LTE services Alaska

Alaska comes in from the cold as AT&T confirms LTE switch-on

AT&T Mobility has announced that it has turned on its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Anchorage, Alaska, beating chief rival Verizon Wireless to the punch.

Scott Meyers, director of sales for AT&T Mobility in Alaska, commented: ‘We continue to see demand for mobile internet skyrocket, and our 4G LTE network in Anchorage responds to what customers want from their mobile experience – more, faster, on the best devices’.

AT&T has also confirmed simultaneous launches in Bridgeport (Connecticut), Omaha (Nebraska), Bakersfield (California), Syracuse (New York), Modesto (California) and Jacksonville (Florida).

Alaska is the only US state not yet covered by Verizon’s 371-city LTE network, which currently covers 75% of the population.

3G frequency sale

MoCI sets September date for 3G channel sale; sets fee at USD20m

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCI) plans to hold a tender to auction ‘channel 11’ and ‘channel 12’ 3G frequencies this month. The date has yet to be decided.

The sale of the 3G channel frequencies was postponed at the end of last year and has been rescheduled no fewer than three times since then. Local industry watchers note that with incumbent cellcos’ networks groaning under current capacity constraints on their 3G networks, the planned allocation of a third channel is long overdue.

According to the head of public relations at the MoCI, Gatot S Dewa Broto, it will set a minimum reserve fee of IDR200 billion (USD20 million) for blocks of spectrum in the channel 11 and channel 12 auction – marking a hike on the previous price of IDR160 billion-IDR175 billion. The reserve excludes the carriers’ up-front fees and annual fee, he said. It is understood that details of the additional 3G blocks to be auctioned will be made available on 17 September, and that between 19-24 September it will begin to review the document selection process.

A number of existing carriers including Telkomsel, XL Axiata, Axis Telecom Indonesia and Hutchison CP Telecom (HCPT) are all vying to buy the last two blocks of the 12-block 3G channel, the journal said.


Amazon Shows Off Two New Kindle Tablets

­Amazon has announced the expected upgrades to its Android OS based Kindle Fire tablet, with a HD variant. The Kindle Fire HD now comes with LTE support, for all 10 radio spectrum bands, as well as an upgraded Wi-Fi connection with dual antenna, dual-band, and MIMO were supported by the hotspot.

There are two versions, an 8.9″ display and a 7″ display model. The 8.9″ display on Kindle Fire HD features 254 pixels per inch with a resolution of 1920×1200, with pixels that are indistinguishable to the human eye. The 7″ Kindle Fire HD features a display with 1280×800 resolution.

The tablets also come with Skype support built-in, along with a front facing camera for video calls.

The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD is powered by an OMAP4 4470 processor and Imagination SGX544 graphics engine capable of over 12 billion floating point operations per second — 50 percent more than Tegra 3, and both Kindle Fire HD 7″ and 8.9″ come with higher memory bandwidth than Tegra 3.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO said “We’re taking on the most popular price point for a tablet, $499, but doubling the storage and incredibly, adding ultra-fast 4G LTE wireless.” he also said “Kindle Fire HD is not only the most-advanced hardware, it’s also a service. When combined with our enormous content ecosystem, unmatched cross-platform interoperability and standard-setting customer service, we hope people will agree that Kindle Fire HD is the best high-end tablet anywhere, at any price.”

Amazon is also introducing an upgraded version of the existing Kindle Fire with a faster processor, twice the memory and longer battery life, and a lower US$159 price tag.

The new Kindle Fire HD 7″ model will sell for $199, while the 8.9″ screen model will sell for $499.

Sales start on the 20th November.

messaging services

Takom offers messages to Odnoklassniki social network

Takom mobile operator Tajikistan has launched a service which allows users to receive SMS alerts from Russian social network Odnoklassniki and to respond over handsets. Incoming SMS alerts are being offered for free, with outgoing texts costing USD 0.04.


MTR may raise 4G installation fees – report

Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong could raise prices for operators to be able to offer 4G services in its trains and stations. MTR and Hong Kong’s five 4G service providers are currently in talks over these fees. The talks started “a few months ago” the South China Morning Post reports citing an unnamed source close to the matter, and the operators are trying to convince MTR to keep fees low.

CSL, Three Hong Kong, PCCW Mobile, SmarTone Telecommunications, and China Mobile Hong Kong all provide LTE services in Hong Kong.

Pakistan telecom

Mobile, telecommunication imports increase in July

According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the Telecommunication imports during the first month of the ongoing fiscal year (2012-13) increased by 12.98 percent and 16.24 percent as compared to the imports of July 2011 and June 2012 respectively.

The overall telecommunication imports during July 2012 were recorded at US$112.378 million against the imports of US$99.470 million in July 2011 and US$96.680 million in June 2012.

Among the telecommunication products, the imports of mobile phones increased by 6.90 percent in July 2012 as compared to the imports of the same month of last year. Mobile imports during July 2012 were recorded at US$52.661 million against the imports of US$49.261 million during July 2011, the PBS data revealed.

However, as compared to the imports of US$56.176 million recorded during June 2012, the mobile imports during July 2012 witnessed decrease of 6.26 percent.

The imports of other telecommunication apparatus during July 2012 increased by 18.94 percent and 47.43 percent when compared to the imports of July 2011 and June 2012, according to the data. The imports of other telecommunication apparatus stood at US$59.717 million in July against the imports of 50.209 million in July 2011 and US$40.504 million in June 2012. It is pertinent to mention here that the overall imports in July, 2012 were recorded at $ 3,662 million as compared to $ 3,979 million in June 2012, showing a decrease of 7.97% and 0.73% as compared to $ 3,689 million in July, 2011.


TDF funds rural rollout

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Communication & IT (MCIT) has signed agreements with three of the nation’s cellcos to install and manage 220 new base transceiver stations (BTS) in un-served rural areas.

The USD28 million project will be funded by the Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF), a universal access fund into which each telco must pay 2.5% of net revenues. Afghan Telecom will deploy the lion’s share of the towers with 195, whilst Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) and MTN Afghanistan will roll out nine and 16 respectively.

The new BTS are to be installed over the next 18 months and will cover an estimated 440,000 people.

M1 to offer LTE nationwide from 15 September

M1, a Singaporean mobile operator will make a nationwide 4G service available from 15 September. M1’s LTE service, operating on its dual band network in the 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum, will encompass both street level and in-building coverage with theoretical download speeds of up to 75 Mbps, and typical download speeds at fixed locations ranging from 6.9 Mbps to 17.4 Mbps. M1 will also offer LTE roaming services in Hong Kong with partner SmarTone and more countries and operators will be added in the future.

At launch, 4G devices that will be available include handsets: Samsung Galaxy Note LTE, Samsung Galaxy SII LTE, HTC One XL, and LG Optimus True HD LTE. M1 will also offer two tablets (Asus Transformer Pad TF300TL and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE) and the Huawei E392 USB modem and mobile the Huawei E589 mobile Wi-Fi modem. M1 also launched new smarthone and mobile broadband plans.

The 4G smartphone plans start at SGD 49.70 per month for 120 minutes, 600 SMS messages, and 2 GB of data, and range to SGD 208.70 per month for unlimited voice minutes, 2,000 messages, and 12 GB of data. The plans include unlimited calls to three on-net numbers and excess data is priced at SGD 5.35 per GB, capped at SGD 94.16. The mobile broadband plans start at SGD 24.84 per month for 2 GB, followed by a 5 GB plan for SGD 36.84 per month, and a 10 GB plan for SGD 52.84 per month.

3G frequencies

Govt cancels spectrum auction, hands 3G frequencies to Arsat

According to a statement by Planning Minister Julio De Vido, the government of Argentina has called off its planned auction of mobile spectrum and has instead awarded the frequencies to state-owned satellite and telecoms operator Arsat.

America Movil-owned Claro Argentina, Telecom Personal (the mobile arm of fixed line incumbent Telecom Argentina), Nextel Argentina, Multitrunk, Vietnam’s Viettel and Superfone, the ISP arm of local cable TV company Supercanal, all submitted bids for the 3G spectrum, but only Claro met the financial requirements of the tender, De Vido said.

The government has decided to hand the spectrum to Arsat, however, on the grounds that awarding the frequencies to Claro would give the operator an unfair advantage in the market and create a virtual monopoly. According to the minister, Arsat will operate 25% of the country’s 3G frequencies and could use them in partnership with small- and medium-sized companies and local cooperatives to provide services in rural areas.

The state-owned firm provides broadband and digital TV mainly in rural and underserved parts of the country, and also oversees the deployment of the government’s ‘Argentina Conectada’ national fibre-optic network project.


Confusion over Orange Dominicana’s 4G claims

The Dominican Republic’s telecoms regulator Indotel has ordered local cellco Orange Dominicana to halt advertising relating to 4G services.

A report from Dominican Today says that Orange has been found to be marketing Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless services even though customers are in fact still being connected to 3G networks. The move follows a complaint by rival operator Claro. Orange claimed to have launched LTE-based services on 3 July this year, and its website currently advertises 4G coverage in five districts of the capital, Santo Domingo. The operator is thought to be appealing against the regulatory order, although it says it will comply with Indotel’s ruling until the appeal is heard.

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