LTE for All

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2017-01-11

There are clear signs it is the beginning of the endgame for the GSM standard’s 25 years of mobile market leadership, with mobile operators announcing the planned shutdown of GSM networks on almost a weekly basis. That is a very long life cycle for a technology, reflecting its durability and many accomplishments. Launched commercially in Finland in 1991, GSM fought …

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 …

IoT in Brazil: robust growth, changing expectations

Author: Marc Schryer
Published: 2016-08-07

The Internet of Things (IoT) landscape in Brazil is changing. Total mobile machine-to-machine (M2M) connections grew 8% between May 2015 and May 2016 to account for 4.6% of total mobile subscriptions. Lower activation taxes now benefit 36% of M2M connections, as opposed to 18% in May 2015. Since TechPolis last looked at M2M in Brazil, total M2M connections grew from …

Will Smart Riyadh bring social change?

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2016-04-10

Amongst the various smart-city experiments in the Middle East, Riyadh is the most intriguing. It raises a big question: Can technology and new urban infrastructure advance social change? Saudi Arabia’s capital has allocated $5.6 bn to become smarter. In spite of low oil prices and an economic slowdown, the city remains a construction site. A new metro, more highways, and …

Strangely satisfied mobile industry finds identity

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2016-02-26

News of the demise of the mobile telecoms industry has been greatly exaggerated.  This week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona made a strong case for the vigor of an industry which, more than 30 years after its launch, is now a mature one.  Although in the past few years revenues have grown at an annual rate of only 3% …

The challenges of bringing broadband to the descendants of Genghis Khan

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-12-14

Earlier this year I spent a fascinating two weeks in Mongolia, most of the time in the capital city Ulaanbaatar. I was there to research and write a report on the state of the Mongolian Telecoms sector. I was able to meet key private-sector executives and government officials in a large, sparsely-populated, landlocked country little known to anybody except its …

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 …

Mobile Internet set to benefit from post-sanctions windfall in Iran

Author: Henrique Barbosa
Published: 2015-09-13

As the Iran nuclear agreement reached in July passed the U.S. Congress challenge, a new era of relations between Iran and the West begins. Following years of tough sanctions, Iran is preparing to deal with a huge economic windfall as they are lifted. The government regains access to billions of previously-blocked dollars in foreign assets, and has new potential markets …

Rebuilding trust after layoffs in tech companies

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-09-07

There is much debate about the relative strength of the technology industry in the United States vis-a-vis Europe and other parts of the world, but one aspect of it rarely examined – because it is not pretty – is labor market flexibility.  The technology industry, be it electronics, IT or Internet applications, is in constant flux. Empires fall, start-ups rise to …

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 …

New guard at EC to tighten up on telecoms M&A approvals

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-07-15

There is tension in the European Union between those pushing for more economic and political unity and several national governments wanting increased sovereignty. The telecoms industry is part of this battle, and M&A will be at the forefront in the next few years. It will be harder to get approvals for telecoms mergers & acquisitions (M&A) in the European Union …

India’s post-auction trauma

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-03-29

The Indian multi-band spectrum auction is over, results are published and the government is eagerly looking forward to a massive windfall to plug the budget deficit.  The government is happy and everyone else is trying to put a good face. But we are in one of those “only in India” situations.  India’s Supreme Court still has to make rulings on …

Behind the scenes in Barcelona: A somewhat perplexed crowd of mobile executives

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-03-07

As Mobile World Congress 2015 wound down at the end of last week, organizers the GSMA declared it the biggest and best ever. The statistics were truly impressive, with 93,000 visitors to the event — 52% of whom were C-level executives — and more than 2,000 exhibitors (both up about 10% on MWC14) with record numbers of CEOs, senior government …

Jasper Technologies wins the first GSMA Global Mobile Award for IoT

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-03-03

Cloud-based platform provider for managing devices connected to the Internet of Things, Jasper Technologies Inc, has won the 2015 Global Mobile Award competition for ‘Best Innovation for the Internet of Things.’ Known since its founding in California in 2004 until last year as Jasper Wireless Inc, the name change was to more accurately reflect the company’s product offerings according to …

IoT pushing mobile operators’ business models to the edge

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-02-23

Most mobile operators’ business models are outdated. Global mobile revenues have flatlined at around $1 trillion per year. Going forward, there appear to be three ways operators can grow. One is expanding into the bottom of the pyramid, as only 50% of the world’s population fits the category of “unique subscribers” to mobile services. The second one is selling more …

The top 5 IoT innovations of 2015: Global Mobile Awards shortlist

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-02-15

The winner of the ‘Best Mobile Innovation for the Internet of Things’ award will be unveiled on March 3 during the 20th Global Mobile Awards ceremony, part of the Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. A five-strong shortlist from which the winner will be chosen has been drawn up by the judges and comprises: • AT&T Cargo View with …

What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2015

Author: Michael Newlands
Published: 2015-02-08

The mobile telecoms world’s annual lovefest kicks off in Barcelona in less than a month, with Mobile World Congress 2015 poised to be the biggest and most eventful MWC yet – building still further on the conference and exhibition’s tremendous success in previous years. Organizers the GSMA estimate there will be 84,000 telecoms executives, hailing from just about every country …

Innovation trends in IoT

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-02-02

The 20th Global Mobile Awards organized by the GSM Association (GSMA) are the most prestigious international awards recognizing innovation in mobile communication. I am honored this year to be part of the judging panel for The Best Mobile Innovation for the Internet of Things. This is a first year for the category and we received a large number of entries …

Big future predicted for Li-Fi

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2015-01-19

Li-Fi, an emerging technology which uses the visible light spectrum (VLS) to transmit wireless data, has passed the proof-of-concept stage and the first commercial applications are coming to market. The term Li-Fi is short for light fidelity and is a play on words derived from wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi. It was first used by Edinburgh University professor of mobile communications …

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 …

Dumb pipes: Africa’s data-only LTE operators satisfying pent-up demand

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-12-27

A new business paradigm is being driven by the voracious demand for data in Africa – the data-only LTE operator. The business model as such is not entirely new as data-only early WiMAX deployments were competing with, or being developed due to the lack of, DSL providers. Now that WiMAX is gone, a new batch of data-centric operators with no …

The Brave New World of 3D Printing

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-12-23

“All that is solid melts into air,” proclaimed Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 1848 Manifesto of the Communist Party, observing the disruptive impact of capitalism on the old European social and economic order. Fast-forwarding to the 21st century, I thought about the relevance of the words to the impact of the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, and 3D …

Net-neutrality realities changing quickly for business and regulators

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-12-01

The battle for “net neutrality” has waged for more than a decade and is from far over. However, we are clearly moving into a new phase where a variety of policies are being developed, allowing for different things to happen on a country-by-country basis. At the same time, telecom operators and over the top (OTT) players are still bashing each …

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 …

VoLTE versus VoIP

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-10-27

Over the coming years mobile operators around the world are going to see a major shift in their business models thanks to the introduction of voice over LTE (VoLTE). To some extent VoLTE has crept in under the radar, despite the influential GSMA having launched a VoLTE initiative to promote “the industry-agreed progression of voice services” and ensure international uniformity …

Telecom Operators’ Innovation Dilemma

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-10-18

Professor Clayton Christensen, the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation, believes many large companies pay too much attention to their customers’ perceived needs, but are slow to catch-up with new technology and business models. A successful innovator of an earlier era would agree. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” is a quote …

Adeus WiMAX: lessons from the fall

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-10-10

Goodbye WiMAX, but Wi-Fi keeps rolling along. Both technologies were fostered and strongly supported through their birth pangs by Intel Corp, which produced chipsets and platforms supporting both standards, and it is ironic that while WiMAX is terminally ill Wi-Fi is in good health and destined for ever-greater things. To understand why one fizzled out and the other is still …

Wi-Fi’s future is bright

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-09-25

Most people under 30 would probably find it difficult to imagine a world without Wi-Fi, and probably do not realise it is a trademark for a specific kind of WLAN (wireless local area network). Since the Wi-Fi alliance trade association was formed in 1999 to hold the trademark and further develop the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 …

Business & Privacy: the role of Privacy by Design

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-08-04

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 …

Pakistan’s IT-BPO Services Export Opportunity

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-07-25

Pakistan has, to date, largely missed out on the global information technologies and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) opportunity. The telecom sector in emerging markets—longhaul, backhaul and last mile—is essential to build the high-bandwidth connectivity which brings societies together and links them to the world. As telecom penetration rises, there are huge gains in productivity and social benefit.  And in emerging …

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 …

A balanced assessment of the 3G/4G spectrum auctions in Pakistan

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published: 2014-05-19

Perhaps the biggest success of Pakistan’s just-completed spectrum auctions for next-generation mobile services (NGMS) may have passed unnoticed. This is the upcoming shift from a voice-centric mobile industry to a data-centric one. Via the auction, the Ministry of Information Technologies (MOIT) and the Pakistan Telecoms Authority (PTA) have ensured the most advanced mobile broadband technologies available in the world today …

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 …

5G enters the race while 4G is still in the paddock

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published:

Several years ago, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN body for telecoms policy, released a definition of 4G which its 193 member states should have adhered to (http://www.itu.int). They didn&#39t. As a result, it is now being very careful not to say 5G. A key part of the 4G specification was minimum upload and download speeds and these are …

Political turmoil tests telecom sector: Egypt rising to meet the challenge

Author: Ricardo Tavares
Published:

How do political-economic crises affect the telecommunications sector? We take a look at Egypt. Egypt's telecommunications market showed a strong demand for mobile broadband access throughout the crisis that followed former President Hosni Mubarak's overthrow. Unique subscribers' numbers remained static, but demand for broadband skyrocketed with strong 3G HSPA growth. Egypt's political crisis drove the economy to its knees. But …

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 …