CTM Lays Out 4G Battle Plan

Fixed line and mobile operator Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM), one of the four newly 4G licensed operators in the territory, announced that it will invest up to MOP1.6 billion (USD196 million) in the next three years on network expansion. CEO Vandy Poon said that the target for this year is full coverage of Macau, even though the licence only stipulates 50% coverage in 2015. Short-term investment is set at MOP600 million for 4G and a further MOP200 million for 3G (currently accounting for almost 100% of CTM’s mobile customers), with the CEO adding:

“Once customers are used to the 4G network, they will tend to switch, so that 4G will be the dominant network.’ MacauNews.com quoted Poon as saying that the 4G service tariffs have not been established yet, but would be ‘reasonable value for money.”

In the same presentation, CTM said its full-year 2014 revenue hit MOP4.875 billion with profit of MOP1.112 billion, with positive growth in enterprise sales, internet, mobile and leased line services, while during the year CTM invested MOP519 million in projects including the modernization and expansion of mobile and fixed broadband networks.


China Mobile

China Mobile Launches 4G Roaming in 71 Countries and Regions

China Mobile’s 4G network has accumulated over 100 million domestic users since its launch in December 2013 and opened 4G international roaming services in 71 countries and regions, Sha Yuejia, Vice President of China Mobile has announced.

“The development of TD-LTE in the past year exceeded our expectation. It only took China Mobile one year to build the biggest 4G network in the world.”

Sha Yuejia said.

By the end of January 2015, China Mobile has built over 700,000 4G base stations, and realized continuous coverage in most cities and counties as well as hotspot coverage in developed villages and towns. The sales of 4G terminals exceeded 100 million and its 4G users topped 100 million as well. Around the globe, China Mobile has launched 4G international roaming services in 71 countries and regions.

Speaking of plans in 2015, Sha noted that China Mobile plans to build 1 million 4G base stations by the end of the year and realize full coverage in the country; step up efforts to expand the coverage of LTE international roaming services and strive for 100% coverage in countries and regions with adequate conditions; increase the terminal sales by 250 million, among which the sales of 4G terminals would reach 200 million; and expand the 4G customer base to 250 million.

In network technologies, China Mobile will accelerate the commercialization of LTE-A, and increase the rate from 100Mbps to 200Mbps, 600Mbps and even 1Gbps somewhere down the road. Meanwhile, the company will promote the development of technologies including 3D-MIMO, network optimization with big data, interference elimination, NFV and SDN.

In terms of terminal related technologies, China Mobile will further support the TDD/FDD integration and enable more terminals and chips that support mainstream modes and frequency bands, VoLTE, RCS and key features of LTE-A.

With regard to services, Sha pointed out that:

“China Mobile has been focusing on the commercialization of Converged Communication and the exploration of information services such as Internet of Vehicles, Mobile Healthcare and Mobile Education.”


Albtelecom Bags 4G Licence

Albanian incumbent Albtelecom, which offers wireless services under the Eagle Mobile banner, has acquired a licence to offer Long Term Evolution (LTE) services and is preparing to launch the service nationwide, the company said in a press release. Albtelecom CTO Murat Cakmak noted that all of Eagle’s sites are connected through a fibre-optic network, providing the network with much greater backhaul capacity. The official added:

“This creates a significant advantage for us. Our subscribers will be able to experience much higher speeds and far better quality with the 4G technology, as fibre-optic [links] will be a must in offering quality 4G services.”

Albtelecom is expecting to offer LTE services with peak download speeds of around 150Mbps. The operator is understood to have won 2600MHz 4G spectrum in the regulator’s auction in late February 2015, although the watchdog has yet to make a formal announcement naming the winners.


Telenor Set to Launch 4G in Serbia

Telenor has won two blocks in the 1800 Mhz frequency band spectrum auction in Serbia. Via the tender, Telenor Serbia has received the legal requirements to introduce 4G in the nation of more than seven million people. Telenor Serbia expects to introduce 4G services as of early May 2015.

“Fast mobile internet enables access to the latest services for our customers. Our participation at the spectrum auction proves our long term commitment in developing the telecommunication market. We will continue to work on creating better opportunities for everyone, providing the highest network quality and digitalizing Serbian society.”

Says Ove Fredheim, CEO of Telenor Serbia.

The introduction of 4G will be implemented gradually. 4G services will be launched in urban areas first and thereafter spread to rural regions, in line with the needs of customers.

Telenor has committed to pay seven million euros for two blocks. The company has already reimbursed a deposit of RSD 1,3 million (EUR 11.000 EUR for the participation at the tender organized by RATEL, Serbia’s official regulatory body.


Unicom to Spend USD16bn on 4G

China’s number two mobile provider China Unicom has unveiled plans to spend CNY100 billion (USD16.21 billion) on its 4G network. The investment represents a substantial increase from the cellco’s capital expenditure of CNY84.8 billion for 2014 and follows the long-awaited allocation of full Frequency Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (FDD-LTE) licences to China Unicom and its smaller rival China Telecom. China Unicom chairman Chang Xiaobing noted that the cellco is aiming to sign up 100 million LTE users by the end of the year, adding:

“With the mobile subscriber market saturating and the traditional voice business continuing to decline, the traditional subscriber-driven business growth is under pressure.”


Gibtelecom Inks 4G Rollout Deal with Ericsson

Gibtelecom has inked a contract valued at EUR10 million (USD11.3 million) with Swedish vendor Ericsson under which the latter will upgrade its network, while also rolling out 4G by November 2015. As reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle, the upgrade of mobile equipment and network is expected to cost over EUR5 million, with the construction of a new technology centre, along with support costs, will account for the remainder of the expected EUR10 million project cost.

Gibtelecom CEO Tim Bristow noted that the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority requires his company to have introduced a commercial 4G service covering at least 70% of the population by this November. Commenting on the plans to meet this target, the executive said:

“Our aim is to achieve at least 70% and quite a lot of work has been gone into this already … Our license requires us to have 95% by 2016.’ Meanwhile, Jansen Reyes, Gibtelecom’s director of technology, said some new antennas will be implemented around Gibraltar to improve coverage, adding: ‘Including the others, we will end up with around 30 antennas around the Rock … However, 4G has six times more capabilities than 3G, so we would be able to deal with six times the number of subscribers.”



NCC to OPEN 2500MHz/2600MHz Bands for 4G Use

Taiwan’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has reconfirmed plans to release the 2500MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands for the provision of 4G services, with a spectrum auction now expected to take place at the end of the third quarter of 2015. NCC chairman Howard Shyr was cited as said that:

“The commission will conduct an information session next month in which it will set out the rules of the auction, among other things, while also providing operators an opportunity to offer feedback on the plans.”

With some of the frequencies in question currently in use by WiMAX operators, the official noted that such providers would be able to continue using these should their licenses be renewed. In regards to this, Shyr noted that:

“First International Telecom (Fitel) and Far EasTone Telecommunications have both already terminated WiMAX offerings and returned portions of the spectrum they used to the government, while Tatung Infocomm’s WiMAX license renewal has already been turned down by the NCC. Looking ahead, the NCC is reportedly planning to review the license renewal applications from three other WiMAX operators this year, those being Global Mobile, VMAX Telecom and Vee Telecom.”

As per the NCC’s plans, it has identified a total of 190MHz to be auctioned off across the two bands in question, with 50MHz to be reserved for use with Time Division LTE (TD-LTE) technology, with the remaining 140MHz used with Frequency Division LTE (FD-LTE) technology. Meanwhile, the regulator will reportedly set a lock-up period in which operators will be required to first fulfil their service commitments before being allowed to merge operations with another provider.

Nar Mobile

MCHT Awards 4G Licence to Nar Mobile

Azerbaijani mobile operator Azerfon, which operates under the Nar Mobile banner, has received a licence to offer 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology from Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT). According to CEO Kent McKinley:

“Nar has already established a network, with expansion set to continue throughout 2015. However, an official launch date has not yet been given.”

Nar currently operates a 2G GSM network across 80% of Azerbaijani territory, while its 3G W-CDMA networks cover all major towns and cities. The operator installed its first LTE base station in Baku in Q1 2012, providing coverage during the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held later that year. Nar’s 4G network was originally expected to launch in late 2014, although this tentative date was later nudged back to Q2-2015.



Tele2 Launches 4G Connectivity for M2M

Sweden-based Tele2 Group has announced the launch of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) implementations. The firm claims to be only the second operator worldwide to introduce 4G technology for M2M/IoT connections, with services available via Tele2 subsidiaries as well as roaming partners. It says the higher speeds, increased stability and improved response times offered by LTE will enable new usage scenarios such as CCTV with HD streaming, infotainment systems in cars, or connected advertisements.


4G Coverage To Surpass Third Of Global Population This Year – Report

4G networks will cover over a third of the world’s population by the end of this year, according to data published by the GSMA. The industry association said it has calculated that 4G availability will rise from 27% of the global population last year to 35% by December 2015.

Since the first commercial LTE networks were launched in 2009, the number of operators offering 4G services has risen to more than 350 and the number of unique connections has also more than doubled from around 200 million in 2013 to 490 million in December 2014.

As of December, 7% of all mobile connections in the world were 4G, and the GSMA said the number will increase to a worldwide total of 875 million by the end of 2015, representing 12% of all mobile connections.

“The rapid growth in 4G network deployments and connections, alongside expanding coverage reach, has made the move to 4G one of the fastest network technology migrations ever seen. GSMA Intelligence forecasts that global 4G connections will grow at more than 30% a year (CAGR) from 2014 to 2020.”

Hyunmi Yang, GSMA’s Chief Strategy Officer said.

“There is a tipping point we typically see when 4G grows to account for more than 20 per cent of a market that drives adoption of new services. This 20% threshold has already been reached in some markets, and is forecast to happen by 2017-18 on a global basis, which will have a huge transformational impact.”

The GSMA pointed out 4G adoption is closely associated to coverage and spectrum availability. The technology is typically deployed over the Digital Dividend bands of 700/800 MHz, refarmed 2/3 GHz (especially 1800 MHz) or the IMT-extension bands of 2500/2600 MHz. Three-quarters of 4G networks are currently running on these bands, which the GSMA said indicates progress in spectrum harmonization.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the GSMA expects China to become the world’s largest 4G market reaching 300 million connections this year. Despite only launching LTE services in late 2013, the country already has the biggest number of individual operators offering the service (108 in total).

47% of world’s 4G connections are in the Asia-Pacific region and predominantly in South Korea, Japan and China. North America has 44% of all 4G connections.


Source: Telecoms.com


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