Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Dubai to raise $1 billion selling minority network stakes

This minor detail was picked up from a research piece by J.P. Morgan who claimed that the state owned Dubai Holding company could raise up to $1 billion by selling their minority stakes in two phone networks. The conglomerate are currently facing debts of up to $500 billion, largely caused by the property crash in 2009, which they are still struggling to pay off.

Part of the payoff could come in the form of the sales of their network assets, currently believed to be holdings in Axiom and Tunisie Telecom. The Axiom holding is believed to be worth in the region of $350 million, with the Tunisie Telecom holding believe to be worth $650 million. Of course, deals of this size would take some time to complete, with estimates being between 6 and 12 months. There are also fluctuations in currency that must be considered for such a purchase, likely meaning that agreements are difficult to put in place.

Although the sale won’t affect the service that current customers of either network should expect to receive, the stakes are only a drop in the ocean of debt that the EIT are required to pay, leaving the sale of others assets to be expected.

Image source

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

European roaming charges fall

Just in time for the summer holidays, European roaming charges have fallen dramatically, capping them at something resembling a reasonable cost. Roaming charges are what networks charge you for when you are outside of your networks home country. So say for instance your network is O2 in the UK and you travel to Germany, you would have been charged these roaming costs if you had made or received a phone cal, sent a text message or tried to access any mobile data. The costs of doing so were previously uncapped, with some networks across Europe charging £1.70 per minute to make a cross boarder phone call.

The new cap, which was put into place on July 1st sees prices for all European roaming charges set to a much smaller £0.20p per minute. Data has also tumbled from a high of £0.70 per MB to £0.38p or €0.45 if you speak in Euros. These prices are exclusive of VAT.

As we recently mentioned in our blog, Neelie Kroes is the lady behind the cut in roaming charges – intent on creating a cheaper and easier method of European communications. Neelie had this to say upon the success of the recent cap – “This is good for both consumers and companies, because it takes fear out of the market, and it grows the market.”

It also appears that neither Neelie or the EU will stop their cuts there. There are still plans for a single European telecoms market, which would scrap roaming charges altogether. Plans had previously been for this to be implemented in 2015, however it seems that it could be possible by 2014 instead.

Hopefully this will put an end to the unfair and unjustified phone bills that had snuck up on holidaying individuals who’d never have thought watching an episode of Doctor Who on their mobile abroad would cost so much.

Image

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

India telecoms price war for data services

Things in India are now getting serious amongst the competing networks, as each of them have slashed the costs of their data services in order to drive new customers and growth. With the pending implementation of 4G and adoption of 3G, networks are keen to ensure the prices for each service are separated, creating a “superior” service feel for their premium products.

As of July 1st 2013, DoCoMo will be reducing the prices of both their 2G and 3G services by 90%. This has been in response to Bharti Airtel’s move to cut the rates on their 4G service and Vodafone reducing 2G service rates by 80% from 10p per KB of data to just 2p.

Analyst for Gartner, Kamlesh Bhartia commented “The idea is to start getting some momentum on the data side and building some top line growth with respect to data. They expect that 3G data will pick up and they want to create price differentiation between 2G and 3G, which is then positioned as a slightly more premium offering – until LTE [4G] comes along that is”.

These moves have started to occur in light of reports that the growth in voice traffic is slowing. As of March 31st 2013, voice traffic only grew by 9%. This is compared to 15% and 24% in the previous two years. As this market starts to plateau, the networks are seeking alternative services to sign customers up to – with data being amongst the fastest growing uses worldwide.

The winners of the price war for the time being will be the customers who sign up to these services, however do expect prices hikes at the end of the year in regards to data usage.

Source

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

Nigeria finalising $6 billion loan for Telecoms Infrastructure

Nigeria, part of a collection of countries whose population have an increasing need and demand for ICT have seen a rise in the past few years in their adoption of both broadband services and mobile phones subscriptions. Since 2011, mobile subscription have gone from 68.5 percent of the population to 83% in 2013. Similarly, the use of internet services has risen from 29% in 2011 to 36% in 2013. These rises have fueled the countries desire to invest heavily in their telecoms infrastructure, in order to keep pace with the rest of the world and offer the economic opportunities that come with it.

The Nigerian Minister for Communication and Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson has now made it known that they are finalising a loan of $6 billion, which will largely be used to improve the country’s telecoms infrastructure. This means building more base stations, which allows people to connect with the telecoms providers from more locations. It also means that the base stations that are lost to continued bombings and flooding will not affect as many residents as it has in the past – allowing them to connect to another base station instead.

The loan is seen as a much needed instrument in overcoming the barriers that have plagued the growth of the industry and base station development. Mrs Johnson referred to “Delays and operational costs, due to multiple regulation and unstandardised application” as the main protagonists behind the developments, also citing separately that crime and vandalism were to blame.

We’re currently unsure when the loan and the effects of the loan will be seen, but this is surely good news for Nigerian telecoms and those that want to phone Nigeria as well.

Article by Darren Kingman

Source and Image

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

Impartiality in telecoms regulation see Estonia referred to Court of Justice

Estonia are set to face the EU Court of Justice after failing to provide evidence that their ties within the countries telecoms and broadcasting sector are separate enough so not to affect their policies. The country were sent a request by the Commission in 2012 asking them to separate their ownership of broadcasting company Levira, who are the countries largest provider of TV and radio as well as providing broadband and telecoms services, from their policies being implemented into the telecoms sector.

There is a fear that the policies being laid down could be designed to create an immediate profit for Levira, whilst also reducing the competitiveness of the industry. The activities of granting frequency authorisation and radio frequency are not allowed to be controlled by a state-owned company, which has now prompted the Court of Justice to become involved.

If found in breach of the Impartiality requirements the Court could demand that the country make immediate changes to the telecoms infrastructure. If they then fail to do so, another infringement case would be opened, taking action to a more costly level.

The real winners of this scenario are likely to be the Estonian consumers. If the market is currently being controlled illegally, then changes will see a more competitive marketplace and likely cheaper prices or improved services from a range of suppliers.

Image

Article By Darren Kingman

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News Political

Single EU telecoms market by 2015 – No more roaming charges

Roaming charges are the bane of many travellers lives. Most frequent travellers have little choice but to unlock their phones so they can use local SIM cards when travelling, aiming to avoid the often extortionate roaming charges that creep up.

The EU has recognised this and are now vowing to make them a thing of the past. Neelie Kroes, who is the the digital commissioner for the EU and the same age as the recently retired Sir Alex Ferguson, said “I have no intention to retire until I’ve knocked down all the barriers to the single market” even making reference to her age and comparison to the former Manchester United manager. She expanded, “just think it through, a telecoms market without borders, without fragmentation, and that is the major priority for the rest of my mandate.”

The dream certainly does sound good and would solve many headaches of even the simplest cross-border travel. With many companies having a majority sharehold of neighbouring markets, such as Orange and Vodafone, you would think that such a task would be simple – however, we know that roaming charges are big business and something the networks will want to hold on to.

Kroes has criticised the European Governments in the past for slowing down the process of selling spectrum space and causing delays in the implementation of 4G. She has also already made changes to EU roaming charges, placing a cap on the amount of penalty they can incur. Kroes hasn’t yet released information on how the restructuring would work but the vision of networks sharing an infrastructure would open up the possibility of investment in other areas and reduce prices to consumers. With her track record of change, we’re hoping she can make the difference once again.

Source and Image

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Bright future for “Chilecon Valley” and Chilean Telecoms

In the past month Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera has made several references to the growing power of young entrepreneurs in the country, even naming April 29th their National Entrepreneurship Day. With all of the potential growth and increasing international interest in investment opportunities there, many have started calling it “Chilecon Valley” named after the corporate area of California called Silicon Valley.

One of the things the country has done is to launch a program offering international entrepreneur’s $40,000 and a 1 year VISA to fly to Chile and start their businesses from there. The number of application has far outweighed the 100 spots that were made available, showing a glimpse into the countries opportunities and thinking.

With the rise of telecoms businesses and technology around the world, many see this as the perfect platform to grow digital businesses and make use of the growing Chilean telecoms sector. 4G and cheaper calls will mean more people are using their phones, opening a world of possibilities. Jamie Soto, President of the Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies commented that “The development of telecommunication in our country may bring multiple benefits, since it would include sectors that historically have been left behind in employment”. He also thought that “These announcements should encourage entrepreneurs to fully enter into the commercial world and, similarly daring, to use technology as a tool for growth”.

Start-Up Chile is on the rise and so is their telecoms sector.

Source and Image

Article produced by Darren Kingman

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Mexican telecoms sector being reformed

Last week the Mexican congress approved the overhaul of the dominated telecommunications sector with the aim of increasing competition and minimising the near-monopoly of Carlos Slim, the owner of America Movil and now world’s wealthiest man. This could potentially mean that prices of calling Mexico could come down.

President Enrique Nieto is leading an agenda to encourage foreign investment into Mexico, with the telecoms sector being amongst the most attractive markets – especially as the dominant competition (America Movil) can no longer control more than 50 percent of the market. The bill that was recently passed has given regulators the power to sell assets of any company controlling more than 50 percent of the market, encouraging foreign phone networks and related businesses to stake a claim for the remaining percentage,

As it currently stands, Carlos Slim’s business controls 80 percent of the fixed landline market and 70 percent of the mobile market as well. These extraordinary figures are one of the main factors behind his rise to become the wealthiest man in the world, also highlighting just how big an opportunity there is now to control the 30 and 20 percent drops his businesses will have to absorb.

Of course, the companies will have the right to appeal against the decisions made by the newly created Lfetel (the organisation set to oversee the industry), potentially delaying decisions and maintaining the companies assets.

Although we don’t have a quote from him, we’d imagine that Carlos Slim isn’t a happy man.

Source and Image

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Instant messaging services now outpace SMS

This is the news that mobile phone networks worldwide have been dreading for over a decade – SMS is being replaced. Commonly known as “text messaging” SMS has been a constant for the networks for the best part of 15 years, being a major source of company revenues. However, smartphones are now the most common phone in people’s pockets, and being a smartphone they have apps that are created by third party companies.

These apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Chat, allow users to communicate through text whilst only needing a WiFi connection and bypassing the networks signal. Whilst using the apps on a networks signal, the use of these apps falls under the “data” part of the packages they sell, meaning that in most cases the messages are now free. Apple also released their own version of instant messaging called iMessage, which allows iPhone owners the ability to text each other for free without the need of downloading a third party app.

A recent study by Informa has confirmed the shift, stating that over 19 billion messages are now being sent over instant messaging apps per day compared to 17.5 billion text messages. This is the first time that data has proved that instant messaging has now outgrown traditional text messaging – with the signs only showing that the gap will now widen further.

Google, the maker of the Android operating system, is the next software in line to receive a pre-installed app for messaging between its users. The app is likely to be named “Babel” and will be made available in their upcoming “5.0” software update – allowing more people than ever before to use instant messaging and pretty much signifying the end of a text messaging era.

Even the Vice President of the EU Commission responded to the news on Twitter by tweeting: “It’s official: chat apps have overtaken SMS globally. Time for telcos to wake up and smell the data coffee.”

 Source and Image

Categories
Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

A blip or the beginning of the end for Apple?

Most companies would be absolutely delighted with a net profit of $9.5 billion in a single quarter, however most analysts have cottoned onto the fact that although these figures are phenomenal they also represent the first dip in profits numbers by Apple in over a decade. With many people jumping on Apple’s back, making noises predominantly relating to the lack of innovation in the iPhone 5, it certainly has got many asking the question, is this the end of an era for Apple?

A specialist at law firm LLP, Vanessa Barnett actually came to the defence of the technology giant. Vanessa said that is was only “fashionable” to speak about the fall of Apple, with the company still well placed to maintain its position at the top of jungle of trees they’ve climbed. She believes that although Android (Google) have eaten into their mobile marketplace quite considerably over the past few years, Apple still have some of the world’s brightest talent and the resources to innovate.

As a consumer myself and one that is involved in technology as a career choice, I do have to say that Google have impressed me more with their innovative ideas, in particular Google Glass and the changes being made to their mobile software. Samsung themselves who rival Apple in many areas but particularly mobile manufacturer, have eclipsed Apple with new features and technologies whilst there is no escaping the fact that Apple pretty much only added 0.5 inches to their last device and labelled it the iPhone 5.

I’m a massive Apple fan, so I hope they can see through the media storm that is quick to analyse and highlight any negatives, but they must start innovating again with the aim of improving people’s lives. Google Glass is a revolution, where is Apple’s attempt? In my opinion, the decreased profits are a blip but it could become the end.

 Source and image