Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ITU: Broadband Remain Unaffordable in Many Markets

While there are some 600 million broadband lines in service worldwide, affordability remains a major obstacle, particularly in Africa, where fixed broadband access costs on average three times monthly per capita income, according to the ITU's newly published "Trends in Telecommunication Reform" annual report.

In contrast, mobile cellular and mobile broadband services remains very competitive in 92 percent of all markets. By the end of 2011, ITU estimated that the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions reached close to 6 billion, representing a global penetration of 86.7 percent and a penetration level of 78.8 percent in developing countries.

Subtitled ‘Smart Regulation for a Broadband World', this year's report sheds light on the often complex legal and regulatory issues now emerging as broadband becomes pervasive and increasingly serves as a driving force for the development of other economic sectors. Case studies and decision trees are provided for national regulators who are working through the process of developing a broadband plan for their country. Ultimately, there is not a single "right" universal service funding model, according to the report, but there are common principles such as economic efficiency, equity, competitive neutrality, technological neutrality, certainty, transparency, and cost effectiveness. 

Overture Bolsters International Sales Team

Overture announced the opening of offices in India, Italy, Malaysia and Russia -- significantly expanding its international sales team.

These additions follow on the heels of Overture’s recent appointments of vice presidents for Canada and the Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) regions. 

AT&T Selected by U.S. Department of Homeland Security TacCom

AT&T Government Solutions was named prime vendor under the Tactical Communications Equipment and Services (TacCom) contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a multiple award, Indefinite Delivery – Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with an overall value of $3 billion and a base contract period of two years and three, one-year options.

The TacCom contract provides DHS and its component agencies with a range of tactical communications products, infrastructure, and services to support public safety communications for first responders. As a prime vendor, AT&T can compete against other vendors for individual awards from DHS and its component agencies.

AT&T was awarded a position in all five functional categories under the TacCom contract, including Subscriber 

Level 3 Expands in Latin America

Level 3 Communications announced an expansion of its data centers in Latin America in response to significant growth in customer demand. The company currently has 14 data centers in the region. Substantial data center expansions are underway in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.

Level 3 also added new hosting and storage services, and increased its backup and storage capacity to enhance its customers' ability to grow in the region and internationally. The company has incorporated network, security, and storage management tools, and completed the first phase implementation of security and processing platforms that support its virtual and dynamic infrastructure services in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. 

Vimplecom Loses Subscribers in Russia as it Targets Profitable Growth

Vimplecom reported Q1 2012 revenue of US$5.619 billion, up 3% over a year earlier, and net income of US$318 million, down 29% over last year.

"The benefits of executing on our strategy can be seen across our businesses: in Russia, our focus on profitable growth has delivered a strong organic increase of 9% in EBITDA and 11% in revenues. In the Africa & Asia business unit organic revenues rose by 9%, with a particularly strong contribution from Pakistan. In Italy we again gained market share, outperforming our competitors and our Ukraine and our CIS business units delivered solid revenue increases," stated Jo Lunder, CEO of Vimplecom.

Some highlights:

In Russia, revenue growth was 11%.

In Italy, revenues were flat YoY and EBITDA declined 2%. However, mobile subscriptions were up 4%, fixed voice up 3% and fixed broadband up 9% YoY.

The total mobile subscriber base increased 12% YoY to 209 million at the end of the first quarter. The largest absolute contribution came from accelerated growth in subscribers in the Africa & Asia Business Unit. The Company also achieved strong growth in fixed and mobile broadband subscribers in Russia, Italy and Ukraine.

Overall mobile subscribers in Russia declined in the first quarter 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, which benefited from extensive pre-holiday sales. Mobile broadband subscribers in Russia increased 12% YoY to 2.6 million, while the Fixed broadband subscriber base reached over 2 million, up 42% YoY. Overall, organic revenue growth in Russia was strong at 11% YoY.

Vimplecom is still seeking an amicable resolution with the Algerian government.

Vimplecom has sold its 49% controlling interest in GTEL Mobile in Vietnam.

CAPEX in Q1 was US$632 million, compared with US$729 million proforma a year earlier. 

  • In March, an Algerian Court handed down a judgment against Orascom Telecom Algerie (“OTA”) and a member of OTA’s senior executive team. The judgment relates to a previously disclosed claim brought in 2010 by the Algerian authorities alleging breaches of foreign exchange regulations. The judgment consists of fines of 99 billion Algerian Dinar (approximately USD 1.3 billion) and a criminal sentence against a member of OTA’s senior executive team.

MPLS and Mobile Backhaul

 In this interview, Sultan Dawood, the Broadband Forum's Marketing Committee Vice Chair, discusses network architecture for mobile backhaul.

1:20 -- What is the Broadband Forum doing with mobile backhaul

2:08 -- How does MPLS fit into the network architecture given that Ethernet is the access technology of choice?

3:40 What about MPLS-TP?