Archive for February, 2009
Six operators will launch mobile phones based on the LiMo operating system this year, announced the LiMo Foundation, an industry group promoting Linux software for mobile services. The operators planning LiMo devices include NTT Docomo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. Further active operator participants in the LiMo Foundation include KTF, SFR, Softbank Mobile, Swisscom and Telecom Italia. To date 33 commercial handset models have been certified as LiMo Compliant, of which 10 will be on display at the Mobile World Congress by NEC and Panasonic. LG and Samsung will also show new prototype models at MWC in Barcelona.
The LiMo Foundation also announced that all technologies specified for the R2 release of the LiMo Platform have been contributed on time, and LiMo members are currently introducing reference implementations for devices. The LiMo Reference Implementations will include code specified within both LiMo Platform R1 and LiMo Platform R2. This code includes source code contributions from members as well as components originating from open source communities. LiMo Reference Implementation contributors include Access, Azingo, LG Electronics, Purple Labs and Samsung Electronics. The latest technologies in the LiMo Platform include support for features such as advanced multimedia, location-based services, device management and enhanced security. The LiMo Foundation also announced its endorsement of the OMTP Bondi specification, which future LiMo handsets using a web runtime will support for widgets.
Users of Apple’s iPhone are more than twice as likely as non-iPhone users to browse the mobile web and more than three times as likely to use LBS or a location-based social network, according to a mobile advertising report by Limbo. The report suggests that advertisers can reach iPhone users with mobile campaigns more easily than with other platforms, with more than 80 percent of iPhone users taking advantage of non-voice mobile data services, compared to just over 60 percent of non-iPhone users. One in ten mobile phone users in the US used a location-based service such as a map, friend or restaurant finder in the fourth quarter. The 25-34 age group saw the highest levels of interest in this type of offering, with 22 percent penetration. In contrast, iPhone users are four times as likely to recall LBS ads as non-iPhone users. While 33 percent of mobile consumers recall seeing mobile advertisements, 41 percent of iPhone users recall seeing mobile ads, according to the survey. The vast majority of these ads were seen in SMS text messages, twice as much as mobile web ads, which are the second most common mobile ad viewed. Significantly fewer consumers see other forms of mobile advertising unless they have an iPhone.
US cellular operator Alltel has confirmed that it is continuing to provide services to the 2.2 million customers in 22 states which Verizon Wireless has agreed to divest under the terms of its USD28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel. Alltel says these subscribers will have no change to their services while a buyer for the networks is sought. Verizon leapfrogged AT&T to take the number one spot in the US wireless market when it bought out Alltel; AT&T is hoping to close the gap by acquiring the operations in the markets now being divested. These have been valued at around USD3 billion.
Ghana’s Minister-Nominee for Communications Haruna Iddrisu said yesterday he would forge ahead quickly with plans to usher in mobile number portability (MNP) to improve consumer choice and drive down prices. Iddrisu reportedly made the promise when he was being vetted by the Parliamentary Appointments Committee for the position of Minister of Communications. ‘It is time for the regulation regime to make it possible for mobile phone users to be able to migrate from one network to the other with the whole of the phone numbers, including the network code and I think that it is about time the National Communications Authority (NCA) brought MNP on,’ he said.
In a separate story, Ghana Telecom (GT) says its mobile arm GT-OneTouch will install SIM phones in 250 rural communities across the country by July 2009. GT says its new majority shareholder Vodafone has spent the last six months investing heavily in its networks, services and staff to improve telecoms services in the country.
A requirement for pre-paid mobile phone users in Mexico to register their details with network operators has become law this week, coming into effect from April. Last September the Senate passed a bill saying that service providers have one year to register their existing customer base and collect proof of identity for all new sales. The move, largely an anti-crime measure, has been implemented in many other countries, often resulting in as much as a 10% fall in the overall subscriber base.
Georgian cellco MagtiCom has launched a mobile WiMAX service for residential and business customers, according to a press release by Cisco. MagtiCom, which is 50.1% owned by US-based Metromedia International Group, is deploying an internet protocol next-generation network (IP NGN) supplied by Cisco, that integrates mobile voice and WiMAX services into a single network. MagtiCom currently offers broadband internet via WiMAX in ten cities across the country including the capital, Tbilisi. By the end of 2009 it plans to cover all major cities and regional areas of Georgia with WiMAX broadband services. Kaan Terzioglu, vice president of Cisco for Eastern Europe, said: ‘WiMAX is an ideal technology for providing vast territories with mobile internet access. Citizens and companies across Georgia can now enjoy the benefits of connectivity, be it for business, education, health care or new online services.’
The Kazakh ISP AsiaBell has launched its mobile WiMAX network in the Karaganda region of central Kazakhstan using equipment supplied by Cisco. The service, which is branded AERO, is being targeted at business and residential users in a region which is home to approximately one million people. AsiaBell chose Cisco’s end-to-end Broadband Wireless Solution, including an Internet Protocol IP Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) network core, which was integrated with the public switched telephone network (PSTN). AsiaBell also offers subscribers Cisco modems for use with desktop and portable computers. Stepan Vadyunin, CEO of AsiaBell, commented: ‘In 2009, we plan to expand AERO further across several regions of Kazakhstan and add video to our offering.’