2007 November


Telecoms in India | Full-spectrum dominance | Economist.com The operators added more than 8m mobile-phone subscribers in October, bringing the total to over 217m. India has met its ambitious target, set two years ago, of 250m fixed and mobile-phone connections. But the government is sadly unprepared. It has not given India’s mobile operators enough space on the radio spectrum to carry calls crisply and reliably.
All over the world, governments are freeing up and assigning more frequencies for mobile services.   Is it not time that spectrum managers in the Asia Pacific start work on this?  These things take time.  Refarming is a lot more work than making a copy of a license. Ottawa opens up wireless industry to more competition The Conservative government on Wednesday paved the way for new cellphone companies by announcing new rules for an auction of radio airwaves designed to spur competition in the wireless industry.
Informa Telecoms & Media reveals that worldwide mobile penetration will hit 50 per cent – or around 3.3 billion subscriptions – on Thursday, just over 26 years since the first cellular network was launched.  Since its birth in 1981, when the first mobile telephony network was switched on in Scandinavia, the mobile phone has become one of the world’s great success stories. As of the end of September there were operational networks in 224 countries around the globe, a figure that has increased from 192 in 1997 and 35 in 1987.   Informa estimates that mobile networks covered 90 per cent of the global population by mid-2007.
Paraguayan mobile operators must implement by January 15, 2008 platforms that automatically detect and block the use of SIM cards from stolen mobile phones, Víctor Martínez, head of the technical department of telecoms regulator Conatel, told BNamericas.  Besides, by January 1, all mobile operators should start exchanging their lists of stolen devices, the official said.  Conatel is also asking all operators to have in place by July 1 an equipment identity register (EIR) system to identify stolen phones when users try to activate them.   The EIR platforms cost around US$500,000, Martínez said.  Paraguay’s mobile operators are Telecel, a unit of Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular, Hola, which is backed by Japanese investors, Telecom Argentina’s unit Personal and Mexican giant América Móvil’s CTI Móvil.
Will authorities be able to use this satellite system to ensure that hazard information gets to the vulnerable in a timely and accurate manner? Detection technology is available but it is up to governments to not only use it but find the means to convey the message to vulnerable communities. “A global satellite system should come on line next decade, potentially saving billions of dollars and thousands of lives by boosting preparedness for natural disasters, a top scientist said on Wednesday. Monitoring changes in climate, the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) should also help health officials prevent epidemics and guard against man-made environmental damage, said Jose Achache, head of the group behind the project. “I’m an optimistic guy.
Verizon Wireless to Open Its Network – New York Times In a major shift for the mobile phone industry, Verizon Wireless said yesterday that it planned to give customers far more choice in what phones they could use on its network and how they use them. While there are technical limitations involved, the company’s move could lead to an American wireless market that is more like those in Europe and Asia, where a carrier’s customers can use any compatible phone to easily reach a wide array of online services — and take their phones with them when they switch companies. The move, which surprised industry watchers because Verizon Wireless is known to be highly protective of its traditional business, is part of a larger shift in the communications world. Powered by ScribeFire.
In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria’s education minister questioned the need for laptops in poorly equipped schools. Dr Igwe Aja-Nwachuku said: “What is the sense of introducing One Laptop per Child when they don’t have seats to sit down and learn; when they don’t have uniforms to go to school in, where they don’t have facilities?” “We are more interested in laying a very solid foundation for quality education which will be efficient, effective, accessible and affordable.” Read full story in BBC
Commercial WiFi hotspots face a dim future in South Africa – at least among corporate workers on the move, a new research study by World Wide Worx reveals. The report shows that the corporate use of WiFi – small networks that allow wireless access to the Internet – has fallen back after a steady rise in the previous three years. By contrast, the use of 3G – wireless broadband provided by the mobile networks – has rocketed.  “We have been warning for several years that commercial WiFi hotspots, especially in hotels and conference centres, are in danger of pricing themselves out of the market,” says World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck, who led the research. “And, now that a monthly subscription to a basic 3G service is cheaper than a few hours on most commercial hotspots, the chickens have come home to roost.
The Malaysian government will withdraw some WiMAX licenses “as the market is too crowded.” Earlier this year, the government gave licenses to four companies to operate WiMAX. But they have failed to perform, the country’s concerned minister has alleged. And that’s why the Malaysian government has now decided to revoke the licenses. Read more.
Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) has launched per-second billing on its GSM network.   In a press briefing at its Kabul headquarters, AWCC Managing Director, Amin Ramin said: ” We have ensured Microwave connectivity, widest coverage in the country, simple call rates, amazing call quality, superb connectivity even on highways, and today we are announcing the Per Second Billing PLUS for the entire Afghan Wireless family.”  Afghan Wireless is the largest private investor in Afghanistan. It is also the country’s largest employer, having nearly 3,000 people directly in the payroll and another 30,000 indirectly. 
The US policymakers overseeing universal service fund (USF) have recommended for the first time that it be used specifically to help offset costs of deploying broadband Internet services in rural and poor parts of the country. The board said the FCC should limit the USF’s largest part to $4.5 billion and also recommended a more specific limit on subsidies for wireless service in those areas.   The $4.5 billion figure represents the current size of the rural subsidies.
Governments need to pay more attention to the costs of false warnings.  It’s not that this has not been said before.  But now we have real evidence from the region. Gulfnews: Cyclone victims ignored repeated warnings A false tsunami alert two months ago led thousands of Bangladeshis to ignore warnings as Cyclone Sidr approached, costing many lives, villagers and officials said on Tuesday. “This time we did not take the number 10 danger signal seriously because the government has been issuing these warnings quite often.
Broadband industry leaders are to meet ministers to discuss how to stop the UK dropping into the internet “slow lane”. More than half of all UK homes now have a broadband connection, at an average speed of four megabits a second (Mbps). But the broadband summit will hear other countries are moving more quickly to build ultra-fast networks that can deliver speeds of as much as 100 Mbps. Ministers say ultra-fast broadband will be a key to helping UK businesses “innovate, grow and create wealth”. Read the full story in BBC
On Monday, November 19th, Rohan Samarajiva, Nuwan Waidyanatha, and Natasha Udu-gama of LIRNEasia, along with Menake Wijesinghe of Sarvodaya‘s Community Disaster Management Centre went to New Delhi, India for the second in a series of workshops on the “Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) entitled “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-Based Last-Mile Warning Systems” at the India Habitat Centre in conjunction with the All India Disaster Management Centre (AIDMI). The workshop included a variety of stakeholders from Indian government, civil society, international organizations, private sector, and NGOs. Mr. Mihir Bhatt, Honorary Director of AIDMI, along with Mr. Mehul Pandya, Risk Reduction Transfer Initiative Coordinator and Ms.
Mobile Web: So Close Yet So Far – New York Times ON the surface, the mobile Web is a happening place. There’s the iPhone in all its glory. More than 30 companies have signed up for the Open Handset Alliance from Google, which aims to bring the wide-open development environment of the Internet to mobile devices. Nokia, which owns nearly 40 percent of the world market for cellphones, is snapping up Web technology companies and has made an eye-popping $8.1 billion bid for Navteq, a digital mapping service.
With global agreement reached on clearing the 700 MHz band of analog broadcasting so it can be used for wireless broadband, the equipment will start coming to market soon.   Unless the regional spectrum regulators clear the band in time, it will not be possible to reap the benefits. After Global Agreement, Companies May Bid Higher at Wireless Auction in U.S. – New York Times Because the conference elicited a global consensus, that confidence should extend worldwide.