Archive for January, 2009
Melita Mobile has teamed up with Telecom Italia to offer full worldwide mobile roaming services to all its customers from 1 February. Through the agreement Melita Mobile will gain access to almost 600 third party mobile operators across the globe in more than 200 countries.
The Afghani administration has revealed how it plans to spend the Telecom Development Fund (TDF), mainly on the expansion of wireless and landline services in underserved rural areas. According to the terms of Afghani GSM licences, cellcos are required to pay 2.5% of their net revenues into the TDF; to date the fund has accumulated around USD26 million. Five rural provinces – Badakhshan, Paktika, Zabul, Daikundi, and Nooristan – will be among the first to benefit from the fund.
The European Commission has given a final warning to Bulgaria for violating three European Union (EU) directives in the electricity, energy services and wireless communications sector. The Commission called on the country’s telecoms regulator, the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC), to take action to further reduce mobile termination rates (MTR), noting that they are the highest in the EU at EUR0.1509 (USD0.197) per minute versus an average of EUR0.087. ‘CRC’s approach is a positive first step towards more price competition in the Bulgarian mobile phone market,’ said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Macedonia’s (FYROM) Agency for Electronic Communications has relaunched the tender of two 3G mobile licences that were left unsold in an auction last November. On offer are two 2100MHz band UMTS concessions, both including 2x15MHz FDD and 1x5MHz TDD frequency blocks. The licences are valid for ten years, and carry obligations to roll out a third-generation network covering 50% of the Republic’s population within a year, rising to 80% in three years. Commercial services must be launched within six months of receiving a concession. Services covered by the licences include mobile, fixed-wireless and internet provision. A minimum one-off licence fee is set at EUR5 million (USD6.5 million). The deadline for submission of bids is 40 days from the date of publishing the public tender in the government’s official gazette. Cosmofon launched FYROM’s first 3G service last year, and T-Mobile became the country’s second UMTS licensee when it was the sole bidder in November’s auction.
T-Mobile USA has reported fourth quarter 2008 net subscriber additions of 621,000, down from 670,000 in the third quarter of 2008 and 951,000 in the fourth quarter of 2007. The slowdown in additions was compounded by an increase in churn to 3.3% in the three months to 31 December 2008, compared to 2.8% in the same period twelve months previously. Post-paid churn was 2.4% in the quarter, up from 1.8% in the final quarter of 2007. For the full year 2008 T-Mobile added over 4.07 million net new customers, including 1.13 million from its February 2008 acquisition of SunCom Wireless, to end the year with 32.8 million subscribers. Contract customers comprised 82% of T-Mobile’s customer base at the end of 2008, compared to 83% in the third quarter of 2008 and fourth quarter of 2007.
State-owned incumbent Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation (ETC) has announced expansion and integration plans for its next generation mobile network, fixed line infrastructure and broadband services, African News reports. The operator has revealed it will carry out eleven separate projects, costing an estimated total of USD1.8 billion. Approximately USD1.5 billion of the funds for the expansion will come from a loan from Chinese hardware vendor ZTE; the remainder will come from the operator itself. ETC’s recently launched 3G services are expected to benefit from the investment. Currently the service is only available in ten districts of the capital Addis Ababa, and this will increase as part of the network development. It also plans to increase its capacity for mobile lines on its GSM-based infrastructure to 15 million, whilst expanding mobile coverage to reach 64% of the population by the end of 2009, and 85% by end-2010.
Broadband service, which is currently limited to just 16 areas of the country, is expected to be expanded to 500 areas, with almost 14,000 metres of fibre-optic cable set to be installed across the country. Public phones will also be increased, with the operator revealing the total in operation would reach 50,000 by the end of the project. ETC claims that once the projects are complete all kebeles (local administrative regions with populations between 5,000 and 10,000) will have access to telephone and internet services.
According to German press agency DPA, three of the country’s main cellcos have put forward a suggestion to increase mobile termination (MTA) fees from 1 April 2009. O2 Germany proposed the highest fee increase from the current EUR0.088 per minute to EUR0.1643, while rival T-Mobile Germany has suggested an increase from EUR0.0792 to EUR0.0839 per minute. Vodafone Germany wants to raise its fee to EUR0.0792 from the current EUR0.0823 per minute. E-Plus is the only operator to propose a decrease in MTA fees from EUR0.088 to EUR0.084. The German telecoms regulator BNA will publish its decision on 12 February 2009.