USD Archives — Page 3 of 14


Telecom major Bharti Airtel on Thursday launched a Rs 200-crore (about US$ 40 million) innovation fund for promoting entrepreneurship in the telecom sector. The objective of the fund is to provide opportunities to the entrepreneurs to undertake innovation in the field of telecom with regard to content, software and technologies, Bharti Airtel Joint MD and CEO Manoj Kohli told reporters. This is the first ever telecom innovation fund in the country, he said. Source: The Economics Times
Launched this year, the Future Telecom Leaders Contest asks students to address an important question: “How can Canada become a recognized global leader in telecom in the next 10 years?” Students are invited to submit their ideas in a variety of formats: audio-visual files (like YouTube); audio only (podcasts or MP3 form); or print. Ten winners will be selected from across Canada and invited to attend the 2008 Telecom Laureate Awards Gala and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies in Ottawa/Gatineau on October 29, 2008, and have exclusive introductions to Canadian telecom senior executives. The top two winners will receive $1,500 scholarships. “The Future Telecom Leaders contest is a novel and exciting way to engage young minds on the question of Canada’s telecommunications future,” says Lorne Abugov, Founder and Director of Canada’s Telecommunications Hall of Fame.
New Delhi: The Indian government is set to begin here Monday the process to e-auction radio frequencies for telecom operators to start third-generation (3G) mobile services across the country and fetch the exchequer over Rs 40000 crore ($10 billion). The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold a pre-bid conference here with all the potential consultants – one of whom would oversee the process to e-auction spectrum for next generation mobile applications, officials said. Read the full story in ‘sify.com’ here.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Aug 26, 2008, telecomasia.net Asia’s emerging markets, comprising eight nations, are expected to see mobile subscriber net gains of 573 million by end-2012, breaching the one billion mark to close the year at an estimated 1.06 billion subscribers, a report from research firm Frost & Sullivan said. In 2007, these emerging markets were home to some 487 million mobile users, accounting for 37.1% of Asia-Pacific’s total mobile subscriber base, the report said.
LIRNEasia’s ‘Rapid Response Program’ is exactly what the name suggests. We react to immediate information needs of telecom regulators, at short notice. The response might not be lengthy and as comprehensive as we would like it to be, but nevertheless helpful, as Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) have realised. LIRNEasia saw BTRC’s move to issue three new Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licenses a positive development, as Bangladesh is certainly not a country that can boast of quality and affordable broadband. This is what we learnt from our research: Exceptionally high cost of broadband remains a key barrier that prevents the development of the BPO industry in Bangladesh.
In one of the most significant legal rulings in the tech industry this year, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law. The preliminary, tentative judgment orders Sprint Nextel to pay customers $18.2 million in reimbursements and, more importantly, orders Sprint to stop trying to collect another $54.7 million from California customers (some 2 million customers total) who have canceled their contracts but refused or failed to pay the termination fee. While an appeal is inevitable, the ruling could have massive fallout throughout the industry.
Indonesia’ competition watchdog found six mobile phone providers guilty of price fixing, which may have cost consumers more than $300 million in additional rates. The Business Competition Supervisory Commission says the companies formed a cartel to keep tariffs for text messaging artificially high. The companies include Telkomsel, Telkom and Smart Telecom. They were given fines totaling more than eight million dollars. Source: Voice of America
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.
While Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka awaits public comments on its ‘National Backbone Network’ proposed to be installed mostly as a fully government owned infrastructure to provide islandwide broadband links, New Zealand Government says it would be a huge waste of taxpayer money to put $1.5 billion into ultra-fast broadband access. New Zealand’s National Party leader John Key announced the ambitious plan to put broadband into every home and business through fibre cables over the next six years if his party wins the next election. Mr Key said that with the fibre network he wanted, people would be able to use the internet at lightning speed – essential if the country was to increase productivity and remain internationally competitive. But Communications Minister David Cunliffe saw nothing but problems and trouble.
Nokia is positioning its new 6212 handset as a mobile payment device, with users storing credit card information on the device and accessing accounts online directly from the handset. The phone can be set to allow payment only after the user enters a secondary passcode to authorize it. Such e-payment options may require a service subscription with a carrier or merchant, as well as the installation of a secure payment application, Nokia said. The Nokia 6212 classic will be available in the third quarter in parts of Europe and Asia; its estimated price is 200 euro or $316. Read the full story in Informationweek here.

IT firms to leave India?

Posted on April 3, 2008  /  0 Comments

Blueshift is one of the currently India based companies looking to move to neighbouring countries like Malaysia or Singapore where they believe it would be cheaper to operate. “The corporate tax regime in this country is a tough 33% whereas when I look at neighbouring country Singapore it is only 18% at the highest level,” says Blueshift’s chairman Sankaran P Raghunathan. “In fact, most of us have to pay only 7.5%. That’s a huge difference.
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.

Media Coverage on Mobile Benchmarks

Posted on March 26, 2008  /  1 Comments

23/03/08: Mobile phone service costs in Sri Lanka are cheap, even for the poor (Sinhala), Ravaya, Sri Lanka 25/03/08: Mobile is cheaper in Sri Lanka, even for the poor, The Daily News, Sri Lanka Two recent studies have found that Sri Lanka is among four countries that offer the most affordable mobile services to the poor in emerging Asia and the world. The first study conducted the LIRNEasia, a regional policy and regulation think tank, has found that the costs of using mobile telecom services are among the lowest in South Asia for all types of users. For the low user, essentially the poorer user, the average monthly cost of using a mobile in Sri Lanka is as low as US$ 3.83 per month if using prepaid. Sri Lanka came in fourth place in the affordability rankings for low users, not too far behind Bangladesh (USD2.
At last report, Hutch Sri Lanka had an ARPU of around USD 3. Sri Lanka Hutch subscribers double in 2007 – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Subscribers of the Sri Lanka mobile unit of Hutchison Telecom doubled to more than a million in 2007, while revenue growth topped 50 percent, the group said in a statement. Total subscribers had increased by 104 percent to 1,141,000 in 2007 while revenue measured in Hong Kong dollars grew 52.4 percent 189 million dollars (2.6 billion Sri Lanka rupees).
The cost of international capacity between the US and Asia has dropped dramatically in the past ten years. In 1996, US$10,000 would buy a 64kbps IPLC between Asia and the US. The same money buys a STM-1 (155Mbps) circuit in 2006. Dramatic drops in the price of international capacity as a result of market deregulation in the Asia Pacific is resulting in a shift in the dynamics of Internet traffic, according to a presentation at the APRICOT conference in Taipei this week. Read more.