USD Archives — Page 4 of 14


Europe in the lead of anti-trust law

Posted on February 28, 2008  /  0 Comments

Microsoft Gets Record Fine and a Rebuke From Europe – New York Times The European antitrust regulator imposed a record $1.35 billion fine against Microsoft on Wednesday in a ruling intended to send a clear message to the world’s largest software maker — and to any other company — of the dangers of flouting Europe’s competition rulings. Neelie Kroes, Europe’s antitrust regulator, expressed irritation with Microsoft, saying it had not complied with a 2004 ruling. Related Times Topics: Microsoft Corporation The size of the penalty, which surprised lawyers and legal experts, was a clear assertion of the power of the European Commission and its main antitrust regulator, Neelie Kroes, who is its competition commissioner. She has emerged from a lengthy legal battle with Microsoft as possibly the world’s most activist regulator.
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which had announced its entry into the Sri Lankan mobile phone sector with much fanfare last year, is experiencing delays and may well be re-drawing its investment plans for the island country, says a Sri Lankan telecommunication expert. Rohan Samarajeewa, former head of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), told IANS that while there was no doubt that Bharti Airtel was committed to operating in Sri Lanka, it had altered its timetable and could well be scaling down its original investment plans. The reasons for the delay in starting the operations were in the realm of speculation, Samarajeewa said. But he did point to a possibility of difficulties in getting frequencies from the TRC, as it is generally recognized that the allotment of frequencies tends to be “highly politicised” in Sri Lanka. The parent company in India could also be changing its priorities as regards capital allocations, in the context of the growing challenges in the more lucrative Indian domestic market, Samarajeewa said.
An OECD report, Global Opportunities for Internet Access Developments, says that the next billion Internet users will be very different from the first billion and governments in developing countries, where these users will come from, must adapt strategic regulatory and investment policies to lower access costs.   “The characteristics of these new Internet users will be vastly different from the first billion users,” the report concludes, adding that the majority of the new Internet users will be accessing the Internet on wireless networks and will have incomes of less than US$2 per day.    While the report sees encouraging signs from developing markets that have adopted market liberalisation and who are now starting to enjoy the employment, micro- entrepreneurial and social development benefits of increased competition, there remain many countries that need to catch up.   According to the report, “more than 70 countries still have monopolies over international gateway services,” which “raise the prices for accessing international capacity, far beyond costs, and reduce the affordability of Internet access for end-users.”  Read more.

Mobile investment boom in India foretold

Posted on February 20, 2008  /  0 Comments

Telecom sector to see funds bonanza, tariff cuts – Business News – News – MSN India – News India’s booming mobile services market will see investments of over Rs 100,000 crore (around $24 billion) by 2010, the fastest investment ramp-up seen in any telecom market globally even as analysts predict a bruising battle that will see tariffs fall sharply. The investments include between Rs 48,000 crore and 60,000 crore ($12 billion to $15 billion) from six new telecom players (including Reliance and Tatas’ proposed GSM mobile services) over 12 to 24 months to create capacity for 250 million more mobile subscribers. This fresh investment will be over and above the estimated Rs 48,000 crore ($12 billion) being put in by incumbents like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices (the latter two for ramping up CDMA mobile operations) in 2008-09 alone. Powered by ScribeFire.
In what can only be described as a surprise announcement, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) says that it has been granted a 3G phone license in North Korea.   Orascom says that it intends to invest up to US$400 million in network infrastructure and license fee over the first three years. OTH intends to cover Pyongyang and most of the major cities during the first 12 months of operations. Read more.

Competitors slam SingTel

Posted on January 24, 2008  /  0 Comments

Competitors to SingTel in its domestic market have sharply criticised attempts by the carrier to gain regulatory relief in business, government and some wholesale markets.   The IDA solicited industry feedback on the attempt by SingTel to shed various competition, wholesale supply and published tariff obligations on a range of business, data and wholesale products as well as to all business and government customers billing over $250,000 annually.  That feedback has been uniformly negative. 
State-owned telco BSNL on Monday said it plans to launch India’s biggest IPO to raise over US$10 billion. “The company is valued at well over US$100 billion. We are looking at offloading up to 10% stake, subject to government approval,” BSNL finance director S K Saxena told reporters. When asked about the development, telecom minister A Raja said: “The government is considering it (an IPO). The department of telecom (DoT) will discuss the issue and take a final decision soon”.

BSNL to pump $500 million in CDMA

Posted on January 14, 2008  /  2 Comments

While the likes of Reliance and Tata are racing to add national GSM-based services to their existing CDMA portfolio, BSNL is doing other way around by planning the launch of CDMA networks across all major Indian cities.   “After our application for a full-fledged CDMA mobility licence is approved, we plan to roll out CDMA services in all major cities and towns. The initial investment will be about $500 million,” BSNL managing director Kuldeep Goyal said. Read more. Interestingly, Telus of Canada is spending $500 million to migrate from CDMA to GSM early this year.

Kenyan mobile pays toll for unrest

Posted on January 11, 2008  /  0 Comments

Kenya’s Safaricom has lost US$6.2 million revenues due to the violence following the recent election. The company has also faced increased costs, especially after it had to hire helicopters to ship prepay airtime vouchers to rural areas where road transport is unsafe. Many independent airtime resellers have also closed their stores during the unrest, further hampering sales. Read more.
YANGON (Reuters) – Without warning, Myanmar’s military government has ordered a massive 166-fold rise in the annual satellite television levy in an apparent attempt to stop people watching dissident and international news broadcasts. With no word in state media of any license fee increases, the first satellite dish owners knew of the hike was when they went to pay the 6,000 kyat levy, only to be told it was now 1 million kyat ($780), three times the average citizen’s yearly income. An official at Myanmar Post and Telecom confirmed the increase on Wednesday, but was at a loss to explain it. “It’s not our decision,” the official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. “We were just ordered by the higher authorities.
Swami is an employee of My Mobile store in Noida can tell how the mobile business at his store has been dwindling in one of the most popular markets in New Delhi region for mobile phones and its accessories. Before January, My Mobile would sell goods worth about Rs 2.5 lakh on any given Sunday but sales started dipping about four to five months ago and the Sunday before Christmas, which should have been a busy period, with sales being down in the range of Rs1 lakh. “Our future is in danger,” Swami says pointing to a Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications’ service centre that doubles as mobile phone retail store located bang opposite My Mobile outlet. The Sony store opened a year ago.
It was not long ago that Laloo Prasad Yadav Minister of Railways and former Bihar Chief Minister sarcastically asked what computers can do for his constituency, comprised mostly of agriculture communities. Had he been to Madurai with the CPRSouth participants on last Monday (Dec 17) perhaps he might have learnt. This lady, with so many others, plays an integral role in ROPE (Rural Outsourced Production Enterprise) which sets up dedicated village-based contract production centers for its clients. Its mission is to integrate domestic and international markets with informal sectors of rural India and generate value for the skills and resources available in these sectors. This lady and others like her, we were told, make INR 50 (USD 1.
A little known Irish company is attempting to breathe life back into the moribund concept of high altitude platform stations (HAPS) in the stratosphere to provide network connectivity to users. The latest wheeze is to provide service courtesy of some antiquated Russian-designed military aircraft. Qucomhaps claims to have raised US$355 million to launch the service above Malaysia using aircraft that will circle the coverage area and provide wireless transmission to end users on behalf of service providers.  It says it will trial the concept in Malaysia next March.  The company has made waves in the Malaysian media this week with claims that it will set up a national network offering data speeds of 512kbps.

Canadian frost-byte of mobile fraudband

Posted on December 14, 2007  /  0 Comments

Calgary’s 22-year-old Piotr Staniaszek subscribed the Bell Mobility $10 unlimited mobile internet plan. But he was hammered with a whooping $85,000 bill in less than two months!  Because Mr. Staniaszek plugged his mobile phone with a PC and happily downloaded high-definition movies using the “unlimited” mobile internet plan.  Bell says its “unlimited plan” is applicable for browsing internet from mobile device only – not using the gadget as a modem and browsing the net from PC.

Certainly not a toy!

Posted on December 12, 2007  /  11 Comments

When asked this was Intel’s response to the $ 100 (er…$ 176) laptop, pat came the reply: “Yeah, you could call that” It is meant for children, but classmate PC is not a toy. It is a tiny version of a fully pledged PC. (512 M memory 2 GB in a flash, though no hard drive) The screen size is smaller, but on the other hand it is not easy to break even if you dropped it from a height. (Yes, they demonstrated it!) This was seen at the GK3 exhibition at Kuala Lumpur Conventional Centre where the so-called $100 green coloured OLPC laptop was a notable absentee.

Paraguay blocks stolen mobile phones

Posted on November 29, 2007  /  0 Comments

Paraguayan mobile operators must implement by January 15, 2008 platforms that automatically detect and block the use of SIM cards from stolen mobile phones, Víctor Martínez, head of the technical department of telecoms regulator Conatel, told BNamericas.  Besides, by January 1, all mobile operators should start exchanging their lists of stolen devices, the official said.  Conatel is also asking all operators to have in place by July 1 an equipment identity register (EIR) system to identify stolen phones when users try to activate them.   The EIR platforms cost around US$500,000, Martínez said.  Paraguay’s mobile operators are Telecel, a unit of Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular, Hola, which is backed by Japanese investors, Telecom Argentina’s unit Personal and Mexican giant América Móvil’s CTI Móvil.