Archive for December 15, 2008

China to grant 3G licences ‘as early as year-end’

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology today confirmed that the country will issue 3G mobile licences by the end of 2008 or early next year. Minister Li Yizhong said at a media briefing that China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have prepared well for 3G licensing. ‘After the proper procedures, we will grant the 3G licences by the end of this year or early next year, as promised.’ Li estimates that network investment of the three major Chinese telecom operators will amount to over RMB200 billion (USD29.19 billion), which will stimulate China’s economy and help to fend off the financial crisis.

China’s 3G licensing has been delayed as a result of the government’s support for China’s home-grown 3G mobile telecommunications standard TD-SCDMA. It is believed that this standard still needs some more time to compete with rival technologies. Last year China Mobile rolled out a pre-commercial TD-SCDMA network in eight cities, which provided 3G services during the Beijing Olympic Games. Li confirmed that China Mobile will be granted a TD-SCDMA licence, while China Telecom and China Unicom will get licences based on CDMA2000 and W-CDMA standards respectively.

Wireless Industry News

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December 15, 2008 at 14:07 Leave a comment

MTNL soft-launches 3G (India)

State-owned telco Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) has officially launched its 3G network in Delhi, India’s Economic Times is reporting. Services will initially be restricted to the main business and political areas of the circle, with a commercial launch expected to follow in January 2009. During what it considers a ‘soft-launch’ the operator will offer free access to the new services in some of the central areas of Delhi. MTNL will offer the services under the ‘Jadoo’ brand name including internet, videoconferencing and gaming. It will invest INR4 billion (USD81.2 million) to roll out its 3G network in Mumbai and Delhi. Fellow state-owned operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is also expected to launch 3G services by the end of December 2008.

Wireless Industry News

December 15, 2008 at 14:03 Leave a comment

3G deployment in Moscow faces further delays

Although the three 3G licence holders – MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon – have already deployed the necessary technology, a commercial rollout of services faces further delays as the Russian military has still not freed up UMTS frequencies. The Moscow Times cited comments from Alexander Malis, Vimpelcom’s director for broadband development , who said, ’First, the military promised to free the frequencies by 1 September this year. Now, they said it would be first quarter of next year…The excuses given varied from time to time, but the probable reason is that those making the decision lack any sense of urgency.’

Wireless Industry News

December 15, 2008 at 13:59 Leave a comment

Safaricom’s money transfer service probed

Mobile operator Safaricom’s M-Pesa money transfer service, which currently operates outside existing banking regulations, is facing an audit ordered by Kenyan finance minister John Michuki in an effort to allay concerns about the safety of users’ money. Safaricom’s chief executive Michael Joseph told the Nairobi Business Daily that he welcomed the audit, saying it would prove that M-Pesa is a reliable money transfer service. He said, ‘It will verify the concerns and satisfy the regulator that we have put safeguards and the risks are minimal.’ M-Pesa has in the region of four million subscribers and provides a blueprint for the entry of telecoms firms into the mobile finance market in emerging economies in Africa and Asia.

Wireless Industry News

December 15, 2008 at 13:55 Leave a comment

Movistar launches HSPA (Venezuela)

Venezuelan mobile operator Movistar has launched commercial 3G/3.5G services based on W-CDMA/HSPA technology in the greater Caracas area, the company said in a statement, quoted by BNamericas. The cellco, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica, is initially focusing on HSPA-based mobile broadband internet and data transmission services, but plans to increase the number of value added services on offer as well as expand HSPA coverage nationwide. Movistar Venezuela has invested VEB55 million (USD25.6 million) in the first phase of the 3.5G rollout and plans to spend a further VEB225 million in spreading the service across the country, its vice president of networks, Juan Comerma said. To provide nationwide coverage, Movistar expects to deploy approximately 1,000 UMTS base stations. Movistar Venezuela launched commercial 3G services based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology in 26 of Venezuela’s biggest urban areas in December 2005, and expanded 3G coverage to over 55% of the population and more than 30 cities by the end of 2007, in response to high demand for mobile internet/data access in the country. In December 2006 it soft launched a GSM network in selected areas, with wider commercial GSM coverage achieved in the first quarter of 2007. Since then, it has seen rapid client migration from its CDMA2000-based platforms to GSM-based services. Movistar currently offers the following UMTS 3G-capable mobile devices: the BlackBerry Bold 9000; Palm Treo 750; Nokia N95, N95 8GB, N78, 3120, 3555, 5610, 5320, E71, 6555i; Motorola Z9 and V9 Ferrari; HTC TNT II; Sony Ericsson K850i, W760, Z750a; and Apple’s iPhone 3G.

December 15, 2008 at 13:52 Leave a comment

BeST: Turkcell aims for 30%-plus market share by 2010

Mobile network operator Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), which is now majority-owned by Turkey’s Turkcell, is looking to increase its share of the domestic mobile market to around 33% after 2009, as it looks to close the gap on larger rivals MTS Belarus and Mobile Digital Communications (Velcom). In July this year Turkcell agreed to buy an 80% stake in BeST from the State Committee on Property of the Republic of Belarus for USD500 million, plus a further payment of USD100 million when BeST records its first full-year profit. Turkcell also agreed to invest USD500 million in the company’s development over the next ten years. BeST currently has around 200,000 customers, a market share of less than 5%.

December 15, 2008 at 13:47 Leave a comment


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