ESB, the Irish electricity supplier, and UK’s Vodafone have formed a 50:50 partnership in building a new fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) broadband network. This €450 million (US$615 million) project will deliver download speeds ranging from 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps. The FTTB network of ESB-Vodafone will connect some 500,000 homes and businesses in 50 towns and cities (map) nationwide. It will plug the first group of customers in early-2015. This open access network will make Ireland the Europe’s first country in terms of 100% FTTB penetration.
Connected to the earlier post on taxes, is this one about Vodafone India getting served a USD 600 million retroactive tax bill. While Vodafone maintains no tax is due on the 2007 acquisition, it has told the government it is willing to explore the possibility of a “mutually acceptable solution”. Vodafone further points it has become one of India’s largest investors, spending more than £12.8 billion in building its business in the country since 2007. The operator is also one of India’s largest taxpayers.
We all know the importance of investment in dynamic ICT markets. No investment: no new services, poor quality of service . . . As LTE is being rolled out and the conversation on 5G is gathering momentum,one would think the relationship between investment and taxes would be different from what is being reported as being paid by Vodafone: During the 2013 financial year, in which the group reported pre-tax profits of £3.
We have discussed different Arab initiatives to reach Europe through cross-border terrestrial optical fiber links. Now Vodafone’s Qatar unit, du of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait’s Zain along with the country’s ISP named Zajil have formed another consortium – Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS). And optical power ground wire (OPGW) will be the vehicle during initial leg of its long distance terrestrial telecoms journey to Europe. MEETS has rented 1,400-km OPGW from the power transmission grid of Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) interconnection authority for 15 years. The consortium will invest US$36 million to primarily inject 2300 Gbps capacity using 100G optical transport network (OTN) technology.
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 Vodafone said it had withdrawn after seeing the final licence conditions, which were published on 20 May, because “the opportunity does not meet the strict internal investment criteria to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.
Two weeks back we cautioned about India’s diminishing role as an unavoidable stopover in Eurasian telecoms connectivity. Now India’s Reliance has joined the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) consortium to build an 8,000 kilometer submarine cable system to link Singapore and Penang with Oman via India and Sri Lanka. It has planned to commence carrying commercial traffic by end of 2014. Other members of the consortium are: Telekom Malaysia, Vodafone, Omantel, Etisalat and Dialog Axiata. It is lot more than just another submarine cable.
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.
Universal access was discussed in “Networking Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries” of the World Bank in June 2000 as follows: In low-income countries, however, the focus should be on providing public access to services. The only realistic objective in the short term is therefore to achieve “universal access”, whereby everyone would be able to access a public booth in every town, village or vicinity or within “reasonable” distance. What “reasonable” distance actually means, what services are to be provided at every public booth (telephone, e-mail, real-time Internet), and which of these services are appropriate at what level in the hierarchy of towns and villages, will very much vary from one country to another, depending on potential demand and ability to pay for these services. The scale at present runs from access to 2 Mbps high-speed Internet lines for every home in Korea to a telephone within (distant) walking distance in some African countries. That was 13 years ago.
When discussing our Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) indicator, we first introduce the concept of regulatory risk. I emphasize that it is not limited to the regulatory agency’s actions, but to all government actions that have a bearing on the operation of the company. The list of woes afflicting Vodafone in India is illuminating. “The combination of the capital gains tax, uncertain regulation and the very tough competitive environment has caused investors to say it wasn’t great timing” to do the deal, said Robert Grindle, an analyst with Deutsche Bank in London. Still, he said, “India is one of the fastest growing assets in Vodafone’s footprint, and without the contribution from India the company would have much lower top line growth than it does.
An article by an Indian journalist who attended the recently concluded Expert Forum in Islamabad, summarizes various “Mobile 2.0” initatives deployed by emerging South and Southeast Asian countries in recent years. “Mobile 2.0” applications can be described as those which offer services which are more-than-voice, such as payments, money transfers, and mobile banking. Bus tickets: The use of mobile phone to buy tickets has shown promising results for the public transport system in Sri Lanka.
The UK regulator, Ofcom, has proposed cuts in interconnection fees (also known as mobile termination rates), the wholesale charges that operators make to connect calls to each others’ networks. It has unveiled plans to cut the rate in stages from 4.3 pence ($0.065) per minute to 0.005 pence per minute by 2015.
One expects the Economist to give weight to economic explanations. But not in fluff pieces written over the holiday break. According to the Economist, heavy mobile use is explained by latitude, not the ultra-low prices that are the result of the Budget Telecom Network Model. Yet these global trends hide starkly different national and regional stories. Vittorio Colao, the boss of Vodafone, which operates or partially owns networks in 31 countries, argues that the farther south you go, the more people use their phones, even past the equator: where life is less organised people need a tool, for example to rejig appointments.
Handsets using the open platform Android will soon be available from Verizon, according to NYT, leaving AT&T as the only US carrier not offering Android phones. A year after Google introduced its Android operating system on T-Mobile, the smallest of the major wireless carriers in the United States, it announced a deal to offer handsets with Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest carrier. The carrier said Tuesday it expects to introduce two Android phones this year. It didn’t name the manufacturers, but one is expected to be made by Motorola. In addition, Verizon and Google said they would work together along with manufacturers to design handsets specifically for Verizon’s network.
Last year, the Indian authorities relaxed their strictures on infrastructure sharing, allowing the sharing of active and passive infrastructure except spectrum. Now in more mature markets, there are moves to go even further. As growth stabilizes, governments and operators in emerging economies should start looking at this option. Two of the world’s largest cellphone operators, the Spanish company Telefónica and the British giant Vodafone, said Monday that they would share infrastructure in several European markets in an effort to cut costs and protect profit margins. The companies said in a statement that they had agreed to share networks in Britain, Germany, Ireland and Spain, and were in “detailed discussions” about doing so in the Czech Republic.
A recent report of the same title, published by Vodafone and ICRIER, India, reveal that Indian states with high mobile penetration can be expected to grow faster than those states with lower mobile penetration rates, namely, 1.2% points for every 10% increase in the penetration rate. The research also highlights the role of mobile along with complementary skills and other infrastructure, for the full realization of benefits of access to communications in agriculture and among SMEs. Importantly, telecommunications cannot be seen in isolation from other parts of the development process. In urban slums, the research reveals the importance of network effects, i.
The roll-out plans of new mobile players could be dampened with some of the existing pan-Indian operators demanding higher rates for providing interconnection. This includes higher termination rates (levied for ending calls from a new operator’s subscriber to an incumbent player’s network) and port charges (for accepting traffic from a new player to an existing network). Incumbent operators such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are at an advantageous position because they have a large subscriber base and, therefore, it is necessary for the new players to interconnect. If the new operators do not interconnect with them then their subscribers will not be able to call users on the incumbent player’s network. “The interconnection charges being imposed by the existing players are based on the telecom regulator’s order issued in 2003.