Archive for May, 2017

Azerbaijan’s fixed broadband sector continues with moderate growth

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

After the oil sector, the telecommunications industry is the largest sector in Azerbaijan, and a major contributor to the country’s economy. Government-owned Aztelekom has been the country’s main telecom service provider, being directly controlled by the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT). In 2017 AzTelekom revealed plans to introduce fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband in an upgrade to its existing ADSL network.

Azerbaijan’s fixed-line network provides good national coverage and subscriber numbers were expanding at a modest rate up to 2014. However by during 2015, 2016 and 2017growth had flattened. Just over 80% of fixed lines are in urban areas, despite 50% of the population living in rural areas.

The mobile market in Azerbaijan has seen moderate growth over the past few years. Market penetration has increased from 107% in 2013, to over 110% by 2017. Further moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2021.

There are four major mobile operators in the Azerbaijan market. Azercell dominates the market. Bakcell and Azerofon account for the majority of the remainder of the market.

Internet user penetration reached nearly 80% by 2016. Broadband now has a significant presence in the market with over 90% of fixed internet services being broadband by 2017.

The fixed broadband market has seen moderate growth over the past few years. Fixed broadband penetration has increased significantly from 2009 onwards. Moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2021.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Azerbaijan – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

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Civil unrest in Yemen has created a challenging environment for telecoms operators

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The short-term outlook remains difficult for the telecoms operators in Yemen. The challenging environment which currently exists is a result of the ongoing conflict between opposing parties which flared again in late 2014 and continues today. In 2017 international concern is mounting regarding the growing humanitarian issues in Yemen, with famine and food shortages rising, along with a severe cholera outbreak.

The unrelenting military activity has impacted heavily upon Yemen’s economy as well as reportedly causing severe destruction to the country’s infrastructure, including telecommunications equipment. Telecoms operators also face the challenge of a market which is inhibited by the lack of an independent regulator.

Yemen had done much to upgrade and expand its telecom sector prior to the civil unrest. However tele-density remains among the lowest in the Arab states, reflecting Yemen’s status as one of the poorest countries in the region.

Current mobile penetration levels indicate there is much room for growth, with prepaid services accounting for the majority of mobile subscriptions. Yemen’s mobile data market is in the nascent stages of development, with mobile messaging and mobile Internet access offered. Serious competition is unlikely until the GSM operators are permitted to launch 3G services however.

A further inhibitor to the uptake of both Internet and mobile broadband services has been the high costs. Fixed home Internet access is expensive with consumers required to purchase a router and pay for on-going monthly bundles, which can be cost prohibitive. For this reason, many citizens choose to utilize Internet cafes instead. Mobile broadband services, as well as smart phone devices, are also very expensive and beyond the reach of much of the population where many live below the poverty line.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Yemen – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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The Australian Digital Media Industry Continues its Transformation

Monday, May 29th, 2017

With the rise of digital platforms, the media industry has had to change and the transformation continues in 2017. In newspaper and book publishing, TV and radio broadcasting, film, music, and other forms of media, we see that the national walls that protect local organisations within traditional models are crumbling. In other words, it is no longer an issue of local market share. It is now about international market share. Over-The-Top providers have also had an enormous impact on the traditional media, as well as the telcos.

There are a number of sub-sectors which make up the overall digital media entertainment market and in 2017 many of these are demonstrating enormous growth. This highly competitive market is flourishing on the back of improved mobile and broadband infrastructure and consumers continuing to embrace entertainment services such as gaming, social media, video streaming and music.

The smartphone market has slowed from its boom years to a more modest growth.  Although Samsung and Apple remain the leading smartphone suppliers globally, their market share is being eroded by lower-priced phones from China.

Wearable technology has also become a thriving industry, with an ever-broadening range of possible uses and devices. With wearable devices still making their mark on the consumer market, the industry is looking at the potential of wearables in the enterprise sector – for example, being hands-free devices, smart glasses are ideal in the blue-collar business. A major threat to the smartphone and wearables business however arises from the limitations of the mobile broadband infrastructure. The mobile industry can develop all of these new applications and services, but if the infrastructure cannot handle the capacity, there will be little use for them.

Social media developments are fascinating and exciting. They show the great potential of the new communication and information tools that are becoming available thanks to the internet, Web 2.0, email, broadband infrastructure and mobile phones and tablets. However, for these new social media tools to succeed, they need to be fully and totally integrated into our daily communication.

Popular Australian social media sites have come and gone over the last five or so years as users trend to new features that allow them to experiment and connect. Services include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, Foursquare and LinkedIn Instagram, Pinterest and many others. The battle however is still far from over, with companies trying to build viable business models around their ever increasing customer data bases. Increased use of mobile broadband through mobile devices is driving consumer uptake, with many businesses now also investing in social media and also expecting a return.

As broadband speed and capacity increases we are seeing a whole new range of gaming applications entering the market over the next decade. Not needing a console has increased access and created distinctions between console vs. casual gamers. Games are now integrated with other online services such as music and movies. The video and computer games industry in Australia continues to grow strongly. Much of the growth in digital has come from a jump year-on-year in mobile game downloads.

Online gaming and gambling can take players from outside the boundaries of their home countries where these online activities may or may not be sanctioned by the authorities. The global market is an expanding one where virtual online gaming and virtual online gambling is a growth market. There is a decline in the number of Australians who are gambling – but an explosion in sports betting, especially via online.

The Australian mobile media provider market has seen some changes over the last few years as company mergers and acquisitions bring consolidation to the industry. The major mobile media players are becoming digital media providers as they provide access to their services via mobile devices.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Australia – Digital Media – Apps and Services

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Mobile subscribers grow at a moderate pace in Afghanistan

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Afghanistan continues to be confronted by the challenges. The political and civil stability of the country is a dark cloud hanging over the country; and is a particular threat to the effectiveness of the telecommunications network and the viability of the telecommunications sector.

By 2017 despite the positive signs of a civil society taking shape, the country was still suffering from the ongoing conflict and multiple difficulties in administering the nation. After many years of war and civil strife, an encouraging aspect of the country’s efforts to rebuild has been the considerable success evident in the creating of a functional telecommunications sector virtually from nothing.

Internet penetration in Afghanistan remains very low although has increased significantly over the past five years, increasing from 3% in 2011 to 13% in 2016. Penetration is predicted to increase to over 15% by 2018. Fixed broadband penetration remains very low in Afghanistan at less than 0.1%

Afghanistan has a highly competitive mobile market that continues to flourish despite the background of the ongoing conflict throughout the country. The mobile sector has been boosted by the absence of effective fixed-line alternatives. There are five mobile operators competing in Afghanistan’s telecom sector. Between them they claimed a total of more than 25 million subscribers, with an overall mobile penetration of 80% The market is predicted to grow moderately over the next five years to 2021 increasing to reach penetration of between 86% and 95%.

By 2017, there were over two million 3G mobile broadband subscribers in the country. In mid 2016 the MCIT reduced the cost of international bandwidth by 20%, in a move to lay the groundwork for the introduction of 4G services in the future.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Afghanistan – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses


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Dutch Smart City Delegation back in Australia

Friday, May 26th, 2017

It will be the third time in six months that a Dutch Smart City Mission will visit Australia. This time the visit will coincide with next week’s Smart Communities Conference in Adelaide, organised by the Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA).

The first visit took place in November last year when Queen Maxima of the Netherlands was the esteemed guest of the Australian Dutch Smart City Summit in Sydney, together with the Hon Henk Kamp, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands; Senator the Hon James McGrath, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister; Mrs Lucy Turnbull, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC); as well as several mayors and other government and industry dignitaries.

A follow-up visit took place in March, when the delegation visited all the cities that have signed MoUs with the Dutch-led Global Smart Communities and Cities Coalition (GSC3).

Since that time significant effort has gone into building collaboration links between smart cities in the Netherlands and the GSC3 smart cities in Australia (Adelaide, Canberra, Bendigo, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Sydney (GSC), Ipswich and Moreton Bay).

The upcoming visit will further strengthen the links between both countries, with plans for meetings with the participating cities.

Businesses in both Australia and the Netherlands are critical in assisting in the collaboration projects between Australian and Dutch cities. This is particularly interesting for businesses that operate internationally and a range of meetings are planned to explore these business opportunities.

The Dutch Government is hosting a networking reception in Adelaide on Sunday 28th May. GSC3 will also participate in the Smart City Mayors Meeting hosted by the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, the Hon Martin Haese.

Apart from Adelaide the delegation will this time also visit Sydney and Brisbane.

But also R&D collaboration will be explored. During the same period the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions will meet with potential R&D partners in Australia.

The next international activity will be the Australian Smart City Mission to the Netherlands. Last November the Dutch Government invited the Australian Government to lead such a mission. It will take place from 19-22 November and coincides with the Global Smart City Conference in Barcelona, which takes place in the week prior to the mission.

Paul Budde

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