Qatar Telecommunications Co QTEL said on Saturday it would begin tender offers for shares in Indonesian telecoms firm PT Indosat on Tuesday to lift its stake to 65 percent, the maximum allowed. Indonesia limits foreign ownership in the telecommunication sector to a maximum of 65 percent for mobile phone operators and 49 percent for fixed-line operators. Two tender offers would begin concurrently in Indonesia and the United States at 7,388 rupiahs ($0.661) per share and would expire on Feb. 18, Qtel said.
It would be the biggest thing to pass between India and South Africa since Mahatma Gandhi moved from one country to the other. This week it emerged that Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile-phone operator in India, is holding “exploratory” talks to buy South Africa’s MTN, the biggest operator in Africa. According to the Financial Times, Bharti has indicated it would be willing to pay about $19 billion for 51% of the company. That would make it the heftiest overseas acquisition ever made by an Indian firm, more than Tata Steel paid for Corus, a British steelmaker, and seven times the amount India invested in the whole of Africa over the ten years to 2004. The deal would unite the leading companies in the world’s two most promising mobile markets.
Missed calling (also referred to as beeping, flashing and many other names) has been most talked about in Africa; Johnathan Donner has been talking and writing about it for some time now; his research provides interesting insights into what he calls the ‘rules’ of beeping. A recent Reuters article looks at the growing phenomenon in not only Africa but other regions too. LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP survey findings also show that the phenomenon is considerably common among bottom of the pyramid (defined here as Socioeconomic Classification groups D & E) phone users in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But what’s more interesting, is that the phenomenon was seen as being used more or less to the same extent in the ‘middle and top of the pyramid’ (defined in the study as Socioeconomic Classification groups A, B & C). This held true for phone owners in all five countries studied – Pakistan, India (with some of the lowest per minute call rates in the world), Sri Lanka, Philippines and even Thailand (the country with the highest per capita GDP among the set of countries studied).
Lanka Business Online “By this initiative, we hope to give last mile access to people living in remote parts of the island,” USAID Acting Mission Director for Sri Lanka, Richard Edwards told reporters. “The kiosk will be powered through broadband technology, giving people high speed internet access to expand their knowledge, their education, or to look up new markets or technologies to produce goods and services.” The project brings together Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile phone operator Dialog Telekom, equipment vendor Qualcomm, software giant Microsoft, the National Development Bank and Lanka Orix Leasing Company, who have each chipped in by way of cash or kind. Within the next two months, the project hopes to open Easy Seva centres in Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Habarana, Rikillagaskoda, Weeraketiya, Nuwara Eliya, Tissamaharama, Nawalapitiya, Kekirawa, Devinuwara, Mawanella, Mahiyanganaya, Kegalle and Balangoda. “The locations, are quite remote but we believe people living in these areas are willing to pay for services, though their earning capacity is considered the bottom end of the pyramid,” Dialog’s General Manager Sales and Marketing, Nushad Perera said.
Massive mobile growth is reported from Bangladesh in 2006, with over two million being added in September alone, according to the BTRC. The question now is whether Pakistan still leads the pack. Mobiles Net addition/month Jan-06 10,275,869 Feb-06 10,543,898 268,029 Mar-06 10,954,285 410,387 Apr-06 11,781,560 827,275 May-06 13,440,836 1,659,276 Jun-06 14,190,606 749,770 Jul-06 14,798,440 607,834 Aug-06 15,510,000 711,560 Sep-06 17,647,537 2,137,537 Bangladesh’s GrameenPhone tops 10 mln subscribers | Reuters.com Bangladesh’s top mobile phone operator GrameenPhone Ltd. said on Sunday the number of its subscribers has passed 10 million, rising more than 80 percent since January.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile-phone operator Dialog Telekom Thursday slashed outgoing call charges by as much as 50 percent as the firm stepped up its expansion drive in the country. Call charges within the network from 11.00 pm to 6.00 am will go down by 50 percent to 2.00 rupees, while rates for outgoing peak calls have been cut by an average 30 percent, officials said.