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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Emerging markets telecoms revenue set to surpass developed markets in 2015

A recent report published by Pyramid Research has highlighted that with the continued growth of the emerging markets and the corresponding growth of their telecoms industries, it is estimated that when 2015 hits, the total revenue produced by these markets will surpass that of developed countries.

The report – “Pyramid Perspective 2013: Top Trends in the Global Communications Industry” explains that “Exposure to emerging markets has become a critical factor for success in an industry characterized by stagnation in developed markets, intense competition, consumer choice and disruptive business models”. This was the basis for the belief that developing countries will see a continued growth in their telecoms industries that will outpace developed countries by a rate of 5 to 1.

The Managing Director of Pyramid Research, Daniel Amparan stated that 2013 will be a year of continued innovation and increased expertise in the telecoms industry for these countries, including Nigeria, who are thought to be among the fastest growing. He particularly highlighted that milestones that will be hit within the year – “Mobile subscribers in Africa & the Middle East region will surpass the one billion mark in the first quarter, making it the second region to reach this milestone after Asia-Pacific.”

These are exciting times for those in these markets, which is also set to see an increase in foreign investment. This will improve the infrastructure within of telecoms industry making it faster and potentially more stable. We will also likely see a heightened competitiveness for subscribers. For consumers, this will only be good news, as service providers will aim to provide lower costs packages and increased value.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

EU roaming to increase customer satisfaction

Some of you may be aware that the European Commission passed a law in 2012 to bring the prices of roaming within the EU down. This will then allow those who use a network based in the EU to visit neighbouring countries and not have to pay extortionate fees to use their handsets. As a result of this pending law, which will start to come into effect as of July 1st 2014, almost 75% of telecoms professionals believe that consumer satisfaction will increase.

In an attempt to bring the Eurozone closer together and make it more appealing and easier for people to cross borders, it is believed that the law will also see an increase in the amount that people use their phones abroad. However, when factoring in the decreased prices, just less than half of the individuals surveyed believed that revenues for the networks would increase, meaning that over half also believe that the networks are the ones who will lose out as part of the legislation.

As a counter strategy to make it easier for consumers travelling within the EU, over 60% suggest that simply increasing the visibility of usage to customers will increase customer satisfaction, and not result in lost revenues. By using Apps, professionals also believe that they can make it easy for users to purchase add-on packages that bring the overall cost of their usage down, but also convenient and simple for them to do.

Overall, there have been 3 top strategies suggested and the senior marketing manager at Openet, Corine Suscens suggests that “by combining them, operators will not only offer customers the level of control that they crave and which has been a barrier to data roaming usage, but also maximise revenue potential by making purchasing very easy and convenient”.

This information will be available in the Telecoms.com Intelligence Indsutry Survery 2013, when published.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

BlackBerry free voice service being blocked in UAE

Can things get any worse for the struggling Canadian telecommunications business? It certainly seems that at every turn Research In Motion have a new fire to fight, and this time it is the fact that both Etisalat and Du are rejecting the free voice service included in the latest BlackBerry software.

The feature itself allows BlackBerry owners to call each other with zero costs. It is essentially a voice version of their popular BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) service, which creates a level of connectedness that all other phones manufacturers have struggled to replicate. The BlackBerry Messenger Voice feature has been successful for the company so far, but the reservations from the networks is understandable. Essentially with users now being able to avoid using minutes to call each other, the networks could potentially lose out because of the feature.

This is why RIM are locked in last minute talks with the popular UAE networks, in a bid to include the feature on their handsets. Currently, this market is one of the largest and most important to BlackBerry, which makes the talks even more critical. The UAE and Persian Gulf is a region where BlackBerry’s market share is higher than their global average, making the feature of vital importance to their customers and future market share.

At the moment, there is no telling if an agreement will be made and the service will be available for customers in the region. RIM have stated that “we continue to work closely with our partners in the United Arab Emirates to bring BlackBerry services to our customers”.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Change in the Portuguese telecoms market

On Monday, 21st of Jan, the boards of both Optimus (mobile operator) and Zon Multimedia gave the go-ahead for a merger of the two companies, with the aim of creating one of the largest multimedia business in Portugal. Current projections estimate that immediately, the company will become the second largest mobile telephone network in the market.

The resultant company will be a merger of the two businesses names, called Zon Optimus. It is fully expected that with the specialisms of both businesses, mobile entertainment will be a number one priority in attracting more customers to the network. Zon Multimedia currently offer paid TV, which could easily become intertwined with Optimus’s offerings, making it possible to stream or download based on your existing TV subscription package right to your mobile devices.

In a joint statement, the companies laid out their vision, and also explained some of the thinking behind the move. They highlighted that “the sharing of experience and expertise between the teams will play a decisive role”, immediately signalling sharing the competencies and resources of both businesses. For shareholders and stakeholders this is also of course good news, as the companies stated that “the merger will result in a group capable of investing and promoting its own and the sector’s competitiveness, of creating greater shareholder value and new opportunities for employees, clients and suppliers”.

This change is expected to be a large one if the Portuguese market, and one we’re not quite sure how it will impact on consumers. The signs are looking good, with more options being made available, but as far as pricing goes, this is yet to be determined.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Myanmar telecoms set to boom

The Government in the Southeast Asian country have invited foreign telecommunications companies to bid for use of 2 of their national licenses by January 25th. The move comes as the country, also known as Burma, seek to expand economic progression after years of nationalised services operated by a military regime. The 2 licenses are part of 4 which are being set up by the countries government, set to come into effect in June 2013.

So far, some of the worlds largest phone networks have expressed their interest in one of the two available licenses. These include Digicel, VNPT-Fujitsu, VimpleCom and Telenor. However, it is expected that more networks will join the bidding process, with competition amongst those interested set to be fierce. At the current time, mobile phone subscribers only account for 9% of the countries population. With a total of 55 – 60 million people, the opportunities for a phone network are huge, especially considering that neighbouring country Thailand have mobile phone subscribers as large as 110% of their population.

It remains to be one of the largest untapped markets left in the world, for both networks and phone manufacturers. As yet, it has been hard to value the opportunities in the market, but a telecoms executive in Thailand has mentioned “billions of dollars” being the figure needed. Since the news was released by the Myanmar Government, HTC, the large phone manufacturer, have announced that they too will be moving into the country to sell their mobile phones.

The future of the countries telecommunications system is yet to be seen, with many viewing the tender process as a test. It will signal the opportunities available in the region, as well as lend ideas to how the Government will approach any other licenses that they could make available in the future. This could mean huge changes in the way the population live and work, setting the country up for exciting times ahead.

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Telecoms providers potentially merging in Europe

Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition ChiefThis is the news that has filtered out of a meeting between some of the bosses of Europe’s largest Mobile phone networks and Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s competition chief. The bosses in the meeting included those from Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Telefonica (Spain), France Telecom and Telecom Italia, which suggest just how large such an allegiance could result in.

The idea itself aims to pool together the infrastructure owned some of Europe’s largest network providers, which is currently spread between dozens of independent providers in the 50 European countries. The result would then be similar to the North American and Chinese markets, where operators offer services through a handful of infrastructure.

Such a radical change in the way Europe currently independently operates would of course take a long time to make a reality, but the result would see single prices being offered across Europe for phone and Internet services. This could potentially mean lower prices for consumers and more focus on customer-centric businesses, where quality of customer support would become a major differentiating factor.

In its current state, the European networks are seeing a decline in revenues, coupled with the large debts that the infrastructures hold. Therefore, with the idea of a cross-border network being on the cards, new investment would be welcomed, along with a diversified risk of the debt becoming unsustainable. However, someone close to the meetings mentioned to the FT that “Objections won’t come from Europe, they will be from the [EU’s 27 national] regulators.”. This puts the idea at risk from conception, however, if the gains are both apparent for both consumers and businesses, the idea will surely become to fruition at some point.

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Tata Telecommunications set to leave Kashmir

Tata Docomo, the company behind Tata Telecommunications has been forced to withdraw their service from the Indian-controlled area of Kashmir, after it was discovered that the airwaves the company were using were sold illegally.

The decision to ban the service came after India’s Supreme Court ruled that 122 2G services that were issued in 2008 were done so illegally. This means that Tata Communications, who provide their service on one of their frequencies, must halt their service in the area until they are re-auctioned. This means that many thousands of customers that live in the area will be without a service, until the situation is resolved.

This news has been filtered through to the customers in a company newsletter that read “Tata Teleservices is constrained to withdraw from Jammu and Kashmir with effect from Jan 18th, 2013 and as a result your (the customers) connection will be deactivated post Jan 18th 2013”.

Initially, when the Supreme Court had made the decision to withdraw the airwaves back in Feb 2012, Tata had instantly applied to have the service resumed. However, the company then withdraw their approach in Nov, leaving over 115,000 customers not knowing what service they should subscribe to next.

The matter of the airwaves is now set to be resolved by the Indian government.

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