Archive for November, 2002

Parking with I-mode – November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

A few months ago I-mode was introduced in the Netherlands and Germany. The mobile data service possibilities on these I-mode services are growing daily. It is also possible to pay for parking meters with the use of the mobile I-mode phone.

Users only need to register themselves with their I-mode phone at arrival and departure at the parking meter. Using the I-mode phone at the parking meter is possible in a variety of cities in the Netherlands. More cities are expected to have these parking meters in the nearby future.

Parking with I-mode is an initiative from Park-Line BV together with KPN en Nedap. By choosing option 3 (traffic) at the main I-mode menu, users can register with Park-Line. As soon as they are registered, the mobile Parking card is send to their home address. They then can start using the I-mode parking meters. The user of the Parking card will park his/her car and put the Mobile Parking card on the dashboard. The user then calls Park-Line and state the number that is to be found at the closest parking meter. When they are planning to leave, the mobile Parking card user only has to let the Park-Line people now that he is leaving again. The parking police can check if the user has paid via the Mobile Parking card.

Registration costs are 6 Euro and a one-year subscription will cost 9 Euro. The money will be direct debited from bank accounts at the end of each month.

Users can check were they have parked and how much they paid for it at a personal Website. And as an extra service users can be reminded of their parking action in case they should forget to sign out.

It is interesting to note that these sorts of applications are also possible on other mobile services; I-mode isn’t a requirement for that. The other question I have is that parking at meters is often a matter of a few dollars, the mobile telephone calls to Park-Line alone could make up half of the total parking charge.

See also:

Europe – Wireless Data – i-mode, Applications and M-commerce;

Netherlands – Wireless Communications;

Global – Wireless – 3G – Standards.

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Surf Telecoms – November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

Surf Telecoms was established in 1994 to provide managed bandwidth, dark fibre and site location facilities to customers throughout the South West of England and South Wales. Surf’s £30 million fibre network infrastructure, which has been developed through its relationship with Western Power Distribution, extends some 1400km across the South West peninsula of England and the Southern area of Wales. Surf’s services provide links between cable landing stations and major towns and cities in the South West and Wales and the rest of the UK, via interconnections with carrier networks in Bristol. The network currently supports over 20 PoPs in the South West and Wales with ring topology and use of carrier class technology ensuring high quality resilient services. Surf provides services for communications-intensive businesses, utilities, government agencies and educational establishments throughout the region.

See also:

United Kingdom and Ireland Market Analysis – 2002;

United Kingdom – Key Statistics and Telecommunications Market Overview;

United Kingdom – Voice, Data and Internet Services.

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Utility telco provides Ethernet Broadband to SW England – November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

Surf Telecoms, the telecoms infrastructure division of Western Power Distribution, will provide next-generation broadband Ethernet access to businesses, academic institutions, carriers and service providers in the South West of England through its fibre optic telecommunications network. The service can scale from 10Mb/s to Gigabit Ethernet.

Surf Telecoms already has an extensive network of fibre optic cable and local points of presence (PoPs) across Wales and South West England. Combining this network with Cisco’s Metro Ethernet Switching portfolio helps enable it to provide flexible, scalable bandwidth to its customers.

Ethernet will provide their customers with the high bandwidth they need with a new baseline of 10Mb/s, yet gives them more flexibility than traditional leased-lined connections. By providing Ethernet capabilities alongside their existing SDH fibre optic services, they will be able to offer their customers maximum choice. The Ethernet service lets them pay only for the bandwidth they use, yet increase their available capacity quickly to cope with unexpected demand. Services also include IP telephony, e-learning and content storage.

Surf Telecoms runs most of its fibre optic cable along its existing power cables, either as a separate cable or wrapped around the earth wire. This is only a quarter the cost of running underground cables, meaning it can pass the savings on to its customers and offer cost-effective broadband connections.

The company also locates its PoPs within existing electricity substations, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure of parent company Western Power Distribution.

See also:

United Kingdom – Broadband Market Overview;

United Kingdom – Content and E-services;

Global – Industry – Powerline Communication;

Australia – UtiliTel.



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Is Romania’s long-running RomTelecom ownership battle over? – November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

After many months of discussions, in early November 2002 the Communications Minister announced that the share of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) (see separate report) in Romanian fixed-line incumbent operator RomTelecom, would be increased to a controlling stake of over 51% in a US$243 million deal consisting of a combination of cash and conversion of debt into equity.

A previous government sold a 35% stake in RomTelecom in 1998 to OTE for US$675 million. OTE also gained voting rights, income rights and pre-emption rights over an additional 16% of shares.

In early 2002 the government planned further privatisation and went so far as to choose Schroder Salomon Smith Barney as the consultant, to complete a report by end-2002. However, the terms of the 1998 contract had reduced the government’s voting share of RomTelecom to only 49%, giving OTE the power to veto government plans and to implement its own plans.

OTE claimed that RomTelecom required US$450 million for debt repayment and network upgrades. It proposed a rights issue, with OTE the only shareholder to participate, in which it said it was prepared to invest US$200 million. As this would dilute its holding to a minority and therefore reduce its ability to raise much needed funds, the government objected and proposed that OTE should buy the state’s remaining 65%. OTE rejected the proposal and threatened to leave the Romanian market entirely.

It is to be hope that the latest reports signal the end of the dispute, but this is not the first time that the two parties have been said to have reached agreement and the deal must still be approved.

See also: Romania.

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Russian mobile operator MTS adds UMC of the Ukraine to its collection – November 2002

Friday, November 1st, 2002

In early November 2002 Russian mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), itself 40% owned by Deutsche Telekom bought a 57.7% stake in Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC) from owners Ukrtelecom (the incumbent fixed-line operator), KPN of Denmark and Deutsche Telekom for US$194.2 million. Before the deal Ukrtelecom had owned 51% and KPN and Deutsche had each had a 16.33% stake. TDC Tele Danmark continues to own a 16.33% stake. After regulatory approval, MTS will pay Deutsche Telekom and KPN US$55 million each and pay Ukrtelecom US$84.2 million for a 25% stake.

MTS also entered into option agreements with TDC, for the purchase of all of its stake, and with Ukrtelecom, to purchase its remaining 26% stake. Thus, if all options were exercised, MTS would become sole owner of UMC.

UMC was established in 1992 and began operating analogue services in June 1993. It commercially launched its GSM network in September 1997. At end-2001 UMC had a market share of 46.8%, down from 55% the year before. Its main competitor, Kyivstar, majority owned by Telenor of Norway has overtaken it in the Ukrainian mobile market but UMC has a much more profitable customer base.

MTS is Russia’s largest mobile operator has been buying up regional operators and acquiring licences all over Russia to form a national network. It is one of three national Russian operators. In September 2001 it won a tender for a second GSM licence in Belarus and launched services in June 2002. Although it operates as MTS in Belarus, the entity is 51% state owned.

See also: Ukraine; Belarus; Russia: Wireless Communications and Broadcasting.

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