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  1. #36
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    COSTA MESA, California, Nov. 20, 2006 (PRIMEZONE) -- The CDMA Development Group (CDG) (CDMA Development Group) today announced that up to 39 GSM operators have deployed or are currently deploying CDMA2000(r) to deliver low-cost voice and generate revenue from value-added data services, marking a continued trend from 2G to 3G services.

    "The CDG is pleased to witness the rapid migration from 2G to 3G services," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "CDMA2000's voice clarity and broadband connectivity makes it ideal for emerging economies that want to increase their gross domestic production (GDP) per capita. Also, in today's competitive market, 2G GSM operators are looking towards 3G CDMA2000 to provide service differentiation and improve their average revenue per user (ARPU). We expect this trend to continue."

    GSM operators are deploying CDMA2000 because of its ability to more competitively satisfy the diverse wireless communication needs of consumers, small businesses, and large enterprises in any market worldwide. CDMA2000 offers a broad range of applications, such as affordable telephony, broadband Internet access, multimedia messaging, entertainment, information, mobile commerce, and position location services. Deploying an IP-based CDMA2000 network in the 450 MHz and 800 MHz frequency bands is significantly less expensive than deploying other wireless technologies in the higher frequency bands.

    Included in the list of GSM operators that have commercially deployed or are planning to deploy CDMA2000 services within the next six months:

    1 Algeria Algerie Telecom 1X (Commercial) and EV-DO (To launch)

    2 Algeria Consortium Algerian de Telecommunications (Lacom) 1X (Commercial) and EV-DO (To launch)

    In addition to several fixed line telecommunications companies who have decided to deploy CDMA2000, several holding companies that have previously invested in GSM are investing in CDMA2000, including the Arfeen Group, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), MTN Group, Orascom Telelcom Holdings, and Sistema.

    Up to 39 GSM operators opt for CDMA2000

  2. #37
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    DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets has announced the addition of Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Africa - 2006 - Geographic to their offering.

    This pack is a compilation of the 5 African geographic reports plus the Overview report.

    With over 790 pages of research the '2006 Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband in Africa - Geographic' series contains a comprehensive analysis of the telecoms industry and the companies involved in it.

    This research is divided into the following volumes:

    -- Volume 1 - Central and Eastern Regions (Cameroon, Democratic Republic Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda).

    -- Volume 2 - North Africa (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia).

    -- Volume 3 - Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands (Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe).

    -- Volume 4 - West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal).

    -- Volume 5 - Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland

    -- Volume 6 - Overviews and Telecommunications Companies in Africa

    For more information visit Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Africa - 2006 - Geographic - Market Research Reports - Research and Markets

    African telecom, mobile and broadband markets analysed in latest report

  3. #38
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    LONDON (AFX) - Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom Holdings SAE said it has agreed to purchase an additional 1.21 pct indirect stake in its Algerian GSM operation, Orascom Telecom Algeria ('OTA'), from financial investors for U.S.$61 million.

    After this, Orascom Telecom will directly and indirectly own 96.81 pct of OTA.

    It said it will fund the purchase from internal cash flow.

    Orascom Telecom raises stake in Algerian GSM operations for U.S.$61 million

  4. #39
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    VODACOM is targeting Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana and Angola as it tries to expand in Africa, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Pieter Uys said today. Uys named the four markets as possible areas of focus for Vodacom as it tries to muscle into new high-growth markets on the continent, after its 50% owner Vodafone relaxed a restrictive shareholder pact earlier this year.

    “Algeria is a nice big market, Angola...is always interesting to us. Nigeria, I’m sure you’ve heard about, is a big market and Ghana is also interesting,” Uys told a Vodafone investors day, which was broadcast on the internet.

    Vodacom is joint-owned by Britain’s Vodafone and local telecommunications company Telkom and is the biggest operator in SA, although rival MTN has more subscribers on the African continent as a whole.

    Vodafone’s CE for Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and affiliates, Paul Donovan, said at the same event Vodacom was the British company’s vehicle for expansion in Africa, as long as any acquisitions remained within Vodafone’s strict financial criteria.

    Vodacom Chief Financial Officer Leon Crouse told investors the company had “a lot of room for expansion in terms of funding” but said any potential acquisitions would be examined on a case- by-case basis.

    Crouse said possible changes to South African regulation that may force mobile companies to slash the rates they charge other operators - both fixed and mobile - to use their networks would be negative for Vodacom but “not a disaster”.

    He said a theoretical 20% cut in termination rates would lop some R400m off Vodacom’s bottom line, but added he expected SA’s communications regulator Icasa to adopt a phased approach to any new rules.

    Donovan also said Vodafone and Telkom would sell an equal amount of Vodacom shares to black investors under a planned deal to comply with the affirmative action drive.

    “If there is any dilution as a result of the sell-down then that is something that will be born equally by Vodafone and Telkom,” he said.

    He said the timing and nature of the deal had not been finalised and “would only become clear between now and the end of the next financial year”.

    Vodacom said last month it was in talks about a deal to sell shares to black investors as part of the black economic empowerment programme — which is aimed at redressing the imbalances of apartheid — in a deal worth up to R7,5bn. It has not given details.

    Vodacom eyes Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana

  5. #40
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    Marc Hammoud:

    Liberalisation of regional telecoms market is well on track. Following the accession of many Arab countries to the World Trade Organisation, a wave of liberalisation has hit the regional telecoms sector during the past two years, leading to more competition and impressive growth in the number of mobile subscribers. In the UAE, a presidential decree cancelled Etisalat's monopoly in April 2004, and a second unified licence was awarded to du in February 2006 with mobile operations expected to be launched early 2007.

    In Oman, a second mobile licence was awarded in June 2004 to Nawras (55% owned by Qtel of Qatar), breaking Omantel's monopoly in the mobile segment. In Saudi Arabia, a second mobile licence was awarded to Etihad Etisalat (35% owned by Etisalat of UAE) - better known as Mobily - in August 2004, breaking STC's monopoly in the mobile segment as well.

    In Qatar, the Supreme Council of Information and Communications Technology (ictQatar) ended Qtel's monopoly (the last monopoly in the Arab world) in November 2006, with several licences across all business segments (fixed, mobile, and internet) set to be awarded in the coming few months. The same liberalisation process took place in Bahrain and Jordan, albeit at a faster pace, putting these two countries ahead of others with a fully liberalised telecoms sector and strong competition across all business segments. In Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia competition has been restricted to the mobile segment, but has recently been extended to the fixed line and internet segments.

    Saudi Arabia is set to further liberalise its telecoms market with the award of a third mobile and a second fixed line licence in early 2007. In Iraq, four GSM licences should be granted in 2007 to replace the existing three interim licences held by MTC, Orascom Telecom and Wataniya. In Lebanon, two GSM licences should be awarded sometime during the first half of 2007 - part of the government's privatisation plan in the telecoms sector. It is worth mentioning that MTC and Alfa are now operating the two existing networks under a management contract signed with the Lebanese government in June 2004.

    Competition for acquisition deals is increasing. While Orascom Telecom, MTC, Etisalat, Wataniya and MTN were the first to initiate acquisition-based growth strategies, Qtel, Batelco, Jordan Telecom and Oman Mobile have recently been trying to emulate these frontrunners.

    In line with its strategy to accelerate its non-organic growth, Qtel announced at end of October that it is finalising three telecoms acquisitions. It is worth mentioning that Qtel (part of a consortium) already secured the second mobile licence in Oman in June 2004, and was the second runner-up for the third mobile licence in Egypt, which was won by Etisalat with a US$2.9 billion bid. Also in October, Jordan Telecom Group made public its plans to spend US$300 million to buy stakes in Middle East-based telecoms operators in a bid to diversify away from a highly competitive home market.

    After buying 96% of Umniah of Jordan in June 2006, Batelco stated at the end of September that it plans to make a second international acquisition in the near future, and may buy up to two companies during the next 18 months. Early November, it was Oman Mobile's turn to reveal plans to buy stakes in state-run operators in the region. Finally, South African mobile phone group Vodacom announced in mid-November that it is looking at acquiring a pan-African mobile phone operator as well as at opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria, suggesting that it could target companies such as Celtel International, the 85% owned subsidiary of Kuwait's MTC. However, it is unlikely, in my opinion, that MTC will sell Celtel, as Africa, with an average mobile penetration rate of around 15%, boasts some of the world's last untapped mobile phone markets.

    Thus, too many operators chasing too few assets should keep acquisition prices relatively high. Another factor that should support prices is the investment strategy adopted by a number of operators. Cash rich and unleveraged operators are willing to look at lower returns and longer time scales. These rather different assumptions about investment have pushed cash-flushed investors to take up positions in strategic markets at relatively high prices.

    With only a few other new licences to be awarded and privatisation deals to take place in the short term, further consolidation in the telecoms sector is inevitable.

    Only four to five players should remain in the telecoms business in the medium term. The question is 'who'? In my opinion, operators that first initiated an expansion strategy have an edge compared to those that joined the 'process of revenues diversification' at a later stage.

    I believe that Orascom Telecom, MTC, MTN, and Etisalat are in a good position to lead in the medium term. Today, competition is stronger and prices have reached stratospheric levels, making it much harder for smaller operators to narrow the gap with first movers. Orascom Telecom, MTC, MTN, and Etisalat have reached critical size on both an operational level (number of subscribers and number of operations) as well as a financial level (market capitalisation), setting high barriers for other operators to buy them. The more geographically spread an operator is, the more difficult it is to integrate it and to create synergies with a complementary footprint.

    When I see MTN's shares rallying amid speculation that the company could become a potential takeover target for a Middle Eastern operator, I say it would require a buyer with really deep pockets. In addition to a market value of R134.7 billion (US$18.8 billion), MTN operates mobile networks in as many as 21 countries, which would imply that whoever buys it would most likely have to sell part of its assets to only keep operations that fit well with the existing foothold. I think that there are multi-market mobile services providers that are much cheaper than MTN (in absolute terms), and that operate in fast-growing and interesting markets as well.

    The only alternative I see for operators with relatively shallow pockets and are already finding prices too high would be to buy existing failing operators or start-up telecoms companies at relatively cheap prices, and then turn around their operations by introducing an entirely new brand.

    In addition to the acquisition of new licences, takeovers bids, and mergers; telecoms operators have begun building Next Generation Networks (NGN) to provide customers with voice, data and entertainment through a single source. Massive amounts are spent in the name of what has become the industry's new mantra: convergence......

  6. #41
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    continued.....

    In September, Vodafone UK unveiled plans to offer fixed-line broadband services to customers as part of its asset-light approach to roll out broadband and fixed-line services in its key markets. Vodafone has already launched such services in Italy, Germany, and the UK. The operator signed a deal with BT to offer broadband services nationwide via the BT-owned national network, but unlike other mobile players entering the market, it has not announced free broadband services.

    Mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse moved into the market with a free broadband service for customers signing up to its fixed line phone service earlier this year. Orange followed and is offering free broadband connectivity to customers signing up to its mobile packages. Satellite television company Sky is also offering free broadband to customers new to its subscription services. Vodafone said its partnership with BT would enable it to offer bundled packages of mobile and broadband services nationwide. Vodafone's asset-light approach differs from that of Carphone Warehouse and Sky, which argue that they can make more profits by investing in their own infrastructure through local loop unbundling.

    Back in the Middle East, at the end of October Etisalat announced that its migration to NGN had commenced, with 10% of the network set to be NGN-ready by the end of 2006. The Abu-Dhabi based operator plans to migrate 50% of its network by the end of 2007, and 90% by end 2009. Orascom Telecom also outlined plans to give a boost to its internet and broadband services in its three major markets: Pakistan, Algeria, and Egypt. Mobily, the second mobile operator in Saudi Arabia, made public its intention to bid for the second fixed line licence that should be awarded early 2007.

    Given the competitive atmosphere in the telecoms sector, operators need to provide value-added services to customers. Convergence of telecoms services should allow operators to offer triple and quadruple play. If an integrated operator rolls out an IP-enabled network (extendable to mobile telephony) it would be able to offer bundled services and serve as a one-stop shop for customers. Although the industry likes to depict convergence as bringing benefits to customers, fully IP-based operations should primarily benefit network operators by reducing costs and thus improving efficiency. With the convergence of telecoms services, I would not be surprised to see other regional and global mobile operators diversifying across business segments (fixed line and internet) in an attempt to hook up customers by offering bundled services.

    Expansion strategies and convergence of services require cash. Many operators in the region built a massive war chest for acquisitions on the back of a strong growth in the number of mobile subscribers and highly profitable operations. However, over the course of two years, most telecoms companies saw their cash melt as asset prices surged, and instead had to raise debt in order to keep pace with the consolidation and the technological shift going on in the sector. Hence, one should keep a close eye on interest bearing debts sitting on telecoms companies' balance sheets, as these could weigh down on net earnings growth going forward. To cite only one example, Orascom's net interest expense jumped from US$98.6 million in 3Q05 to US$252.8 million in 3Q06.

    Telecoms Economics

  7. #42
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    DUBAI — UAE's telecommunications major Etisalat, which is on target to boost its global investment to $27.2 billion in the next five years, may seek to buy a stake in Wataniya Telecom — the second biggest mobile phone company in Kuwait.

    According to a report by Shuaa Capital PSC, the largest investment bank in the UAE, Wataniya, which is also known as National Mobile Telecommunications, is a potential target for big regional operators.

    The Kuwaiti company, which is also on an overseas foray, currently operates in Tunisia, Iraq, Algeria, the Maldives and Saudi Arabia. In addition, the company secured the second mobile licence in Palestine in September 2006.

    "While we do see Wataniya as an ongoing business continuing to expand organically and by acquisitions, we also view it as a potential target for big regional operators who are currently aggressively expanding their foothold in the region in a context of strong consolidation in the telecoms sector," Shuaa Capital said.

    "For Etisalat, which is to end its monopoly reign in the domestic market with the launch of UAE's second telecom operator du, a stake in Wataniya Telecom will be quite strategic in consolidating its regional dominance," analysts said. "We will not be surprised if Etisalat acquires stakes in Wataniya as it is in line with the UAE company's business strategy of expanding into regional and international markets," they added.

    According to Shuaa, Wataniya's rather small market capitalisation, significant free float of around 52 per cent, and presence in large and under penetrated markets such as Algeria, Iraq and Tunisia make it an attractive investment target.

    According to Etisalat sources, following the $2.6 billion third mobile licence deal in Egypt, the company’s total foreign investments had risen to Dh40 billion. For Etisalat, which is on target to be among the top 10 telecommunications corporations in the world through aggressive overseas forays, the $2.6 billion acquisition of Pakistan Telecommunications Company's 26 per cent share was another landmark achievement this year.

    The corporation currently manages and operates telecom companies in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, Togo and Ivory Coast. It also owns stakes in Qatar Telecom and Sudatel.

    Etisalat, which intends to be among the top 10 telecommunications corporations in the world by expanding its operations in overseas markets, is poised to achieve 18.5 million mobile subscribers in three of its new markets outside of the UAE by 2010, more than three times its UAE subscribers at that time. Shuaa Capital estimates that Etisalat will secure 21 per cent of the Afghan market, or 1.1 million subscribers, by 2010. That same year, Etisalat’s 66 per cent Egyptian subsidiary Nile Telecom, expected to launch services early next year, should achieve 23 per cent market share, or 8.3 million subscribers. Its 35 per cent owned Saudi operation Mobily, launched in 2004, should also have 9.1 million subscribers by 2010, Shuaa estimates.

    Ranked among the Top 500 Corporations in the world in terms of market capitalisation, it is the sixth largest company in the Middle East in terms of capitalisation and revenues. For the year 2005, revenues were Dh12.9 billion, a 23 per cent increase over 2004, while net profits were Dh 4.3 billion, a 25 per cent increase compared to 2004. Etisalat has also seen remarkable growth in services and operations. Mobile phone subscribers exceeded 4.5 million by the end of 2005, a 23 per cent increase over 2004.

    This represents a penetration of very near 100 per cent, a remarkable figure both regionally and internationally.

    Etisalat may buy stakes in Wataniya

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