State-owned GSM operator Nepal Telecom launched Nepal’s and Indian sub-continent’s first 3G service on May 17.

The 3G SIM card reportedly cost Nepali Rs 4,195 (US$64.50) with 3G tariffs similar to that of prepaid rates.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has released guidelines for the running of MVNOs. Pakistan had 58.39 million mobile subscribers at the end of April 2007.

  • Mobilink = 25.21 million subscribers
  • Ufone = 12.49 million subscribers
  • Warid = 9.71 million subscribers
  • Telenor = 9.63 million subscribers
  • Paktel = 1.02 million subscribers
  • Instaphone = 333,000 subscribers

International

Bharti and MTNL will bid for the second national telecom operator (SNO) licence in Africa’s third largest economy Kenya.

Other qualified bidders include France Telecom, Telkom of South Africa and Emirates Telecommunications Corp.

The successful bidder will be offered one licence for all services – cellular, internet backbone, international voice gateway, commercial VSAT and national and international long-distance services.

There is increasing activity of Indian telcos in Africa. I think Indian telcos are well suited for third world countries because of their experience in running large profitable operations on one of the lowest tariff regimes in the world.

VSNL has a 26% stake in InfraCo, an upcoming telecom infrastructure company in South Africa. VSNL is also the largest shareholder in NeoTel, South Africa’s second SNO which kicked off operations last month.

MTNL already holds a licence to offer fixed line services in Kenya in a joint venture with Telecom Consultants of India and a local partner. The company also has investments in Nepal and Mauritius.

Related:
Bharti considering exapanding in Africa
Tatas to invest in South African telco InfraCo

Source: ET

International

GSMA announced at the New Delhi meet that GSM based mobile subscriber base has touched two billion this month.

Craig Ehrlich, GSMA Chairman said,

“While it took 12 years for the industry to reach the first billion connection, the second billion has been achieved in just two and half years, boosted by the phenomenal growth of mobiles in emerging markets like China, India, Africa, Latin America, accounting 82 percent of the second billion subscribers.”

China is the largest single GSM market in the world today with more than 370 million users while India has 80 million GSM users.

International

Another gadget becomes the victim of the mobile phone. This time its the wristwatch. According to the Journal Sentinel, all the cool dudes and dudettes are refusing to wear their time on their wrists and are just looking at their cell phones instead.

“I see our business going down because of it,” says Chuck Reardon, manager of the Time Square watch stand at Brookfield Square, “But I do see a lot more kids buying the fashion watches like Fossil. They’re doing that as a fashion statement more than anything, more than a need for a timepiece.

I can vouch for it – have stopped wearing a wristwatch for almost a year now using the mobile to check time. Just didn’t know that it was also being cool.

International

Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) is expected to announce on Friday that it has agreed to buy Austrian mobile operator Telering for about $1.6billion.
Last week, France Telecom bought Spain’s third largest mobile operator Amena for $12 billion.
And Ireland’s Eircom acquired Meteor, a local mobile operator for $506 million.

Source: Business Standard

International

News.com has a nice article precising NTT DoCoMo’s new mobile-wallet service called “I-mode Felica”. Operators in advanced mobile markets like Japan are looking at these kind of VAS to not only increase ARPUs but also stickiness / lockin of their subscribers.

“DoCoMo is moving to a post-I-mode business model based on Felica.” -Yasushi Yoshikawa, general manager, NEC

International

New findings from Informa claim that the global wireless market has 1.8 billion subscribers, representing worldwide penetration of 28 percent. The four largest wireless growth markets are the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Italy, the UK, Sweden and Hong Kong have already exceeded 100 percent market penetration, and other markets that could follow this year include Austria, Denmark, Ireland, and Portugal

Source: Mobile Message Solutions

International

According to a 5,600 household survey from Forrester Research:

* 67% of US households have at least one mobile phone.
* The top three mobile carriers will own seven out of 10 mobile households: Cingular+AT&T Wireless (28%), Verizon (27%), and Sprint/Nextel (15%).
* Basic features like price, battery life, and ease of use continue to be most important features to consumers.
* Less than 10% of subscribers says that a camera is important in their phone purchase decision.
* While basic features are most important to consumers when choosing a phone, wireless data functions, such as the ability to access email and share photos, are becoming increasingly important.
* The only age group below 50% penetration for mobile phones is the 65 and older age group.
* Prepaid users have doubled in the past two years, reaching close to 11% of mobile phone consumers in 2004.

International

Nokia has launched its new N series range of multimedia handsets featuring hard drives, multi-megapixel cameras, MP3 players and other standard smartphone functionality.

The N series product portfolio comes from Nokia’s new Multimedia business group. In order to distinguish the high-end models from the basic ones, the old four-digit model codes have been replaced by shorter names including the N70, N90, and N91.

International

I think everyone will relate to this story on mobile subterfuge in social situations.

“People are turning the technology on its head,” Katz said. “They are taking a device that was designed to talk to people who are far away and using it to communicate with people who are directly around them.”

International