Monday, May 31, 2010

Europe - EC has aksed to be notified of any activities that support the Digital Agenda

[europe] On 19 May the European Commission launched the Digital Agenda for Europe, an ambitious action plan for a digital economy. The Digital Agenda will contribute significantly to the EU's economic growth and spread the benefits of the digital era to all sections of society. The Digital Agenda for Europe proposes a number of collective actions which must start now and continue over the next decade if we are to make "every European digital" –a digitally-empowered individual, with secure online rights and privacy protection, equipped to benefit from a vibrant and integrated digital EU market-place. Making this happen will require the active involvement of national, regional and local actors from all parts of society: government and business, citizen groups in all sectors from health and education to transport and energy, thinkers and - above all - doers. If you believe that you and the organisation in which you work or cooperate have a stake in the digital future, now is the time for action. If you decide to do something, anything that supports the many important goals set out in the Digital Agenda, then we would like to ask you to register your intentions below. The European Commission office in each country will be holding at least one session on the Digital Agenda for Europe. The information you provide will allow us to better prepare the sessions and shape them according to your interests.

Digital Agenda for Europe - Survey

Europe - BEREC (ERG 3.0) is to have its Office in Riga

[europe] European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has welcomed the decision of EU Telecoms Ministers today that the Office of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC Office) will be based in Riga, Latvia. The timely setting up of this Office will allow BEREC to advise the EU institutions on their work to ensure a robust and competitive Single Telecoms Market will be important to further many of the actions foreseen by the Digital Agenda for Europe. The BEREC Office will work closely with telecoms regulators and the Commission to ensure the further development of consistent regulatory practice in the telecoms sector across Europe.

Telecoms: Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) established in Riga

Sunday, May 30, 2010

South Africa - Draft regulations to ban Internet and mobile phone pornography has been given to the Law Reform Commission

[business day] Regulations aimed at banning pornography on the Internet and mobile phones is to be handed over to the Law Reform Commission by deputy minister of home affairs Malusi Gigaba , together with other recommendations aimed at preventing access to pornography.

Gigaba, who approached the commission in September to look into banning pornography on television, the internet and mobile phones, yesterday accepted recommendations from the Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa) on a proposed Internet and Cellphone Pornography Bill which sees pornography filtered out at service provider level.

The statement from the department says the ban on porn on these mediums has successfully been achieved in the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, while Australia and New Zealand are presently considering similar action.

The Department of Home Affairs has an oversight role over the Film and Publication Board and Gigaba has long expressed his concern about the link between pornography and child and women abuse. In December last year at a workshop for political leaders in the Eastern Cape, Gigaba lashed out at advertiser and media exploiting sex and exposing children to it and television for brining it into the home. He was also critical of cellphone providers for "providing easy access" for children to pornography.

The argument is that the Film and Publication Act, which provides a ban on child pornography, while the Internet and Cellphone Bill will provide for a total ban of pornography on these electronic channels, using the wider definition of pornography already available in the Sexual Offences Act.

John Smyth director of Jasa said the recommendations are in line with the Constitution and there is sufficient technical knowledge for service providers to implement controls.

"There are sufficient decisions in the Constitutional Court when it comes to the issue of pornography and children, that the rights of children trumps the right to freedom and privacy," he said. "The constitution recognises that parents have an obligation to protect their children and where they fail its becomes the state's obligation."

Arthur Goldstuck, head of World Wide Worx and internet and cellphone expert, yesterday questioned whether it was simply a case of applying technology. "The requirements of filtering out any specific type of communication are massive," he said. "Its only technically and practically feasible in a totalitarian environment where the State has all the control over telecommunications."

William Bird of Media Monitoring Africa, which looks in particular at children's representation in media, was also critical of the proposal, saying while the intentions were sound it would be a step backwards. It also did not take into account peer to peer transmission of pornographic material via mediums such as Mixit, he said.

"It would be more beneficial to create space for a forum to discuss and engage with pornographic material critically and allow children to express why it makes them feel uncomfortable and what stereotypes are being depicted," he said.

He said Childline had a lot of success on Mixit by creating an open forum where children can talk.

Bird said China has spent millions trying to control the internet and not been successful.

The eight page submission by the Justice Alliance of South Africa (Jasa) outlining the Constitutionality of a total ban on pornography will be available on its website

South Africa: Digital Porn Regulations Published

Uganda - Complaints about sub-contractors over construction of fibre optic cable

[new vision] Green Future, a firm contracted to lay the high speed fibre optic Internet from Uganda to Rwanda, has failed to pay 23 local companies it sub-contracted, a source has said.

"Green Future sub-contracted 23 Ugandan firms, one per 30 kilometres, for the Kampala- Katuna stretch. We haven't been paid since December yet we completed most of the work," the source, who preferred anonymity, said.

The local media recently quoted Felix Kabyanga, Green Future's managing director, as saying that about 3,000 casual labourers had been paid even when no money had been paid to the sub-contracted firms.

"We expect to resume on May 29 and shall pay all the companies," he said.

Kabyanga added that a financial crisis had hit the project which forced work to halt after the Kenya Data Network incurred financial constraints.

This, he said, was caused by a feasibility study oversight where they had undermined the terrain which contained hard soils and rocks in some areas thereby increasing the construction expenses.

Kenya Data Network and Altech Stream are the main contractors of the sh16b project.

Recently, the over 5,000 workers who were hired by the sub-contractors threatened to destroy the fibre optic cables over non-payment. One of the contractors who declined to be named, said there had been unclear explanations from Green Future who blamed all the delays on the main contractor.

"This is one of the things that will undermine the East African integration efforts. Why can't they pay us? This is a raw deal for Ugandans," the contractor said.

Uganda: Fibre Optic Contractors in Wrangles

South Africa - Business is concerned about ICT skills shortages holding back developments

[business day] The shortage of South Africans with information technology (IT) skills is so acute it is making some South African businesses worried that they will be unable to survive, researchers say.

Last year 75% of the 157 businesses surveyed by online newspaper ITWeb and the University of the Witwatersrand's Joburg Centre for Software Engineering said the IT skills shortage was either having a major impact on their business or was affecting their viability, and in 2008 all 115 of the South African companies surveyed made this claim. With SA emerging from recession, it is arguable that this year the number making this claim could once again increase. (The 2010 survey is under way).

Despite the expansion in SA's telecommunications industry, and the way in which technological change has increased global demand for high-end IT skills because the various separate technologies such as voice, data and video are converging in new technologies, the numbers graduating in SA with high-end IT skills is not increasing significantly, says Sandra Burmeister, CEO of recruitment specialists Landelahni Business Leaders.

"We need a higher-skilled professional, but (business) is training for their immediate needs ... We are getting technicians, not engineers and designers," she says.

Part of the problem is that technology changes so quickly that there is traction between the number of suitably skilled professionals in the new technologies, and those with skills in existing technologies, says Burmeister.

If the survey's results are extrapolated across the whole sector it looks like SA needs about 72000 more people with IT skills, says Centre for Software Engineering applied research unit manager Adrian Schofield.

But, between 1996 and 2007 SA produced 17705 information and communication technology degree and diploma graduates, while in 2005 only 823 graduated with a degree in electronic engineering, and only 596 were awarded a computer science degree. In 2006 these numbers were 916 and 540 respectively and in 2007, 928 and 502.

The crisis is set to continue, or deepen because technology is advancing at what Burmeister calls "a blistering pace". A ccording to the International Labour Organisation, it is "the single biggest driver of skills shortages globally" -- SA business is in competition with global competitors for the world's best and brightest graduates, including South Africans.

Graduate recruitment is getting more aggressive every year, says Prof Sonia Berman, head of the University of Cape Town's computer science department.

IT graduates have choice -- 69% of those surveyed in the 2010 South African Graduate Recruiters Association candidate survey released yesterday said they had received several job offers, second only to teachers, of whom 100% say they had several job offers.

This comes as no surprise to Intel International legal and corporate affairs vice-president Shelly Esque . It is only because her company is so widely spread across the globe that it can overcome the skills shortage, she says.

"We're lucky. We can go where the talent is. We can open offices all over the world, but we're almost unique. For countries this is at crisis stage," she says.

Intel has poured billions of dollars into improving maths and science teaching worldwide and has "upskilled" more than 7-million teachers precisely because too few high-schoolers chose to study these subjects, with at least maths a prerequisite for a career in computing and technology .

US President Barack Obama has put 250m into increasing the number of science, technology, engineering, and maths teachers.

In SA the school education situation is worse -- SA was class dunce in the 2003 Trends in International Maths and Science Study, conducted in 46 countries and has fared badly in a study comparing maths results among southern African countries.

Schofield does not see light at the end of the tunnel.

"I do not see any rapid improvement in the supply of IT skills, largely because the necessary changes to our education system will take many years to become effective. We need to train teachers appropriately, change school curricula to raise the level of maths and science outcomes and enthuse the youth with prospects of worthwhile careers in the industry.

"Interventions at the post- school level are too late in the process ," he says.

South Africa: Skills Gap Has IT Firms Worried Over Survival

Mozambique - Vodacom will build its own fibre optic cable, in opposition to the regulator's call for sharing

[aim news] The South African mobile phone company Vodacom has scorned the recommendations from the Mozambican regulatory body, the INCM (National Communications institute of Mozambique) that basic infrastructure should be shared between telecommunications operators, and instead it is pushing ahead with its own network of fibre-optic cables.

The existing national fibre-optic cable is owned by the public telecommunications company, TDM, and Vodacom claims that TDM is providing an unsatisfactory service. At a Maputo press conference on Thursday, the chairperson of Vodacom's Mozambican subsidiary, VM SARL, Salimo Abdula, said that the TDM fibre-optic cable fails, on average, for 180 hours every month.

There was certainly a serious breakdown in late April, when a cut in TDM's undersea cable, about 110 kilometres north of the town of Vilankulo, in Inhambane province, interrupted communications between the south of the country and the central and northern provinces.

Suddenly, in Mozambique's second largest city, Beira, mobile phones ceased to work, and, because they were out of Internet contact with their Maputo head offices, no bank transactions via Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) were possible.

It took two weeks to repair the fault, and would have taken longer but for the fact that a ship with the appropriate equipment was nearby and agreed to do the job.

No cable is invulnerable, and what happened to the TDM cable could just as easily happen to a cable owned by Vodacom or any other company. The real problem is the lack of back-up systems, which will not be solved by every operator putting its own interests ahead of those of the public, and installing their own cables.

Vodacom has already set up its own fibre-optic network in Maputo, and has a microwave system linking Maputo to Beira, and Beira to Chimoio. By the end of 2011, the microwave transmission system should link the other main central and northern cities (Tete, Quelimane, Nampula, Pemba, Cuamba and Lichinga).

Vodacom admits that it is "absurd" for different institutions to make heavy investments in fibre-optic networks covering the same parts of the country, but blames this on the supposedly poor quality of TDM's services.

Abdula also noted that TDM is the main shareholder in Vodacom's sole rival, m-cel, the pioneer in mobile telephony in Mozambique. "You can't be a player and a referee at the same time", Abdula said of TDM, thus suggesting that it is favouring m-cel.

The chair of the Vodacom Executive Commission, Jose dos Santos, said the company "has reached the conclusion that it would be better to push ahead with our own fibre-optic line because we want to offer a good quality service to our clients".

The INCM would also like m-cel and Vodacom to share their transmission antennae. In principle both companies agree that would be a good idea. In practice, no agreement has been reached over prices, so each continues to build their own antennae, providing Mozambique with twice as many transmission towers as it needs.

The INCM is strongly in favour of operators sharing infrastructures, but does not yet have the power to enforce this. That may change if the country's parliament approves a set of regulations on the matter some time in the next few months. The public tender for selecting a third mobile phone operator has been launched, and it would clearly be absurd to have three sets of mobile phone antennae springing up all over the country

Although Vodacom has yet to make a profit in Mozambique, the company has pledged to invest a further 2.1 billion meticais (about 63 million US dollars) this year in new technology and expansion of its network. It plans to set up 100 new transmission towers, mainly in the centre and north of the country (which compares with 50 towers erected last year).

Vodacom began its Mozambican operations in 2003, but has yet to break into profit. In the 2009/2010 financial year, its losses were 230 million meticais (about seven million dollars), which dos Santos blamed on the depreciation of the metical against the US dollar and the South African rand.

Despite continued injections of capital, Vodacom's ambition to become the market leader in Mozambique has been frustrated. Currently it claims to have a market share of 45 per cent, leaving m-cel as still the dominant player, with 55 per cent.

Mozambique: Vodacom to Instal Its Own Fibre-Optic Network

Europe - Commissioner Kroes will present the Digital Agenda to the Council of Ministers

[ec] European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes will present the Digital Agenda for Europe, the first flagship initiative under the EU2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, to EU Telecoms Ministers at the EU's Council of Transport Telecommunications and Energy Ministers in Brussels on 31st May. The Digital Agenda for Europe proposes ways to boost job creation, promote economic prosperity and improve the daily lives of EU citizens and businesses via the wider and smarter use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Neelie Kroes will invite Ministers to join the European Parliament and the Commission in working to implement the Digital Agenda, and the Council is due to adopt conclusions welcoming the Digital Agenda. Vice-President Kroes is also due to exchange views with Ministers on promoting an EU Code of Online Rights to boost consumer trust and the take-up of digital services and will present the European Digital Competitiveness Report and the 15th Progress Report on the Single European Electronic Communications Market. In the margins of the Council, EU ministers are also due to agree on the seat of the new Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

Digital Agenda: Kroes to present Digital Agenda for Europe at 31 May EU Telecoms Council

LTE - Alcatel-Lucent has a key position as a provider of network equipment and solutions

[telecoms insight] Since its establishment in late 2006, French-American telecommunications equipment maker, Alcatel-Lucent has carved out a key position for itself as a provider of telecoms network equipment and solutions to operators in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Major regional operator partners include Russia's MTS, Poland's TPSA and Estonia's Elion Enterprises. A central area of focus has been the provision of fixed IP and 2G/3G mobile networks, as well as network management solutions. Alcatel-Lucent has also deployed several WiMAX networks for regional operators, including Vodafone in Albania, WiMAX Telecom in Croatia and VTEL in Georgia. Meanwhile, the vendor has been exploring the potential offered by LTE super high-speed wireless networks. Despite having suffered from a fall in operator spending in 2009, the CEE region offers Alcatel-Lucent considerable growth potential going forward. Although the region still accounts for a relatively small share of the vendor's total business, there is significant potential for its relative importance to increase.

Laying Foundations For Europe LTE Growth - Alcatel-Lucent Profile - Q3 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Enterprise Mobility - Vodafone found concerns over pricing predictability and effects on corporate culture

With mobile working becoming more commonplace, Vodafone Global Enterprise believes companies should adopt the latest working practices and solutions to enhance productivity and increase employee satisfaction

A new research study on mobile working has revealed that nearly 60% of European multinationals currently have limited or no mobile working capabilities in place, with managers concerned about pricing predictability and the impact on corporate culture as two of the key barriers to adoption.

According to a pan-European* study undertaken by Vodafone Global Enterprise - the Vodafone business that manages the telecoms needs of multinational enterprise customers - only two fifths (41%) of the 500 multinationals surveyed said they had a comprehensive mobile working solution in place. A further 44% said it was an important priority, while one sixth (15%) said they did not have a plan to initiate mobile working.

The study asked respondents what they thought were the main reasons behind companies not embracing mobile working solutions. 70% of respondents highlighted fears that differing tariff structures across many different markets would prove complex to manage. Other fears included a deterioration of productivity and the security implications of corporate applications being widely used on mobile devices.

However, large businesses are becoming more mobile and the study identified a strong desire amongst European enterprise employees for mobile working capabilities. Almost three quarters of firms (70%) said their employees wanted the option of flexible working.

This survey reinforces the considerable opportunity for providers of managed mobile solutions such as Vodafone Global Enterprise, which has recently expanded its client base to around 575 multi-national corporations and reported revenues of £1.1bn in the year to 31 March 2010.

Founded in 2006, Vodafone Global Enterprise now provides services and pricing structures that directly answer the business concerns raised in this survey. These include:

* “per seat” pricing – which provides complete transparency and budgeting predictability across countries and continents
* “Device Manager” – which enables the remote management of mobile devices ensuring corporate security and the ability to upload business applications worldwide
* fixed and mobile converged solutions – which allow companies to consolidate their telecommunications management, including IP Centrex systems, and
* a “Master Services Agreement” – a single signature contract covering 38 countries

These are just a few of the products and services being offered by Vodafone’s Global Enterprise division. It also provides businesses with managed mobility solutions, beneficial pricing bundles, centralised procurement, global portfolios of devices, advantageous roaming packages and consultancy advice for companies considering mobile or “total communications” (fixed and mobile) options.

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone Global Enterprise, said: “the perceived barriers to adopting mobile working practices are easily overcome. Our experience shows that mobile working leads to cost savings as companies unify their communications needs and it also boosts productivity, because it enables employees to make better use of their time. “Further benefits are higher levels of job satisfaction amongst employees, reduced travel costs, potential savings from avoiding extra office space and the ability to lessen the company’s carbon footprint”.

Industry analysts also support the view that the benefits of mobile working far outweigh any perceived barriers.

"The benefits of mobile working and home-working in particular, are becoming clearer to businesses,” said Nicholas McQuire, Research Director at IDC. “Although there are some perceived obstacles, the benefits around cost reduction, enhanced productivity, more robust business-continuity plans and improved sustainability and compliance are helping organisations to overcome any doubts and offer employees greater flexibility in terms of where they choose to work."

In order to assist companies considering embracing mobile working, Vodafone Global Enterprise has produced a White Paper entitled “Mobile Flexible Working”, which outlines how to approach this transition and optimise the benefits. At its core is the premise that mobile and flexible working is an irreversible development, as the world becomes increasingly connected and the relationship between work, home and the community evolves.

Mobile working solutions in European enterprises held back by concerns over cost control and complexity
see also Vodafone white paper

Kenya - Telephone booths are being phased out by Telkom in a couple of months

[daily nation] Kenyan telephone booths take their last call this year. Telkom Orange has decided to recall the last of the booths from the streets "in the next couple of months".

"It is an ongoing process," corporate communications manager Angela Mumo, said. By the end of this year, she says, the last of the 1,000 booths will be no more.

With their exit, the war between the majestic red, yellow and (recently) cream booths, and the mobile phone finally draws to an end, won by the wireless. But the booths bow out with dignity, leaving behind fond memories.

Kenya: Nostalgia as Phone Booths Make Last Call

Kenya - Safaricom achieved record profits driven by data and m-banking

[daily nation] Kenya's mobile phone giant, Safaricom, has set another record with Sh20.9 billion earnings in profit for 2009.

The company grew its pre-tax profit by 37 per cent, from Sh15.3 billion last year, driven largely by data business, especially its revolutionary M-Pesa money transfer service.

According to financial results released on Wednesday, M-Pesa, now three years old, raked in Sh7.5 billion in the period under review, more than double what it earned the previous year. Short message service (SMS), which many mobile phone users believe is a cheaper way of communicating, earned the company Sh5.1 billion.

The mobile money transfer service has moved Sh405.5 billion since inception in March 2007, according to company figures. Person-to-person transactions (where virtual cash moves within the system without being withdrawn) for March 2010, the firm noted, stood at Sh28.59 billion.

M-Pesa has hugely been successful with 9.48 million registered users. The man behind Safaricom's money-machine defended the higher-than-expected profit, which makes it the best performing company in East Africa and places it among the top on the continent.

"Compared to our peers in the region, our profits are very normal," said Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph. "However, locally they appear super because our closest competitors record losses as we register profits." With a dividend growth of 100 per cent, the firm's shareholders will be paid 20 cents dividend per share from the Sh8 billion it has declared as dividends for the year.

In the 2008 financial year, the company paid out 10 cents with a huge chunk of the local retail shareholders accounting for 37 per cent of the shareholder roll, taking home Sh500 or less in dividend. The government of Kenya and Vodafone Kenya will be the biggest beneficiaries with a combined shareholding of 75 per cent.

Its share at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) sold at Sh5.70 yesterday after the results, from Sh5.40 on Tuesday. "Its performance was above expectations," said Mr Einstein Kihanda, an investment expert at Sanlam Investment. "It's hard to predict the share performance but its diversification into data gives it a long-term stability."

He said there was huge potential in the data business. "Safaricom is a major player in data," said Mr Kihanda. "It's not just relying on voice for revenue." During the 12-month period, the company's total revenue grew by 19.1 per cent to Sh83.9 billion from the previous Sh70.4 billion.

Earnings from data -- which includes SMS, M-Pesa and Broadband services for both mobile and fixed access - expanded 24.5 per cent to Sh15.7 billion. The huge earnings come at a time when pressure is mounting to rein in Safaricom's dominance in the market, with the Communication Commission of Kenya publishing stringent rules for the industry.

The controversial rules were met with stiff resistance from Safaricom, which won round one of the battle when the government suspended their implementation. As far as earnings go, Safaricom is in a class of its own. The closest company at the NSE in terms of earnings is East African Breweries Ltd, at Sh11.9 billion for 2008 verses Safaricom's Sh15.3 billion.

Voice market still remains their largest revenue earner, even though its growth slowed, earning Sh63.4 billion from Sh58.7 billion the previous year. This was salvaged by the additional 2.43 million new subscribers.

Kenya: Sh21 Billion and Rising - Safaricom's Big Score

Liberia - Regulator has begun a campaign to alert people to their rights as consumers

[the informer] The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), has commenced an awareness campaign to enable mobile phone and internet subscribers to know their rights.

In an awareness campaign town hall meeting recently held in the Township of West Point, subscribers were made to understand their basic rights in the use of their mobile phones and internets.

According to Madam Chris Harris Williams, Communication Officer of the campaign team, the first phase of the campaign was held in New Kru Town on Bushrod Island and the second segment took place in West Point last Friday. Madam Harris said that the third phase is expected to be held in Gbarnga, Bong County for the period three days beginning from today, Monday May 24.

Also speaking to our reporter, the consultant of the LTA awareness campaign team, Mr. Winston Mombo said that the LTA has contracted the services of five national consultants to help in creating awareness and to educate telecommunication users in Liberia.

He said the campaign team is designated to help LTA help the consumers or subscribers to know their rights in an event where the service providers feel that they are not accountable to the subscribers. "We want to make sure that the people are educated to know their rights so that the service provider will provide quality services", Mr. Mombo stressed.

Mr. Mombo told our reporter that LTA is the national regulator or a referee to mediate between the service provider and subscribers. He said if the services provided fail to prove quality services in the best interest of the users, the users have the right to complain to LTA for its intervention.

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) is the regulatory and competition authority charged with the responsibility of ensuring a vibrant telecommunica¬tions sector that is market-driven and promotive.

The LTA was created by the Telecommunications Act of 2007 (Telecom Act), which repealed in its entirety Act No. 18 of the erstwhile National Transitional Legislative Assembly of Liberia (NTLA), which was an Act to Amend the Public Authorities Law Creating the Libe¬ria Telecommunications Corporation and the Executive Law Creating the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, and to Establish an Interim Framework for Telecommunications Regulation dated 5 September 2005.

Liberia: LTA Commences Awareness Campaign

New Zealand - 3 biggest ISPs will share access to each other's unbundled exchanges to improve competition with TCNZ

[telecomsinsight] Three of New Zealand's biggest ISPs have agreed to share access to each other's unbundled exchanges in order to extend their geographic reach, lower access rates and increase data transfer speeds in areas where they do not already have facilities. They aim to provide 'much sharper' prices to compete more effectively with incumbent Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (TCNZ). Along with the incumbent's growing realisation that it needs to spin off its fixed network business, Chorus, BMI believes this move will go a long way towards making New Zealand's broadband market more competitive.

ISPs Seal Broadband Exchange Sharing Agreement

Enterprise voice - Global market was USD 2.4 Bn in 2010 Q1

[marketwire] Synergy Research Group announces the publication of Q1 2010 Enterprise Voice market shares. The worldwide market for Enterprise Voice totaled $2.4 billion in Q1 2010. Latin America and APAC posted the largest increases. The US and China were somewhat flat with 1% growth. EMEA was the only major region to post a decline.

Year over year, the worldwide Enterprise Telephony market grew only 3 percent. However when looking deeper into regional numbers, we see some standout countries posting strong double-digit growth. For example, in APAC, India and Taiwan posted 32.8% and 27.7% growth, respectively and in Western Europe the UK experienced strongest results with 24.4% year-over-year growth.

Top Country Growth- WW Enterprise Telephony Revenue Q1 2010
Rankings Y-Y Increases
India 1 32.8%
Taiwan 2 27.7%
UK 3 24.4%
Mexico 4 17.5%
Brazil 5 13.1%

"With the recovering economic environment some vendors fared better than others navigating through increased competition and conservative customer spending," said Jeremy Duke, Principal Analyst and Founder, Synergy Research Group. "The effects of strong country growth, where vendors had a strong presence, was a significant contributor to vendor performance in the quarter."

Western European vendors that were negatively impacted by this trend included Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, and Siemens showing year over year decreases. In contrast, both Cisco and Avaya, gained share and drove strong revenue growth in Q1 2010.

Top Market Share Rankings- WW Enterprise Telephony Revenue Q1 2010
Rankings Y-Y Change
Cisco 1 +38.2%
Avaya 2 +43.0%
NEC 3 -1.7%
Siemens 4 -3.1%
Alcatel-Lucent 5 -1.3%

Other vendors gaining share in the quarter included Mitel, Panasonic, ShoreTel, and Toshiba.

Enterprise Telephony Shows Double-Digit Growth

M-payments - Grants for Cellcard (Cambodia), Digicel (Fiji), Orange (W. Africa), Safaricom (Kenya), Tata Indicom (India) Telenor (Pakistan) & Tigo

[cellular news] The GSMA has announced the details of a further seven grantees from the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) Fund, which is administered by the GSMA Foundation. with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. New grantees are Cellcard in Cambodia, Digicel in Fiji, Orange in West Africa, Safaricom in Kenya, Tata Indicom in India, Telenor in Pakistan and Tigo in Africa.

"Just 15 months after we first announced the launch of the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Programme we are proud to announce that all funds have been committed in support of mobile money deployments across the globe," said Gavin Krugel, Director GSMA. "Projects were chosen on their ability to deliver, speed of delivery, scale and sophistication. Between now and the end of 2011 millions of consumers are expected to directly benefit from mobile money services launched with the support of the Fund - that is 170 million customers at the base of the economic pyramid and who previously lacked access to financial services, from 19 operators in Latin America, Africa and Asia."

New Grantees:

Cambodia has a population of over 14.5 million, 22 per cent of whom live in urban areas, but less than 4 percent of the population has a bank account. In addition to this, the majority of payroll is given in cash and therefore Cellcard will be providing financial services such as money transfer, bill payment and airtime top-up to working-class migrants who need to send money home to families in rural areas.

The objective of the grant to Digicel Fiji is to support the launch of a low-cost mobile wallet product which will allow Fijians better and easier access to commercial transactions and which can be delivered through Digicel's existing distributor network. The pilot will launch remittance, top-up and bill payment services with the aim of extending to a full financial services offering following commercial launch.

Less than four percent of the population of Western Africa (Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Mali) are banked, but over a third owns a mobile phone, and this number is growing 30 per cent each year. Orange is studying customer needs in each market, with the intention of building on existing mobile money services (Orange Money is already available in Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and Madagascar) by introducing more advanced financial services.

Safaricom is using M-PESA, one of the world's most successful mobile money platforms, to facilitate social transfer payments from Non-Governmental Organisations NGOs and the Kenyan government to vulnerable households in informal settlements in Nairobi.

Tata Teleservices is working with its technology partner mChek to target microfinance customers in rural India and particularly the large numbers of dairy, contract and agricultural workers. There are over 550 million mobile connections in India with year-on-year growth of 49 per cent, and research has shown that there are 91 million households who are currently financially excluded. mChek's research has shown a clear need for cash management and money transfer services among customers who are not currently served by traditional banking services.

Easypaisa is an existing mobile money service successfully offered by Telenor Pakistan which brings financial services to the unbanked of Pakistan. With help from the MMU Fund grant, Telenor Pakistan is working to develop a savings/insurance product which can be offered on top of the Easypaisa platform.

Finally Tigo is experimenting with new distribution channels for a new mobile money platform in one of its African markets.

Seven New Grants From the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Programme

Qatar - Vodafone is suing the regulator to block the entry of Virgin as an MVNO

[cellular news] Vodafone Qatar has confirmed that it is taking legal action against the country's telecommunications regulator, ictQATAR, for its allowance of Virgin Mobile's entry, without being licensed, into the Qatari market.

Vodafone Qatar says that it believes Virgin Mobile's MVNO deal with QTEL should be classed as the entry of a third service provider.

Vodafone Qatar views this as a violation of its second public mobile telecommunications networks and services license conditions and the telecoms law in Qatar which states that no further mobile service provider would enter into the market, and be licensed, until the proposed Sector review.

"We are taking legal action for the damages this has caused our shareholders. We are simply protecting their interests; 82,000 of which are individual Qataris that paid 40% of the 2nd Mobile License fee," said H.E Sheikh Abdulrahman Bin Saud Al-Thani, Vodafone Qatar's Chairman,

"Vodafone Qatar is happy to compete and is not threatened by Virgin Mobile's entry into the market, but we see this as a change to the rules of our license," said Grahame Maher, Vodafone Qatar's CEO.

Vodafone Qatar Sues to Block Virgin Mobile MVNO

USA - One in six Americans with a mobile phone has suffered "bill shock" to some extent

[cellular news] The USA's telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 30 million Americans -- or one in six mobile users -- have experienced "bill shock," a sudden increase in their monthly bill that is not caused by a change in service plan. A survey conducted by the regulator also shows that nearly half of cell phone users who have plans with early termination fees (ETFs) -- and almost two-thirds of home broadband users with ETFs -- don't know the amount of the fees they're accountable for.

"The FCC's consumer survey provides an important snapshot of the real-world experiences of mobile customers," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "The wireless industry has achieved remarkable innovation -- and mobile is increasingly essential to the daily lives of Americans. But there is still more that can be done to help customers navigate what is sometimes a confusing marketplace. A simple and easy to understand mobile purchase and billing process will empower consumers to avoid bill shock and other unexpected fees."

The survey notes that 83 percent of adults in this country have a cell phone, and 80 percent have a personal cell phone (i.e., one for which their employer does not pay the bill). It also asked about cell-phone coverage: 58 percent of cell-phone users say they are very satisfied with the number of places they can get a good signal.

The survey finds that of the 30 million Americans who have experienced bill shock, 84 percent said their mobile carrier did not contact them when they were about to exceed their allowed minutes, text messages, or data downloads. In addition, 88 percent said their carrier did not contact them after their bill suddenly increased.

The amount of bill shock varies widely but is often sizeable. In the survey, more than a third of people who experienced bill shock said their bills jumped by at least $50, and 23 percent said the increase was $100 or more.

The survey also asked consumers about early termination fees for cell phone and broadband service. Of the respondents with personal cell phones, 54 percent said they would have to pay an ETF should they terminate their contracts before the expiration date, and 18 percent didn't know whether they would have to pay or not. Of those who are subject to an ETF, 43 percent said it was $150 or more, but 47 percent didn't know how much it was. One reason for the confusion is billing practices: Only 36 percent of cell phone customers who are familiar with their bills said that they include "very clear" information on ETFs.

The survey shows that ETFs are one factor that can keep cell phone customers from switching carriers even when their service is not ideal. Forty-three percent of these customers said ETFs were a major reason they would stay with their current service, almost exactly the same number who said they would be deterred from switching by the cost of setting up a new service or by paying a deposit on a new service.

"These findings support our ongoing efforts to help consumers get better information on these charges and fees," said Joel Gurin, Chief of the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. "As we know from our consumer complaint center, even an unexpected charge of $20 or $30 can make a difference to many people. Several carriers are taking steps to make their fees and billing more transparent, and we would like this to become a universal practice. We're confident that we will be able to work with both wireless carriers and public interest groups to help consumers avoid these unwelcome surprises."

One in Six American Phone Subscribers Have Experienced "Bill Shock"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hong Kong SAR - 88.5% of Internet userss view video online

[prnewswire] comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released its March 2010 rankings of the top video properties in Hong Kong based on data from its comScore Video Metrix service. The report found that 88.5 percent of Hong Kong's Internet population viewed video online in March, with visitors averaging more than 10 hours of video viewing per person during the month.

"Online video viewing has become nearly synonymous with Internet usage in Hong Kong," said Victor Cheng, comScore director for Hong Kong. "Of the six Asia-Pacific markets where comScore currently measures online video, Hong Kong posted the highest penetration of viewing, demonstrating the importance of this platform as a vehicle to reach and engage consumers in this highly advanced digital media market."

Google, Tudou and Youku Capture Largest Share of Videos Viewed

In March, Internet users in Hong Kong (age 15 and older) watched 447 million videos, with Google Sites ranking as the top video property with 234.2 million videos, representing 52.4 percent of all videos viewed online. accounted for more than 99 percent of all videos viewed at the Google property. Tudou Sites ranked second with 16.3 million videos viewed, representing 3.6 percent of the market, followed closely by Youku with 16.2 million videos, also at 3.6 percent. (12.3 million videos, 2.8 percent share) and Oriental Press Group (6.4 million videos, 1.4 percent share) rounded out the top five.

Top Video Properties Based on Total Videos Viewed - March 2010
Total Audience Hong Kong, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations**
Source: comScore Video Metrix

Videos (000s) Share of Videos
Total Audience 446,959 100.0%
Google Sites 234,234 52.4%
Tudou Sites 16,288 3.6%
Youku 16,198 3.6% 12,304 2.8%
Oriental Press Group 6,433 1.4%
Next Media Interactive Ltd. 5,596 1.3%
Television Broadcasts Limited 4,950 1.1% 4,065 0.9%
Yahoo! Sites 3,331 0.7%
Microsoft Sites 2,081 0.5%

*Video Properties include all sites under that parent company. For example, Google Sites includes

**Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Average Viewer Watched 123 Videos in March

More than 3.6 million viewers in Hong Kong watched an average of 123 videos per viewer during the month of March. Google Sites attracted the largest video audience with 2.4 million unique viewers during the month (97.5 videos per viewer), followed by with 1.3 million viewers (9.6 videos per viewer) and Youku with 786, 000 viewers (20.6 videos per viewer).

Top Video Properties Based on Total Unique Visitors - March 2010
Total Audience Hong Kong, Age 15+ - Home & Work Locations**
Source: comScore Video Metrix

Total Unique Videos
Viewers (000s) per Viewer
Total Internet: Total Audience 3,619 123.5
Google Sites 2,403 97.5 1,278 9.6
Youku 786 20.6
Yahoo! Sites 721 4.6
Television Broadcasts Limited 599 8.3
Tudou Sites 599 27.2
Next Media Interactive Ltd. 488 11.5 292 1.8
FC2 inc. 263 7.3
Oriental Press Group 263 24.5

*Video Properties include all sites under that parent company. For example, Google Sites includes

**Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Nearly 9 out of 10 Internet Users in Hong Kong View Online Video

Australia - Western Aus. Govt has commissioned a telecoms needs assessment

[computer world] The Western Australia Government has moved to give itself the upper hand in its negotiations with the Federal Government and NBN Co on the roll out of the National Broadband Network in its state.

The state government has commissioned the State Telecommunications Needs Assessment report, which will provide the detailed information it needs to squeeze the maximum benefit out of the national infrastructure project.

The assessment will also survey WA’s wider telecommunications needs, the benefits of high speed broadband to the state, and will identify key locations which would benefit from the delivery of improved mobile and data services.

Crucially, it will identify the economic costs to Western Australia if there are no activities towards enhancing broadband and telecommunications in Western Australia. This aspect will provide ammunition to use against the Federal Opposition if it takes power at the next election and follows through with its commitment to cancel the NBN. The report will also determine the economic benefits to Western Australia if telecommunications and broadband infrastructure are upgraded in the state to the level outlined in the Federal Government's proposed national broadband network (NBN).

The benefits in addressing commercial and consumer telecommunication needs, and the benefits achieved from the regional backhaul blackspots project and future NBN will also be established.

The news follows a panel discussion held at CeBIT Australia 2010 which heard that the impact of the NBN’s cancellation on the Australia's education and research sectors would be minimal.

CeBIT attendees also heard arguments from the ICT industry that the NBN was worth pursuing regardless of its cost.

WA gathers intelligence on the NBN

Europe - 15th Implementation Report on telecommunications markets

[ec] The European Commission has published the 15th Implementation Report, with associated analytical documents and country chapters.

15th Progress Report on the Single European Electronic Communications Market - 2009

Europe - Commissioner Kroes complains of lack of progress towards a single market in telecommunications

[bbc] Businesses and consumers across the EU are plagued by high prices because of inconsistent application of EU telecoms rules, the European Commission says.

Mobile phone call charges range from 0.04 euro per minute in Latvia to 0.24 in Malta, a Commission report says.

Big price differences are hampering efforts to create a single market in EU telecoms.

There was zero growth in EU telecoms in 2009, while the overall EU economy saw a 4.2% decline.

The EU's Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said "rapid growth of mobile broadband and more affordable internet access are good news for consumers in these tough economic times".

"Yet the limited progress towards a true single market is disappointing. Member states need to do more to ensure telecoms rules are properly implemented."

EU says telecoms market 'too fragmented'

Kenya - Govt concern over trench digging by ISPs is pushing them share ducts and cables

[daily nation] The government is set to implement a policy to put a cap to the ongoing menace of individual internet firms hauling fibre cables around in the city and residential areas.

In Nairobi and major residential areas, providers have been busy digging holes next to each other on same side of the road to lay cables thus becoming a nuisance to users.

"We are moving to force them to share infrastructure. We cannot have a situation where everybody is digging the city to put up their own cable," said Information and Communication PS Bitange Ndemo.

He spoke at a regional IT conference organised by technology firms, by NetApp and Virtual Works.

He said local authorities and the State will build and own fibre routes or just the conduits and lease to interested providers.

Sharing of infrastructure is emerging as the key solution to increased cases of fibre optic cable vandalism with telecoms rivals have been trading claims of sabotage.

Mr Ndemo said the government was intent on making Kenya one of the key ICT centres of excellence in the region.

He said the initiative started four years ago, was already half way through with implementation of fibre optic cable. It was now focusing on connectivity and content.

Mr Ndemo said with implementation of digital villages, innovation at the grassroots levels had increased tremendously citing Northern Kenya where a local YouTube is putting the place in the global technology arena.

At the conference, Virtual Works Africa and NetApp, global data storage companies, unveiled data storage technology that will enable organisations save up to 50 per cent of their energy costs while using 80 per cent less storage.

Virtual Works managing director James Munene said data storage consumes substantial amounts of energy and must be managed to enhance business efficiency.

The demand for data space is growing exponentially meaning more data storage space is required by organisations resulting in increased costs.

"As businesses, continue to experience high energy costs, the Green Data Centre is part of our innovative solution to make IT infrastructure more energy efficient and environmentally beneficial by helping companies enhance efficiency of their information technology systems and improve their competitiveness in the market place," said Mr Munene.

Mr Martyn Molnar, regional director for NetApp, said, "our objective is to make sure that global trends in data management excellence are implemented in Kenya and the region."

The Green Data Centre initiative allows organisations to reduce ever-growing power consumption by subtracting data storage infrastructure and disks from the power equation.

Kenya: Share Cables, Ndemo Tells ICT Firms

Nigeria - The threat to bar unregistered SIM cards remains, despite widespread lack of registration

[vanguard] A source on the management team of a mobile telecommunication company operating in the country has informed Cyberlife that subscribers to its network's mobile services who have not yet had their Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) cards registered will soon be barred from the from using the services of it's mobile network.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told this reporter that the mobile company intends to start baring lines of subscribers who have refused to go to its friendship centres and have their photographs and fingerprints taken, this is in line with the procedures adopted for the proper identification and registration of SIMs.

He said "the announcement had been made long enough and subscribers cannot claim they are ignorant of this. Their mobile lines will be unbarred only after they have had their SIMs registered!"

The SIM registration notification had first trickled into public knowledge late last year when the NCC earmarked this year as deadline for the registration of all active SIM cards being used in the country.

It had been reported that a mobile operator had sent out text messages to its subscribers reminding them of the mandate of the NCC and that subscriber's finger prints and pictures will be henceforth be captured whenever they purchase Visaphone lines. The report stated that there are "currently over 78.5 million active phone lines in the country -- over 90 percent of these are mobile lines and over 90 percent of these are not properly registered."

In a trip round town however, Cyberlife has discovered that not much is being done to further help this situation of registering the cards as countless numbers of SIMs are still sold everyday to customers by roadside wholesale and retail SIM card dealers

Nigeria: 'Unregistered SIMs to Be Barred'

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mobile - Backhaul infrastructure spending declined 15% year-on-year in Q1

[prnewswire] In a recently published report by Dell'Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the networking and telecommunications industries, mobile infrastructure market revenues declined almost 15 percent in the first quarter of 2010, compared to the first quarter of last year. Steep contraction in 2G sales brought overall market revenues down despite growth in the 3G and WiMAX markets during the first quarter of this year.

"3G markets, both WCDMA and CDMA, experienced very strong growth, particularly in North America," said Scott Siegler, Senior Analyst of Mobile Infrastructure research at Dell'Oro Group. "Contrary to the first quarter of 2009 when market strength came predominantly from 3G spending in China and was largely coverage-driven, the first quarter of 2010 was fueled mostly on North American spending and was almost entirely capacity-driven. WCDMA and CDMA operators spent heavily in the first quarter to keep up with increased demand for mobile broadband as a result of more capable 3G devices and faster 3G networks. Despite this strong growth in 3G spending, however, the market contracted as a result of the near-halt in GSM spending in China and India," finished Siegler.

The report indicates that market is expected to rebound throughout the remainder of 2010, aided by strong WCDMA and improving GSM sales. The market is also expected to benefit from initial LTE revenues in the second half of 2010 as a result of the anticipated launch of four commercial LTE networks later this year.

Mobile Infrastructure Market Experienced Double-Digit Decline During the First Quarter of 2010, According to Dell'Oro Group

M-payments - Orange has extended its scheme to Senegal, Mali and Madagascar

[cellular news] Orange has launched its mobile payment service, Orange Money, in three additional African countries, Senegal, Mali and Madagascar in recent weeks. The service allows mobile customers to deposit and withdraw money, to transfer money, to easily buy call credit, to pay for goods at certain retail partners and to pay bills.

Orange is also studying customer needs in each market, with the intention of developing additional, more advanced mobile payment services such as international money transfers. The service is available for all Orange customers whether or not they have a bank account, and is activated free of charge and without any minimum deposit.

Orange's mobile-payment service is built around partnerships with banks, which are responsible for issuing and guaranteeing the electronic money. For countries in Western Africa for example, the Group is working with local subsidiaries of BNP Paribas. Orange is responsible for the service's IT platform and marketing, and also provides the benefit of its extensive distribution networks in each country.

The launch of Orange Money in Senegal, Mali and Madagascar follows on from the launch of the service in the Côte d'Ivoire in December 2008 after extensive trials. Here, the service has met with considerable commercial success. This growth is expected to accelerate in the coming years as the customer base reaches a critical mass and the service becomes part of everyday habits.

Commenting on this launch, Marc Rennard, Orange's Executive Director for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region, stated that: "Orange Money is a very important part our strategy in Africa and emerging markets. Mobile payment services have the potential to bring cost-effective and secure access to banking services to people with low-incomes, who often live in rural or remote areas. By providing our customers with the means to save money, pay bills and run their businesses, we are not only reinforcing customer fidelity but we are also able to play an active role in the economic development of the country".

Orange Money will also be launched in Niger and Kenya in the coming months, and will eventually be extended across the Group's entire footprint in Africa and the Middle East.

Orange Expands Mobile Money Platform to Three More Countries

Europe - Report of a workshop on Social Inclusion and Related Technologies

[europe] The objective of the workshop on Social Inclusion and Related Technologies organized by the Unit ICT for Inclusion on January 21, 2010 in Brussels was to generate possible R&D topics for the future research agenda with a particular focus on social computing and inclusion. The workshop was held in conjunction with a concertation meeting of currently running projects in the Unit, focusing on Marginalised Young People and ICT. The morning session addressed the related technologies and the afternoon session focused on policy, social and user aspects.

Report of the workshop on Social Inclusion and Related Technologies (with a particular focus on social computing and inclusion) of 21 January 2010

Mobile - App store market is fragmented, with opportunities to link them together

[prnewswire] The astonishing growth of the Apple App Store has prompted a great pace of innovation in the mobile content industry. New applications stores have been launched throughout last year and a vast number of innovative applications is now available on various devices and for different platforms. However, this fragmented scenario raises some concerns in terms of long term sustainability. Some initiatives are already in place to create a more harmonized content development and delivery environment. The Web with its universal and borderless platform could also be an alternative and open approach for the mobile content industry.

"The phenomenon of the application stores is the event of the last year in the mobile industry. However, the race to having stores has created an archipelago of islands disconnected one to the other. This has driven the industry to look for more open model of content delivery and the Web is a natural candidate," says Saverio Romeo, Senior Industry Analyst for Frost & Sullivan ICT practice.

Highlights of the briefing include an analysis of the status quo of the application stores looking at the performance and future challenges. The second part of the presentation explores the evolution of the mobile web. The briefing will be concluded by a discussing the role of the stores and the web in the future mobile content industry.

Frost & Sullivan: Mobile Content Industry -- The Success of the Stores and the Rise of the Mobile Web

UK - Business and non person-to-person messaging valued at £600 million

[cellular news] The UK market value for business and non person-to-person messaging, has been valued at £600 million, according to a report by messaging application provider, Dynmark International. The value of the non person-to-person messaging market is the subject of regular debate, according to Dynmark CEO, Oscar Jenkins: "Because of commercial sensitivities amongst mobile data aggregators, there's no consensus on volunteering message volumes and nobody knows exactly how much the market is worth."

"Using public figures and our knowledge of the messaging market, independent desk research reveals the figure to be in the region of £530m in 2008," said Jenkins. "Extending those trends shows that we're enjoying a current market size of £600 million today, with £620m easily achievable by 2011."

The report concludes that while Key Premium Aggregators and traditional Mobile Content Providers enjoyed major growth during the last decade, significant potential remains.

"If the publisher paywall model is to experience traction, there can be a vital role for mobile messages in alerting readers about new content," Jenkins said. "Mobile messages can direct users to mobile internet content, and with Premium SMS billing, there's an in-built micropayment mechanism already there.

"Mobile messaging has surprised everyone from day one and, as the second most popular mobile application after voice, it remains as relevant as ever."

UK Business and M2M SMS Market Valued at £600 Million
see also Time To Deliver

Australia - Provision of fibre to greenfield buildings has been delayed till 2011

[itwire] Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says government will delay the mandatory roll-out of fibre to greenfield housing developments for six months until January 1, blaming the Opposition for the industry uncertainty the delay will create.

Senator Conroy said the proposed start date of the Fibre Deployment Bill of July 1 was no longer realistic, and confirmed to a Senate estimates hearing that he had urged Telstra to continue installing the older copper technology in new housing estates as a result of the delay.

The legislation, which was intended to prepare the ground for the fibre-based National Broadband Network, was unveiled by Government last December but has not yet passed the Senate.

In anticipation of the passage of the new rules, Telstra announced in March that it would no longer roll-out copper to new developments, but Senator acknowledged he is keen that the company take the delay into account.

A Senate committee reviewing the National Broadband Network plans issued a report last month supporting the passage of the Fibre Deployment Bill with Labor and Greens members supporting the measure.

But in a dissenting view, the Opposition said it would vote against the bill. And with the voting intentions of Family First senator Steve Fielding and South Australian independent Nick Xenophon unknown – and with a tight parliamentary sitting calendar – the delay to starting fibre roll-outs in Greenfield sites became inevitable.

South Australian Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher said the proposal would drive up the cost of housing developments and would hurt first home buyers most.

"Australians buying in established suburbs are not expected to fund the cost of installing fibre in their street, but the Bill would mean those purchasing homes in new estates would have to do just that," Senator Fisher said.

"Given that the Government hasn't yet responded to the NBN Implementation Study, the Bill is too much fibre ambition, too soon, with too much important detail left until tomorrow."

Greenfield fibre roll-out plans postponed: Conroy

Nigeria - Proliferation of operators is likely to lead to consolidation

[daily independent] One thing that has continually bothered telecom operators, stakeholders and subscribers, is the perceived proliferation of licensed telecom operators in the country. Many believe that the number of operational and non-operational telecom operators in the country is too many, compared to the 80 million subscribers across networks, and they are of the opinion that the situation is bringing undue competition that is adversely affecting the rate of development in the telecom sector.

Several debates have been made over the issue, but the telecom regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has refused to make any definite statement on the issue, thereby tacitly allowing market forces, and not regulatory policies, to address the issue.

In 2003, when the debate was hottest, there were 23 licensed telecom operators in the country, but today the number has been pruned to 16, by what many believed to be natural market forces

Although the effect of market forces acting on the number of telecom operators appear glaring, some operators still believed that regulatory policies of government would handle the issue in a faster and more desirable way.

One of such operators is Starcomms, the largest Coded Division Multiple Access (CDMA) market player in the country.

Worried by the entire situation, Chief Executive Officer of Starcomms, Mr. Maher Qubain, spoke his mind on the need for proper government regulatory policies, as the best measure to tame proliferation of telecom operators in the country. Qubain, who spoke in Lagos at the weekend, blamed NCC and the government for the ugly situation, and explained that most of the licences issued by NCC were not put to use by the operators, thus making them dormant and unavailable to those who actually needed them.

He called on government to enforce merger and acquisition among telecom operators, especially with operators that have licences and could not rollout their operations. If done, it would further strengthen the entire networks, he added.

He cited the financial sector consolidation among banks, adding that the idea helped Nigeria to raise and have stronger and reliable banks in the country. The bank success story, he explained, was as a result of the enforcement of regulatory policies handed down to banks from its regulatory body, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Qubain argued that India, with three times the size of Nigeria's population has about four operators managing the entire country's network, and wondered why Nigeria with smaller population compared to China, would be interested in multiple operators.

But Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, is among some telecom experts who strongly believed that regulatory policies werenot the best option to address the issue of proliferation of telecom operators in Nigeria. He rather believed in natural market forces, and the ability of individual players to operate freely in a telecom market that is highly capital intensive.

Adebayo who listed four categories of telecom operators, said "the first category are those who have licence and are operational, the second are those who have licence and are not operational, the third category are those who have licence but do not have network, while the fourth category are those that have licence, were once operational, but no longer in operation.

Each of the four categories of telecom operators, according to him, has its own challenges, which he said, would not be solved through policies and regulation, but by some natural market forces that would compel those with dissimilar problems to merge or allow acquisition from bigger and willing operators.

Explaining what he meant by dissimilar problems, he said two operators that have similar problem like insufficient funding would not do well if compelled by regulation to merge. They will rather do well if for instance one has problem of funding, and the other has a dissimilar problem of network capacity, he said.

Adebayo called on NCC, to continue to allow market forces to determine the growth of the market, but to probe into cases where operators apply for licence, get such licence and refused to rollout for reasons best known to them.

Another telecom expert, who is in support of market forces as against regulatory policies in dealing with issues of proliferation of telecom operators, is the National President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Titi Omo-Ettu. Reacting to the issue on phone, Omo-Ettu dismissed the idea of regulatory policies in handling such matter, while supporting market force as the best way to address the issue. He said it would not be in the interest of the telecom industry to enforce policies of merger and acquisition, and suggested that natural market force be allowed drive the market. He gave instance of the large number of licensed operators in 2003, adding that the number has reduced to 16 based on natural market forces, insisting that the number would further reduce before the end of the year.

Citing example with newspaper ownership in the past, Omo-Ettu said government used to be the only proprietor of newspapers, and as a result determine the cover price, but explained that the whole scenario changed with time, especially with the emergence of several newspapers and magazines that are currently owned and controlled by individuals, which he said was a true function of market forces playing their roles in newspaper business. He, therefore, advised subscribers, stakeholders and telecom operators to allow market forces to determine the growth and stability of telecom industry in the country.

Be that as it may, the truth is that the liberalisation of the telecom market by the NCC, helped in opening up the market, a situation that led to fair play and fair competition in the telecom market.

Some are of the opinion that the market is vast to accommodate even larger number of operators, but which ever, one thing that is paramount is the need for a steady growth in the Nigerian telecom market, adjudged by world bodies as the fastest growing telecom market globally.

Nigeria: Between Policies And Market Forces in Telecoms Merger

Germany - Auction of "4G" spectrum for EUR 4.3 billions

[afp] Europe's first auction of "fourth generation" frequencies, which promise to revolutionise what mobile phones can do, raised more than 4.3 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars), authorities said Thursday.

The German auction, which began April 12 in the western city of Mainz, wrapped up after 224 rounds of bidding and with the coveted licences going to four sector giants, a Federal Network Agency spokesman said.

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and O2 claimed the top licences while E-Plus clinched lesser-value contracts, the spokesman told AFP.

The grand total from the auction -- 4.385 billion euros -- marked a windfall for German state coffers but fell far short of the 50 billion euros generated from the sale of third generation UMTS licenses in 2000.

Unlike UMTS, fourth generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are expected to be up and running soon and experts are confident that the new technology will not disappoint.

The innovation is expected to provide Internet service at up to 100 times the speed of standard DSL lines.

"With LTE, mobile telephone networks will become viable alternatives to DSL or cable connections," said Herbert Merz of the telecom and high-tech industry group BITKOM.

A large part of what was up for grabs is the so-called "digital dividend," a chunk of frequencies left unwanted by television companies following their switch from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The new technology will mean users will be able to view high-definition videos on mobile phones, with their ability to transfer data at much higher speeds.

Industry experts say it is likely to spark a mass exodus away from telephone landlines and convince consumers to go fully mobile.

Following trials with test networks in Sweden and Norway and regions of Germany, the first proper 4G networks should be up and running by the end of the year in Germany.

It may also pose competition to broadband and cable operators, since computers will be able to use the fourth-generation networks to access the Internet.

The providers will be required to hook up their "digital dividend" frequencies in rural areas that have not had access to high-speed Internet connections because of the prohibitive costs of laying cable there.

The economy ministry welcomed the step as "a significant step toward nation-wide broadband coverage".

Covering rural regions with high-speed Internet "is a crucial condition for a quick return to economic growth and rising prosperity".

German '4G' phone auction raises over 4.3 billion euros

Mobile - With LTE the global map of patents is changing

[cellular news] The emergence of LTE is causing a major reshuffle in the distribution of IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) wealth, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media. ­While the 2G, 3G, and 3.5G IPR landscape was dominated by Qualcomm, Nokia, and Ericsson, the arrival of LTE is seeing the emergence of new players such as Samsung, LG and Huawei, who have dramatically improved their patent portfolio for LTE compared to previous technologies.

"Using data from the ETSI, USPTO, and EPO databases, we analysed the distribution of LTE patent wealth by company and by region" said Malik Kamal Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "While Interdigital and Qualcomm are clear leaders in the global LTE patents portfolio with 21% and 19% market shares respectively of the total number of patents, Huawei comes in third position with 9%, Samsung in fourth with 8%, and Nokia, LG, and Ericsson in joint fifth place, each with 7% market share," Kamal Saadi adds.

Although the number of patents gives an indication of how different players are positioned in the LTE market, the value of each patent varies according to its overall value to LTE. An "essential" LTE patent, for example, is a key invention or process required for implementing and practising the LTE standard as defined by 3GPP.

"It's clear that Samsung, LG and Huawei who traditionally had a weak IPR portfolio in 3G and 3.5G wireless technologies, are becoming increasingly aggressive in the LTE landscape not only by acquiring an increased number of LTE patents but also by making these patents essential. This will enable them to better trade against the incumbent IPR holders and lower the cost related to licensing wireless technologies," Kamal Saadi adds.

Until now only a third of current global LTE patents could be described as essential but about 60% of them are recognised as having the potential to become essential in the future. Whether or not a patent is viewed as being essential could also vary from one market to another. For example, from the 182 LTE patents contributed by Huawei, 178 are registered in China and only a handful of these could currently be described as essential. This means that Huawei's IPR wealth will be effective in China but to a certain extent less effective in the rest of the world unless Huawei validates its patents with other recognised trademark and patent offices such as the European EPO or the American USPTO.

On the other hand, Informa Telecoms and Media believes that more than 60% of LTE patents from likes of Qualcomm and Nokia, 50% of LG's portfolio, 40% of Samsung's patents, and less than 33% of Ericsson's portfolio could be described as essential LTE patents so far.

"Overall there is no doubt that a more widely distributed LTE IPR wealth is likely to help the whole industry, as it will reduce costs related to technology licensing and royalty fees," concludes Kamal Saadi.

LTE is Changing the Landscape of IPR Wealth

Monday, May 24, 2010

USA - AT&T has increased early termination fees on smartphones raising the chances of regulation to reduce such fees

[ft] AT&T is raising the early termination fee that it charges buyers of the iPhone and other smartphones if they break their two-year contracts, risking additional scrutiny from US Federal regulators.

The move comes the day after the US Federal Communication Commission released its annual wireless competitiveness report and, for the first time since 2003, did not declare the industry competitive, fuelling speculation that the agency may impose additional restrictions on AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two largest US mobile network operators.

AT&T ups early termination fee for smartphones

USA - Sen. Rockefeller and Rep. Waxman to begin hearings on telecommunications legislation

[ny times] Two top Democratic legislators said Monday that they would begin a process to modernize telecommunications laws that were last overhauled in 1996 but barely mention the Internet.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a joint statement that they would hold meetings in June to examine how the Communications Act meets the current needs of consumers, the telecommunications industry and the Federal Communications Commission.

Communications Law to be Reviewed

USA - Democratic Party in Congress is considering revising the 1996 Telecoms Act

[business week] Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate said they will consider proposals starting next month to update the law that regulates telephone, cable and broadcast companies.

The lawmakers will begin “a process to develop proposals” to revise the 1934 telecommunications act, which was last rewritten in 1996, they said today in an e-mailed statement. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, chairman of the Commerce Committee, and Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, are among those involved in the process, according to the statement.

A U.S. court in April said the Federal Communications Commission lacks power over Comcast Corp.’s Web practices, sparking debate over the agency’s power to regulate Internet service providers.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on May 6 asserted authority under a part of the act written for telephone networks. Republican lawmakers said he improperly sought to expand regulation.

Today, 74 House Democrats in a letter told Genachowski they have “serious concerns” about his proposed regulatory framework and urged him to await “additional direction from Congress.”

Jen Howard, an FCC spokeswoman, in an e-mail declined to comment on the statement from Rockefeller and Waxman, who represents a California district.

Genachowski in a blog posting in May said the agency was ready to advise Congress if its “leaders decide to take up legislation” to “clarify the statute and the agency’s authority regarding broadband.”

The telecommunications act covers a broad swath, Art Brodsky, spokesman for Washington-based advocacy group Public Knowledge, said in an interview.

“When you update the telecoms act, that’s a big thing,” Brodsky said. “We still think the FCC has the authority to proceed as they proposed.”

U.S. Congress to Consider Updating Communications Law

India - Minister seeks to make the country a manufacturing hub in competition with China

[sify] Communications Minister A. Raja Monday said his ministry is aiming to make India a telecom manufacturing hub by facilitating various policies.

Addressing the inaugural session of the World Telecommunication Development Conference here, he said the Indian telecom industry was spearheading the transformation from legacy systems to state-of-the art digital systems.

'The centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) is developing suitable technologies for the growth and digitisation of the Indian telecom sector,' he told the conference.

While India followed a technology neutral policy and opened its telecom sector to a variety of technologies and equipment from all over the world, Indian industry had not lagged behind and was making rapid strides in innovating and adopting new technologies suited to Indian conditions.

Raja said an independent regulatory environment in India was promoting healthy competition between various service providers and ensuring that the common user was not neglected.

'Our mechanism for fulfilling universal service obligation wherein all the operators contribute towards providing universal access to telecom services, is making due progress in the desired direction,' he added.

Over 1,300 delegates from 140 countries are participating in the conference organised by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Raja told the delegates that India was currently adding 20 million telephone connections per month, the highest growth in the world. India has the second largest telephone network in the world with more than 600 million telephones.

Raja also offered to share India's expertise and facilities with other countries to bridge the digital divide in the world.

Aiming to make India a telecom manufacturing hub: Raja

India - Minister claims he is targetted because he broke the "cartel" of operators

[financial express] Communications and information technology minister A Raja on Monday said 2G spectrum allocation was done in accordance with regulations framed by the Union government.

He further clarified that there would be no re-auction of 2G spectrum as well. “We strictly went by those rules and recommendations of Trai. I am being targeted only because I broke the cartel in the telecom sector,” he said during the sidelines at the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC) 2010, in Hyderabad. Raja said that he was ready to face any investigation into the alleged scandal in allocation of 2G spectrum.

Reacting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assertion that action would be initiated at any level if corruption is proven, Raja said, “It is universal truth that action will be taken against anyone found guilty (of corruption). I am ready for any investigation but such an inquiry should get to the root of the issue.”

“The recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on 2G spectrum is currently under review of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and finance ministry and is expected to be placed before the Telecom Commission soon,’’ he said. 2G spectrum will allow the winner companies to offer high-speed internet access as well as internet telephony and television services and can also be used for voice and high-speed data services.

Ruling out any controversy, he said that 2G cannot be compared to 3G as 2G is like PDS rice while 3G is Basmati rice, and any changes suggested by telecom commission, which are not there in the current system, there is always a scope to consider for implementing those changes.

Meanwhile, the Centre is hoping revenue of Rs 15,000 crore from the auction of airwaves for broadband wireless access (BWA) services, which is necessary for rolling out worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) services and enable hand-held devices and laptops access the internet.

On the 3G licence fee payment by mobile telecom operators, Raja said, so far none has approached the ministry seeking extension of deadline, which is ending on May 31. “However, if there are requests, we will discuss and look in to it,” he said.

I’m targeted because I broke the telecom cartel: Raja

India - three operators to appeal against Regulator's advice to govt on spectrum fees

[telegraph india] Three leading telecom operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea — have approached the Telecom Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) against high prices set by Trai for excess 2G spectrum.

The trio today filed a case with the TDSAT, seeking to scrap the telecom regulator’s recommendations on 2G spectrum, including a one-time fee for holding radio waves beyond 6.2MHz. The tribunal will hear the case tomorrow.

With Trai coming under the attack of the operators, telecom minister A. Raja has set up a panel that will study the feasibility of the proposals, said industry experts.

Officials in the department of telecom said the group of ministers that facilitated the process of 3G auctions was also likely to examine the proposals and take a final call.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today promised to take action if corruption was proved “at any level” in the pricing of 2G licences issued in 2008.

Raja is facing political brickbats over selling 2G spectrum cheap to new players with the Opposition demanding his resignation. The allegations have intensified after the sale of high-speed 3G radio waves garnered a massive Rs 68,000 crore. The ongoing sale of broadband wireless spectrum is expected to add another Rs 15,000 crore to the government’s kitty.

In 2008, the telecom ministry granted six mobile licences at Rs 1,650 crore — a price discovered in 2001 — along with 4.4MHz start-up spectrum on a first come, first served basis.

Singh today said Raja had clarified that he granted the licences on the recommendations of the telecom regulator.

At a press conference held on the occasion of the first anniversary of UPA-II, the Prime Minister assured that “if there is any involvement at any level in corruption, we will take action”.

Reacting to the PM’s statement, Raja said he was ready to face any investigation into the alleged scandal.

“It is a universal truth that action will be taken against anyone found guilty (of corruption). I am ready for any investigation but such an inquiry should get to the root of the issue,” Raja told reporters on the sidelines of the World Telecommunications Development Conference 2010 in Hyderabad.

Telecom trio tap tribunal

Mobile - Operators risk losing business to 3- and 4-play offers from fixed network operators

[cellular news] Mobile Operators risk losing billions in revenue unless they compete effectively with large fixed-service providers offering Triple or Quad Play. Strategy Analytics modeled the market and revenue potential for a Mobile Broadband Triple Play (MBTP) service that could compete against this threat.

The research firm concluded that operators should consider bundling Mobile Broadband plus Internet Broadband and Home Phone - a service package that 4G networks will soon be able to deliver.

TRM projected responses in six key markets - France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, US - where between one-quarter and one-third of users would consider purchasing the MBTP bundle rather than a full Quad Play solution that included TV at a slightly higher price. On an annual basis the risk exposure could be over 10 billion Euros each in France, Germany and Italy and nearly 70 billion dollars in the US.

Sue Rudd, Director of TRS notes, "Mobile operators can defend themselves with new combinations of Triple Play for Mobile Services like MBTP. The Quad Play threat has become very real." Rudd added, "In March AT&T's fixed business U-verse Triple Play included a mobile voice option. Now AT&T has launched full Quad Play with integrated mobile data.

"Service providers need to understand the optimal mix of price points, features and brand positioning across a wide range of current and potential multi-play service options to develop competitive responses in their markets." added David Kerr, Vice President. "Strategy Analytics provides a tool set that allows operators to evaluate these responses for current and future value propositions."

Mobile Operators Risk Losing Billions of Euros to Triple and Quad Play

Iraq - Govt is to approve a fourth mobile licence, with over a dozen firms interested

[cellular news] Iraq's government has approved plans to offer a fourth mobile operators license, local news media has reported. Hiam Al Yasiri, an adviser to Iraq's communications minister, said that 15 firms had expressed interest in the license since it was first proposed last year.

Full details of the tender are still to be announced, although the advisor said that a bidder will own 65% of the company, with the remainder held by the government as part of the deal and that the license would call for full nationwide coverage.

The government has been increasingly frustrated by what it says is poor service from the existing three networks - although they cite the difficult security situation and repeated attacks on their networks as a primary cause.

"We want the next investor to not have a number of excuses for limited or bad services." said Yasiri, without expanding on how the problems cited by the incumbents can be prevented from impacting a fourth network.

Both France Telecom and Etisalat are said to be in talks to take a stake in the smallest Iraqi operator, Korek Telecom, although the availability of an independent license may prove more alluring to the bidders.

The country has three operators, Zain, Asiacell and Korek Telecom.

Iraq Confirms Plans for 4th Mobile Network License

India - BSNL has barred Chinese manufacturers from a tender for GSM capacity

[cellular news] India's BSNL h­as formally barred China's Huawei and ZTE from bidding in the latest round in its on/off tender for some 5.5 million GSM lines for its Northern and Eastern zones. According to a report in the Economic Times newspaper, the state-owned telco has specified that only Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel Lucent will be able participate in the bidding process.

"It is a fact that telecom gear from Western vendors are expensive when compared to Chinese vendors, but a government directive prevents us from placing any orders with telecom gear makers from China, especially if the equipment has to be installed in circles that share international boundaries," BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal told the newspaper.

The launch of the tender contract follows the dropping of the controversial and oft-delayed 93 million line tender earlier this year. The short-listed firms for the old tender were Ericsson, Huawei and HCL infosystems, which bagged the HT component of the deal. Ericsson's bid had been wracked by squabbles over the pricing, while Huawei had been hit by security concerns and allegations that the company was trying to impose unacceptable conditions on BSNL. Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE were disqualified. Nokia Siemens Networks later challenged its disqualification in the Court.

BSNL had apparently shortlisted Ericsson for 25-million lines for the North Zone and 18-million lines for the East Zone, while it had given Huawei 25-million lines for the South Zone. The Western Zone was in limbo with BSNL initially wanting to award the contract to Huawei, but then being told by the government not to.

The operator has also decided to adopt the managed services model followed by the private operators, although that has yet to be approved by the government department which oversees the company.

The government has been wary of the Chinese vendors, citing concerns about, repeatedly denied links between the vendors and the Chinese military.

India's BSNL Bans Huawei, ZTE from 5.5 Million Line GSM Contract

Prepaid mobile broadband - Cheaper but at slower speeds

[prnewswire] Initially characterized as a solution for low-income customers, prepaid has enjoyed resounding success in both developed and developing economies. Internet services are an obvious target for prepaid mobile operators, but there is limited uniformity in prepaid operator mobile broadband pricing, as explained in Pyramid Research's report, Prepaid Mobile Services: Using New Business Models to Boost Profits.

Analyst-at-Large Guy Zibi's recent analysis on the prepaid mobile services market is featured in this new report and is continued in his most recent Pyramid Point blog, "Selling Prepaid Mobile Broadband: The Next Phase." "Operators use a smorgasbord of approaches, from prepaid bundles to late-night browsing packages," says Zibi, "However, there are two common principles: flexibility (with various packages based on usage volumes) and price competitiveness."

However, there are two common principles: flexibility (with various packages based on usage volumes) and price competitiveness.

Here are some of our observations on mobile broadband pricing:

* The dominance of prepaid: As the success of mobile voice services has made plain, emerging markets are prepaid markets. In turn, most services have to be prepaid-ready if they are to stand a chance of success. Two-thirds of the 3G operators we examined offered prepaid packages, with airtime sold in downloadable bundles ranging from 1MB to as much as 10GB. Other operators, such as Vodacom Tanzania or Uganda’s UCOM, have begun with a focus on the postpaid business segment. The main benefit of a postpaid package from an end-user standpoint appears to be the subsidized modem. In many cases, postpaid bundles are priced around the same level as prepaid packages.
* Mobile broadband is largely positioned as an alternative to existing broadband solutions. Few players refer to mobile broadband as “Internet everywhere.” Rather, the emphasis appears to be on speed and convenience, with mobility as a bonus.
* In most markets, mobile broadband is the cheapest broadband offering available. In Kenya, Safaricom’s HSPA packages are up to five times cheaper than ADSL for similar speeds. In South Africa, HSPA is up to 50% cheaper than 384Kbps ADSL. Only with speeds higher than 512Kbps or 1Mbps does the ADSL offer become more competitive relative to mobile broadband. Such higher speeds tend to be unavailable, and when they are available, they are too expensive for all but large businesses.

If they navigate correctly, mobile operators can bring to broadband the same brand of scale and marketing inventiveness they brought to basic voice services. In this sense, and as technology evolves, Internet service provision has become a natural step in the evolutionary path of the mobile operator.

Two Common Principles Emerge in Prepaid Mobile Broadband Pricing, Pyramid Finds
see also Pyramid report

Ghana - Globacom is threatening to withdraw as a result of sabotage from rivals

[cellular news] Nigeria based Globacom (Glo Mobile) is reported to be considering ditching its attempts to launch a new mobile network in Ghana after blaming "several challenges from some interests bent on sabotaging" its network rollout. The local Daily Graphic newspaper, cited a source close to the company said that it had suffered planning delays for its towers, repeated defacement of its advertising and encroachment on its radio frequencies.

Another source close to the company said the operator's management felt that its infrastructure in the country was not getting adequate protection from the law enforcement agencies. It was particularly noticed that were Glo Mobile adverts were defaced, the advertisements for the incumbent mobile networks in the same area were usually left untouched.

"It is clear that these acts of lawlessness are being perpetrated to frustrate Glo's roll-out plans," the source maintained.

The operator was granted the country's sixth mobile license in June 2008 and has been trying to deploy its network since then. Last year the company complained that it is suffering problems in rolling out its network due to delays in securing permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to install its towers.

According to figures from the Mobile World subscriber tracker, the five active operators (and market share) are: MTN (57%), Tigo (25.7%), Ghana Telecom (14.4%), Kasapa Telecom (2.8%) & Westel (2.4%).

Glo Mobile May Withdraw from Ghana - Citing "Sabotage"