December around the world Africa Morocco – Orange country Orange has announced its launch in Morocco, where it will replace the Méditel brand. With 14.2 million customers, Orange’s Moroccan subsidiary brings together the second largest number of customers within the Group’s Middle East and African footprint, after Orange Egypt. Méditel was the country’s first 4G operator, launching the ultra-fast mobile service in June 2016 and currently achieving 42% population coverage on top of its existing 99% 2G and 3G coverage. South Africa – Vodacom financials Vodafone’s African subsidiary, Vodacom, reported 4.2% service growth in November due to strong customer and data growth in South Africa. This included 5.6% half-yearly service revenue increase driven by increasing data usage, bundling and an increasing customer base. This growth helped the division of Vodafone to offset a slowdown elsewhere, where regulatory issues in Tanzania, the DRC and Mozambique reduced growth to 3.5%.
Asia Palestine, Oman, Qatar, Maldives – A Messi competition Mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services provider Ooredoo gave four customers the chance to meet footballer Lionel Messi in Barcelona through the company’s ‘Stand for Good’ CSR programme, which helps ‘empowering women, helping refugees and educating youths’. The winners, from Palestine, Oman, Qatar and the Maldives, were also invited to see Messi play at a match in Barcelona.’ North Korea – Glorious data for most glorious leader North Korean network operator Koryolink has announced new data-oriented price plans, according to NK News.
The five different rates have differing membership fees, monthly rates, data limits and additional fees, but all must be paid for in advance. Describing the deals, a pamphlet by the network reads: ‘The subscribers pay 2,850 North Korean Won as a flat quarter fee, and utilize information and telecommunication services by using the accumulated balance.’This works out at about 45p in GBP according to unofficial exchange rates.
Oceana New Zealand – Nokia doubles Spark capacity Nokia’s Optical Transport Network system has enabled New Zealand comms provider Spark to double its capacity using Nokia’s 1830 Photonic Service Switch. It is the first deployment of a system capable of achieving 200G per wavelength. Ray Owen, head of Oceania at Nokia, said: ‘By taking a flexible approach to this challenge with New Zealand’s first 200Gbps fibre link, together with Nokia, Spark is well-placed to meet continued demand growth while meeting existing user expectations.’
Europe Slovakia – EU Council lowers wholesale data roaming caps The European Council of Ministers has agreed data roaming caps of 10 euros per GB, which is to halve again in 2021. Countries that benefit from tourism, such as the UK, Italy, Greece and Spain, have lobbied for the cap to be higher in order to protect their revenues from roaming. A final agreement on roaming caps must be made by the 17 June deadline. Spain – ZTE & Telefonica complete Pre5G testing Chinese manufacturer ZTE and Spanish operator Telefonica have completed their first live mass in-put mass out-put (MIMO) Pre5G test. According to ZTE, the test results exceeded expectations, improving network capacity six-fold.
Telefónica Group CTO Enrique Blanco explained: ‘We believe Pre5G massive MIMO technology can solve the internet’s last-mile problem by improving internet access and therefore enhancing the user experience. Massive MIMO will be a fundamental technological enabler for future 5G networks.’ Austria – P3 testing reveals superior quality P3 Communications’ testing of Austria’s mobile operators has revealed scores far surpassing those of any UK network. In Austria – a three-play market – the lowest scoring operator (T-Mobile) still scored higher than the best scoring UK network (EE), with all three receiving the company’s ‘very good’ rating – in the UK three networks achieved ‘good’ and O2 achieved a ‘satisfactory’ rating. Across the border in Switzerland, operator Sunrise achieved the test’s first ever ‘outstanding’ rating.
North America AT&T to repay $88 million to customers American operator AT&T is to begin repaying 2.7 million customers for billed items such as ringtones, wallpapers and sms subscriptions that they hadn’t agreed to. The country’s regulator, the Federal Trade Commission, announced in 2014 that the operator would have to repay the $88 million owed, and it has taken the past two years to trace who is owed what. Identified customers will receive their refund within the next 75 days.
South America Argentina – Speed or coverage? OpenSignal’s latest Argentinian mobile operator report has concluded that while Personal Argentina (owned by Telecom Argentina) achieved the fastest 4G and 3G download speeds (16.1 Mbps and 3.2Mbps respectively), Movistar – which is owned by Telefonica – achieved the best 4G coverage (73.6%).
www.mobiletoday.co.uk December 2016