AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, telecommunications briefs
Mar 31, 2012 (AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
RIM POSTS LOSS AND PLANS 'SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE': Research In Motion has posted a net loss and its first slump in BlackBerry shipments for its holiday quarter since 2006, as the firm's new CEO announced the initial steps in a strategic overhaul and would not rule out an eventual sale of the company, Reuters has reported. Chief executive Thorsten Heins, who took over in January, said he was still focusing on a turnaround of the company, which has been hammered by competition from Apple and Google's Android in recent years. "I did my own reality check on where the entire company really is," he said. "It is now very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs."
NO THIRD TELECOM OPERATOR PLANNED FOR THE UAE, SAYS TRA: The UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has halted rumours they will license a third telecom operator, despite reports in some local newspapers. In a press release published today, the TRA affirmed their view that Etisalat and Du are meeting the needs of the market. TRA Deputy Director General, HE Majed Al Mesmar said: "The TRA sees no need to add a new operator to the UAE market at this time; hence it has no immediate intention to do so. What was circulated in a few local newspapers is misleading and does not accurately express the actual statements of the TRA regarding the issue."
SAMSUNG SHIP 5 MILLION GALAXY NOTES, EXPERTS SURPRISED: Analysts have said Samsung Electronics has shipped five million units of its "smart notepad", the Galaxy Note, surpassing most expectations. When the Note was launched in 2011, it was criticised by many for its 5-inch screen sitting uncomfortably between the smallest tablets and the biggest smartphones. Samsung, however, has turned it into a success with aggressive marketing, distribution and good product design, said Neil Mawston, executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics. "Compared to what people thought when it was released, Samsung has delivered above expectations," said Mawston. The Galaxy Note was originally launched in September. It has a 5.3" Super AMOLED display with a 1280X800 pixel resolution, and can be used as a smartphone or a "smart notepad," according to Samsung. The digital S Pen lets users write and draw directly on the screen.
LEBANON INTERNET SPEEDS COULD REACH 33 GBIT/S, PRICES TO DROP: Lebanese telecoms minister, Nicolas Sehnaoui has announced plans to boost the country's high-speed Internet capacity to 33 Gbit/s, and said he submitted to the cabinet plans to reduce the charges of extra consumption on DSL usage, The Daily Star has reported. "You will recall that 10 months ago the capacity was 3 Gbit/s for all of Lebanon and we were able to add 10 Gbit/s that we have used up completely. Then we recently added 10 Gbit/s and we hope to add a further 10 Gbit/s in the coming weeks and thus Lebanon will have moved from 3 Gbit/s 10 months ago to 23 Gbit/s at present and within a few weeks to 33 Gbit/s, or 11 times as fast in a span of one year," Sehnaoui said.
OMANTEL GROUP POSTS RO113M FULL-YEAR NET PROFIT: Oman Telecoms Co (Omantel) has announced its 2011 full-year net profit has climbed to OR113m, Oman Daily Observer has reported. The company's revenues have increased to OR452m driven by the growth of retail operations and wholesale revenues. Retail revenues rose 8.3 percent while the wholesale revenue grew by 3.4 percent, despite the liberalisation of international gateway operations, the firm said.
CHINA TELECOM MANUFACTURER ZTE NO LONGER SEEKING IRAN EXPANSION: China's second largest telecoms equipment maker, ZTE Corp has said it is no longer seeking to expand in Iran, Reuters has reported. "ZTE has provided standard communications and network solutions to Iran on a small scale," the Shenzhen-based company said. "However, due to local issues in Iran and its complicated relationship with the international community, ZTE has restricted its business practices in the country since 2011. ZTE no longer seeks new customers in Iran and limits business activities with existing customers."
BAHRAIN EYES 4G TELECOMS NETWORK, FREQUENCIES RELEASE MARCH 2013: Bahrain's Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) has said frequencies for high-speed next-generation telecoms networks are expected to be released in March 2013 and said new operators could be introduced to the kingdom, Reuters has reported. The regulator will invite bids to provide long-term evolution (LTE), or fourth generation, services, from September, said Mohammad Mahmoud, director for technical and operations at the TRA. The frequencies earmarked for LTE are currently assigned to government bodies, he said.
PRICING ISSUES DELAY UAE TELECOMS NETWORK SHARING: The UAE Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced network sharing in the country, which will allow customers to choose their preferred telecom operator, is facing delays because operators have yet to agree on commercial terms for the arrangement, Reuters has reported. An agreement between Etisalat and Du to allow open competition by using each other's infrastructure was slated to be completed by the end of 2011 but is now delayed to the third quarter of 2012. "By April 30, I'm comfortable we will have full technical and operational readiness, but I'm not comfortable we will have commercial readiness by that date," Fintan Healy, TRA executive director for regulatory affairs, said. "We don't regulate retail prices per se, we regulate wholesale prices so we're working on a fair wholesale price - the price Etisalat charges Du and vice versa."
ETISALAT TESTS 3G NETWORK UPGRADE: UAE's Etisalat has completed the tests needed to upgrade its 3G network that will allow faster data speeds of 84 Mbps, Khaleej Times has reported. The company also announced the completion of the technology trial for network upgrading and voice services that will be introduced using CS Fallback technology. This will enable subscribers to move between LTE and HSPA+ automatically.
SAUDI ARABIA'S SKYBAND EXPANDS, ORDERS 2,000 HX SATELLITE TERMINALS: Saudi-based Skyband has signed an agreement with Hughes Network Systems for over 2,000 additional HX satellite terminals to expanding its broadband satellite services in the kingdom. Skyband is one of the first very small aperture terminal (VSAT) service providers in Saudi Arabia. The firm offers communications solutions including managed network services, ATM and banking connectivity, GSM networks and backhaul, video conferencing, and broadband IP applications to a variety of enterprise and government sectors.
UAE TELECOMS AUTHORITY TO LAUNCH MORE ADVANCED CARRIER SELECTION: The UAE Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced last month's commercial launch of carrier pre-selection (CPS) for fixed-voice calls by licencees du and Etisalat, Gulf Times has reported. CPS is the more advanced mechanism of Carrier Selection (CS) as it allows customers to select their preferred service provider to route their fixed-voice calls without having to dial additional codes on the telephone or programming onsite equipment. "This is a significant milestone for the licencees and it carries a great benefit for the telecommunications industry in the UAE. Users will now have the opportunity to choose their service provider regardless of the main access line provider," said TRA director general, Mohammad Nasser Al Ganem.
RIM PROVIDING NEW BLACKBERRY PROTOTYPES IN MAY: Research In Motion has said it plans to give software developers prototypes for its new BlackBerry smartphone platform in early May, an indication that RIM is one step closer to debuting a handset it's betting on to lift sales, Bloomberg has reported. As many as 2,000 of the BlackBerry 10 test models will be given out to developers at RIM's BlackBerry Jam conference in Orlando, Florida and they are designed primarily to allow developers to build applications using the underlying operating system, said Alec Saunders, RIM's vice-president developer relations. RIM is counting on the BlackBerry 10 lineup, based on software called QNX it bought in 2010, to revive sales that have slumped in recent quarters, particularly in the US, its biggest and most competitive market.
OMAN TO LAUNCH TELECENTRES ACROSS THE SULTANATE: Oman's Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) has unveiled plans to establish telecentres across the Sultanate as part of the "universal access initiative," Muscat Daily has reported. The planned telecentres will ensure a minimum standard of telecoms services to all Omanis regardless of their location, gender or income. "The telecentre initiative is a solution envisaged by the government, especially for remote areas, to ensure access to services across the whole population," said R K Bhatnagar, advisor, technical affairs, TRA.
MTC TOUCH LAUNCHES ROAMING SERVICE IN LEBANON: Lebanese telecoms operator mtc touch, formerly known as LibanCell, has announced the launch of a national roaming service, The Daily Star has reported. The new service enables subscribers of the country's second telecoms firm Alfa to switch to the mtc network should they lose signal in remote areas not served by the Alfa network. Alfa plans to launch the same service by the end of the month pending technical arrangements.
LTE PHONE SHIPMENTS TO INCREASE 10-FOLD IN 2012 - ANALYSTS: Research firm, Strategy Analytics has said LTE phone shipments are set to grow tenfold to reach 67 million units in 2012, making it a breakout year for the 4G technology, Computer World has reported. However, even though 67 million is much more than the 6.8 million units sold last year, LTE-equipped phones will still represent a relatively small percentage of the total market. About 650 million smartphones will be sold during 2012, Strategy Analytics expects, which means that about 10 percent will have LTE, the report said.
NEW SUBSEA CABLE TO SPEED UP GULF INTERNET: Tata Communications has said its TGN-Gulf subsea new broadband cable, which connects India, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, delivers faster and more reliable connections amid growing internet use in the region, The National has reported. The cable is connected to Tata's $800m worldwide internet-cable network, which has also recently been completed. The company has signed partnerships with operators such as Etisalat in the UAE, Nawras in Oman and Qtel in Qatar. The Gulf cable could be extended further to Iraq and Kuwait, the company said.
STC TO LAUNCH GOOGLE GALAXY NEXUS IN SAUDI ARABIA: STC's Google Galaxy Nexus is set to launch in Saudi Arabia using Android 4.0 software, widely known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The device features a 1.2GH processor and a broad 4.65 inch HD screen, with a resolution of 720 x 1280. The HD 5 Mega-Pixel camera will enable the user to shoot panoramic pictures as well as make visual contact friends. The Google Galaxy Nexus is expected to cost from SR 249 to SR379 for a full monthly package. The handset alone should be available without a package at around SR2,555.
ETISALAT ANNOUNCES DIVIDEND AT 60 FILS PER SHARE: UAE telecom operator, Etisalat has announced the board of directors has approved the payment of dividends at 60 fils per share par value for the fiscal year 2011, Gulf News has reported. Etisalat has seen a growth in subscriber numbers by 23 percent and a 1 percent growth in revenues to Dhs32.2bn and profits of Dhs11.6bn before 50 percent federal royalty, chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran said.
ETISALAT UNIT LAUNCHES AFGHANISTAN'S FIRST 3G SERVICE : UAE telecom firm, Etisalat has said its Afghanistan unit has launched the first 3G services in the country, four years after of the launch of Etisalat Afghanistan. The company has customer base of more than 3.5 million active subscribers.
OMAN TELCOM NAWRAS EVALUATES INTERNATIONAL CABLE OPTIONS: Ross Cormack, the chief executive of Nawras has said the Oman-based telecoms firm is currently evaluating options for upcoming international cables as it seeks to add capacity to cope with the rapidly rising demand for data, Muscat Daily has reported. The company is weighing joining existing cable consortia or having "completely new facilities" with broadband services across its home, mobile and business sectors all reporting a growth in users, as it looks to boost capacity and provide more and better services, he said. "We have been discussing with people who are already in the process of laying cables in the region to see if we can join their existing consortia and we are also considering whether we should have completely new facilities as well. No decision has been taken on that," he said.
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