Archive for December, 2001

INTERNATIONAL CALLERS SUBSIDISING MOBILE OPERATORS – DECEMBER 2001

Saturday, December 1st, 2001

A dark side to the mobile boom is emerging, according to a recent study from TeleGeography Inc (http://www.telegeography.com). The cost of calls to mobile phones are often far more expensive than calls to traditional, fixed-line telephones. Approximately 31% of incoming international calls are made to mobile subscribers in Europe, but those calls account for nearly 80% of international carriers’ total termination costs to that region.

Calls to mobile subscribers are more expensive to terminate than calls to fixed-line phones because of the relatively higher interconnection fees charged by mobile operators. In many European countries, fixed-line termination costs between one and two cents per minute. By comparison, typical mobile termination rates range from approximately 8 to 20 cents per minute. It’s not uncommon for mobile termination in Europe to cost ten times as much as fixed-line termination. Since long-distance carriers can’t afford to absorb the cost themselves, they end up having to pass it on to their callers.

While mobile phones have had a large negative impact on carriers’ costs, they also have boosted their outgoing traffic volumes. In 2000, mobile-originated international phone calls grew 66%, three times as fast as international calls from fixed-line phones. Approximately 15.3% of the world’s 132.7 billion minutes of international calls were made from mobile phones in 2000.

Table 7 – Percent of international calls made from or terminated on mobile phones – 2000
Region
Mobile-Originated
Mobile-Terminated

Africa
19%
21%

Latin America and Caribbean
20%
10%

US and Canada
2%
3%

Asia and Oceania
22%
21%

Europe
22%
30%

World average
15%
21%

(Source: TeleGeography research)

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NEW TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSIONER ANNOUNCED – DECEMBER 2001

Saturday, December 1st, 2001

In December 2001, Douglas Webb was named as the new Telecommunications Commissioner and is expected to take up his post in March 2002. An expatriate New Zealander, the 55-year-old brings with him international regulatory and telecommunications experience. As a senior partner at law firm Rudd, Watts and Stone, he negotiated an interconnection agreement for NZ Rail with Telecom NZ in the late 1980s, and later represented a consortium of investors who formed CLEAR Communications. For the last 10 years he has worked as a managing counsel at the World Bank in Washington DC.

See Web report: New Zealand – Telecommunications – New Regulatory Environment (2001-2002)

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CALLS TO REGULATE DIGITAL TV – DECEMBER 2001

Saturday, December 1st, 2001

During a Digital TV Conference in December 2001, speakers called for Government intervention to further the cause of digital television. TVNZ claimed New Zealand was set to trail the world in delivering digital television without standards of practice being put into place. SKY’s monopoly of digital delivery through its set-top boxes was limiting technical and commercial innovation. TV3 claimed the country was ‘saddled with a government’ that hadn’t yet decided on digital TV.

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NEW TELECOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION PASSED IN THAILAND – DECEMBER 2001

Saturday, December 1st, 2001

Thailand’s much-criticised telecommunications service bill has been passed by its parliament amid strong attacks from the opposition and worries by private telecom operators who fear small operators will vanish from the industry. The new legislation will become effective in January 2002.

The new law limits foreign shareholding in telecom companies to 25%. However, it remains uncertain how the limit will apply to existing companies with a foreign shareholding of more than 25%.

The law could potentially undermine the business strategy of a number of big operators, including TelecomAsia, which is in a strategic alliance with mobile operator, CP Orange, and Total Access Communication, in which Norway’s Telenor holds a 30% share. One company that is considered to be well placed as a result of the new law is Advanced Info Service, a subsidiary of Shin Corp, Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra’s family company.

Private operators had criticised the bill as hurting future investment prospects in the telecommunications sector and potentially hurting consumers. Thai companies in the telecommunications sector will find it hard to attract foreign partners for capital and technology. The bill could also obstruct the country’s move towards liberalisation of the telecom industry as required by the commitments made to the World Trade Organisation.

The eagerness of the government to pass this legislation has surprised many in the industry, especially given that the establishment of the proposed National Telecommunications Commission is now well behind schedule. Without the new national regulatory body, the new law cannot be implemented.

For further information on Thailand see our Web site: http://www.budde.com.au/Cat/Cat117.html

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SATELLITE TV IN AFGHANISTAN – DECEMBER 2001

Saturday, December 1st, 2001

Even before the Taliban banned television, a few Afghan viewers dared to watch the small screen. They received their TV from foreign television channels captured via hidden satellite dishes.

However since the fall of the Taliban, satellite dish and television sales are soaring. According to a Reuters Report, a 22-year-old Afghan metal worker quit making water pumps and started hammering out satellite dishes. With a variety of scavenged parts he is putting together nearly half a dozen dishes a day. Reuters reveals he’s turning a profit, too – roughly US$100 a week. The average income in Afghanistan is less than $10 a month.

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