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July 15th, 2013, Vol:1

Editor's Words

By Sridhar Pai, ceo, Tonse Telecom


Shanghai becomes Asian mobile Mecca

Read online: here

GSMA's second Mobile Asia Expo ran its annual Asian event - a rather lame attempt at repeating the magic of the big European sister event MWC but bears the bright stamp of GSMA for sure. The show, I am told, was at least triple the inaugural show of 2012, by area and held in Shanghai, PRC. Key Telco's in the region - KT, China Mobile, Telstra were the big telecom players participating in full size stalls and the big equipment players from the region that showed up were Huawei, AL LU and NEC. Ericsson, NSN, ZTE were conspicuous by their absence. Amazon, AT&T, Chunghwa Telecom were also participating in the event.

Some of the big draws this year was the NFC Roaming deal between Chunghwa Telecom, KDDI and HK's PCCW and a demonstration of the capability: essentially this establishes a closed loop between subscribers of each of these operators who can access NFC capabilities across these three countries. Thus a PCCW user traveling in Taiwan can download an electronic pass or transit card onto his phone and use it on metro railway in Taiwan. A range of services such as bicycle renting services, snack vending machine, gas station payment via electronic coupons will now be possible taking NFC beyond the payment realm.

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Drop us a line - stpai@tonsetelecom.com
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Drop us a line - stpai@tonsetelecom.com

What we notice on the rumour street is that the telecom sector is so badly hit that the ballooning debt situation is not only difficult to service; it may be bleeding the sector from future profitability. Maxis is coming forward to put some $800 mil into beleaguered Aircel but that may hardly change things. Uninor is continuing its upstream battle getting something out of everything - reaching breakeven in Gujarat circle despite financial pressure and regulatory redressal.

Key mobile operators in the region, KT, Telstra and China Mobile admitted on a panel discussion that they really felt the mobile operator business had to innovate and find new revenue streams as the legacy revenue base was running out (KT's mobile revenue fell from $8.1bil in 2008 to $5.8bil in 2012), that partnerships of any kind that made sense to be explored (clearly referring to OTT and content partnerships as these are the big revenue generators now) and mobile service providers need to ensure service delivery becomes dependable. As SK Telecom launched the world's first LTE Advanced service, with theoretical speeds of 150Mbps, hoping there would be enough competition amongst LTE A device vendors to bring in the variety and capabilities that the network can really exploit.

China Mobile, at the GTI (Global TD LTE Initiative of which Bharti Airtel, China Mobile are founder members) Asia Summit which was co-hosted at the MAE clearly said the focus of his company was to ensure availability of a mature voice solution on TD LTE 4G network. China Mobile currently has 4G TD LTE network covering 14 cities with 22000 base stations. Plans are on to cover 100 cities with over 200k base stations by end of 2013 confirming the bidding process is currently underway. The procurement plan includes 160k terminals including data devices and smart phones.

Asia continues to be one of the hot beds for mobile growth as the region is expected to generate a revenue base in excess of $500 bil in 2013(research from GSMA Intelligence). Of this, China, Japan, India and South Korea alone will account for over 60% of the regions mobile connections and more than 70$ of the region's mobile revenue. Although data trends are positive, the rate of connection growth (new SIMs) in Asia is continuing to fall and competition is still severe. While data growth is being triggered by new smart phones, tablets and dongles, the operator's ability to manage data growth with limited spectrum is driving innovation in Wi-Fi solutions. While Western markets use Wi-Fi to augment capacity, Asian carriers are using Wi-Fi largely to cover spectrum gaps, black holes in coverage zones.

A separate track at the GTI Asia was focused on driving a transition path for WiMAX operators to move into TD LTE operations as smoothly as possible. This is an important discussion too as globally there are over 120 operators with various levels of revenue generating subscriber bases that need to be taken care and not left behind. This includes BSNL in India that is continuing to deploy fixed WiMAX subscriber terminals and activating live accounts even to this day. A spectrum farming and equipment migration discussion was actively underway in this track. Huawei is one of the world's biggest and strongest RAN players in the combined space of WiMAX / LTE - TDD and FDD and has the unique privilege of successfully transitioning a specific Telco smoothly from WiMAX to LTE without losing a single live subscriber.

Continue reading online: here

Sridhar Pai runs Tonse Telecom, a Bengaluru-based telecom research and consulting house that is a research partner to Light Reading India.

Microsoft Quietly Shuts Down MSN TV, Once Known as WebTV
Microsoft said that its MSN TV service will be closing down at the end of September, in a post on its Web site and in an email to users.
MSN TV, of course, was born of WebTV, which was thought up by well-known entrepreneur Steve Perlman. The software giant bought it at the height of the Web 1.0 boom in mid-1997, paying $425 million. more here
South Korea Extended Free Public WIFI Nationwide
Top three of the South Korea's famous mobile operators KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus stated that they will be investing for over 1000 locations where they can access free wifi. Free WiFi is now available in public service centres such as bus terminals, train stations, and airports, as well as regional cultural centres, libraries, athletics facilities, national public hospitals, welfare centres, and select tourist spots. more here & here
Voice-over-LTE deals with slow start, rival telephony apps

The technology to implement Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is maturing, but mobile operators won't roll out telephony services in earnest until 2015. At the same time apps like Skype and Fring are growing quickly in popularity, according to Infonetics Research.
The main issues holding VoLTE back are business-oriented, although there are also technical concerns such as integration with existing operations and business support systems, Infonetics said. more here

AT&T's Spectrum Deal With Leap Muddles Value of Acquisition
AT&T Inc. agreement to sell some of Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP)'s airwaves as part of its acquisition of the wireless carrier has clouded the true value of the deal.
In addition to paying $15 a share in cash, AT&T will sell a block of Leap's spectrum in Chicago and add the proceeds to the transaction price. The question now is how much money the spectrum will fetch, and what that means for Leap's valuation. more here & here
Baidu to Pay $1.9 Billion for Chinese App Store Operator
Baidu, China's biggest Internet search engine company, said on Tuesday that it had reached a preliminary $1.9 billion deal to acquire 91 Wireless, a major developer of app stores in China.
The proposed acquisition would be the biggest yet for Baidu as it seeks to branch out beyond its traditional search business in order to better compete against the rival Chinese Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, and it is the latest in a series of acquisitions in the sector. more here

About Tonse Telecom

Tonse Telecom is a research, consulting and advisory services organization focusing on the India telecom sector. Tonse Telecom enables telecom equipment vendors, ISVs, infrastructure developers and investors for success in the Indian telecom marketplace.

Tonse Telecom has onboard, a team of reputed senior industry executives and consultants who provide advisory services on specific projects. Tonse covers a broad spectrum of telecom technologies that include 3G, Wi-Fi /BWA, IMS, FMC and Triple Play, VoIP, Mobile VAS, End-device Applications and Mobile Content.

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