China Mobile has unfolded its suits of applications to combat the OTT players like Skype, Line, Whatspp and WeChat. Its mobile app called “Jego” is now available for iOS and Android devices. It offers free VoIP, SMS, push-to-talk voice messages, photo sharing, video calling, and other services. Dereck Li, business development manager of China Mobile’s international unit, said the new service targets international users and aims to compete with Microsoft-owned Skype in the IDD and video calling markets. For instance, Skype pay-as-you-go calls to China cost around $0.
Vodafone and China Mobile were an odd couple. Now the story has become curiouser. Lack of regulatory certainty has caused them to withdraw from Myanmar. Vodafone said it had withdrawn after seeing the final licence conditions, which were published on 20 May, because “the opportunity does not meet the strict internal investment criteria to which both Vodafone and China Mobile adhere”. A spokeswoman for Vodafone added that among the British company’s concerns were that a promised telecommunications bill overhauling regulation of the sector is now not due to be enacted before Burma finalises its choice of foreign mobile operator on 27 June.
Who would have thought? A UK-based global operator that emerged in the competitive era joining with China Mobile, the big dog in China, to bid for a Myanmar license. Operator heavyweights China Mobile and Vodafone Group have formed a consortium to bid for a mobile licence in Myanmar. Keen to promote competition, Myanmar wants to increase the number of mobile operators from two (Myanmar Post & Telecommunications and Yantanarpon Teleport) to four. In a statement, Vodafone laid out some of the attractions of entering this market.
Telenor Pakistan acquired stake in Tameer Micro Finance Bank to introduce the country’s first branchless banking in 2009. Analysts raised eyebrow when China Mobile threw US$5.8 billion for 20% of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank in 2010. SPDP now offers Corporate Mobile Banking Services. It will be, however, grossly inappropriate if the Philippines and Kenya are not credited as the global pioneers of mobile banking.
Two years back China Mobile bought Paktel for US$460 million. That was a legitimate transaction. Last week two Chinese nationals were arrested while the authorities busted a bypass den at Islamabad. They have been allegedly the partner of an “influential Pakistani” in this illegal venture. It claims to have caused an estimated six billion rupees (US$74 million) loss to the exchequer.
China’s telecommunications supervisor on Wednesday issued long-awaited third-generation (3G) mobile phone licenses to three mobile operators, a move that is expected to lead to billions of dollars being invested in building new networks. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said China’s biggest mobile operator, China Mobile, was awarded a license for TD-SCDMA, the domestically-developed 3G standard. The other two main carriers, China Telecom and China Unicom, received licenses for the US-developed CDMA2000 and Europe’s WCDMA, respectively. The 3G high-speed networks can handle faster data downloads, allowing handset users to make video calls and watch TV programs. Read the full story in China Daily here.
China Telecom, China’s largest fixed-line phone provider, has announced plans to buy regional phone operator Beijing Telecom for $793m. The government-controlled former monopoly, which still owns about 70 per cent of China’s fixed telephone lines, has struggled to cope with a rapidly evolving market and competition from mobile phone operators. “Due to intensifying mobile substitution, China Telecom experienced negative growth in access lines in service for the first time [in 2007], and voice business revenue decreased by 7.9 per cent from 2006,” the company said in a statement. Charice Wang, an analyst at research firm Ovum, explained that China Telecom has been facing strong competition from China Mobile as customers switch to mobile services under increasing fixed-mobile substitution.
China on Tuesday started a public hearing to discuss lowering domestic mobile roaming charges, state media said, to address complaints from users. Hosted by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, the hearing discussed two proposed plans for roaming charges, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Both proposals involve cancelling the existing roaming service fee of 0.2 yuan per minute, which users have criticized as being too high, according to local media reports. China’s mobile operators, China Mobile and China Unicom collect domestic roaming fees if the subscriber leaves the local service area.
Robert Clark says: Apple and China Mobile recently broke off talks over selling the device in the mainland after the Chinese carrier rejected Apple’s insistence on a 30% commission. An executive at a non-mainland operator said the company was keen on selling the iPhone, but just couldn’t raise Apple’s interest. Apple doesn’t have a senior executive in Asia trying to push the device and is conducting negotiations from Cupertino at a leisurely pace. It’s worth remembering developing countries have never been happy hunting grounds for Apple’s high-end devices. The iPhone is a low-volume, high-margin device demanding a fat airtime commission.
India’s Bharti Airtel, China Mobile and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia are UBS’s top three telecom investment picks in Asia for 2008, as their home markets enjoy strong growth rates. “Growth features such as rising consumption, elasticity of demand and economies of scale will continue to be the main themes for the growth markets, including China, India and Indonesia, which are still under-appreciated by investors, in our view,” UBS said in a report. India and China, the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets, added around 8 million mobile phone subscribers in October, taking their user base to approximately 217 million and 531 million, respectively. Read the full story in Forbes.com
The first phase in a trial of an evolved version of today’s mobile phone radio access technology designed to deliver much higher wireless data rates has proven a success. The LTE / SAE (Long Term Evolution/System Architecture Evolution) Trial Initiative (LSTI) launched in May this year has reported the successful delivery of the first in a series of test results aimed at proving the potential and benefits of LTE, which is being standardized by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) as a next generation mobile broadband technology. The Initiative was founded by leading telecommunications companies Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, France Telecom/Orange, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, T-Mobile and Vodafone, and was recently expanded with China Mobile, Huawei, LG Electronics, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Signalion, Telecom Italia and ZTE joining as new members. As mobile devices become increasingly sophisticated and handle more and more complex multimedia applications, the LTE/SAE technology is designed to give end users wireless access to growing levels of data throughput on the move.3GPP LTE is specified to enable downlink/uplink peak data rates above 100/50 Mbps in initial deployment configurations.