China’s largest fixed line operator China Telecom has reported that operating revenues rose by just 1.7% in 2007 to RMB178.6 billion (USD25.5 billion), while EBITDA was virtually unchanged at RMB89.2 billion. Net profit for the year ended 31 December 2007 fell to RMB23.7 billion, from the previous year’s figure of RMB27.2 billion. Voice revenues for the year were down 7.9% to RMB111.3 billion, while voice ARPU fell 10.1% to RMB41.8. Non-voice revenues were up by 28.8%, however, to RMB64.05 billion. Access lines in service fell by around three million during the course of the year to 220.3 million, of which 121.8 million were connected to residential customers, 24.8 million to government and enterprise users, 15.7 million were public telephones and 58 million were PAS connections. In terms of broadband subscribers, the company added 7.33 million new customers to take its total to 35.65 million.
Brazilian mobile operator Vivo has announced a tripling of its planned investment for 2008 to BRL6.07 billion (USD3.48 billion), up from BRL1.92 billion in 2007. It is not clear, however, if the proposed capital expenditure for the current year includes the BRL1.3 billion acquisition of rival carrier Telemig. Vivo’s CAPEX is considerably higher than the figures announced by rivals TIM Brasil (BRL3.6 billion) and Telecom Americas’ Claro unit (BRL700 million).
The Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain says it is interested in acquiring a 3G mobile licence in Turkey when they are reoffered by the government. Three UMTS concessions were put up for sale last year but they attracted just one bid, from the country’s largest mobile operator, Turkcell. The government cancelled the sale, saying there was insufficient competition for the process to be legal. Zain’s chief executive Saad Al Barrak recently met with Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the opportunity.
Celcom claims to have become the first operator in Malaysia to establish a single core network platform for its GSM and W-CDMA networks, using a Mobile Softswitch solution from Ericsson. The deployment also marks the first step for Celcom in migrating its core network to an all-IP architecture. Upon completion, Celcom will benefit from having a single, common infrastructure that will handle both 2G and 3G network services, including the current available voice, data and TV services such as MMS, mobile broadband and mobile TV. The common infrastructure will also enable Celcom to introduce innovative new services such as dual numbers in one SIM card or same number in multiple devices, 3G services on 2G SIM card and mobile number portability, to name a few.
Mobile phone services have been restricted until now to foreigners and government workers.
Many Cubans have for long wanted mobile phone access and hoped it would be among the first steps by Mr Castro, who has promised to start lifting “excessive regulations and prohibitions”.
He succeeded his ailing brother Fidel as Cuba’s first new leader in almost 50 years on February 24.
Celcom today became the first operator in Malaysia to establish a single core network platform for both GSM and WCDMA technology with the deployment of Mobile Softswitch solution from Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), in its network.
The move is in line with Celcom’s continuous focus to modernize its network to deliver classic telephony services over a more modern and cost efficient network while creating a common foundation for new services. The deployment of Ericsson Mobile Softswitch also marks the first crucial step for Celcom in migrating its core network to an all-IP architecture.
Upon completion, Celcom will benefit from the convenience and simplicity of having a single, common infrastructure that can handle both 2G and 3G network services, including the current available voice, data and TV services such as MMS, mobile broadband and mobile TV.
The common infrastructure will also enable Celcom to be ahead of its competition in introducing innovative services such as dual numbers in one SIM card or same number in multiple devices, 3G services on 2G SIM card and mobile number portability, to name a few.
By deploying Ericsson Mobile Softswitch, Celcom is able to introduce a layered architecture design in its GSM/WCDMA mobile circuit core. Layered architecture enables separation and centralization of the equipment responsible for call control and network intelligence, enabling a reduction in the number and size of main core network sites for Celcom. This will ultimately provide significant savings for Celcom and reduces the company’s core network operating expenditures (OPEX).
“As a long-time partner to Celcom, Ericsson is excited to play a prime role in supporting Celcom’s decision to create yet another milestone in the industry. Ericsson is fully committed to ensure a smooth evolution of Celcom’s core network to an all-IP architecture.” said Krishna Kumar, President and Country Manager of Ericsson Malaysia.
Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 185 million subscribers. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.
Ericsson is advancing its vision of ‘communication for all’ through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70,000 employees generated revenue of USD 27.9 billion (SEK 188 billion) in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on the Stockholm, London and NASDAQ stock exchanges.
MOBILE phones are set to become more dangerous to people’s health than asbestos or smoking, according to a leading Australian neurosurgeon.
Research by the Canberra Hospital’s Vini Khurana found that in the next four years, the full impact of mobile phone-caused brain tumours would be revealed.
Dr Khurana’s report, Mobile Phones and Brain Tumours A Public Health Concern, made headlines all over the world over the weekend.
It is anticipated that this danger has far broader public health ramifications than asbestos and smoking, and directly concerns all of us, particularly the younger generation,â€ Dr Khurana said in a research paper.
In a paper published on his website, Dr Khurana said industry and governments needed to take immediate stepsâ€ to reduce the impact of mobile phone radiation.
In the years 2008-2012, we will have reached the appropriate length of follow-up time to begin to definitively observe the impact of this global technology on brain tumour incidence rates,â€ he said.
Dr Khurana said the number of people that survive after having such a cancer was relatively small.
A malignant brain tumour represents a life-ending diagnosis in the vast majority of those diagnosed.
There is a significant and increasing body of evidence to date at least eight comprehensive clinical studies internationally and one long-term meta-analysis for a link between mobile phone usage and certain brain tumours.â€
He said the addition use of accessories, such as some hands-free kits, could even have a bigger impact than just having a mobile phone.
Bluetooth devices and unshielded headsets can convert the user’s head into an effective, potentially self-harming antenna.â€
The decision, announced on Friday in an understated manner in the Communist Party daily Granma, adds to a range of developments indicating that Mr Castro, 76, after decades of working in the shadow of his older brother, Fidel, is beginning to reshape daily life in Cuba.
Since succeeding his brother on February 24, Raul Castro has set about legalising products and services that Cubans have been forced to acquire through stealth and guile on the black market. Besides lifting the mobile phone restrictions, he has quietly ended a ban on personal purchases of some electronic items, including computers, video players, all sizes of televisions, pressure cookers, electric rice cookers, electric bicycles and car alarms.
The ban will be lifted tomorrow. There are unconfirmed reports that Mr Castro has also lifted rules that forced farmers to buy materials at state-run stores and required patients to pick up prescriptions at inconveniently located pharmacies.
Cubans formed long lines on Friday outside mobile phone shops. Until now only top government officials and foreigners had been allowed to own them. But thousands of Cubans have long got around the rule by persuading foreigners or corrupt government officials to sign mobile phone contracts on their behalf.
This was tolerated by the Government and it was common for Cubans to chat openly on phones acquired on the black market. Even police seemed to turn a blind eye.
“This could have a massive impact,” Manuel Cuesta, a dissident, said in Havana. “It opens the possibility for more contact with foreigners, for more text messaging, for a culture of mass communication. You can almost publish a newspaper with messages sent over cell phones.”
But Mr Cuesta cautioned against interpreting the decision too broadly. He said it did nothing to deal with limits on free speech and foreign travel, prohibitions on the ownership and sale of private property, or bans on most forms of private enterprise.
“This is not going to affect in any way the total control that the Government has,” he said. “This is a small step toward liberalisation.”
Cubans have been tantalised in recent days by the prospects for change. The Foreign Minister, Felipe Perez Roque, said last week that the Government was considering ending restrictions on foreign travel.
The Government denies most Cubans permission to leave, and discourages travel by charging high fees for exit visas.
Mr Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro Espin, said in Rome last week that Cuba should abolish travel restrictions, end a ban on Cuban citizens staying at the island’s best tourist hotels, and guarantee access to computers.
Cubans are to be allowed mobile phones in the latest step by the new President, Raul Castro, to improve access to consumer goods. Cuba has the lowest rate of mobile use in Latin America, and the service had been restricted to foreigners or government officials and employees.
Many Cubans have for long wanted access to mobiles and hoped it would be among the first steps taken by Mr Castro, who succeeded his ailing brother Fidel as Cuba’s first new leader in almost half a century on 24 February. The President has begun lifting some of the many restrictions on the daily life of Cubans as he tries to meet popular demands for better living standards in the socialist state.
Some Cubans already have mobile phones registered in the name of foreigners or their workplaces. They will now be able to put the contracts in their own names, Etecsa said. Next month, Cubans will be able to buy computers and DVD players, if they have the hard currency to pay for them. Two years ago, banned DVD players were being confiscated by airport customs officials on arrival in Cuba.
President Castro, 76, has also launched a restructuring of agriculture to reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks and increase food production. A major public complaint his government will have to deal with is that wages paid in Cuban pesos are too low, and consumer goods have to be paid for in convertible pesos, or CUCs, worth 24 times more than pesos.
About 60 per cent of Cubans have access to hard currency from cash sent by relatives living abroad, mainly in the United States, or through factory and farm bonuses and tips from foreign tourists.
It did not quite answer calls for freedom and change, but the reform announced yesterday did at least offer freedom from change for calls.
Cuba’s government lifted restrictions on the ownership and use of mobile phones, marking a small but significant step away from the Fidel Castro era.
A decree published in the Communist party newspaper, Granma, said the public could have prepaid contracts for mobile phones, a luxury previously reserved for senior party officials and employees of foreign companies.
The decision means less fumbling for change for pay phones and raised hopes that the new president, Raºl Castro, would relax other economic and political controls.
Cuba’s telecommunications monopoly, Etesca, made the announcement in a small insert on page two of Granma. “Etesca is able to offer mobile phone service to the public,” it said.
Contracts will have to be paid for in Cuban convertible pesos, a parallel currency geared towards tourists and foreigners worth 24 times the peso used by most Cubans.
Few will initially be able to afford the opportunity – there was no scramble for mobile phones yesterday – but the decree was welcomed as evidence that the authorities were serious about addressing longstanding grievances.
“This shows there is a change in mentality at the top and recognition that Cuba has to move into the 21st century,” a young computer technician, who asked not to be named.
Some Cubans have a mobile phone service in the name of foreigners or their companies, but the island still has the lowest mobile phone use in Latin America.
Etesca, which operates as a joint venture with the Italian communications company Italcom, said it would invest revenues in improving its network and eventually offer a mobile phone service in the commonly held pesos.
“In coming days the population will be informed about the procedures for changing the title of Cuban citizens who until today have acquired [mobile phones] indirectly and the start of the new contracts for natural-born Cubans who are interested,” the statement said.
Since the ailing Fidel resigned last month, Raºl, 76, has made cautious efforts to ease the material hardships which make daily life a grind and erode confidence in the government. The new president, who is deemed less ideological than his charismatic brother, has promised to focus on competence and service delivery and to reduce bureaucracy.