3G Archives — Page 2 of 6


NTT Docomo has shrunk its shareholding, from 30% to 8%, in Robi Axiata – the third largest operator by subscriber in Bangladesh. The Japanese heavyweight has unleashed its fury at the regulatory malfunctions and questioned the government’s credibility. Press release of Robi Axiata on NTT’s exit is the most caustic one in Bangladesh’s telecoms history. The Docomo decision comes in the face of what it cites as an unfriendly regulatory environment and business uncertainties. The telecommunications industry is at a critical juncture in Bangladesh with many issues pending between the regulators and the government agencies, notably related to VAT rebate on 2G and 3G license and 2G licensing rules, which have not been addressed even in the recent circulars of the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Bhutan Telecom is launching Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in two locations of its capital city Thimpu. Coverage of this 1800 MHz network will encompass a radius of up to 1km, promising a theoretical downlink speed of up to 40Mbps. Cellular News reports. Meanwhile, the fate of 3G in Bangladesh looks as gloomy as its political future. The regulator could not appoint a consultant for auctioning the 2.
LTE (aka 4G) is manifolds faster than UMTS (aka 3G). That doesn’t mean the governments can make more money from auctioning LTE spectrum. Her Majesty’s government, which had forked £22.5 billion from UMTS auction 12 years back, knows it. Yet the British Finance Minister, George Osborne, targeted £3.
One more qualified bidder than number of slots is a prescription for a bidding frenzy. But then, something like this has been done before. In the UK they had one more slot than there were existing operators. The consequences of being the only 2G operator who failed to get a 3G license drove up the prices. That should do it in Bangladesh too, unless someone comes up with a clever solution.

Pakistan 3G auction postponed

Posted on March 9, 2012  /  2 Comments

When the Indian 2G controversy blew up, I told several people who asked me about it was that there was no longer any point in debating auctions, but that we should put our energies into designing the kinds of auctions appropriate for the desired purpose. Most people (with the honorable exceptions of some of my friends and a recent commenter on this blog) accept that auctions are clean and that other methods are susceptible to manipulation. For good governance reasons alone I support auctions. That said, conducting an auction for valuable frequencies or for the right to operate a telecom business in conditions of restricted entry (and potential high profits and profile) is no simple matter. Auction design is an esoteric art.
Pervez Ifthikar is a passionate commentator on telecom issues in Pakistan. A knowledgeable commentator and as the founding CEO of the universal service fund (one of the best in the world in his time), one who has to be taken seriously. Irrespective of the on-going, completely unnecessary, “controversy” surrounding auction of 3G in Pakistan, allotting 3G frequencies to telecom operators is extremely urgent and essential for Pakistan. We have already been left behind by others who used to be our followers in 2G. Mobile broadband – or 3G – should have been introduced here already four years ago.

Afghanistan auctions first 3G license

Posted on December 3, 2011  /  0 Comments

Afghanistan has received 3 bids for the first 3G license. The new license for  10MHz of 3G spectrum was intended  to have been awarded by November 2011, but has gotten delayed and the bids are being assessed only now. The existing GSM operators (Roshan, Etisalat, MTN, AWCC ) would be allowed to obtain a license as well by matching the bid of the new entrant. Roshan and Etisalat are already making plans for investment, with Etisalat planning to invest USD 100 million over the coming year to upgrade its infrastructure to provide 3G services. Going from nearly zero mobile connectivity in 2002, Afghanistan’s current mobile penetration stands at about 63 SIMs/ 100.
We have been talking about the need to prepare for qualitatively higher volumes of data in Asia as more people start using 3G networks. Our proposals have focused on adding to international backhaul capacity in order to reduce prices of this key input that is now 3-6 times more expensive than capacity in Europe and North America. The New York Times discusses how the data flood is playing out in the US. The projections are that the networks will have to carry the total traffic they carried in all of 2010, in just two months in 2015 in the US. Cellphone plans that let people gobble up data as if they were at an all-you-can eat buffet are disappearing, just as a new crop of data-gobbling Internet services from Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Apple and the like are hitting the market or catching on with wide audiences.
So it appears the al Assad government is becoming more like the Mubarak government. The Internet shutdown severely disrupted the flow of the YouTube videos and Facebook and Twitter posts that have allowed protesters and others to keep track of demonstrations, since foreign news media are banned and state media are heavily controlled. Both land lines and cellphones are so frequently monitored by Syria’s feared secret police that Skype had become a major means of communication among activists, and its loss as a tool may be a blow to the protest movement. Government Web sites, including those for the Ministry of Oil and the state news agency, SANA, remained online. Two-thirds of Syria’s Internet network went offline at 6:35 a.
LIRNEasia was invited to introduce its work on understanding how people at the BOP in emerging Asia use ICTs and what kinds of new services they are likely to be interested in at the 4th Global Forum organized by infoDev and the Finnish government in Helsinki, May 28-June 2, 2011. Our research was presented at a “deep dive” session on m applications attended by around 100 people. The slides are here. You will not be able to see the video that I started with, from the above link. The video of Chamara is available here instead.
Some people ask me about 3G. Is this the ISDN [I Still Don’t kNow] of our time? But I tell them that new, new stuff gives zing to an operator. That Mobitel in Sri Lanka got a lot of energy from 3G, even on the 2G side. Now comes more concrete support: If not for the i Phone, T Mobile would not have been sold, say some.

Talk that yields results in Bangladesh

Posted on November 11, 2010  /  4 Comments

Cynics among us decry the endless seminars and workshops and conferences that seem to be unavoidable feature of business and political life. But if the Bangladesh Daily Star has reported it accurately, the recent seminar on the Bangladesh telecom sector has actually achieved significant results. One of the major problems in Bangladesh is the lack of certainty about whether or how the licenses of four leading mobiles operators, which expire in 2011, will be renewed. Economic theory and common sense say that unless an investor knows how long he has an asset, he will not invest in it. Thus, theory would predict a steep decline in investment in each of the networks as they approached 2011.

Unconnected, surprisingly, in Sri Lanka

Posted on September 9, 2010  /  0 Comments

For the perpetually connected, the experience of being unconnected is salutary; but not pleasant. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a world heritage site about three hours driving distance from Colombo. I spent two days there and unexpectedly found myself unconnected, except for a single location in the hotel that allowed the sending and receiving of texts if the phone was held high! It is not that the place is completely disconnected from electronic networks. I paid for the hotel using a credit card, which was processed through a fixed line.

4G network only; no legacy networks.

Posted on August 21, 2010  /  1 Comments

There was talk that India would get 4G mobile before 3G mobile, given all the delays in licensing. That won’t happen. But 4G is not pie in the sky, according to the Economist: WHILE much of the world is still rolling out the third generation (3G) of mobile networks, some countries have already moved on to the fourth (4G). Russia offers an intriguing example. Yota, a start-up with no old voice business to protect, has built a 4G network from scratch, burying 3,000km (1,864 miles) of fibre-optic cables to connect its wireless base stations.
CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why we thought of highlighting the issue. The content is interesting and very readable. We publish two e-interviews from July 2010 issue here fully, as they are not available on public domain.
Despite the fact that not all the frequencies have been cleared, India has announced the 3G auctions will be held in April. The original date was January 2009. Perhaps the driving force was the government’s need for money, rather than the conditions being right. India’s long-delayed auction of third-generation (3G) mobile phone bandwidth will be held on April 9, the government announced Wednesday. Applications from bidders for the multi-billion-dollar auction, whose proceeds are earmarked to help plug a gaping fiscal deficit, will be accepted until March 19, a government notice said.