Thursday, June 2, 2011

GSA: Mobile HD Voice Now Launched on 20 Carrier Networks

Mobile HD Voice services are now launched on 20 carrier networks worldwide, according to the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association). Europe is taking the lead role with mobile HD Voice.

Mobile HD Voice uses Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband technology (W-AMR) standardized by 3GPP, and enables high-quality voice calls in mobile networks and an improved user experience. It provides significantly higher voice quality for calls between mobile phones supporting the feature, and can be implemented in GSM and WCDMA (UMTS) networks.

There are now 33 mobile phone models supporting HD Voice, mostly from Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung.

GSA's Mobile HD Voice: Global Update report, published June 3, 2011, confirms that 40% of countries in the European Union have commercially launched mobile HD Voice services, or are engaged in trials and tests ahead of planned commercial introduction. Furthermore, operator investments in mobile HD Voice extend far beyond Europe.

The first commercial mobile HD Voice service was introduced in September 2009. HD Voice services are now launched on 20 mobile networks in 18 countries and territories – Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, La RĂ©union, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

Trials and network deployments of HD Voice ahead of planned commercial introduction are also progressing in Australia, Austria, the Dominican Republic, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, UAE and the USA.

A total of 33 HD Voice-capable phones are available from leading manufacturers including Alcatel, HTC, LG, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. Many of the latest products are shipping with the HD Voice capability activated as default.

Verizon Cites Green Efforts in California

Verizon cited a number of conservation initiatives it has undertaken in California, including:

  • the removal and recycling of more than 5 million feet of unused cable, including 2 million feet of old lead cable in 2010.

  • the recycling of 2,895 mobile phones and accessories in California, via Verizon Wireless' HopeLine® program, which resulted in keeping electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

  • a contract to convert 300 gasoline-powered Ford E-250 cargo vans to CNG (compressed natural gas), a move that will reduce vehicle carbon emissions by 480 tons per year. Used by the company in Southern California, the CNG engines emit 23 percent less carbon dioxide than comparable gasoline-powered vans.

"We're an essential part of the technology ecosystem, and as demand for our high-IQ networks continues to increase we will grow our business responsibly," said Tim McCallion, Verizon West region president. "Verizon continues to find ways to partner with our employees, customers and vendors to find opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our business."

AT&T Acquires Convergys' Stake in Cincinnati Cell Partnerships for $320M

AT&T has agreed to acquire Convergys Corporation's holdings in certain "cellular partnerships" located in the Cincinnati metropolitan area for approximately $320 million in cash.

As a result of its spin-off from Cincinnati Bell Inc. in 1998, Convergys received a 34% limited partnership interest in Cincinnati SMSA and a 45% limited partnership interest in Cincinnati SMSA Tower Holdings. Together, these two properties are referred to as the "cellular partnerships."

AT&T is the general partner, managing all the cellular partnerships' business on a day-to-day basis. Convergys does not take part in this management.

Convergys expects the sale to generate net after-tax proceeds of approximately $250 million. The deal is not expected to incur regulatory review and so will be completed in July 2011.

Hong Kong Broadband Offers 1 Gbps Triple Play for US$20/Month

Hong Kong Broadband Network launched an "Incredible Triple-Play" service consisting of 1 Gbps broadband, voice, and pay-TV for US$20/month (HK$158) with 24-month contract.

Hong Kong Broadband Network, which currently has over 1,110,000 subscriptions for broadband, local telephony and IPTV, said it is able to cut price this low because it is benefitting from rapidly increasing economies of scale as the market in Hong Kong embraces its 1 Gbps service. With costs falling, the company said it is simply passing on the savings to its customers and make money for its shareholders.

Hong Kong Broadband Network calculates its cost per home past is approximately US$200, amongst the lowest in the world. The company claims its Return on Equity has risen from 3.2% in FY2007 to 19% in 1H FY2011. The company also said that it is very encouraged the incumbent's recent high profile launch of its Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) 200Mbps plus WiFi service in Public Housing estates for HK$165.

Ms. June Lam, Associate Director of Marketing, HKBN said, "We are ecstatic to be pioneering the mass take-up of Fibre-To-The-Home. Today, our 1Gbps coverage already surpasses over 1 million households and we are working hard to approach 2 million households coverage by end 2011. As with all new technologies, take-up accelerates once a certain inflection point of acceptance is reached, and we believe that Hong Kong is now at that inflection point"