Mobile operators’ spectrum appetite shifting to higher bands

Author: Martyn Roetter
Published: 2016-10-25

A stark lesson from the ongoing US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction of 600 MHz frequencies is a sharp drop in the market valuation of sub-1GHz spectrum. How much, or in this context how little, mobile operators are prepared to pay for usage rights in the lower frequencies appears to have changed considerably since the heady days of the 700 …

Can Brazil’s mini telecom reform save Oi?

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2016-09-02

Since enacting its General Telecommunications Law (Law 9.472) on July 16, 1997 Brazil has developed an over-regulated telecom policy regime. Evidence of the regulatory over-stretch became clear when telecom operator Oi filed for bankruptcy protection last June. This $19bn bankruptcy case is the largest in Brazilian history. A new bill before Congress aims to amend the existing regulations by changing …

Dust of WRC-15 settling, it’s time to assess IMT challenges for 2019

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2016-01-05

The dust is clearing from WRC-15’s last frantic days at the end of November. But all players are already beginning to look ahead to the next WRC four years from now, and in particular the technical groups’ preparations to assess bands for IMT2020 (which will identify additional spectrum for 5G). Delegates at WRC-15, when deciding the future agenda for 2019, …

A mobile strategist’s takeaway from WRC-15

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-12-01

The spin doctors are shooting out press releases claiming victory at the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15). It is in the nature of the consensus politics of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that there is always something for everyone. In radio communications, it was in 2000 this approach took root, as a commentator then said: “The WRC-2000 introduced a new …

Brief history of spectrum identification at WRCs

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-11-30

The latest WRC wrapped up last Friday after a month of discussions and negotiations with representatives of the major users of spectrum — the mobile, broadcasting and satellite industries—all claiming to have won significant victories. As they had mostly been fighting for rights to use the same blocks of spectrum, nobody had won as such, but eventually compromises were reached …

Mobile Consolidation: is four the new three?

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-10-05

A year can be a very long time in the world of telecoms. In September 2014 we wrote a blog headlined “Mobile Consolidation: is three the magic number?” Perhaps not magic, we thought, but there was a clear trend in most markets around the world toward three mobile operators, often tri- or quad-play operators, although there were notable exceptions. A …

Internet in Cuba: revolution or snail’s progress?

Author: Marc Schryer
Published: 2015-09-28

  Cuba’s official stance toward Internet proliferation is to protect its citizens from “indecencies and immoral content.” Reading between the lines this means guarding against any outbreaks of democracy and blocking access to US-funded propaganda. Since the mid-1990s, Cuba has backed off from being an early adopter of computerization. Today, however, the penetration rates of computers and internet access are …

New telecoms data in Brazil confirms substantial ‘special M2M’ growth

Author: Marc Schryer
Published: 2015-08-11

Since TechPolis’ recently-published research note, How to Grow M2M in Brazil, new data on M2M connections in the country has become available from Brazilian telecoms regulator, Anatel. The statistical update, the first since January 2015, was released on July 17, 2015 and provides a full year of M2M data with breakdowns by tax classification. In September 2014, when federal activation …

Sacrifices at the Regulatory Altar

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-07-27

During the past few years, regulators and competition commissioners around the world have tended to look kindly on telecom industry mergers—even the highly-publicized ones between mobile operators which have resulted in markets shrinking either from five to four players or, more commonly of late, four to three. About half of the more than 30 mergers which have taken place since …

Tax break in Brazil having an early impact on M2M connections

Author: Marc Schryer
Published: 2015-04-27

A new tax policy, introduced in Brazil last September, with the aim of giving selected Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications a tax break, has already had a noticeable impact according to data from telecoms regulator Anatel. The 80% tax break reduces the initial activation fee from $15.07 to $3.05. The reduction also applies to the ongoing annual operation federal tax. The high …

Policy versus regulation in the Internet of Things

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-04-19

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), we find policies generally focusing on incentives to accelerate the expansion of IoT and promoting investments to bring economic and social benefits. The goal is to promote IoT. Regulatory issues emerge in two ways. Firstly, how previous regulations are being affected by the growth of connected things (for example, numbering issues …

Should China create a Universal Services Fund?

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-04-12

For the past 15 years China has been successful in expanding both fixed and mobile networks out from the cities and into the towns and villages of its densely-populated countryside. Alongside this there has been a gradual liberalization of the telecoms market resulting in increased exposure to market forces. The Government is now rethinking its universal service policies and central …

5G still in the air as spectrum needs are addressed

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-01-27

With the news that Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University has opened its own 5G Development Centre, it’s safe to say the search for the building blocks of the next-generation of mobile data services is now truly international. The Chinese-backed research facility is going to be looking into “achieving 5G’s anticipated speeds of up to 800Gbps and thousand-fold increase in capacity.” Or in …

Telecom M&A in India: déjà vu policy stalemate

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-01-11

The long-overdue and much-needed consolidation of the Indian mobile telecommunications market is still on hold thanks to continuing government prevarication and inaction. I was hopeful the incoming new government would introduce promised reforms in the form of pro-telecom and pro-consumer initiatives. If they had done it last year, we would have seen a rush of M&A activity commencing in the …

Fiber liberalization key for broadband growth in Afghanistan

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-12-07

Since 2001, Afghanistan has experienced incredible growth in telecommunications services, especially mobile services, in spite of security instability in the country. Mobile-SIM-card penetration has reached 75% of the total population — on a par with Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. This has been thanks to the critical role of private-sector investment unleashed by government liberalization of the mobile market. Today, five …

How Free disrupted the French mobile market

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-11-24

French mobile operator Illiad only recently came to international attention with its audacious offer to buy T-Mobile’s US operation. Xavier Niel, Illiad’s quirky founder and majority shareholder (64%), has developed a business model based on cost and price cutting. Although this model is quite common in wireless services, the surprise has been the huge impact it can still have, in …

The case for “unified licenses” in telecommunications

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-11-16

Nearly 140 years after the first commercial telephony service was launched in 1877, many governments still award telecommunications licenses based on detailed service and technology specifications (although most do not anymore). For years telecommunications was considered a natural monopoly, and later limited competition created duopolies. Technology innovation – and the transition to full competition in most markets – has rendered …

The fate of Nokia and Blackberry, or how strength turns into weakness

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-11-03

During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2007, I had dinner with two senior executives of Research in Motion (RIM), now Blackberry. The two were truly content because their Blackberry mobile devices were riding a great wave of success. Having already conquered the corporate and government markets, they were starting to become popular with consumers. At the time …

Crunch time in Bangladeshi mobile market

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-09-15

Since its launch in 1996, the mobile industry in Bangladesh has seen consistently strong growth which outperformed GDP in every year until 2013. Since then the growth in subscribers and aggregate revenue for all operators has tapered off. The market is still growing, but not as fast as before. The long cycle of rapid growth tapping into pent-up demand for …

Attention regulators: open an IoT Consultation

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-08-30

Telecom regulators around the world are now addressing Internet of Things-related issues. So far only a few have published formal consultation papers. In July 2014 the UK’s Ofcom launched a consultation, Promoting innovation and investment in the Internet of Things, which is likely to be a landmark in this area. Open for responses from stakeholders and the public until 1 …

Politics in a box: digital television in Japan and Brazil

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-08-04

There has been a great deal said about the impact of technology on politics.  According to one (seriously flawed) argument the Arab Spring was “created” by Google and social networks. A more valid point notes the Internet has profoundly changed the political campaigning landscape in democratic countries. It is also true political dissidents have used the Internet to mobilize anti-government …

Business & Privacy: the role of Privacy by Design

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published:

Globally, although most business groups insist current privacy legislation is sufficient, there are strong incentives for politicians to introduce new legislation to protect individuals’ privacy in the digital world.  Loopholes in privacy legislation for the digital age can be tackled either by the Judiciary, widening the scope of existing law, or, as is clearly the trend, via new legislation and …

Cyber Security in Brazil

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-06-13

Late last year, the Brazilian Senate Commission on Foreign Relations asked TechPolis to prepare a paper on cyber security. Against the backdrop of Edward Snowden’s revelations of U.S. espionage in Brazil, the Senate created a Special Investigative Commission (in Portuguese, CPI) to analyze the status of cyber security in the country and suggest new directions. Now the work of the …

Legal framework for data privacy and security in Brazil

Legal framework for data privacy and security in Brazil

Author: Philipe Moura
Published: 2014-05-02

The Judiciary is today the main regulator of data privacy and protection in Brazil. Will legislation fill the gaps any time soon? The question of protecting users’ privacy and regulating information security is becoming paramount for policymakers as insurmountable amounts of private data go online. Users want guaranteed privacy rights, and companies want to develop their business models based on …

India Telecom M&A: Thirteen into six might go

India Telecom M&A: Thirteen into six might go

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-19

Recent and upcoming reforms in the Indian telecommunications market, particularly the liberalisation of M&A rules, are expected to result in considerable market consolidation. In the first acquisition of one operator by another in six years, market leader Bharti Airtel is buying one of the smallest operators, Loop Telecom. Loop's three million customers and infrastructure are all in the key market …

M2M’s flop in Brazil

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-18

Brazil was one of the very first countries anywhere to introduce legislation specific to M2M communications, and as a result gained global attention amongst connected-car aficionados. It introduced two significant policies of global significance: In 2006, Congress passed Legislation, endorsed by former President Lula da Silva, stipulating that every car coming out of Brazil's automobile manufacturing plants should have a …

M2M regulation a growing priority

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-03-10

M2M regulation is on the way. Here are some of the ways it might affect you. By the end of 2013, there were 195 million dedicated machine-to-machine (M2M) mobile connections worldwide, according to a GSM Association Study. This figure is expected to grow to 250 million during 2014. As the M2M subscriber base grows, regulators are increasingly looking into specific …

MVNOs launch in Saudi Arabia

Author: Philipe Moura
Published:

The regulatory framework for MVNOs in Saudi Arabia, favors incumbent mobile operators. Will MVNOs bring change? Mobily, the second largest, data-driven mobile operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced that London-based Lebara group will launch an MVNO on its network in the first quarter of 2014. MVNOs are a common way to increase competition and create diversity …