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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

New Telecoms.com Industry Awards

Every industry has to have an “awards” of a sort and now the telecoms industry has the telecoms.com awards. There are 16 categories overall, with the winners being announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The shortlist will be drawn up in January with contenders for each award being suggested from within the industry itself. From there, a panel of judges will decide upon each of the winners for categories including Mobile Pricing Innovation, Connecting the Unconnected and Best Operator.

The awards are of course worldwide, and there are a few networks and people we’ve spoken about throughout the year that we’d certainly like to see put up for contention. In particular, we recently spoke about a Mexican village that launched their own network in order to become connected with the world – there’s a contender right there for Connecting the Unconnected, even if it was themselves. We’d also like to see Neelie Kroes nominated for Person of the Year for fighting against the roaming charges within Europe, almost single handedly.

Hopefully the awards aren’t restricted to the work of only the largest telecoms companies in the world, with the smaller companies/groups being put on an equal playing field.

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Mexican Village Launch Telecoms Service

After being forgotten by the biggest telecom companies in the world, including those owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men and Mexican born Carlos Slim, Villa Talea De Castro have launched their own service to reach the outside world.

The village is in the southern state of Oaxaca and is considered an indigenous village with a population of just over 2,500 people. Classed as not profitable enough by the networks, this mountain village had seeked the help of Rhizomatica, civil organisations and universities, who have helped them erect a rooftop antenna, install radio and create the micro telecom service called Red Celular De Talea (RCT).

The micro service has a basic monthly charge of 15 pesos (£0.73p), which is 13 times cheaper than the residents of the countries largest city, Mexico City, pay. They’ve even made it possible to make international calls only a few pennies per minute, allowing residents to call the United States for very little, where a majority of migrants travel to for work and to live.

Rhizomatica who were integral to the creation of the network hope that such a project will break down the barriers preventing other community based projects from working in a similar way. President Enrique Pena Nieto approved the project, with the non-for-profit company hoping it will be the first of many more. A spokesman said “Many indigenous communities have shown interest in participating in this project and we hope that many more can join this scheme”.

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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.

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