noted that TRA’s head Kamal Shehadeh’s resignation had nothing to do with the recent media uproar about the committee, attributing it to personal reasons.

The resignation of Shehadi fueled the controversy over a report prepared by a committee within the Telecommunications Ministry and upon the recommendation of the Parliament’s Telecommunications and Media committee.

It aimed at studying information related to the Lebanese mobile-phone network.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

TRA chief resigned for 'personal reasons'

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Solomon Islands - PM calls for more competition in its telecoms market speaking at PITA

[pacific scoop] Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says Solomon Islands is keen to see more competition in the telecommunication industry. PM Sikua Wants More Telecommunication Competition

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua says Solomon Islands is keen to see more competition in the telecommunication industry.

Speaking at the start of the 14th Pacific Islands Telecommunication Association Meeting Monday this week, Dr Sikua said telecommunication is a key component in both social and economic development and having a monopoly in the telecommunication industry is not helpful to the development aspirations of Solomon Islands.

Since coming into power in December 2007, Dr Sikua’s Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) government undertook a major reform to encourage investment and competition to ensure modern telecommunications serve as a platform for economic growth and social cohesion.

In December 2009, the Government successfully enacted the new Telecommunication Act which saw new mobile service entrant Bemobile Company given a license to provide mobile services here.

The Act also provides for further mobile telecommunication companies to enter the market after April 2011.

“We believe the reform will see improvements in quality services at affordable prices, in a competition market. We hope that a third or more entrants can come after April 2011. If there are telecommunications companies represented here tonight, please take serious note of this announcement,” Dr Sikua said.

The Government’s move to liberalize telecommunications is to achieve rapid expansion of telecommunications infrastructure and services in the Solomon Islands, and make available to the population the widest possible range of efficient, reliable and affordable telecommunications services competitively provided in a fairly regulated market.

The second aim is to enhance national economic and social development, particularly beyond Honiara, by promoting the ongoing development and effective utilization of telecommunications in the Solomon Islands, such that quantifiable impact is achieved throughout the country within the next 5 years.

Dr Sikua also explained that for competition to have the greatest impact for the consumer and the country more broadly, a modern legislative framework is required to regulate the various suppliers of telecommunication services.
He strongly emphasized that the key attribute to this legislation based on international experience is that, an independent regulator is required to make the necessary decisions to ensure the telecommunications market is operating efficiently and fairly.

The Prime Minister believed that a liberalized telecommunications landscape will radically change the lives of all citizens.

“Almost every person in this country will personally benefit from greater access to telecommunication services. Also, the country benefits through better productivity, more investment, more employment and increased economic growth,” he explained.

PM Sikua Wants More Telecommunication Competition

Lebanon - Calls for the Telecoms Minister to resign over scandals

[daily star] MP Oqab Saqr once again called on Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas on Tuesday to submit his resignation after the controversy over a report the ministry presented to the Parliament.

His words came during a telephone intervention he made on the Lebanese television station LBC in which he said “the mask has been lifted and the scandals of the Telecoms Ministry have been revealed.”

Saqr was referring to an article, published by the Ash-Sharq daily on Friday, which said Nahhas allegedly withheld a report from the Telecommunications Parliamentary Committee. The report was prepared by a committee within the ministry and upon the recommendation of the Parliament’s Telecommunications and Media committee. It aimed at studying information related to the Lebanese mobile-phone network, information the US Embassy had requested from the Internal Security Forces in April 2007.

According to Saqr, the affair was ambiguous and he suspected it had to do with smuggling.

“It’s not possible that one committee formed a draft, another committee wrote another text and then a text was issued,” he said.

Other media outlets reported that the ministry formed two committees to study the requested information. The second one was created when the parliamentary Telecommunications and Media committee asked the ministry to limit its work to technical issues and to avoid security-related matters.

However, Nahhas argued in a statement that “only one report was given to the parliamentary committee and everything else was just a draft. The parliamentary committee also followed up on all the stages of the ministry’s work.”

The information the US Embassy requested was said to be very sensitive and confidential but, according to Ash-Sharq, Nahhas said the information didn’t threaten Lebanon’s security.

Nonetheless, Saqr insisted the affair was scandalous or that the minister was being pressured. He declared that he prepared a memorandum in which documents related to the report were attached. He said he would present the memorandum to Speaker Nabih Berri Wednesday. He added that the reports Berri had received were “a booby-trapped fire ball from the Telecommunications Ministry which passed through the Telecommunications and Media Committee.”

He then called on Nahhas “with love and honesty” to resign and solve the problem before he is forced to reveal some secrets and to remedy the problem with accountability and supervision.

“I suggest the minister present his resignation to Prime Minister [Saad Hariri] and to President [Michel Sleiman] until probes can reveal the truth behind this big scandal,” he said.

The affair became more controversial when the chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Kamal Shehadi submitted his resignation the same day Ash-Sharq issued its article.

The TRA was allegedly in disagreement with Nahas but two of its members, Imad Hoballah and Patrick Eid, were part of the ministerial committee formed to issue the report.

Nonetheless, sources said Shehadi resigned because he was offered a job in the Arab Gulf. It is however to note that Shehadi’s mandate as the head of the TRA was due to end in two years and his position as chairman couldn’t be renewed. –

Saqr reiterates call for Nahhas to resign after Telecoms Ministry 'scandal'

India - Based on intelligence services, equipment imports from China are to be restricted

[business standard] Conditions to buy equipment from Chinese manufacturers have become more strict. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), based on advisory from intelligence agencies, has said procurement of equipment from Chinese manufacturers will not be recommended for clearance “unless there is complete supply chain overseeing and auditing to the satisfaction of DoT”.

The regulation comes following applications by leading telecom operators to DoT for security clearance of Chinese equipment. DoT has also said that equipment from non-Chinese manufacturers will be cleared provided it is satisfied with the adequacy of the supply chain security measures adopted by them. This means, the manufacturers will have to ensure no embedded backdoor, trapdoor facilities are integrated at the place of manufacture outside the country.

The controls are reflected in the fact that the Intelligence Bureau recently refused security clearance to Chinese manufacturers Huawei Technologies and UT Starcom, apart from others, to supply equipment to most of the operators. A Huawei spokesperson said they are not aware of the development.

Under a new policy, telecom operators are required to get a security clearance before placing orders for equipment to various vendors. Earlier, DoT had refused permission to Huawei which had got a contract to supply GSM equipment to public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

Telecom operators say the barriers being imposed on Chinese manufacturers could help European equipment makers to raise prices, which in turn would push up the cost of putting up a network, especially with 3G on its way in.

Chinese equipment are 10-20 per cent cheaper and most Indian telcos are contracting deals with Huawei and ZTE.

DoT tightens norms for Chinese telecom equipment

China - Amendments to the state secrets law requiring operators and ISPs to assist with leaks

[business week] China passed amendments to its state secrets law that requires the nation’s telecommunications carriers and internet companies to assist authorities with investigations of leaks.

Transmission of state secrets over public information networks must be stopped immediately once discovered, according to a copy of the amendment distributed at a press briefing in Beijing today. Network operators must also keep records of transmission and report possible leaks to authorities.

The new requirements may be an additional challenge to foreign technology companies in China such as Yahoo! Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc., which have been criticized by U.S. lawmakers who say they help the Chinese government censor information. Google Inc. shut its China search site in March after saying it was no longer willing to censor content as required by Chinese law.

“Foreign companies may have some difficulties with these requirements on an ethics front,” said Edward Yu, chief executive officer of research company Analysys International. “It won’t have much of an impact on Chinese companies and users because it’s something they don’t have a choice about it.”

Changes to the law are aimed at making people, companies and organizations more responsible for protecting state secrets, according to the amendments that were passed by Chinese legislators today.

China Amends Law to Force Internet Companies to Help in Probes

Electronic waste - Developing countries will be producing at least twice as much electronic waste as developed countries

[cellular news] Developing countries will be producing at least twice as much electronic waste (e-waste) as developed countries within the next 6-8 years, according to a new study published in ACS' semi-monthly journal Environmental Science & Technology. It foresees in 2030 developing countries discarding 400 million - 700 million obsolete personal computers per year compared to 200 million - 300 million in developed countries.

Eric Williams and colleagues cite a dramatic increase in ownership of PCs and other electronic devices in both developed and developing countries. At the same time, technological advances are shrinking the lifetime of consumer electronics products, so that people discard electronics products sooner than ever before. That trend has led to global concern about environmentally safe ways of disposing of e-waste, which contains potentially toxic substances.

The scientists used a computer model to forecast global distribution of discarded PCs. It concluded that consumers in developing countries will trash more computers than developed countries by 2016, with the trend continuing and escalating thereafter. "Our central assertion is that the new structure of global e-waste generation discovered here, combined with economic and social considerations, call for a serious reconsideration of e-waste policy," the report notes.

Developing World Will Produce Double the E-waste of Developed Countries by 2016

Southern Africa - Mobile market growth though with new customers spending less

[cellular news] The mobile communications markets of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have all experienced subscriber growth over ten percent in the last five years. This has created a powerful network effect, which continues to drive market growth, albeit at lower levels. Value-added and data services are increasingly becoming revenue drivers, particularly in competitive markets such as Botswana and Namibia, which have high mobile penetration levels.

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that Zambia currently contributes almost half of all revenues in these four countries, followed by Botswana with 26 per cent. This is expected to change by 2015 when Zambia's share will reduce to 38 per cent, but Zimbabwe will contribute one third of the total revenues.

"These countries differ significantly in the state of their mobile communication markets," notes Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Protea Hirschel. "Botswana and Namibia are characterised by high mobile penetration rates, which is more than 100 per cent in the case of Botswana. The small addressable markets in these two countries constrain long-term growth and the average revenue per user (ARPU) for voice is declining due to greater competition. Therefore, mobile operators are focused on retention strategies and extending data offerings to protect their market shares."

However, Zambia and Zimbabwe have much lower mobile penetration rates with a high demand for voice services, particularly in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a special case as it has recently emerged from a record-breaking hyperinflation. This has resulted in degraded network infrastructure as little investment was made.

"Consumers in these four countries have looked to mobile communications as an alternative to fixed line networks," Hirschel says. "These have been not been extended appreciably over the last ten years. Additionally, consumers are likely to look to mobile operators for Internet connectivity."

Third-generation (3G) networks are already well established in Namibia and Botswana paving the way for mobile operators to offer advanced data and value-added services. So far, only one operator in Zimbabwe has launched 3G, while in Zambia, 3G will be launched in 2010.

However, new subscribers are increasingly poor, resulting in a decline in the average blended voice ARPU, exacerbated by challenging global macroeconomic conditions. At the same time, operating costs for mobile operators have soared and profit margins have come under pressure. For instance, inadequate power grids require mobile operators to have backup generators, which are adversely affected by the rising fuel prices.

"Value propositions take on special importance in markets where poverty levels are high and ensure that subscriber growth rates and revenues are maintained in the face of increased competition," explains Hirschel. "Additionally, up-to-date network technology and alternative power generation combined with infrastructure sharing allow for costs to be controlled."

In more mature markets such as Botswana and Namibia, mobile operators have identified business as a lucrative sector and are using innovative telecommunication solutions to maintain blended ARPU levels. Network infrastructure that supports broadband speeds is a vital component of this strategy.

"While ARPU levels for pre-paid subscribers are lower than for post-paid customers, innovative retention strategies and increasing consumer participation in mobile communications with subsidised handsets can ensure low price elasticity even in a competitive market," concludes Hirschel. "This will allow operators to migrate subscribers towards a higher value."

Double Digit Subscriber Growth in Southern African Mobile Markets

TeliaSonera - survey of its first LTE customers shows changed patterns of use form higher speeds

[cellular news] Half of LTE users have changed his or her mobile surfing habits simply as a result of gaining access to quicker mobile broadband. This is one of the findings in TeliaSonera's survey among 4G users in the world's first commercial 4G network.

TeliaSonera conducted a survey among its 4G customers, on their first 100 days of using the first 4G offer in the world. As might be expected, the results of the survey show that the people who jumped on the 4G bandwagon first are those who are already interested in technology. Over 90 percent upgraded from an already existing 3G subscription and 43 percent had an iPhone. The majority of the people in the survey, 65 percent, acquired 4G to complement their fixed broadband. And 54 percent would not consider returning to 3G at present.

"The results correspond well to the results of TeliaSonera's Trend Report, which showed that quick mobile Internet connection is one of the functions that have grown most in importance for Swedes. Swedish appetite for increased broadband is basically insatiable, which is also visible in the steadily increasing data traffic in the mobile networks," says Erik Hallberg, Head of Mobility Services at TeliaSonera Sweden.

New surfing habits

No hesitation among 4G customers in taking advantage of better opportunities. Every other 4G user has changed his or her mobile surfing habits simply as a result of gaining access to quicker mobile broadband.

* 26 percent say they are working more on a mobile basis.
* 23 percent say they are downloading larger files to a greater extent than previously.
* 19 percent say they watch online TV/stream movies.
* 16 percent say they began surfing more after acquiring 4G.

TeliaSonera launched its LTE network in Stockholm at the end of last year. A total of 25 locations in Sweden will have 4G coverage by the end of the year.

LTE Changing Mobile Internet User Habits

UK - Regulator is investigating pre-paid card firm Lycatel on claims it cheated customers

[the guardian] The telecoms watchdog Ofcom has launched an in-depth inquiry into Lycatel, one of the largest players in the UK's booming market for pre-paid international phone cards, which could result in a fine running into tens of millions of pounds.

Lycatel's phone cards, sold under a variety of brand names including Habibi, Cobra and World Call, allow people to make cheap-rate international calls from any phone. But Ofcom said it has received complaints from consumers who believe they have been cheated. Consumer Direct, the government-funded advice service, has also received complaints about the company's cards.

Ofcom said it has discussed Lycatel's terms and conditions and its advertising practices with Trading Standards and "the investigation will now consider whether Lycatel has engaged in conduct which infringes any relevant consumer protection law". The regulator is also looking to see whether the company publishes clear and up-to-date information about its prices and terms and conditions.

In a statement Lycatel, founded by its Sri Lanka-born chairman, Subaskaran Allirajah, said it "has consistently provided its customers with great quality international calling at competitive prices" and will co-operate with Ofcom.

Phone card firm Lycatel under investigation - Mobile phone card seller faces fine of millions if Ofcom finds grounds for customer complaints

Algeria - Government is opposing the sale of Orascom Telecom (t/a Djezzy) to MTN

[wsj] Algeria's government is opposing a deal under which South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. would acquire the prized Algerian unit of Egypt's Orascom Telecom, the Telecommunications Ministry said Wednesday.

"The government is opposed to the planned deal between MTN and Orascom" with regard to the unit, Orascom Telecom Algerie, also known as Djezzy, the ministry said in a statement. "Any transaction concerning OTA will be void...and could lead to the withdrawal of the telephone license granted to the company," it said.

Algeria Opposes MTN-Orascom Deal

Palestine - The PC is to stop use of Israeli mobile phones in the West Bank and Gaza as robbing its own licensed operators

[reuters] The Palestinian Authority is trying to stop Palestinians using Israeli mobile phone cards sold illegally in the West Bank, a practice which it says robs domestic operators of $100 million annually.

"Any store or place or company or dealer caught (selling Israeli sim cards) will be prosecuted," Telecommunications Minister Mashour Abu Daqqa told reporters.

The Ministry says Israel's four mobile phone operators have a market share of 12 percent in the West Bank although they do not pay license fees or taxes to the Palestinian Authority.

The four companies, Cellcom Israel, Partner, Pelephone and MIRS, are effectively competing unfairly with local Palestinian operators Wataniya Palestine and Jawwal, it says.

Israel, which occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war, controls the airwaves of the territory, home to 2.5 million Palestinians. The West Bank is also home to some 300,000 Israelis living in settlements that rely on Israeli phone networks.

The move poses no threat to Israeli mobile transmitter masts installed in the West Bank under Israeli army control.

Abu Daqqa said Israeli SIM cards were popular with Palestinians partly because of the 3G services they offer.

The Palestinian Authority has asked Israel for a wider spectrum of frequencies that would allow Wataniya and Jawwal to offer 3G services like their Israeli peers. But Israel has so far refused to grant them.

Palestinian Authority to stop use of Israeli mobiles

Singapore - 30 per cent of homes and offices have been hooked up with the fibre-optic cables

[straits times] NEARLY 30 per cent of Singapore's homes and offices have been hooked up with the fibre-optic cables for the upcoming nationwide high-speed broadband network.

OpenNet, the company laying these cables, also announced on Tuesday that it will begin operations from Wednesday, selling broadband bandwidth on a wholesale basis to Nucleus Connect, which will retail it to companies like Internet Service Providers, online game companies or a Internet TV broadcaster.

OpenNet was awarded a Government tender in September 2008 to build the $4 billion fibre-optic backbone, which will allow users to enjoy broadband speeds ten times faster than possible today when it's completed.

The firm, a joint-venture between SingTel, Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Power Telecommunications and Canada's Axia NetMedia, is expected to finish wiring up the nation by 2012.

30% hooked up to OpenNet

Taiwan - China Mobile is buying shares in FarEastTone worth USD 566 millions

[global telecoms business] The board of Far EasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan is selling around 444 million new shares to China Mobile for $566 million. The plan was first approved in April 2009 when China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator by number of subscribers, planned to buy a 12% stake in Far EasTone.
The transaction was halted then as the Taiwanese government did not approve the sale. The island does not permit Chinese companies to invest in its telecom sector.
The board of Far EasTone board had to re-approve the plan for the private placement with China Mobile, as the one-year period for private placement will expire soon.
The board also agreed to boost the firm’s capital spending by 38% to $282 million in 2010 from $204 million last year. Half of the amount will be spent on capacity enhancement.

China Mobile to buy $566m Far EasTone stake

Kosovo - Serbian Minister has asked ITU to support continuation of Serbian operators in Kosovo

[] Minister for Telecommunications and Information Society Jasna Matic asked the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to help protect fundamental human rights of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija and enable urgent reconstruction of dismantled towers of Belgrade-based mobile phone operators.

Addressing ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Touré regarding the illegal dismantling and removal of mobile phone relay towers in the province, owned by Telekom Srbija and Telenor, Matic asked that the ITU, in line with Resolution 1244, reacts and endorses the Serbian government and the mobile phone operators.

The Ministry says in a statement that it is unacceptable that Serbian citizens and institutions in Kosovo-Metohija should be deprived of telephone communication and left without any possibility for children, the sick and the elderly to contact emergency services in order to ask for and receive medical treatment. Source; Government of Serbia

Serbia's Matic urges reconstruction of dismantled mobile phone towers in Kosovo-Metohija

Kosovo - Serbia has asked UNMIK to stop the Kosovan regulator shutting down Serbian mobile networks

[glassrbije] Serbian Minister of Telecommunications Jasna Matic has asked UNMIK to stop the actions of illegitimate Kosmet regulation body which disables the work of Serbian mobile phone providers in the Province. In a letter to UNMIK Head Lamberto Zanier, she required that mission to introduce order in the field of telecommunications, while pointing that the regulation body of the Albanian authorities in Pristina is acting contrary to UN Resolution 1244. Matic expects Zanier to consult all sides involved in order to establish the jurisdiction of UNMIK and preserve the status-neutral implementation of the laws in Kosmet, as envisaged by Resolution 1244.

Matic asking UNMIK to introduce order in telecommunications

India - Enforcement Directorate (ED) has launched an investigation into allegations of money-laundering in the 2G spectrum allocation

[hndustan times] The 2G spectrum allocation scam, involving Telecommunications Minister A Raja surfaced once again on Wednesday, leading to noisy scenes in both Houses of Parliament.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has launched an investigation into allegations of money-laundering in the multi-crore-rupee 2G spectrum allocation scam of 2007.

The issue, which is already being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, caused disruptions in both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.

Fresh details are likely to provide more ammunition to Opposition parties to corner Telecom Minister A. Raja.

The ED is likely to approach the government to be able to seek help from the agencies abroad to find out if “some of the companies which won the licenses acted as fronts for foreign companies”, an official said.

The ED had lodged an FIR last month against “some officials of the Department of Telecom with other companies/private persons” for alleged violation of provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

“Some DoT officials with some companies/private persons appear to have proceeds of crime in their possession, therefore they appear to have contravened the provisions of the Act,” says the ED document sent to the government.

“The licences were issued at a very nominal rate based on prices fixed in the year 2001. The quantum of loss to the government because of the criminal conspiracy in which some companies benefited by offloading their shares abroad is estimated at Rs 22,000 crore.”

The 2G (second-generation) spectrum is a scarce natural resource essential for providing quality mobile telephony service and data services.

The controversy began with the CPM’s allegations of a Rs 60,000-crore scam in the allotment of 2G licences in November 2007. The Central Vigilance Commission told the CBI to probe the case in January 2008.

Documents show Raja ignored directions from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and dismissed the Law Ministry’s opinion that the matter be referred to an empowered group of ministers in November 2007.

On November 1, 2007, the then Law Minister H.R Bhardwaj asked for the setting up of an EGoM to examine the matter. This angered Raja. A day later, he wrote to the Prime Minister that the law minister’s suggestion was “out of context”.

On December 26, 2007, Raja wrote another letter to Singh saying he had received consent to proceed in the matter “from the external affairs minister and the solicitor-general.”

Singh acknowledged the letter on January 3, 2008, but did not say whether he endorsed the decision.

ED to probe 2G spectrum scam

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South Africa - Demand for mobile data services (growing at nearly 10% p.a.) drives operators to upgrade networks

[prnewswire] As one of the most developed telecom markets in the Africa & Middle East region, South Africa's growth over the next five years will be fueled by mobile data and broadband Internet segments, according to a new report from Pyramid Research .

South Africa: Operators Continue to Upgrade Networks as Mobile Data Demand Builds offers a profile of the country's telecommunications, media, and technology sectors based on proprietary data from our research in the market. The 32-page report provides detailed competitive analysis of both the fixed and mobile sectors, tracks the market shares of technologies and services, and monitors the introduction and spread of new technologies.

Pyramid Research expects the telecom market to grow at a CAGR of only 1.6 percent over the next five years, to $15.1 billion in 2014. Pyramid Research estimates that the mobile segment generated 72 percent of total market revenue in 2009, propelled by mobile voice and data, notes Badii Kechiche, Senior Analyst and co-author of this report. "Mobile voice will continue to generate most of the segment's revenue, specifically mobile data; driven by mobile email and mobile broadband Internet services, we anticipate mobile data revenue will grow from $1.4 billion in 2009 to $2.2 billion in 2014, a CAGR of 9.4 percent."

"A number of undersea and land-based cable projects will provide much-needed extra capacity for operators to offer IP services at more affordable prices, thus capturing a wider population," explains Kechiche. "As a result, we expect broadband Internet revenue to grow from $369 million in 2009 to $740 million in 2014, a CAGR of 14.9 percent," he adds. "These projects create ample opportunities in the South African market. Operators are heavily investing in mobile broadband technologies, upgrading their networks to compete in the vital mobile data segment."

South Africa's Mobile Data Demand Drives Operators to Upgrade Networks, Pyramid Finds

Nigeria - Regulator will introduce price caps for operators in the telecommunications industry but not direct price controls

[business week] Nigeria will introduce price caps for operators in the telecommunications industry, the Nigerian Communications Commission said.

The commission “will not engage in direct price control,” acting Chief Executive Officer Stephen Bello, who took over from Ernest Ndukwe early this month, said in the capital, Abuja, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has 78.5 million operating telephone lines compared with 425,000 in 2000, Ndukwe said in early April. The growth in lines makes the price cap possible, Bello said yesterday.

The commission will start registering mobile-phone SIM cardholders from May 1 with a three-month transition period, which will enable operators to resolve problems with the process, Bello said.

Nigeria Plans to Cap Prices of Telecommunications Services

USA - Comcast is crowned Consumerist.Com's 2010 'Worst Company in America', Ticketmaster came second

[prnewswire] The fifth annual's "Worst Company in America" tournament came to a close late last night and crowned Comcast as the Grand Champion, joining the likes of AIG, Countrywide and others. The final death match round which ran from Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25 was heated and pinned Comcast against top-seeded Ticketmaster.

The merge with NBC and consistent track record of inept customer service, created the perfect storm in Comcast's journey to seek redemption after placing runner-up in 2008 and 2009. With more than 9,000 votes being cast overall in the final match-up, Comcast is taking home the elegant golden poo trophy.

This year's runner-up, Ticketmaster, is no stranger to the final rounds of 'Worst Company in America,' having made it to the Final Four in 2009. Their impending merge with LiveNation to produce an uber monopoly on live events was sure to have pushed them into the final rounds this year.

"The match-ups witnessed in this year's tournament were intense," said Ben Popken, Co-Managing Editor of "Never did we think we would see certain companies, like Apple go as far as they did, and others like last year's winner AIG, drop out in the first round. We are honored to provide Comcast with the Golden Poo Award."

For six weeks the bracket-style, single elimination tournament, similar to the NCAA basketball tournament, plowed through 32 nominees in head-to-head match-ups, scaled down by visitors' votes until the final round on Friday, April 23. Consumers were able to log on to and participate in each round of the 'Worst Company in America' and chime in through comments on the site.

"This tournament is a vehicle for us to get a pulse on what companies did wrong throughout the year to consumers," said Meghann Marco, Co-Managing Editor of "This year it is clear that poor customer service, among other issues by Comcast really rubbed consumers the wrong way."

Be sure to check out throughout the year for consumer-driven advice about dealing with everything from non-existent customer service to onerous cell-phone contracts to ever-shrinking (and ever-more-expensive) grocery products.

Comcast Is Crowned Consumerist.Com's 2010 'Worst Company in America'

New Zealand - Minister directs Commerce Commission to reconsider its decision on mobile termination rates

[tvnz] The Commerce Commission is being asked to reconsider its recommendation about telecommunications companies self-regulating over mobile termination rates.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce has asked the commission to reconsider its February report which recommended accepting Telecom and Vodafone's offers for voluntary cuts to their rates instead of regulation.

The issue covers the wholesale charges mobile phone companies charge for terminating calls or texts from other fixed or mobile networks.

Joyce says he is asking the commission to reconsider after they wrote to him last week saying Vodafone's new "six cents a minute" offer may affect their original recommendation which was a split decision but favoured the voluntary cuts.

"I am required to make the decision that best ... promote(s) competition in the telecommunications market to the long-term benefit of end-users of telecommunications services," says Joyce.

Joyce says he wants the commission to reconsider retail offers released since their report, or likely new offers, before they make their final recommendations to him.

Commission to reconsider mobile termination rates

Monday, April 26, 2010

UK - Cloud computing to double by 2012 to STG 1 billion from consumers and business

[bbc] The UK will spend over £1 billion on cloud computing by 2012 - twice as much as today - researchers predict.

This would mean more consumers and businesses subscribing to web-based services, such as Google Apps.

Cloud-based services currently account for around 7.5% of the £8 billion UK software market, according to research company TechMarketView.

But others say cloud computing is hyped and will complement traditional desktop software rather than replace it.

"In the old days, big companies used to generate their own electricity. But they do not do that any more", said Philip Carnelley, senior analyst at TechMarketView.

Cloud computing to double by 2012

USA - forecast a growth to 158 Mobile Internet users by 2015 and CAGRs of 37% and 65% for advertising and mobile e-commerce revenues

[marketwire] has announced the addition of Coda Research Consultancy Ltd.'s new report "US mobile advertising and eCommerce revenues, with forecasts to 2015," to their collection of Wireless Internet market reports. For more information, visit

We forecast that mobile internet users via handsets in the US will rise to 158m in 2015, and smartphone owners will rise to 194m in the same year. In view of this, prospects for revenues from mobile advertising and mobile eCommerce are considerable, and we predict each will increase by +37% CAGR and +65% CAGR respectively, between 2009 and 2015.

Mobile E-Commerce Predicted to Increase 65% Annually Through 2015

Pan-African undersea fibre ring is being proposed by Main One, SEACOM and eFive Telecoms to extend their existing cable

[sub tel forum] Main One, SEACOM and eFive Telecoms today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch a project to develop a pan-African fibre ring solution. The solution will entail extending the Main One and SEACOM networks to create a system that offers redundancy and additional capacity on both the east and west routes around Africa.

The solution would require a new cable section to link Nigeria to South Africa via landing points in Gabon, the DRC, Angola and Namibia. The new addition would follow the completion of the first phase of the Main One cable project which will connects Nigeria to London, by June 2010. The SEACOM cable, which became operational in July 2009, currently runs from South Africa along the east coast of Africa and onwards to the rest of the world via India and Europe.

Funke Opeke, Main One CEO, explained: “Main One’s plan in 2008 included building in two phases with phase one connecting London and Nigeria through a 7,000Km cable. Phase two will connect Nigeria to South Africa once the right partnership with the right level of funding could be secured.

“With the first phase scheduled to be completed on time and on budget in June 2010, we believe that the proposed partnership with SEACOM and eFive telecoms is the best way forward.”

eFive Telecoms, a South African telecommunications company, will be responsible for the project funding arrangements and plans to join forces with Nova Capital Africa to raise the US$400 million necessary to manufacture and install the new cable. Nova Capital Africa is part of Nova Capital Partners LLC, a New York based emerging markets investment banking group that serves large and middle market companies throughout Africa as well as central and eastern Europe.

Lawrence Mulaudzi, eFive Telecoms Managing Director, commented: “Having looked extensively at the African market and other cables being planned, building the link from Nigeria to South Africa makes the best economical and operational sense in the current landscape. Final For Release 2

“Despite the depressed state of global economic markets, we are confident that there is sufficient appetite to fund quality projects in high growth sectors such as African telecommunications.”

As with the Main One and SEACOM cables, the solution will be privately funded and installed on an open access basis by 2012, giving it an early timing advantage when compared to other planned systems. Actual ownership structure, construction plans and contractual details are yet to be finalised.

“We hold the view that a system circumventing the entire continent is the best way to attain adequate redundancy whilst offering customers with a comprehensive connectivity solution. The MoU announced today shows our determination to find a viable way to extend our system with partners who share our vision for the development of ICT on the continent,” said Brian Herlihy, SEACOM CEO.


Mobile - Explosive data traffic growth drove wireless packet core market up by 60 per cent

[cellular news] Market revenues in the Wireless Packet Core market grew almost 30 percent in 2009, with growth coming from all three market segments, reports Dell'Oro. GGSN and PDSN sessions led the market's shipment growth with each increasing approximately 60 percent during 2009.

"We've been watching the Wireless Packet Core market develop over the last two years, and are pleased to officially begin quarterly reporting on this market," said Tam Dell'Oro, Founder of Dell'Oro Group. "Wireless Packet Core is the third mobile infrastructure program that we've launched in the past two months and further illustrates our commitment to mobile infrastructure market research that began with our reporting on RAN and MSC segments in 2001," added Dell'Oro.

"While bandwidth capacity is often cited as the most critical wireless packet core issue, signaling capacity is also vital and will become more so with the increased penetration of smartphones," said Greg Collins, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. "Therefore, we expect that the signaling intensive SGSN and MME markets will continue to rise along with bandwidth-intensive gateway products," Collins added.

The report indicates that Huawei and ZTE gained share in 2009. Ericsson, the market leader, maintained its share, and Nokia Siemens, in second place, lost share in 2009.

Explosive Mobile Data Traffic Drives Wireless Packet Core Market in 2009

United Kingdom - Police are visiting retailers of 2nd hand mobile phones to check for stolen devices

[cellular news] Police in London, UK have spent the past month visiting second hand phone retailers and checking their IMEI serial numbers against the national database of stolen phones. Of the three shops that had been flagged up by local residents in Haringey, only one shop, in Tottenham, was found to have phones that were on the stolen phone database. The proprietor was arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, but later released without charge due to lack of evidence.

Field Intelligence Officer PC David Stead of Haringey's Intelligence Unit said: "We hope that the high visibility presence of officers taking this action across the borough will send out a strong message to retailers in the area that it is an offence to handle stolen goods and that they should be making their own checks before buying phones from people. In fact when officers carried out the warrant in High Road N22, the shop was in the process of carrying out their own checks on phones that someone had come in to sell, which is exactly the sort of thing that we advocate.

"The mobile equipment enables us to carry out the checks far more quickly, removing the need to input the serial number for each item by hand, and dramatically increasing the number of checks we can make.

"Police often recover property when suspects are arrested but we cannot always tell who it belongs to. The effectiveness of the system that we are using relies on people registering their mobile phones on the immobilise property register in the first place, and ensuring that they report it on the site if their phone is lost or stolen,"

To obtain a phone's IMEI number press *#06# on the keypad of the phone and the number will be displayed on the phone's screen.

UK Police Checking Retailers for Stolen Mobile Phones

Africa - EASSy cable deployment is complete, customer connections expected in July

[telegeography] Construction of the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) international fibre-optic cable was completed ahead of schedule on Monday night, reports South African website Techcentral, quoting EASSy’s largest shareholder West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC). WIOCC stated: ‘The installation phase of the project, which started in Maputo, Mozambique in December 2009, was completed on board the cable-laying vessel Ile de Batz in the Indian Ocean, just off the east African coast ... Now that this critical stage of the project has been completed successfully and ahead of time, we will start system testing almost immediately ... Once this is finalised, we are looking forward to connecting our first customers to the network from July 2010. EASSy is the second high-capacity undersea system to connect the east African region, following the deployment in 2009 of the Seacom cable. WIOCC chief technology officer Ryan Sher set out how the new cable aimed to differentiate its services: ‘A key difference between EASSy and other sub-Saharan systems is that our system will deliver connectivity to Europe via a direct route through the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea ... minimising the time taken for traffic from Africa to reach the key internet peering points in Europe and North America ... With the vast majority of international traffic being internet-based, and with most African traffic destined for Europe and the US where the most popular content and applications are located.’

EASSy cable deployment is complete, customer connections expected in July

Internet - advertising revenues now exceed those of magazines

[ny times] For the first time, marketers spent more in 2009 on Internet advertising than in magazines, according to a report from ZenithOptimedia, which said online ad spending would rapidly close ground on newspapers. Despite a record-setting $6.3 billion fourth quarter, online advertising revenue declined 3.4 percent for the year from 2008, the first year-over-year falloff since 2002. The loss in ad spending across all media was an even steeper 12.3 percent for the year and 2 percent for the fourth quarter.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that search ads posted a slight rise from 2008, comprising 47 percent of all Internet ad spending. Display ad spending rose a similar amount, while digital video ads climbed 38 percent. Revenues for online classifieds and e-mail advertising plummeted.

Although online advertising for 2009 declined slightly from 2008, it came in at $22.66 billion, the advertising bureau said. Meanwhile, ad sales at major magazines plunged to $19.5 billion, according to Publishers Information Bureau data.

A Milestone for Internet Ad Revenue

Vodafone Tests Mobile Money Service in Fiji

[cellular news] Vodafone Fiji yesterday started pilot testing its much awaited M-PAiSA Mobile Money Transfer service. Vodafone clients will be able to deposit and withdraw cash with approved Vodafone agents in Fiji, send money directly onto others mobile phones, buy recharge or airtime and also receive money from overseas directly onto their Vodafone mobiles.

The pilot involves Vodafone staff and their immediate families and a select group of individuals who will get a chance to trial the system for the next few weeks when the service is expected to be launched nationally.

The Vodafone Fiji M-PAiSA service was inspired by the M-Pesa, launched in early 2007 in Kenya by Safaricom in partnership with Vodafone Group. M-Pesa in Kenya now has over seven million subscribers.

In Fiji, because of the geographic spread and lack of economies of scale, providing banking and financial services to the rural sector has always been a challenge. Without banking services, economic activity in the remote rural areas has been limited to subsistence levels.

This pilot project received financial and technical support from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) which helps to bring sustainable financial services to unbanked Pacific islanders. "This is an important step in bringing access to safe and affordable financial services to the estimated 50% of Fijian households that are unbanked," commented Tillman Bruett, the Technical Advisor of PFIP. "We are supportive of a number of branchless banking initiatives in the Pacific and congratulate Vodafone Fiji on this piloting this service."

Vodafone Tests Mobile Money Service in Fiji

CAPTCHA - Some spammers are outsourcing the deciphering of these tests

[ny times] Faced with stricter Internet security measures, some spammers have begun borrowing a page from corporate America’s playbook: they are outsourcing.

Sophisticated spammers are paying people in India, Bangladesh, China and other developing countries to tackle the simple tests known as captchas, which ask Web users to type in a string of semiobscured characters to prove they are human beings and not spam-generating robots.

The going rate for the work ranges from 80 cents to $1.20 for each 1,000 deciphered boxes, according to online exchanges like, where dozens of such projects are bid on every week.

Luis von Ahn, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon who was a pioneer in devising captchas, estimates that thousands of people in developing countries, primarily in Asia, are solving these puzzles for pay. Some operations appear fairly sophisticated and involve brokers and middlemen, he added.

“There are a few sites that are coordinated,” he said. “They create the awareness. Their friends tell their friends, who tell their friends.”

Sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end deciphering convoluted characters and typing them into a box is monotonous work. And the pay is not great when compared to more traditional data-entry jobs.

Still, it appears to be attractive enough to lure young people in developing countries where even 50 cents an hour is considered a decent wage. Unskilled male farm workers earn about $2 a day in many parts of India.

Ariful Islam Shaon, a 20-year-old college student in Bangladesh, said he has a team of 30 other students who work for him filling in captchas. (The term is a loose acronym for “completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart.”)

He said the students typically work two and a half to three hours a day from their homes and make at least $6 every 15 days; they earn more the faster and the more accurate they are. It is not a lot of money, he acknowledged, but it requires little effort and can help supplement their pocket money.

Mr. Shaon, who agreed to speak to a reporter only over an Internet chat, said he gets the work on Web sites and is paid through Internet money transfer services.

Spammers Pay Others to Answer Security Tests

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kosovo - Govt is forcing closure of network infrastructure of Serbian operators

[cellular news] The government of Kosovo has started forcing the shut-down of network infrastructure operated by Serbian mobile networks. Local media added that landline networks are also being disabled, leaving Serb villages in Kosovo disconnected from each other.

In a statement, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, it had taken action preventing "unauthorized illegal activity of non licensed operators", who have extended their network within the territory of the Republic of Kosovo.

Serbian radio reported that the Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said that Serbian officials are in constant contact with representatives of the international community in Kosovo in order to solve the problem with suspended telephone communication as quickly as possible.

The Serbian networks had tended to operate within the Serbian enclaves within Kosovo.

Serbian Networks Being Shut-Down in Kosovo

New Zealand - 2009 annual monitoring report shows increasing competition

[commerce commission] The Commerce Commission has today released its 2009 telecommunications monitoring report analysing the state of New Zealand telecommunications markets. As well as looking at developments in 2009, the report also assesses the progress seen since the 2006 amendments to the Telecommunications Act came into effect.

“The report shows that competition in all telecommunications markets has increased between 2006 and 2009. Consumer choice and service quality have improved while prices have fallen,” said Dr Patterson, Telecommunications Commissioner. “However, despite increased competition in the New Zealand telecommunications sector, the market shares of incumbents remain high and markets remain concentrated when compared with other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Australia.”

“Alternative providers of broadband services on Telecom’s network have increased their market share from 24 per cent to 37 per cent in the last three years. Over the same period, broadband uptake has doubled and New Zealand has improved its position when compared with 30 other OECD countries from 22 in 2006 to 18 by 2009. Uptake of broadband is now at or around the OECD average and broadband speed availability and quality have improved significantly,” said Dr Patterson.

“In the mobile market the entrance of a new network operator, 2degrees, has had an immediate impact in terms of consumer choice and competitive offering. Although there is evidence that competition in the mobile market is increasing following the launch of 2degrees, mobile voice usage remains low by international standards. In addition, price and usage vary significantly depending on whether calls or text messages are sent to another subscriber on the same network or to a subscriber on a different mobile network. On the positive side, both Telecom and Vodafone have upgraded their networks for 3G capability, and a number of mobile virtual network operators have entered the market,” said Dr Patterson.

“In the fixed line market, alternative providers of fixed line voice services have increased their market share in terms of connections from 8 per cent to 25 per cent over the three year period,” said Dr Patterson.

2009 annual monitoring report shows increasing competition in telecommunications markets

India - Managed Services in Telecom: 4.2 Billion Dollar business opportunity

[equity bulls] Managed services in the fast paced telecom revolution would be a 4.2 billion dollar business opportunity by 2014, according to experts at a conference on the subject here. Department of Telecom Secretary P. J. Thomas said Managed Services was emerging as a new science. "This is a great development in the great telecom story" he added inaugurating the event.

"Telecom sells like fish" but the operators have found that it is more cost beneficial to employ fishermen to catch the fish and for them to focus on marketing it, said Bharti Airtel senior VP for Networks Shyam Prabhakar Mardikar.

Telecom customers doubled in the last two years from 300 million to 600 million but the average revenue per user has exactly halved from Rs 280 to Rs 140, the Airtel executive pointed out. So the operators of the telecom service are making the same amount of money as before despite the doubling of the customer base. This "is the great growth paradox in telecom" and the focus now was on breaking through the constant level of 400 minutes per user, as the operators wrestle with fast changing technology and explosive scale of growth of network connectivity and look to rural expansion as the next big step for them.

Outsourcing jobs to those who know them best and concentrating on making services as user friendly as possible was helping operators to cuts costs, Mr. Mardikar said. "We now sell value added services" and networks were being managed without the operators owning them.

Setting the road ahead for the new growth industry of managed services, Comviva CEO Manoranjan Mohapatra claimed that India "is the pioneer in manages services in telecom". This new opportunity was largest in network, then in IT and yet to grow in value added services even where alone it would rise to 400 million dollar business by 2014, the Comviva chief executive predicted. As the number of operators was crowding into the telecom service operation, service differentiation was becoming critical while value added services, a complex area of management was promising the maximum addition of revenue growth. Interdependency of VAS applications was set to form a service.

Mr. Mohapatra also predicted a bright future for managed services in the country as the operators were seeking to drive revenues along with the expansion in their customer base breaking the paradox of falling per user revenues in telecom development.

The public sector telecom service providers in the country were also now considering moving towards outsourcing non-core services in place of their current position as integrated service providers setting up networks and managing everything from networks to customer end services, said R. K. Aggarwal, director (consumer mobility), BSNL. However, he conceded that the public sector units had their own problems in making this move needed to compete with the private sector operators. He dwelt on the problems of this necessary shift in his presentation at the conference, pointing out that winning over the staff in effecting this necessary change was critical.

Describing managed services as an "end to end partnership" between the service operator and the many entities managing their side of the entire service, Vikas Arya, network operations director of Sistema Shyam Teleservices suggested operators should take to "creating modeling" and "thinking outside the box" to overcome the enormous problems of integrating the work of these different partners. Mallikarjuna Rao , chief technology officer of Aircel, also analyzed the challenges in moving over to a fully managed services model of proving telecom services.

Mr. Urs Pennanen, Head of India region, Nokia Siemens Networks added – "We are privileged to be part of this unique platform to share our experience and thought leadership in Managed Services, built through 230 MS contracts and more than 80 multi-vendor MS operations globally. Being the number one managed services provider in India for wireless networks, managing 140million subscribers for top 7 private operators every day and every night, Nokia Siemens Networks is pleased to provide an insight into this global trend that is now catching up across multi-vendor, multi-technology, multi-layer networks as well."

The experts conclusion was that managed services in India was emerging as a new network driver in the exploding telecom market in the country that is moving to a billion customer base in the near future, as Mr. Shashi Dharan, managing director of Bharat Exhibitions, organizers of the conference, said.

Managed Services in Telecom: 4.2 Billion Dollar business opportunity

China - Mobile phone users rose by 29.49 million to 780 million, broadband increased by 6.11 million to 110 million

[jlm pacific epoch] China's major telecommunications companies recorded revenue of RMB 209.66 billion in the first quarter of 2010, up 5.3% year-on-year, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Telecom Development Vice Director Zhu Jun said in an April 22 press conference. Revenue from non-communications businesses grew by 8% year-on-year to account for 43.6% of the total revenue, the report said.

The country's phone users increased by 24.48 million in the first quarter to hit 1.09 billion by the end of March, said Zhu. Mobile phone users rose by 29.49 million to reach a total of 780 million, while broadband users increased by 6.11 million during the period to hit 110 million, or 8.2% of China's population.

China invested RMB 6.04 billion in 3G network construction and RMB 2.06 billion in TD-SCDMA construction in the first three months of 2010, reaching 367,000 3G base stations and 106,000 TD-SCDMA base stations by the end of March. Users of 3G handsets increased by 4.83 million in the quarter to hit 18.08 million, with TD-SCDMA users growing by 1.62 million to 7.69 million.

China Mobile (NYSE:CHL, 0941.HK) had 42.5% of China's total 3G users by the end of March, while China Telecom (NYSE:CHA, 0728.HK) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU, 0762.HK, 600050.SH) had 30.8% and 26.7%, respectively.

Between January and March, China's internet users grew by 20 million to reach a total of 404 million, or 30.2% of the country's population. Social networking site users rose to 191 million by the end of March, while mobile internet users increased by 27 million to 174 million.

During the period, e-commerce, online advertising, online gaming and search engine sectors each grew by more than 20% year-on-year. Service- and culture-related sectors, including software provision, online animation and online music, are becoming new growth markets for the internet industry, the report said.

MIIT Reports Q1 Telecom Stats

Telecommunications businesses are more concerned with 'differentiating' their brand from the competition than any other sector

[cellular news] Telecommunications businesses are more concerned with 'differentiating' their brand from the competition than any other sector, according to new research carried out by incremental revenue specialists Collinson Latitude.

75% of respondents from the telecommunications industry cited brand differentiation as 'very important' to their business, prioritised higher than either acquisition of new customers (60%) or increasing sales of core products or services (25%). This is compared to 30.8% of airlines, 16.7% of retail and 26.3% of travel businesses who prioritise brand differentiation as the top priority.

Despite this, 40% of telecommunications businesses still fail to offer comprehensive enhancements over and above their core product or service to help generate incremental revenue and differentiate their brand from the competition.

The study revealed that on average across the eight sectors surveyed, 70% of businesses currently provide customers with enhancements or add-ons to their core business, indicating that the telecommunications sector is lagging behind in developing added value products to reflect the changing consumer landscape.

Janet Titterton, Business Development Director, Collinson Latitude comments: "In what is an extremely competitive telecommunications environment it is understandable that differentiation is a key priority for the sector. Certainly some main players, such as O2 and Orange, are starting to explore the ways in which relevant brand partnerships can further enhance their core business.

The fact that almost half of brands in the sector still fail to do this however, demonstrates that there is a huge opportunity for telecommunications brands to develop unique incremental revenue programmes that will enable them to stand out from the competition to acquire new customers, retain existing clients and generate revenues."

Over 180 marketing and brand professionals from a range of industries, including airlines, financial services, hotels, publishing, retail, telecommunications and utilities, took part in the survey, which sought to identify what value-add products and services brands have in place and whether brands believe that these are beneficial to their customers.

Brand Differentiation Top Priority for Telecommunications Businesses

Switzerland - Competition authority blocks the merger of Orange and Sunrise to avoid them having a dominant position

[wsj] The Swiss Competition Commission Thursday blocked the planned merger of the Swiss units of France Telecom (FT) and Danish peer TDC A/S, saying a merger would hurt the market dynamics in the country's mobile phone market.

"Together with Swisscom, the merged company would have a market-dominating position in the Swiss mobile telephony market," the regulator said.

Swisscom is Switzerland's largest telcommunications player.

TDC and France Telecom last November agreed to merge their Swiss operations--Orange and Sunrise--in a deal which would have given the French partner a 75% stake in the new entity, while TDC would haved received EUR1.5 billion from the French firm.

The Swiss regulator said that although cost synergies from the merger might have benefited clients, these potential cost savings were too low compared to the expected competition slowdown.

It added that the current market situation with three players allows that "a certain competition dynamic" remains in place, which should also allow to further innovation in Switzerland.

Swiss Regulator Blocks Merger Of TDC, France Telecom

Kenya - Mobile phone subscribers inch closer to 20 million

[cck] The four mobile phone operators in Kenya had a combined subscription base of 19.4 million in December 2009, representing a penetration rate of close to 50 per cent. According to ICT sector statistics released by the Commission today, 99 percent of subscribers were on the pre-paid tariff. The mobile signal covered 85 per cent of the population and 34 per cent of the land mass.

Increased competition in the mobile telecommunications market saw a reduction of on-net call charges to Kshs5.66 per minute down from Kshs 6.33 in September 2009, fuelling growth in intra-network traffic.

The number of the main fixed lines declined to 243,656 from 247,654 in September 2009, posting a 1.6 per cent drop. On other hand the number of fixed wireless subscribers grew to 429,289 from 367,557 in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the number internet users grew by 10.4 per cent over the previous year to close to four (4) million in December 2009. Internet growth is projected to remain on a growth trajectory on the back of access to broadband and mobile data.

Mobile phone subscribers inch closer to 20 million
see also statistics report

financial industry adopting biometric logins to boost security - biometric logins impossible when one is on the move

[cellular news] researchers from the US and Germany point out an inherent flaw in the financial industry adopting biometric logins to boost security in that the advent of mobile devices, such as netbooks, PDAs, and smart phones might make biometric logins impossible when one is on the move.

Biometric logins that use fingerprints, voice recognition, or identify you based on how you type look set to replace conventional passwords for accessing online banking and credit card services, online payment companies and even internet stockbrokers. However, smart phones and other portable devices do not currently have the sophistication to be adapted easily for biometric technology. Moreover, users are likely to be reluctant to carry yet another device and its associated electrical charger along with their smart phone simply to login to their bank account when not at their desktop computer.

James Pope of the College of Business Administration, at the University of Toledo, Ohio working with Dieter Bartmann of the University of Regensburg, Germany, explain that the security of online financial transactions is becoming an increasing problem, especially as security loopholes in login systems and web browsers emerge repeatedly. Simply logging in with a password looks set to become technically passé.

"Passwords have been widely used because of their simplicity of implementation and use," the researchers say, "but are now regarded as providing minimal security." Moreover, as repeated scare stories about hacking and identity theft pervade the media, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about online security. Further development of e-commerce and banking will be stifled if the issues of fraud and identity theft are not addressed. While biometric readers are being adapted for desktop computers they are seriously lagging behind in portability and compatibility with smart phones and other mobile computing devices.

Passwords are Passé but Biometrics are Not Mobile

USA - Proposed Net Neutrality Regulations Could Lead to Decline in Employment

[prnewswire] Today, economist Coleman Bazelon of The Brattle Group released a new report, "The Employment and Economic Impacts of Network Neutrality Regulation: An Empirical Analysis," that highlights the effects proposed net neutrality regulations would have on the broadband industry and the U.S. economy. The research was sponsored by Mobile Future, the non-profit, non-partisan coalition of technology businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged.

The study found that the net neutrality regulations currently under consideration by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would negatively impact the broadband sector and job growth in the U.S.

Some key findings from the report:

* Revenue growth in the broadband sector could slow by about one-sixth over the next decade;
* Broadband sector jobs lost could be expected to total 14,217 in 2011, growing to 342,065 jobs by 2020;
* Economy-wide, 65,404 jobs could be put in jeopardy in 2011, with the total economy-wide impact growing to 1,452,943 jobs affected by 2020.

Today, 95% of the U.S. population can get fixed broadband at home, 98% have access to 3G mobile broadband services, and nearly two-thirds have adopted broadband. The majority of that adoption to date has been on fixed broadband networks, but over the next decade, mobile broadband is expected to be the main source of broadband growth. Consequently, it would bear the largest share of the economic burden caused by network neutrality regulations. In 2008, mobile broadband lines accounted for about one-quarter of all broadband lines, but would likely account for more than half of the losses over the coming decade if the proposed network neutrality regulations are put into place.

"The paper empirically examines the potential impacts of network neutrality regulations on revenue and employment in the broadband sector. The analysis finds that any constraining form of network neutrality regulations would limit broadband expansion, thereby limiting job creation and growth in the wireless sector," explains author Coleman Bazelon of The Brattle Group. "Broadband is the life-blood of economic growth. Any change in the rules restricting broadband providers should be carefully considered as the country searches for ways to get people back to work in sustainable jobs."

The wireless sector currently employs more than 260,000 Americans directly and 2.4 million indirectly -- from applications developers to retail store workers to network engineers. Together, their work contributes $100 billion annually to our nation's GDP. The prospect of lost broadband sector jobs being absorbed into other parts of the Internet economy is remote, as broadband firms employ more U.S. citizens per dollar of revenue than Internet content firms.

"The FCC recently laid out an ambitious plan to ensure that every American has access to broadband, but there are several factors, including potential net neutrality regulations, that could derail or deter progress toward many of the broadband plan's key economic objectives," said Mobile Future Chairman Jonathan Spalter. "Broadband deployment has been a boon to the economy even through this period of recession. The tremendous growth we have seen to date has occurred in an environment that encourages investment and innovation. As the Commission moves forward on these challenging issues, it is imperative that policymakers resist policies that could put economic growth and recovery at risk."

Proposed Net Neutrality Regulations Could Lead to Decline in U.S. Employment
see also report

Entrepreneurs - The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up

[ny times] ERIC RIES and Steven Blank think they have a better way to build a start-up, one that takes less time and money to try new ideas and find paying customers. They are leading proponents of the “lean start-up” — a fresh approach to creating companies that has attracted much attention in the last year or so among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, technologists and investors.

The concept is gaining a following beyond the Valley as well. “If it works, it will reduce failure rates for entrepreneurial ventures and boost innovation,” says Thomas R. Eisenmann, a professor at the Harvard Business School. “That’s a big deal for the economy.”

The term “lean start-up” was coined by Mr. Ries, 31, an engineer, entrepreneur and blogger. His inspiration, he says, was the lean manufacturing process, fine-tuned in Japanese factories decades ago and focused on eliminating any work or investment that doesn’t produce value for customers.

“This is lean manufacturing for start-ups,” explains Mr. Blank, 56, a serial entrepreneur.

Since 1978, he has been a founder or early employee in eight start-ups, both winners and losers. To cite a couple, Rocket Science Games, a once-promising video game maker, founded in 1993, cratered amid losses a few years later, while Epiphany, a business software company, founded in 1997, was acquired by a larger corporation for $329 million in 2005 — “one my grandchildren will be grateful for,” Mr. Blank notes.

Today, he advises start-up companies and teaches at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley.

Technology animates the lean start-up process. Free open-source programming tools and easily distributed Web-based software drive down the cost of developing new products and services. The early companies embracing the principles live largely on the Web, which makes it possible to measure and track customer behavior constantly and to invite suggestions and criticism.

The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up

Europe - A study on research concerning ICT-enabled independent living for the elderly

[ec] Originally performed on behalf of the European Commission, the present study gives a status quo analysis of the research landscape and products in the scope of Ambient Assisted Living. The investigations have been undertaken in all 27 member countries of the European Union. This study provides the first comprehensive data collection in this field. It includes about 1 000 organisations all over Europe, 180 products and 150 research projects.

ICT enabled independent living for elderly

Friday, April 23, 2010

USA - AT&T Wi-Fi Network Usage Soars to More Than 53 Million Connections in the First Quarter

[prnewswire] AT&T, an industry leader in Wi-Fi with the nation's largest Wi-Fi network, today reported that use of its more than 20,000 U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots surged to 53.1 million connections in the first quarter. This is nearly five times higher than the 10.7 million connections made in the first quarter last year, and more than half of the 85.5 million total Wi-Fi connections made in 2009.

AT&T's extensive Wi-Fi network complements its wireless and wired broadband networks. As AT&T customers increasingly adopt Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and devices, they're relying more and more on Wi-Fi hotspots to stay connected when they're on the go.

At the end of the first quarter, nearly 32 million AT&T customers had AT&T Wi-Fi access included with their qualifying smartphone, AT&T High Speed Internet and 3G LaptopConnect plans, an added value and convenience that drives Wi-Fi usage. The total number of AT&T broadband connections — which includes both wireline broadband and wireless LaptopConnect cards — grew by 278,000 in the first quarter to reach 17.5 million in service.

Many of the most popular AT&T smartphones support auto-authentication at AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots, making it even more convenient for customers to connect. Smartphones and other integrated devices account for the majority of connections made on AT&T's Wi-Fi network. In the first quarter of 2010, 69 percent of Wi-Fi connections were made from smartphones and integrated devices, up from 35 percent a year ago in the first quarter of 2009.

AT&T continues to expand the wide selection of Wi-Fi enabled devices available to AT&T customers and its convenient Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S., including venues in hospitality, retail, healthcare, sport arenas/stadiums and university locations. Recent additions include Wi-Fi access throughout Tulsa International Airport and nearly 500 patient rooms and hospital patient areas at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

"We know that Wi-Fi is an essential part of our customers' broadband experience, bridging our wireless and wired broadband networks, and we're making sure people can connect to Wi-Fi everywhere they live, work and play," said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president, AT&T Wi-Fi Services. "Whether you're at your local coffee shop and need to download a large presentation, or you're traveling and need to access email at your hotel, AT&T has you covered with our Wi-Fi network."

AT&T Wi-Fi Network Usage Soars to More Than 53 Million Connections in the First Quarter

USA - The migration of mobile backhaul to Ethernet will help spur growth of the wholesale Ethernet market at an annual rate of 40 percent

[prnewswire] The migration of mobile backhaul to Ethernet will help spur growth of the U.S. wholesale Ethernet market at an annual rate of 40 percent or more over the next five years, according to a major new report from Heavy Reading (, the research division of Light Reading (

U.S. Wholesale Ethernet Services: A Five-Year Market Forecast analyzes the current market conditions affecting the wholesale Ethernet business in the U.S. and delivers a five-year revenue forecast for this market. It also examines the most significant issues and trends that will affect this market over the next five years, including adoption drivers and obstacles, service availability, interoperability, changing service technologies, and pricing. The report includes in-depth profiles of 15 leading network operators that are shaping the U.S. wholesale Ethernet market.

The information and analysis presented in this report is based on in-depth interviews with senior executives and marketing and network professionals from 15 companies that sell wholesale Ethernet services in the U.S., often including two or three representatives per company. The companies interviewed included traditional carriers, CLECs, international carriers, specialized infrastructure providers, and cable MSOs.

"Wholesale Ethernet is finally emerging as a major, thriving U.S. market," notes Steve Koppman, Analyst at Large with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "While retail Ethernet has boomed for several years, the wholesale market has been regarded as something of a market backwater until recently. The promise of mass migration of the fast-growing cellular backhaul segment from TDM to Ethernet is infusing massive new energy into this market, which is now pacing already rapid overall Ethernet services growth."

Heavy Reading predicts that within four to five years – even with the rest of the market growing rapidly – mobile backhaul will account for close to half of revenues spent on wholesale Ethernet in the U.S. "By contrast with other categories of wholesale buyers, wireless players are in a stronger position as decision-makers to make major future commitments based on their own growth," Koppman explains. "They have the networks and traffic volumes under their effective control, and they are not dependent, like many resale customers, on uncertain ongoing success with retail end users."

Mobile Backhaul to Drive Wholesale Ethernet Growth, Heavy Reading Finds

Caribbean - LIME lands fibre link partnership

[jamaica gleaner] LIME has confirmed that it struck a deal with Telecomunicaciones Gran Caribe (TGC), the Venezuelan/Cuban conglomerate granted a licence last year to build a fibre-optic link from Jamaica to Cuba.

Three telecoms, LIME Jamaica, its arch-rival Digicel Group, and operators of the Flow network Columbus Communications, said then they were negotiating a partnership with TGC on its US$70 million project.

"There's been speculation about a Cuban deal for months but nothing had been agreed. Well now, it's a done deal ...," said LIME in a teaser for an announcement to be made Thursday.

Reports that the Latin American operation had settled on LIME Jamaica began to surface after press reports out of London said its ultimate parent Cable and Wireless Plc had secured a contract to build out a fibre link between Jamaica and Cuba.

LIME kept denying that it had struck a deal with TGC, but insiders now say the company did so because it was wary of upsetting the Cubans, were the details to leak out prematurely.

LIME executives, Geoff Houston, country manager for Jamaica and Cayman Islands, and Caribbean head David Shaw will join TGC executives - president Wilfredo Morales, and vice president Waldo Reboredo Arroyo - to announce their partnership over lunch in Kingston.

The licence granted to TGC in December allows the company to complete a submarine fibre optic cable link for telecommunications traffic between Caracas, Havana, and Kingston.

TGC was the sole bidder for the Jamaica-Cuba submarine cable, which includes a spur to Haiti, which lies just west of the two countries.

Gran Caribe, which is owned 60 per cent by the state-owned Telecom Venezuela and 40 per cent by Cuba's Telco Transbit, also plans to run nearly 1,000 miles of cable from Maiquetia, in northern Venezuela, to Siboney, in Cuba's eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

The Cuba/Venezuela leg is expected to link to Trinidad and Tobago and the Dutch territory of Curaçao.

LIME lands fibre link partnership

Mauritania connected to submarine cable linking Europe to Africa

[afrique jet] Mauritania was Wednesday connected to the submarine optical fiber between Europe and Africa, the Mauritanian Information Agency (AMI) reported on Thursday, quoting the Minister of Vocational Training and new Technologies, Mohamed Ould Khouna.

The new connection, among other things, is expected to open up Mauritanian telec ommunications with a possible cost reduction, better access to high-speed Internet and more competitiveness.

About 15 African countries are connected to Europe by the submarine optical fiber cable.

Mauritania connected to submarine cable linking Europe to Africa

Infonetics Research - Femtocell market growth modest, but beginning to pick up

[marketwire] "2009 was heralded by many as 'the year of the femtocell.' In short, it wasn't. Progress was made, though: the Iu-h interface was established, the Femto Forum initiated an interoperability test (IOT) program, femtocell prices came down, and most major mobile operators were engaged in some sort of trial. Femtocell adoption will remain modest in 2010, and then in 2011-2012 we expect the femtocell segment to begin to prove itself, and in so doing, drive the rest of the FMC market," predicts Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research and co-author of the report.

Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure at Infonetics Research and co-author of the report, adds: "Universal mobile access and voice call continuity are essentially dead. UMA is morphing into an app and the GSMA endorsement of the OneVoice initiative, quickly renamed VoLTE (voice over Long Term Evolution), sealed VCC's fate and declared IMS the long-term universal voice service delivery platform."


* Combined, sales of FMC network elements and femtocells are forecast to grow at a rapid 86% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009 to 2014
* Worldwide revenue from 2G and 3G femtocells sold for use in GSM/GPRS, CDMA, W-CDMA/HSPA and CDMA2000/EV-DO networks increased 154% in 2009 over 2008, from a small base
* The number of femtocells sold is expected to pick up significantly next year, topping 2.5 million in 2011
* AT&T, China Unicom, CSL, Network Norway, Optimus, SFR, Sprint, StarHub, Verizon and Vodafone have launched commercial femtocell services, while the majority of 3G operators are expected to postpone femtocell launches until late 2010 or 2011
* The need for mobile data off-load will drive strong growth in the FMC security gateway segment starting in 2010, with manufacturer revenue more than doubling between 2010 and 2011
* The rise to power of the iPhone propelled Apple into first place in the massive dual-mode cellular/WiFi phone market in the fourth quarter of 2009, pushing Nokia out of the leadership position for the first time
* Revenue from seamless FMC phones with embedded IMS technology and dual-mode WiFi and cellular functionality grew 51% in 2009 over 2008
* The number of worldwide seamless FMC subscribers is forecast to top 64 million by 2014, with IMS-based FMC subscribers increasing and UMA-based subscribers decreasing

Infonetics Research: Femtocell market up 154%; Apple overtakes Nokia in fixed-mobile convergence phones

USA - CenturyTel to Acquire Qwest in $10.6 Billion Deal

[ny times] In one of the largest telecommunications deals in years, CenturyTel, a provider of local phone and Internet services, said Thursday that it would acquire Qwest Communications in a $10.6 billion stock swap.

Both companies, which have large landline operations, have sought to increase their businesses in the shadow of bigger competitors like AT&T and Verizon, which offer both landline and cellphone services. The telecommunications industry has been ripe for further consolidation, which might resemble the wave of deals that swept the sector in the 1990s, analysts said.

The combined company will serve local markets in 37 states with about five million broadband customers, 17 million wirelines and 850,000 wireless consumers, the companies said in a statement.

The merger is also indicative of the broader struggles facing phone companies that are dependent on revenue from customers with landline phones, said Craig Moffett, an analyst with Bernstein Research. More consumers are disconnecting their home phone lines in favor of their cellphones or Internet telephone service. “This is a business that is in inexorable secular decline,” he said. “The wireline phone companies are doing their best to find synergies to preserve the economics of their business.”

Philip Cusick, an analyst at Macquarie Research, said: “All the wireline telecom companies understand their business is shrinking. The wireless industry is not a growth space either. This roll-up attitude could continue for a few more years.”

AT&T said Wednesday that it added only 512,000 wireless customers under contract, also known as postpaid subscribers, during the first quarter — down 43 percent from a year ago. Verizon Wireless said Thursday that it added only 423,000 customers under contract during the first quarter, down 55 percent from the period a year earlier.

Combining with Qwest would make CenturyTel the third-largest supplier of landline phone lines, trailing AT&T, which has 46.5 million wireline subscribers and Verizon Wireless, which has 32.6 million wireline subscribers.

But that number is expected to continue to contract, especially as consumers increasingly rely on cable companies for home phone service, said Roger Entner, an analyst with Nielsen Mobile. Comcast, for example, has 7.6 million residential and business phone subscribers, making it the fourth-largest landline provider in the United States.

“The idea is that consolidating the old telecommunications companies will help them better compete against cable,” Mr. Entner said.

The two companies began exploring a merger in the fall, Glen F. Post III, CenturyTel’s chief executive, said in an interview. He and his counterpart at Qwest, Edward A. Mueller, quickly decided that, with competition growing rapidly, combining their companies made sense.

“You’re going to see a lot more players in this space,” Mr. Post said. “This transaction really positions this new company to compete and withstand the challenges of this industry.”

Mr. Post said that while he was focused on integrating Embarq, which CenturyTel bought in 2008, and now Qwest, the company would continue to look at potential smaller transactions over the next few years. Among possible targets are companies that provide data-hosting or data-security services, he said.

With the Qwest transaction, CenturyTel will double its size through a deal for the fourth time. The third was Embarq, a landline services spinoff of Sprint Nextel. (After acquiring Embarq, the combined company rebranded itself as CenturyLink, though it is still legally CenturyTel.)

“The biggest challenge now for CenturyTel is figuring out how to compete against the cable companies,” Mr. Entner said. “They started offering their customers a full bundle of voice, wireline, Internet and television but obviously the cable companies are further ahead because that’s their core business.”

CenturyTel to Acquire Qwest in $10.6 Billion Deal

UK - BT plea on mobile charges rejected

[ft] A court has rejected BT’s plea that it should get a payment potentially worth hundreds of millions of pounds from mobile phone operators.

The court of appeal on Tuesday issued a ruling that found in favour of the mobile operators rather than the UK’s leading fixed-line phone company.

BT has been campaigning for reductions in the wholesale charges that mobile operators levy for connecting calls to their networks.

In 2007, Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator, outlined plans under which the operators would reduce the charges over four years to 2011.

Ofcom’s decision was challenged by BT, and a tribunal concluded in April last year that the regulator should have insisted on steeper cuts in the charges compared with those proposed in 2007.

The tribunal told Ofcom that steeper cuts outlined by the Competition Commission should take effect from April 2009, but BT argued that the harsher reductions should apply retrospectively from 2007.

The court of appeal indicated that if BT’s argument was accepted, the sum of money due to the company from the mobile operators might amount to “hundreds of millions of pounds”.

However, the court concluded that the tribunal had no power to order Ofcom to apply the April 2009 ruling on a retrospective basis.

The court found in favour of Telefónica’s O2 UK, Vodafone’s British business, France Telecom’s Orange UK and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile UK.

BT has been a vocal champion of cuts in the charges mobile operators levy for connecting calls to their networks.

This is because BT pays the operators large sums of money for connecting calls made by its fixed-line customers. BT gets smaller sums for connecting calls to its network because its charges are lower.

BT is not expected to appeal. It said: “We are disappointed to have lost the case but it does not affect our financial guidance.”

This month, Ofcom outlined plans under which the mobile operators would further reduce their charges for connecting calls over the four years to 2015.

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BT plea on mobile charges rejected

Organisations question ROI of social networks

[itwire] By the end of the year 71 per cent of Australian organisations intend to conduct some form of social media activity – even though few know how to measure the return on investment from such initiatives.

According to the 2010 Social Media Business Benchmarking Survey, conducted by market analyst Nielsen on behalf of specialist social network developer Community Engine, half of all Australian businesses believe they will lose touch with customers if they do not use social media. Already 27 per cent of businesses have a Facebook presence, 17 per cent are on Twitter, 10 percent on YouTube, 5 per cent on MySpace and 2 percent on Linked In.

Even so, 30 percent of organisations would prefer to use their own social media network if one was available, because they feel it is important to own the information they capture, and believe it is risky to have customer data held on a third party’s platform. Most cited lack of skills and resources as the reason for not building their own social networking system, and instead piggybacked on well established social networks such as Facebook.

The number one reason for using social media remains brand-building with half of all Australian businesses acknowledging that they could risk losing touch with customers if they did not link to them using social networks.

At present 15 per cent of organisations have formal social media marketing strategies in place and 9 per cent have staff dedicated to social media marketing. Of those organisations involved in social media 37 per cent said that they were spending 5-20 per cent of their overall marketing budget on social media marketing – funds which had mainly been carved off the traditional marketing budget, rather than representing additional spending.

The big losers as a result of this shift in marketing spend were print, direct marketing and traditional digital marketing spend on websites.

In spite of the apparent enthusiasm for social networks, barriers were still evident. Measuring return on investment was nominated as a key barrier by 28 per cent of organisations polled. Achieving senior management buy-in was also still challenging – particularly in large organisations.

Organisations question ROI of social networks

UK - Top ten broadband towns and cities announced

[eurocomms] A new survey by comparison website Top 10 Broadband has placed Bournemouth at number one in its list of the fastest broadband towns and cities in the UK. The seaside town in Dorset, reknowned as one of the UK's top retirement locations, was reported to have an average download speed of 8.06Mbps - almost double Ofcom's July 2009 national UK average of 4.1Mbps.

Steve Powell, product manager for connectivity services at Viatel, stated: "While it is great to see some positive news about broadband speeds, there is still some way to go before the rest of the UK has such fast connections. The high speeds recorded in Bournemouth only serve to highlight the disparity in broadband performance currently exhibited in the UK, the lowest of which still come in well under the Government's 2Mbps goal."

Unfortunately as we begin to transition to Next Generation Access (NGA) technologies the UK looks set to continue in the slow lane. Powell continued:

"The UK is currently ranked outside of the European Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) Council's top ten fibre nations and looks set to stay there. This is due in part to efforts being made to wring the last drop of performance from first generation access technologies - DSL services. While these traditional solutions can currently deliver relatively fast connection speeds to users close to the serving exchange, FTTP (Fibre to the premises) can help the rest of us that are not so fortunate. Plus, with more and more applications being run over the internet, it is vitally important we begin to step up the move to these new services as legacy networks won't cope with these increases. FTTP can also provide significant economic and social benefits, and with the UK still waiting to exit the recession, superfast broadband could provide local enterprise with the means to succeed in challenging times."

Top ten UK broadband towns and cities announced

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Europe - Digital Agenda: Kroes welcomes Ministerial support

[ec] European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes welcomed Ministers' support for the European Digital Agenda at the informal meeting of EU Telecoms and Information Society Ministers which took place by videoconference on 19 April 2010. Vice-President Kroes welcomed in particular the Ministerial Declaration on Digital Europe, which she described as "a milestone, a crucial building block for a truly European Digital Agenda". The Ministerial Declaration will be taken into account by the Commission in its forthcoming Communication on a European Digital Agenda, one of the pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Digital Agenda: Kroes welcomes Ministerial support