Portuguese telcos focussed on replacing copper with fibre infrastructure

April 18th, 2017, by

Portugal’s medium-sized telecom market has a strong mobile sector and a growing broadband customer base focussed on the delivery of fibre-based services. The country shows signs of emerging from several years in which it suffered from poor economic conditions which dented telecom revenue. Although operators’ domestic revenue is still under strain, there are encouraging signs of developing growth. Under the management of the Altice Group, revenue for Portugal Telecom increased 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2016, the first such increase in several years.

Pressure on operators has prompted considerable ownership changes in recent years. The market is now dominated by only a few players, including Portugal Telecom (with services marketed under the Meo brand), NOS (formerly Zon Multimédia) and Vodafone Portugal.

Despite some consolidation among players the Portuguese mobile market remains dominated by Portugal Telecom, followed by Vodafone and NOS. The market share held by Meo has fallen steadily in recent years, to below 44% by early 2017. The MVNO market remains undeveloped, partly because network operators have their own low-cost brands. Collectively, MVNOs have about 1.7% share of the market by subscribers.

Population coverage by 3G infrastructure is universal and so most investment has been directed to LTE and to incremental upgrades to network infrastructure. Altice Labs in February 2017 began working with Ericsson to develop 5G services and applications.

In recent years broadband penetration has grown rapidly, largely the result of joint efforts between the regulator and the key market operators which have invested in significant infrastructure upgrades focussed on fibre-based services. Portugal Telecom is aiming to cover 5.3 million premises with fibre by 2020. NOS and Vodafone Portugal are also pursuing fibre.

This report reviews the major elements of the Portuguese telecom market, presenting statistics on the fixed telephony sector as well as an analysis of the major market players. Additional information is provided on the key regulatory issues, noting the status of interconnection, local loop unbundling, number portability and carrier preselection. The report also covers converged media, including statistics on videostreaming and bundled services as well as an analysis of the major players and service offerings. In addition the report profiles the fixed and fixed-wireless broadband markets as well as the mobile voice and data markets, assessing network operators and the key regulatory issues. Subscriber forecasts are provided to 2022.

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

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Estonia’s incumbent telco to close DSL-based services by end-2020

April 12th, 2017, by

Estonia’s telecom market continues to benefit from a range of regulatory measures which have encouraged competition, enabling alternative operators to chip away at the fixed-line market share of the incumbent Telia. Fixed-line infrastructure upgrades have been geared to supporting bundled offerings, and this process has prompted Telia to stop services based on DSL by the end of 2020. Instead, services will be carried over the operator’s VDSL, fibre and G.fast infrastructure, supplemented by LTE in rural areas.

Estonia has one of the most advanced mobile markets in Europe, having benefitted from considerable investment from the mobile network operators Telia, Elisa and Tele2. The market enjoys effective competition, although the MVNO sector remains underdeveloped. Operator investment in HSPA and LTE technologies has underscored the growing mobile broadband sector. The launch of LTE-A services has also provided far higher data rates, bringing the county to the forefront of such developments in the region and supporting a range of mobile data services and applications. Operators are engaged in 5G trials, which will further underpin revenue growth in coming years once services become commercially available from about 2020.

The country also has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Europe, supported by comprehensive DSL infrastructure and an extensive reach of cable and fibre networks. Elisa’s acquisition of the principal cableco Starman in March 2017 will enable the operator to offer a more comprehensive suite of bundled services, and so compete more effectively with Telia.

High broadband penetration has underpinned Estonia’s emerging internet economy, with various e-commerce, e-government, e-education and e-health services available and widely used. The cable TV market is well developed and hence cable TV operators have been well-positioned to offer bundled play services.

This report provides statistics and an overview of broadband market developments and trends in Estonia, as well as forecasts to 2022. It also includes major market developments in the country’s converging media and digital economy.

This report provides an overview of Estonia’s telecom market, the performance of the largely international players, recent regulatory developments, and the status of fixed-line networks and the NGN. It also includes a range of operating and financial data.

This report provides a concise overview of Estonia’s mobile market as players further develop the data sector. It covers the major players, regulatory developments, services offered and a variety of financial and operating statistics.

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

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Irish government poised to invest €600 million for national broadband coverage

April 11th, 2017, by

Ireland’s telecom market has emerged from a long period in which it had been held back by low broadband uptake and a poor economic climate which hindered investment among operators as well as spending among consumers. The country during the last two years has recorded the highest GDP growth within the European Union (EU), and this has reinvigorated the telecom sector. Operators including eir, enet and Vodafone Ireland (in cooperation with the utility ESB) have extensive fibre-based networks deployments in place aimed at providing 1Gb/s services, while the government is poised to award a contract as part of its National Broadband Plan by which all premises will receive a service of at least 30Mb/s by 2022. This Plan, requiring an investment of up to €600 million and expected to deliver broadband services to about 900,000 premises considered uncommercial by market players, will greatly boost the adoption of OTT videostreaming services as well as services including e-government, e-health and e-learning.

Although there was a downward trend for overall telecom revenue after 2010, this has been reversed since 2015. There was an encouraging 1.4% increase sector revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, year-on-year, and a 1.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In the broadband market investment has been channelled into fibre-based access. In the cable sector, Virgin Media Ireland expects to increase its footprint from 50% of premises to 70% within the next two years, and is looking to upgrade it network capabilities by deploying the DOCSIS3.1 standard, which can deliver data at above 1Gb/s.

Ireland’s mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland, followed at some distance by Eir Mobile. The market has room for a small number of MVNOs, the largest of which is Tesco Mobile. Competition in the market in recent years has left some MVNOs struggling. Although the number of dedicated mobile broadband subscribers fell in 2016 for the first time, mobile broadband use, supported by extensive HSPA and LTE networks, remains very popular among consumers, particularly since the introduction of flat-rate data plans. LTE forms an integral part of the government’s national broadband strategy, with upgraded LTE technologies being used to provide the required minimum service in many rural areas.

This report provides statistics and analysis on the key sectors of the Irish telecom market, presenting an overview of the regulatory environment, the fixed network operators and services, and telecom infrastructure. The report also profiles the fixed and wireless broadband markets as well as the mobile market, together with analyses of developments in related technologies such as FttP, powerline broadband, wireless and mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, internet via satellite, LTE and5G. The report includes forecasts for broadband and mobile uptake to 2022.

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


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Inter-Process Communication – building block for the new internet

April 10th, 2017, by

The blog on the need for a new internet received quite a bit of (international) attention and with the assistance of colleague John Day  would like to elaborate a bit further on this.

I mentioned RINA as a good example that can be used to have a look at how such a new internet should look like.

Interestingly the basics are not all that new. Already in the 1970s but certainly two decades later there were plenty of telecoms and computer engineers who started to understand that the future telecommunications work would have more to do with computing than with telecoms. However, the vested interests in telecoms had more interest in protecting their very lucrative telephone income and many of the telecoms initiatives had more to do with designing new infrastructure that first of all protected telephony and secondly also allowed for data.. In the 1990s companies such as AT&T in the USA and Telstra in Australia warned their governments that ‘this internet’ was dangerous and could lead to a total meltdown of the telecoms network.

However, there were plenty of people at that time who did see the need for a totally new internet for example  most of the people involved in the ARPANET saw networking as Inter-Process communication (IPC).  OSI was another attempt (by the computer industry) to change the infrastructure from telecom centric to computer centric.

The IPC technology and concept is also at the heart of RINA. It will be interesting to see if this time around the engineers can convince the policymakers the need for a new internet for all of the reasons mention in the previous blog:

  • Cyber-terror and cyber-war
  • Cyber-crime
  • Political (government) interference (Russian and Chinese hackers, Prism, Stuxnet, etc)
  • Privacy intrusion (governments, Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc)

This time it should be based on a genuine paradigm shift from a telecom view to a distributed processing view.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about IPC

In computer science, inter-process communication or interprocess communication (IPC) refers specifically to the mechanisms an operating system provides to allow processes it manages to share data. Typically, applications can use IPC, categorized as clients and servers, where the client requests data and the server responds to client requests. Many applications are both clients and servers, as commonly seen in distributed computing. Methods for achieving IPC are divided into categories which vary based on software requirements, such as performance and modularity requirements, and system circumstances, such as network bandwidth and latency.

IPC is very important to the design process for microkernels and nanokernels. Microkernels reduce the number of functionalities provided by the kernel. Those functionalities are then obtained by communicating with servers via IPC, increasing drastically the number of IPC compared to a regular monolithic kernel.

Paul Budde

See also: BuddeComm Intelligence Report – Internet Governance, E-Security and Net Neutrality Insights

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The remarkable story of Fetch

April 10th, 2017, by

Broadcasting, video media, streaming are topics that are always in the headlines of the media. But it is a mixed bag of comments that you hear: ‘Broadcasting is on the way out’ ‘Netflix reaches 2 million users’, ‘Telstra struggles with Big Pond’, ‘Video streaming overtakes mobile usage’…. the list goes on.

We saw the traditional broadcasters belatedly try to enter the new video media market, but this ended up with more losers than winners. We have seen Telstra miss the opportunity to dominate this market with its combined Big Pond, Foxtel and Sensis services, and in general none of the telcos has been successful in competing with the internet-based video media companies.

Now look at Fetch …..

When it arrived as a start-up few would have thought that the company had any chance against the national and international moguls, and it has certainly taken them a long time to get to where they are now, surpassing the 500,000 subscribers mark.

And they have done it the hard way – by herding the Australian telco cats into a collaborative model. Collaboration is one of the easiest words to say but it is one of the most difficult concepts to implement, and that is most certainly the case in the highly competitive telco market.

Yet Fetch has done the impossible and brought Optus and most of the second-tier telcos in behind the Fetch business model. It allows the telcos to offer their customers a first-class video media service, while Fetch does all the hard work in the background. The service is white-labelled so each telco can do its own distinct marketing around the service.

Fetch also retails the service through Harvey Norman and JB HiFi

With collaboration rather than competition in mind, Fetch was also one of the first to include Netflix in its offering, providing a one-stop service to its customers.

Slowly but surely the NBN is being rolled out and this is something that also benefits Fetch, whose services are delivered via broadband. This distribution media supplies a great opportunity to offer an alternative to Australia’s leading pay TV service Foxtel.

During all of the hard work the owner of Fetch, Malaysian-based Astro, stayed right behind Fetch’s CEO, Scott Larsen, the driving force behind the venture. It is thanks to Scott that Fetch is where it is today.

Scott says that it is now time for the company to come out, and it is going to spend $10 million in the next three months to promote its service – of course with the support of its telco and retail partners.

Paul Budde

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