The British organization Informa Telecoms and Media has a proven heritage of over 20 years of bringing together the mobile operator and vendor communities in a productive business-focused environment. This time all of them gathered in Ýstanbul Turkey on the 13th and 14th of March 2007.
The mobile world of the Caspian region and Central Asia were in Ýstanbul for Mobile Eurasia 07 in success of cellular communications services. Sicap, Detecon, Huawei and Telenity were the sponsors of the event. Also, Telepati from Turkey was the official Media Sponsor of the conferences. 3G, CDMA450, WiMAX, UMTS-TDD, mix of radio accesstechnologies, profitable service vision, deployment of 3G networks, digital mobile TV were some of the headlines of the conferences by VIP guest speakers representing many of the countries of this high-growth region.
Growth in Eurasian Markets
Overview of environment, regulation and challenges - Andrew Bartley, IFC, World Bank Group
Andrew Bartley is an investment officer for the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group. The IFC is one of the leading institutions in emerging markets financing and private sector development. At the end of the fiscal year 2005, the IFC had a committed portfolio of 19.3 billion US dollars. Its sister company, the World Bank, has 185 member countries and is focused on reducing poverty in developing countries and provides its funding as loans, which are guaranteed by governments. With regards to global information and communication technologies, the IFC provide telecom and media investment such as financing telecom infrastructure, broadband connectivity, broadcast / media & satellite sectors also portfolio and technology investment such as financing to technology companies. The World Bank, on the other hand, provides policy and regulatory advisory services to governments on telecom, broadcasting and also finances investments in gaps in the market. In addition, it has a grant-based facility for innovative applications of ICT with social applications.
Between 2000-2006 IFC has made innovative financial solutions for the Telecom and Media sector in 33 countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. With regards to Regulation, the primary objective is to stimulate the business environment and its secondary objective is to protect consumers from abuse by dominant players in the absence of full competition. Andrew stresses that the role and actions of a regulator should adjust with the changing market conditions. No single solution exists that will work for all markets, so a number of policy options are available to regulators looking to ensure a level playing field for competition, such as licensing, spectrum allocation, interconnection, tariffs, number portability and infrastructure and recourses sharing. The regulator’s job, then, is to promote full liberalisation and competition over time in the sector.
Andrew believes that there is still substantial growth left in the mobile voice area and in the Eurasia region, which will slow as penetration increases. However, there are still challenges for operators in the Eurasia region market such as convergence as new networks evolve and 3 G emerges, plus other technologies. These all offer a lot of challenges for the regulators concerning assessing the environment and managing it using the policy tools they have at hand.
There are also considerable communication gaps between countries. Mainly mobile penetration, i.e. Turkey has a penetration rate of 70% whereas the rest of the region is around 30% or even in the 10-20% range. In addition, there is also a wide discrepancy in penetration rates between urban and rural areas, which need to be addressed. This is something the regulator can develop policies for in order to reduce the gap and encourage operators to provide services in these areas. Another major challenge for regulators is the issue of broadband access because the costs are very high in developing countries compared to high-income countries.
Assessing the risks and rewards around WiMAX deployment in CIS markets – Christopher Taubman, Senior Banker, EBRD
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an AAA-rated multilateral institution and plays a leading role in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (CIS). They are the largest lender and private equity investor in the region; business oriented and works closely with private sector clients. Overall the telecom sector represents approximately 7% of what the company does. EBRD aims to stimulate foreign direct investments, attract third party financing which triples EBRD investments and also mobilise domestic capitol.
The Telecoms, Informatics and Media Team are a key sector for EBRD and are a dedicated team of 15 bankers based in London, Moscow and Warsaw. Within their portfolio their transactions have covered mobile telecom, fixed line operators, submarine cables, terrestrial cables, cable TV etc. They have had telecom transactions with the major players in the region, such as Beeline in Kazakhstan.
Regarding broadband Internet, Christopher Taubman believes it to be a key driver economically for a country and a key product, which offers a tremendous opportunity. However, broadband penetration is low in Russia due to quality of wire line infrastructure, much of which will not support DSL technology, the capitol priorities of the state-controlled operators and the high cost of transporting traffic. As a solution, Ethernet / Cable TV is offered, together with broadband wireless access such as WiMax and WiFi as well as satellite. The Ukraine is in a similar situation while the rest of central Asia has high prices and generally poor quality, or insufficient investment for modernising the telecommunications network. In Kazakhstan, where there is extensive telecommunications investment, Internet penetration is still low in spite of strong economic growth.
Christopher Taubman stresses that there are many issues involved in assessing investment risk, such as which standard to choose; pre-WiMAX vs. WiMAX, the performance and reliability, as well as the cost competitiveness with other broadband access technologies, both in the short-term and in the longer-term. In addition, the investment risks involved concern the market demand, affordability, managing the licensing process, site acquisition and network rollout as well as marketing.
In February 2007 EBRD made a combined equity and loan investment in the Russian WiMAX group Enforta and they were attracted to this investment because of the broadband market opportunities in the Russian region and also the impact on the economy that it would have. To assess the investment risks EBRD first considered the management experience and their track record, secondly they had an experienced shareholder group with commitment to the project, industry knowledge, presence in the region and financial resources and discipline. Also one of the key advantages they look for in risk assessment is operating flexibility.
Leveraging the SDP to ease service convergence and increase VAS ARPU – Dilip Singh, President and CEO, Telenity
Dilip Singh emphasises the need for value added services (VAS) as the path to profitability. The four segments he describes in the multi-modal services are Context Aware – Location and Presence such as fleet tracking, people finder and local info, Messaging and Collaboration, such as SMS, MMS and unified messaging, Entertainment, such as music, video and TV, games and chat, which is the fastest growing segment, and finally the Business Productivity segment such as work force management, email and UMS.
The requirements needed for context aware-location service applications are, firstly, a network, where location determination technologies needs to be employed, secondly, good content is required such as good maps, thirdly, it has to be user friendly.
Messaging and collaboration, for 2007 and beyond the next generation of video messaging, conferencing, context aware presence and push to talk will play a major role in the messaging services.
Regarding mobile entertainment Dilip Singh emphasises that the “content is the king” where the content is personalised to the user with areas such as music, video, games, sport and interactive TV moving fast. This will be VAS’s key fundamental issue.
For business productivity VAS has been focused so far on the consumer segments but enterprise level VAS’s are also gaining a lot of momentum such as locate group members, “find who is in proximity”, and follow closest route.
16.5 % of the revenue generated by operators around the world (approx. 104 billion US dollar) is from VAS and is estimated to grow to 22.9 % by 2009. This is from global mobile users of 2.2 billion people and set to grow to 3 billion people by 2011. Therefore, there is a lot of money to be from Value Added Services, considering the speed and the available services will continue to increase. Different services are required depending on the culture, the region, demographics, and the segmentation of the population. However, there are some services that will always be there such as ring back tones, which generated 6 billion US dollars worldwide for the operators. It is important to note that just because you may have a 3G network; it will not be easy; the services are related to the content availability and also the network access availability in your own region.
SDP is a must for converged VAS and Dilip Singh suggests a three-phase approach to achieve full SDP. Phase one is “pre-integrated point applications which is focused on revenue generation, phase two is “converged services platform” focusing on faster service introduction and third part enablement. The third phase is “full SDP” aiming at full OSS / BSS integration and legacy services integration with SOA. This system enables new services to be developed and initiated faster.
As a conclusion, Dilip Singh states that value added service is the path to profitability and that VAS and SDP are the key to service personalisation and accessing services on any network, at an time and in any place. He suggests innovative convergent and legacy services should be supported and that risks can be minimised by re-using components across applications and by acquiring early revenue through pre-integrated services.
Dr. Arne Chrestin – DETECON
Ame Chrestin spoke about IMS and its future role as a service and mobile network. IMS has been around a few years but its development is on going. He stipulates that the need for fast and flexible service implementation develops in common mode with the coalescence of telecommunication and IT markets. Therefore, there is a need to isolate service implementation from network operation to develop modular and flexible ICT services that leverages IT capabilities for innovation and business effectiveness. In addition, cost reduction in service implementation, integration, rollout and operation needs to be achieved.
As voice revenues decline, IMS market size will grow and the sector needs to develop in order to accommodate the changing business models. With IMS, the service development is more easily achieved and also the costs for operating the networks and services are expected to be lower. This will provide new opportunities for both the operators and service providers. For operators IMS will be a modern interpretation of the operator’s core business of person-person communication and IMS allows flexible responses to competition and market demand. For the service provider, however, IMS is an all IP based network platform, which eases application and service implementation and also offers greater flexibility for service creation whereby services can be combined easily to create a new service experience.
IMS will facilitate the new business differentiation whereby providers will decide whether they offer only access to the network (bit pipe), only services, or both. Every network / service operator can decide upon its own strategy and implement its own business model. Therefore, the challenge for future Telco players is to concentrate on the right business model according to their own core competencies.
Looking at the IMS landscape, Arne states that IMS is a key element in the 3G architecture, which supports the implementation of ubiquitous cellular access for various services e.g. also offered in the Internet. The benefits of IMS are fast service implementation and fixed-mobile converged all-IP network architecture. Also IMS will provide communication via all types of media and enable network convergence and service control. IMS overlaps with SDP (Service Delivery Platform) but operates independently. It is a control framework operating between service and transport layers relies on service delivery environments such as SDP and application services.
With regards to alternative solutions, Arne put forward 4 options. The first as pure bit pipe provider, which has the advantage of clear, trend independent business development but misses the opportunity of increasing service related revenues. The second option was no IMS and separated control layers. In the case of limited service portfolio, vertical integration can be an option. This implies low service complexity and high cost effectiveness, whereby inflexibility is the trade-off for this option. As a third alternative he mentions IMS at the control layer and application server. This option implies higher control on services, which can be directly manipulated, with less complexity. In order to benefit from common IMS structures, the operator still has to be positioned as a service provider. The fourth alternative solution was for SDP at application layer and IMS at control layer. Here, IMS implies high flexibility and network access independent service delivery. However, in order to unleash this potential, the operator should be positioned at least as service provider. In conclusion, IMS manages control, flexibility and complexity, starting from the business models up to the service implementations. The network / service operators should first reflect on strategic considerations and adapt their business models accordingly.
Comparing markets across the central Asian and Caspian region – Gemma Bunting, Informa Telecoms & Media Gemma Bunting works as a research analyst. In 2006 global subscriptions passed 2.6 billion. The major bulk of the growth came from the Asia Pacific region (39%) accounting for half of net additions in 2006 with China and India as the main growth rivals in the region. Currently Eurasia is the second smallest market in the world at 3%; included in the region are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Regarding global operators and investors by proportionate subscription, China Mobile with a subscription base of 300 million is at the top and continues to grow by developing its domestic market and seeking opportunities to expand overseas. The second largest subscription holder is Vodafone, which has subscribers throughout the world including Eurasia’s leading markets.
In Eurasia, there were around 50 million subscriptions at the end of 2006 and Turkey was the driving force of the Eurasia market. Iran has also seen strong growth with an increase from 300,000 subscribers in 2004 to 6.1 million subscribers in 2006 due to the government operator TTI. Also demand in Iran outstrips supply by 7:1. However, with a population of a quarter of a million in Eurasia, including Turkey, penetration remains low. In 2004 it was 19% and by 2006 it had risen to 34% and is forecast to reach 46% by 2008 but is still below the global penetration, which is forecast to reach 49%. Gemma states ARPU is inevitable in growth markets as the main concern is to gain market share and subscription growth. ARPU decline is a knock on effect of rapid growth but can be boosted by operators developing content and VAS to boost revenues.
New entrants help ensure the market remains dynamic such as the operators Irancell in Iran in October 2006 and MegaCom in Kyrgyzstan in May 2006. In May 2006 Vodaphone introduced its brand to Turkey. Uzbekistan has four operators and three key investors. One of central Asia’s leading investors is Teliasonera and they have a strategic Eurasian partnership with Turkcell. Together their operations accounted for 46% of total Eurasian subscriptions in 2006.
VimpelCom was the first Russian operator to develop full synergies throughout its Eurasian subsidiaries. Its first acquisition was Kar-Tel Kazakhstan in August 2004. However, Eurasia only accounts for 4% of VimpelCom’s subscription base but the region is playing an increasingly important role for the company as the Russian growth begins to slow. All the main Russian operators are beginning to expand into the region. However, it is difficult for international investors to break into Central Asia and the market has a high degree of political and economic instability. In addition, Central Asia no longer provides cheap acquisition prospects and potential investors have to pay an increasingly higher price to get in to the market where there is also the high risk of getting your fingers burnt. According to Gemma, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are the markets to look out for with penetration forecast to reach 40% and 25% respectively by 2011.
Regarding technology, GSM dominates the region and accounts for 95% of the market. However, the Eurasian operators are looking to develop W-CDMA. In conclusion, the Eurasian region has a low penetration and the market is relatively fragmented but consolidation will bring about stability.
Adding value to the mobile services ecosystem in maturing markets – Judita Valiuyste, Director, SIR Judita Valiuyste set out to explain how ARPU declines sharply as the market matures and the competition intensifies and how the operators and consumer brands gain from the creation of a vibrant value-added services market. She specified that the services should ensure that they meet the real needs of the customer by effectively segmenting the customer base and boosting the take-up of services through innovative marketing.
She recommends personalizing the services to suit the user’s lifestyle and by defining the user you can track their lifestyle. Also services aimed at younger generation should be cheaper and all the prices should be adequate for the services offered. She points out a problem that innovative services are not being used and suggests that the users need to be educated about these new technologies.
Judita emphasises that the mobile operator should not be greedy and that optimally beneficial revenue sharing schemes need to be created in order to sustain the businesses of both the operator and the content provider. This is because as content providers they are non-competition players and therefore, do not receive as good revenue as they do if they collaborate straight with mobile operators or with other media providers. As a solution she says the revenue share needs to be differentiated according to the content type, virtual goods or physical goods. As a summary, she suggested that maintaining the same shares with partners will ensure harmony and consistency; decreasing shares would kill initiative from partners resulting in all good services bypassing you. In addition, motivating innovation from all service providers, both large and small companies because sometimes even the smaller companies can be very creative and offers new ideas. Also, by only increasing the revenue share for those services that are physical or require include home delivery costs new business opportunities will be gained.
Launching mobile subscription services in tightly regulated emerging markets – Loek Derks, Director, Middle East and Eurasia, Mobitrans.
Mobitrans is a mobile entertainment subscription services company based in Dubai and focused on the Middle East and Eurasia region. It was founded in June 2006 after a successful management buyout of the Middle East business of Siemens and Softbank invested company Mobile2win.
The mobile subscription services they offer are well-supported and straightforward to use and download to your phone. Once the consumer decides which service they require they follow the instructions by sending the correct SMS message to subscribe. The consumer then receives a message back detailing everything he needs, i.e. price per message, free number for support and also how to unsubscribe. The subscriber then automatically receives a message with the download link to start the download process. The service will continue until the consumer decides to unsubscribe. They also offer 24-hour customer support. The Middle East is currently one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world and Mobitrans’ subscriber base is Saudi Arabia 15M mobile users, UAE 3.5 mobile users, Kuwait 2.5M mobile users, Bahrain 1M mobile users and Oman 1.5M mobile users. In addition, Mobitrans has the unique position of being the first and so far only foreign owned mobile services company in a region that is very difficult to enter for competition.
The Eurasia conference was Mobitrans first view of the Eurasia region and was very encouraged and sees a lot of similarities. For the future they have an operator connection roll out schedule. They have a particular interest in Iraq due to its population size and as it is also a big OPEC producer. Also they are interested in developing business in Turkey, Syria and the African region. The company has a strong background in cultural and political sensitivity and takes this into consideration while developing content and services in new regions.
Can MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) enterprise mobility solutions gain traction in emerging markets – Vijay Shukla, Country Head, ValueFirst, India. In his speech Vijay Shukla concentrated mainly on the customer segment i.e. the content, price, high quality services and the way in which the service is used. Regarding Enterprise mobility, such as mobile applications, mobile emails and SMS, the highest share was taken by SMS services which is the least complex to set up whereas the lowest share of the market was with mobile applications which are the most complex to initiate. Elaborating on what enterprises really want he states that high quality of service, extremely competitive prices, secure and reliable services, operator / network neutral services and high quality technical support are very important. Some of the reasons, which limit Mobile Operators from entering the mobile services data market, are that enterprises with small ARPU, they are unviable for low volume transactions and they are operator and network specific.
Vijay explained that ValueFirst empowers its customers to communicate between varied IT back-end systems and mobile phones using SMS services. Also by employing a partnership with mobile operators, ValueFirst acts as an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) with a clear focus on SMS mobile messaging and is capable of delivering SMS services to virtually any CDMA / GSM mobile handset. The company’s main target segments are large corporations, enterprises and SMEs and they offer solutions which are product-driven, mobile-enabling for business and are operator / network neutral. Their revenue model is licence fees, set-up and configuration charges, line rental, support and usage charges. Within the Ecosystem, ValueFirst are placed in the areas of software supplier, ASP ISP portal, MVNO and also wholesale distributor. In terms of future out look he sees that the MNOs have a strategic advantage with a significant long-term revenue stream and the possibility of cross selling opportunities.
3 G and beyond: Global 3G developments – Lars Bondelind, VP of R & D operations, Huawei Technologies Since 2005 WCDMA has increased its share of the mobile market. As of November 2006 there were 93.5 million WCDMA subscribers, over 100 commercial WCDMA networks globally, including 74 commercial HSDPA networks in 43 countries. It is estimated that WCDMA will grow very fast in Europe since 1 in every 3 new mobile subscribers added in 2006 is 3G and is forecast to have the major share of the market by 2010, overtaking GSM.
Speech and SMS are still highly profitable with any change depending on the market power and the regulator. There is a limited amount of money available from users to increase total revenue, therefore services will cannibalise access and connection revenues and change will be driven by users and external players. Network operators are now changing their operation models accordingly to fill the bit-pipe with profitable traffic, i.e. delivered cost efficiency. Also service and content is developing in order to provide B2B services and “interactive everything”, such as friend2friend or peer2peer etc, whereby users will then expect these services to be delivered wherever they are, through multiple technology access and ubiquitous network coverage.
Regarding HSDPA, it is an “Add on” solution to the UMTS network (similar to GPRS / EDGE for GSM) and it boosts 3G deployment. HSDPA leverages existing R99/R4 UMTS assets including spectrum, subscriber base, network infrastructure, operation and management system as well as subscriber management systems. In addition, it also brings a clear differentiation between 2.5 and 3G capabilities, both for the end user, with considerably higher data rates, and the operator due to lower cost per MB.
The evolution of 3G technology is still ongoing, with broader access bandwidth (HSDPA/HSUPA), All-IP based CN, RAN and terminal, mobile broadband & multi-cast as well as lower cost in data network. There are several trends in the market, the first of which is broader access bandwidth which introduces advanced technology to improve spectral efficiency and bandwidth per cell. The spectral efficiency increases up from less 1bps/Hz in GPRS to around 3bps in LTE and the bandwidth per cell is forecast to increase significantly, up to 100Mbps in LTE/UW by 2012. Secondly, the trend is for ubiquitous high quality service delivery; usage goes in-door, as more than 70% of traffic has moved from highway to hallway. Users now require uniform service availability at work, at leisure and at home. These require a high bandwidth requirement combined with high data rates. A range of RBSs such as Micro, Pico and Access Points will solve the indoor and hotspot requirements, thereby, allowing uniform coverage with a large capacity. The third trend is towards flat & simple network architecture. This involves single wireless access node + single core network node implemented in LTE/AIE/WiMAX. This will allow lower time delay, better QoS and higher throughput, and higher network stability from redundancy of CN node. The traffic balance among CN nodes can then increase network throughput and because CN nodes are closer to access network nodes they bring lower transport cost. The fourth trend relies on multi-band for different markets, whereby; extended standard frequency promotes wide deployment of UMTS network and, together with the availability of lower frequencies, reduces wide area coverage costs.
The fifth trend is for mobile broadcast & multi-cast, which is MBMS broadcast, and multi-cast over a 3G network. This relies on mobile cellular technology and the mobile ecosystem and with the integration of existing 3G networks MBMS it can provide richer services. Furthermore, the performance of MBMS will be improved continuously. The sixth trend is for lower TCO for more access, whereby services demand low latency and short download time and network operators become squeezed between users and SP/CPs. Here the pipelined carrier operations drive TCO saving and the plug and play nodes into self-organizing and cognitive networks.
With reference to the distinguished capabilities of LTS/SAE, we can say that there is an extremely high peak DL/UL data rate of 100/50 Mbps over 20 MHz, with an improved spectrum efficiency (DL 3-4 / UL 2-3 times R6 HSDPA/HSUPA) and also a low latency (< 5 / 100 ms U-/C- plane). In addition, it has increased cell-edge performance that enables uniform QoS delivery, flexible frequency usage and it interworks with UTRAN/GERAN.
Huawei technology is considered world class and amongst its many achievements it was the first vendor to provide full performance HSDPA (14.1M from day 1), it was the first vendor to put IP UTRAN into commercial operation with eMobile in Japan, and it is also the main sponsor and main participant of LTE research and standardization with a contribution of 7%. With regards to Multi-band, it is ready for all specified frequencies: 850M, 900M, 1.7G, 1.8G, 1.9G and 2.1G. Also Huawei was the first commercial mobile TV broadcasting service over 3G and is the number 1 in unified 2G &3G mobile softswitch for lower TCO network deployment.
Huawei is very customer focused and, apart from technology, the company values, global R&D strategies, global co-operation, business consulting, inTouch Lab and service integration. As a partner for 3G in global UMTS 3G applications, Huawei had, by the end of 2006, won 47 UMTS commercial contracts, 16 of them from Europe, which includes leading operators such as Vodafone, KPN, and T-Mobile. These include IMS for Deutsche Telecom in Hungary, R4 Mobile Softswitch for KPN in the Netherlands, UTRAN for Vodaphone in Spain, and UMTSE-E Solutions for PCCW in Hong Kong.
Operator case study - Creating a single nationwide network – Evgeniy Ruban, Managing Director, Unitel LLC As an overview, Uzbekistan has a population of more than 26 million with 36.2% of the population living in urban areas. Its main GDP and sector growth comes from consumer goods production, services and trade. The telecommunications sector continues to grow and more than doubled in 2006, with mobile subscription standing at 2.7 million as of December 2006; a penetration rate of 10.1% which is forecast to reach 21% by end of 2007. The main players in the region are Unitel, MTC, Coscom and Perfectum Mobile.
Unitel began in 1997 under the name of Daewoo Central Paging Company and was then the third largest mobile operator in Uzbekistan. By 2002, the renamed Daewoo had the largest number of subscribers in the country and in 2003 the network coverage reached all regional centres. In 2004 the Silkway Holdings NV acquired 100% of the company and it changes its name to Unitel LLC. In 2006 the companies joins the Vimpelcom group of companies.
The company continued to develop in 2006 and initiated changes to strengthen its growth by introducing a client support centre, training for employees, network construction, a new billing platform, and migration. In addition, they also launched their Beeline brand and set up branches in all regions of Uzbekistan. In 2006, due to their distribution network, the SIM+scratch outlets grew 8 fold and the Scratch-only outlets grew 4 fold.
The company’s network covers all the largest cities and towns in the country with Nokia being the second supplier of communication equipment. Evgeniy considers the main obstacles to overcome are the slowness of network construction and the network reliability due to the fact that the Telecom infrastructure is insufficient.
Regarding Unitel / Beeline’s strategy for 2007 and beyond they see themselves continuing to build a quality network, offering simple and convenient tariffs, introducing newest technologies, providing a high level of customer service and developing and strengthening reliable and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Creating optimum conditions for the rapid growth of mobile services
During this discussion, the main challenges considered were ways in which creating optimum conditions can be turned into real economics. There was consideration about whether it is possible to survive as an operator in the next generation networks and large investments in new applications. Also there was discussion on whether in 10 years time there would be just be 3 or 5 global operators, and will regional companies still be able to survive?
The panel thought that the biggest challenge for companies wanting to develop in emerging markets is to be able to navigate through the political realities of the region. This is because generally, these markets are not as advanced as the developed parts of the world; this relates to the regulations and how they deal with competition etc. The panel believed to succeed you need to spend time in these countries and have and maintain good relationships in order to develop the system. With regards to whether around 5 global companies will dominate the market in a few years time, the panel believed this would not happen. They thought that the larger companies do not have enough resources and time to spend in each country to make sure they get a return on their investments. Therefore, there is an optimum level of countries they can operate in and they will concentrate on the most profitable countries, leaving the others countries to smaller operators. In addition, they considered that the contribution to revenue growth from VAS is expected to be significant in the future.
Towards world-class regulatory environments
On this panel discussion was Martin Quirke, the CEO from Bakcell in Azerbaijan, Samir Satchu, from Roshan and Fumiaki, the CEO from Mobicom.
In this discussion the panel drew from their experiences in the area of regulatory environment in countries such as Azerbaijan and Afghanistan. Here they emphasised the need for the government to develop the telecom sector such as what occurred in Azerbaijan when the original telecom ministry was abolished in 2004 and replaced with a new ministry of communications and IT and the methods of more advanced countries are being studied and adopted. As with all countries, the government should aim to make the sector more competitive in the area of licensing, tariffs, spectrum allocation etc. In the case of Azerbaijan, Bakcell is held up as an example of how foreign direct investment can succeed and Martin stressed that he believes the country is on the right path to a well-regulated and healthy telecom environment.
Another panel member, Samir Satchu, who is head of government affairs for Roshan, gave an account of his regulatory experiences in Afghanistan, as the countries largest mobile operator with over 55% market share amongst five licensees. In January 2003 the company paid US$5 million and launched operations in Kabul six months later. Today penetration is around 9% and the major networks cover around 160 urban centres throughout the country, approximately 40% of the population. Since 2003 around half billion US dollars in total has been invested in the sector by the licensees and the Telecom sector contributes about 10-15% of domestic revenue from taxes, fees etc., around US$200 million since 2003. He emphasised that the regulatory drivers that have helped this growth have been the commitment by the ministry of communications to liberalize by selling off or auctioning all licences.
The panel believes that market based competition is the driving force in terms of securing new investment, increasing accessibility and developing the sector. The regulatory authority and the telecom ministry need to have a less is more approach to regulation, whereby they should let the licensees decide on where to expand their networks and there should be limited regulation on pricing. In markets like Afghanistan, any intervention sends out an extremely damaging message to potential investors. Also, governments need to be commitment to privatisation because wherever there is government ownership in the sector there will always be the perception that it will receive more favoured treatment from the regulator. Irrespective of that, it can have an impact on private sector investment in the market. The real value in privatisation is in the positive long-term investment signals sent to investment community. For the regulatory authority to succeed there needs to be transparency between the regulator, the private sector and the government so that all sides understand each others’ concerns and resolve tax and regulatory issues without resorting to formal dispute proceedings; something which investors do not wish to do. In addition, the regulator should be recognised by its willingness to assists licensees in other areas, i.e. customs tariffs. Laws and regulations have to be contextualized to local environment and drafting legislation has to be a consultative process and not just copied from market to market in the region. Generally, regulatory environment should be committed to liberalization, including privatisation; secondly, regulatory strength is as much about not intervening by letting the market work. Thirdly, predictability is vital both fiscal predictability and for investors understanding the taxes they can pay over time. Also the legal framework needs to underpin this commitment to liberalisation and dialogue to create a level playing field.
Developing a sustainable VAS business in emerging market conditions
The main points of view, which came out during this panel discussion, were that operators are searching for new applications to drive their revenue and that there is a movement to Internet and IP based networks, voice over IP. It was considered that many operators are struggling in the market and see the only way forward is to concentrate on the content and using innovation in applications to increase the revenue. Furthermore, the operators and content providers need to collaborate more and work closely together. There was also the general view that there was a limit as to how content can be successful from region to region in that something that may be very popular in one country does not necessarily take off in other regions.
From company news…
GEOCELL CHOOSES TELENITY FOR NEXT GENERATION VIDEO SERVICES
Telenity to Provide Video Mail and IP Conferencing Solution to Geocell’s 3G Network
Telenity (www.telenity.com), a leading provider of next generation converged services platforms and applications for communications networks, announced in 13th of March that Geocell, mobile operator in Georgia and a joint venture company of Fintur Holdings BV, has chosen Telenity's next generation Canvas® VideoMail and Internet -Protocol (IP) Conferencing solutions for deployment in its recently launched 3G network.
Telenity was the first value added services (VAS) infrastructure provider to Geocell for both Intelligent Network (IN) and next generation services support. Currently Telenity’s Canvas solutions including Ring-back Tones, Multimedia Messaging Service Center, Short Messaging Service Center, Voice Mail System, and voice supported services and applications serve an increasing number of subscribers in the Geocell network. The new contract also covers upgrades of these already deployed revenue generating services. The existing ringback tone service from Telenity can be extended in the future to support video ringback tones in Geocell’s 3G network.
Canvas VideoMail is a carrier grade platform that provides video message storage, record, playback and management capabilities with high capacity, performance, reliability and scalability. Canvas VideoMail offers:
Ubiquitous video mailbox access
Subscriber Interactive Video Portal (IVP) and WEB interfaces
Video message delivery with email
Customized Video greetings options
Short message and email notification of video message
Flexible charging models
Visit Geocell at www.geocell.com.ge. Geocell is owned by Fintur Holdings BV, a Netherlands based company, is jointly owned by TeliaSonera and Turkcell, 58.55% and 41.45%, respectively. Listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange (SSE: TLSN) and Helsinki Stock Exchange (HEX: TLS1V), TeliaSonera is a leading provider of mobile and fixed telecommunications services in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the Baltic region. Listed on the NYSE stock exchange in the United States (NYSE:TKC) and the Istanbul stock exchange, Turkcell is Turkey's leading GSM operator and Europe's third largest GSM operator by subscriber numbers. Turkcell provides mobile voice and data services to subscribers throughout Turkey and neighboring states. Currently Geocell has more than 1,150,000 active subscribers.
Nawras Selects Telenity’s Service Delivery Platform (SDP)
Telenity’s Canvas CSP, Converged Services Platform to Make Nawras’s Network Programmable
Telenity (www.telenity.com), also announced that Nawras, the second leading operator in Oman, has selected its Canvas® CSP, Converged Services Platform as an end-to-end SDP solution to make its network programmable and offer converged multimodal services cost-effectively and quickly.
Under the agreement, Telenity will deliver the complete Service Delivery Platform (SDP) solution to Nawras’s mobile network including key components for Web Services, Messaging Gateway, Charging and Provisioning. With the deployment of Canvas CSP, Nawras will be able to open its network to third party partner application developers easily and securely while quickly creating, managing and delivering new innovative services to its subscribers.
Nawras selected Telenity’s SDP solution because of its compliance with the technical requirements for functionality, quality, reliability, scalability and security. Telenity also brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from previous successful SDP deployments including Turkcell, (NASDAQ: TCELL), the leading GSM operator in Turkey and the third largest GSM operator in Europe with 31.8 million subscribers.
“Nawras is excited to be in early deployment of Service Delivery Platform (SDP) for its brand-new network,” said Nasser Esfahani, Head of Engineering at Nawras. “Building the SDP environment right from the early stage will not only give us the competitive edge but will enable us faster time-to-market and simplify service integration. Key criteria for selection of Telenity’s SDP solution was their deep understanding of Nawras' technical requirements and their responsiveness in proposing solutions to meet them,” said Mr. Esfahani.
Telenity’s Canvas CSP, Converged Services Platform provides the following key benefits to network operators:
Create, manage and deploy innovative services quickly for rapid revenue generation
Reduce the CAPEX cost and complexity of existing silo implementation
Single standard interface to all third parties to effectively manage third party content and application service provider partners to interact seamlessly and create an open yet secure environment where personalized services can be easily introduced
Enable service convergence and migration from legacy circuit-switched to packet-switched IMS/IP network
Nawras launched the second mobile services in Oman on the 16th of March 2005 and is a venture between:
- Qtel, the fixed and mobile operator in Qatar.
- TDC, a leading European telecom operator in Denmark.
- Strong local Omani partners.
Nawras brings a unique blend of international expertise of Qtel, Qatar and TDC, Denmark and the local expertise from a range of Omani partners. By combining the best of technology with the best of personnel, we bring a whole new dimension of customer experience in the mobile communications sector.
Our vision is to enrich the lives of people in Oman through better communication and by being the best communications provider and employer of choice in Oman.
Telenity is a leading provider of next generation converged services platforms and applications for communications networks. Telenity's IMS ready converged services solutions include: reusable service delivery and content components enabling rapid service creation, deployment and execution functionalities across multiple services and applications; location gateways; integrated messaging solutions; and value added services. Telenity's worldwide customer base includes network operators, service providers and application providers serving over 100 million subscribers. Telenity partners with global and regional network equipment providers, system integrators and computing platform manufacturers. Learn more about Telenity's Canvas family of converged services solutions at www.telenity.com and download a copy of Telenity's online newsletter Telescope.
STARHOME SERVICES THROUGH ALL ZONES
It is widely accepted that just as roaming is a key to the success of mobile telephony, efficient and effective roaming services are a key to the success of roaming - enabling service mobility between new zones using different access technologies and devices.
Starhome is the leading provider of roaming services and converged solutions for Mobile Network Operators, including leading operators in Turkey.
As the recognized driving force in the market, Starhome continues to innovate as the concepts and definitions of mobility evolve.
Just as service mobility was a key factor in international roaming, Starhome’s seamless service mobility will be a key factor for mobile convergence
Service Mobility™ is the interworking, optimization and service functionality enabling users true seamless access and use across networks.
Starhome has developed new inter-network convergent service mobility for fixed, IP and wireless networks for mobile operators – between different zones and contexts, such as the home, workplace or hot spot on the go. These are true convergence solutions in that they do not require any device modifications or any network level integration from the operator.
Starhome’s portfolio now includes new zones in addition to its international roaming services. These solutions generate revenue, reduce network costs and give users the freedom to roam through any zone Meeting the Challenge
Starhome is well positioned to help Operators meet the new challenges of the changing mobile environment and the opportunities to quickly introduce new converged services. Starhome’s wide footprint at operators, global IP network and GSOC, etc., are important competitive advantages for true seamless global service mobility.
Our portfolio includes new inter-network convergent solutions for fixed, IP and wireless networks, in addition to an even wider range of international roaming services. Starhome’s solutions have proven to generate revenue quickly, reduce network expenses and give users the freedom to seamlessly connect through any zone.
Starhome’s New Convergent Zones promises the user, for the first time true fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).
FIXED MOBILE CONVERGENCE – for Business and Residential segments
Starhome has developed new inter-network convergent service mobility for fixed, IP and wireless networks for mobile operators – between different zones and contexts, such as the home, workplace or hot spot on the go. These are true convergence solutions in that they do not require any device modifications or any network level integration from the operator.
These services offer seamless usage between zones which greatly improves user experience. They allow subscribers to adopt additional devices and technologies under existing billing and mobile number.
In addition the FMC offering attracts corporate user segment and strengths mobile brand and differentiates from competitors
The following sections briefly review Starhome’s new zones of services.
Advanced services provide a competitive alternative to service providers in the subscribers’ residential environment and a way to increase market share in the domestic market. Starhome offers Value Added Services that improve usability and utility with convergent numbers or devices and preferential tariffs according to “special” home-based zones.
For example the One Number ™ service lets subscribers use the same number and billing for multiple devices. The My Preferred Zone™ service encourages usage with reduced tariffs for the subscribers preferred zone, such as their home.
Starhome lets mobile operators offer new converged Fixed-to-Mobile functionality and Wi-Fi to their corporate accounts. These provide service mobility beyond the office building and streamline company telephony.
The PBX AnywhereTM solution, which is an extension of the existing PBX system, converges corporate fixed telephone PBX functionality with the mobile environment. It enables multiple PBX features on corporate mobile handsets and unifies communications by bringing various telephony methods under one mobile platform.
PBX Anywhere provides service continuity for users across different networks and zones while making corporate communications more efficient and cost effective.
The Multi NumberTM service, a SOHO offering, allows your subscribers to acquire an additional new mobile number for the same handset, eliminating the need for two phones and accessories. The service is suitable for temporary usage or on a permanent basis, for professionals or individuals that prefer to separate their personal and business numbers without carrying two different mobile phones.
Examples for temporary usage might be newspaper advertisements or dating with a special phone number and for permanent usage where one number is used for business calls and another for private usage.
The Mobile2IPTM solution is included in the Starhome’s offering for the business segment.
This solution enables operators to offer lower cost convergent mobile to IP roaming to subscribers’ using IP client (VoIP) on their mobile number. End users simply connect their laptop to any IP network and make and receive mobile calls over VoIP using their own MSISDN number.
Operators can avoid subscriber churn to alternative technologies and service providers – and the subsequent lost revenue potential – with this service.
The solution allows users of different devices in a hotspot anywhere in the world - to route incoming calls to their IP client, GSM phone or both, according to their zone (IP/GSM) and their preferences.
Mobile2IP is applicable throughout all zones – home, office and roaming.
The portfolio of categories and services in Starhome’s highly successful Roaming Zone has been extended to include innovative roaming solutions that generate revenue, reduce network expenses and give users the freedom to roam.
Starhome as a recognized leader in the field of Steering technologies continues to offer sophisticated solutions that dynamically control outbound and inbound roaming traffic. Operators and groups worldwide have successfully deployed Starhome’s Steering solutions with proven results. Highlighted below are a few of our newly launched and enhanced services.
Intelligent Preferred NetworkTM
This solution gives mobile operators powerful control over the VPMN selection process when their subscribers roam in visited networks. The ability to dynamically redirect roaming subscribers to preferred networks lets operators leverage their roaming/IOT agreements and keep premium roaming revenue within the group/alliance.
Starhome’s offers three Steering options:
SS7 network based
- SIM OTA-handset based
- Hybrid combination of both SS7 and SIM OTA technologies
With rule-based, personalized application logic, operators control network selection according to their overall roaming and marketing objectives.
Inbound Roaming ManagerTM
Network efficiency and inbound roaming margins are impaired by excessive signaling to the HPMN. This service lets you reduce this excessive signaling by upgrading your network infrastructure with intelligent roaming capabilities to monitor, manage and optimize inbound roaming signaling traffic.
Starhome solutions enhance and leverage networks with intelligent roaming capabilities. They provide resources that protect revenue streams. Starhome’s mobile and IP knowledge, along with its vast roaming experience, enables it to offer the best possible fraud protection package.
Instant CDR Exchange (ICE)™
ICETM is the complete end-to-end NRTRDE solution insuring your network against roaming fraud. It offers reliable, secured, and GSMA compliant roaming data exchange, managed by Starhome’s 24/7 global operations center.
ICE provides GSMA compliant data exchange from VPMN to HPMN networks. Starhome offers immediate deployment, interconnection and complete CDR handling via existing Optel and Fair Isaac NRTRDE networks.
Instant CDR Exchange fulfills all GSMA NRTRDE fraud-reporting requirements and can be deployed today.
Roaming Anti-Fraud offers unilateral real time CAMEL-based roaming fraud protection.
Real time roaming fraud prevention eliminates fraud threats and expense via a powerful tool for tracking roaming subscribers’ Mobile Originated (MO) calls. It enables effective monitoring and control in real time. The solution interfaces with any Fraud Management System and extends its reach to the international domain, thereby significantly enhancing anti-fraud capabilitie
The system is network and CAMEL independent, easily deployed and effective in reducing roaming fraud-related revenue leakage.
Global Roaming Hub™
The Global Roaming Hub provides all the infrastructure – signaling, clearing house and agreements – needed to set-up roaming. With a single connection to Starhome’s Global Roaming Hub the mobile operator can immediately share the global roaming market – and benefit from a global footprint of more than 480 roaming destinations worldwide.
During GSMA’s Proof of Concept phase, Starhome’s Global Roaming Hub completed full interoperability with a second roaming Hub service provider, enabling mobile operators to conduct roaming relation via both of the hubs.
Beyond basic roaming coverage Starhome’s Global Roaming Hub is unique in that it offers additional services which can be launched and managed centrally from the central Hub site with minimal effort and fastest time to market.
The Global Roaming Hub solution enables fast and easy establishment and management of roaming infrastructure – for both new and established operators. Based on GMSA Open Connectivity standards, it offers two services that make it easier to establish and maintain roaming relations:
This service provides the infrastructure – signalling connectivity, data and financial clearing and roaming agreements – needed to create roaming. One connection gives a new operator a roaming footprint of 500+ destinations worldwide.
This is an outsourcing solution for new and established operators to improve their roaming coverage and vastly reduce the time, resources and expense involved in roaming agreements.
Roaming Agreements Setup – new agreements & IOT negotiations
Operation & Testing – outsourcing IREG & TADIG tests
Outsourcing & Consultancy – for roaming services and roaming department activities
Starhome’s Global Roaming Hub is unique in that other Starhome services – such as those described above – can be launched and managed centrally from the central Hub site with minimal effort and fastest time to market.
“Only multi-standard chip that supports the variety or the kind of standard that exists in the market”
During the Mobile Eurasia conferences we find the opportunity to made an interview with Ram Levinson, VP from Siano responsible from sales and development. We are sharing the information with you about the facts of the new trend: Mobile Digital TV.
What is nice with this design is that, it is special design and you can stick the express card to the express key that you have in your laptop and it does not stick out from the entrance of the laptop and by having this it is another way to convert your laptop to a mobile digital TV type of device. Actually, we have a variety of solutions or designs such like a SD I/O card. I don’t have the SD I/O with me, but whenever you have the PDA you can hook the SD I/O to the slots, whether in the phone or the PDA and then the antennae can receive the mobile digital TV and then you can watch TV.
Well, in order to support all that I am presenting here you need to have a mobile digital TV network. This not the regular 3G or 3 ½ G, it is a parallel network. I would say it is a complementary type of service for the 3 G. Because in 3 G, what we have managed to see and based on the user experience, 3 G network cannot provide high quality for the mass market. They cannot provide the quality that can be supporting this solution, the mobile TV solution. As for Turkey I don’t know yet what has been decided by the government whether they are going to adopt, because there are a variety of standards, either DVB-H which is led by Nokia optimised for mobile TV, having the time-slicing mechanism. You have DVB-T, which is a free of charge type of service. You can find it all over Europe in Germany, in Italy... you can find it in Singapore, you can find it in Taiwan, and it is the type of service that is free of charge. You have the DVB-T, which is the free of charge type of service mainly in Korea, but you can find it also in Germany for example; it is not a big success in Germany, but anyhow, it is a free of charge service.
So, the Siano’s chip is the only multi-standard chip that supports the variety or the kind of standard that exists in the market, and with this respect you can roam from country to country and still receive the service.
What is your main target?
We are focused mainly on talking with mobile operators in order to extend the awareness and to come with a combined solution, but our target customer are any type of PMP portable media player devices, but frankly speaking we haven’t spoken with any of the regulators or anyone that is bidding for the tender for the DVB-T or DVB-H network that is going to be launched in Turkey. I can tell also that there is a debate about where to go and which standard to adopt, it hasn’t been set yet, so I don’t know, I couldn’t find any more information about what is going to be done or implemented in the Turkey region.
What’s the whole idea of Siano’s solution?
Let me re-emphasise that it is not related to 3G. More than this, you can have this without 3G. You don’t have to invest too much money in 3G and you remain with DVB-H or GPS even... Because the infrastructure costs much less than 3G type of network. It is 1 divided by 100th of the cost.
There is a point here... you are not cannibalising the 3G network, but if you have not yet implemented a 3G network, go for this and provide your end user with 3G. Or if a 3G network costs for Turkey, I don’t know how many hundreds of millions of US Dollar, this will cost just a few tens of millions to roll out a country-wide network for mobile TV broadcast. If you already have a 3G, you can always start and..... you know... in few of the countries, few of the operators own their infrastructure for mobile digital TV and in a few other countries it is not necessary to. You can find in Italy Mediaset owned the infrastructure and then sell the content to T-Mobile. Do you understand? So it doesn’t mean that any GSM operator in Turkey needs to buy or invest in to roll out this network. They don’t have to do it, but if they want to control everything, they have to do it. From an investment point of view it is really legible comparing to 3G. And the quality, you will never be able to receive such quality with 3G with 3 ½G. So, that is the whole idea.
What are the mobile trends in the World and other advantages against 3G?
These are the main advantages and also for the mass market you can distribute immediately to all of Turkey, 60 million now, 65 million.
Digital TV directly to the mobiles. No problem of bandwidth, which is not the case with 3G. You cannot provide, simultaneously a service of TV to the whole... I don’t know how many subscribers Turkcell, Telsim or Avea have...
So with this technology, you can provide all 50 million subscribers with mobile TV at the same time. If there were a football match or whatever, all of them would like to watch it at the same time. They can do it. You cannot do it, you cannot support it if you don’t have the bandwidth.... if they want to do it with TV they have to always double their investment in order to provide too many channels on the 3G network and even so they would not reach the quality of this broadcast. They would never reach this kind of quality. This is exactly as if you would see it at home, but in a small device.
As you can see there is a trend in the mobile that they have extended the display. The display has become touch screen based display without the keyboard so you can extend the display size. As you can see there is a trend to extend the display size in order to provide video type of control. .... I can tell you in Russia they have DVB-T. In Turkey do you have a cable at home?
What is the importance of cable?
So I can tell you that DVB-T is a free of charge service in two of the countries. This phone will be the first Gigabyte phone with Siano chip embedded that receives DVB-T. Due to the fact that DVB-T requires high power consumption, since the Siano chip is the lowest power consumption chip that exists in the market you can launch a phone that is DVB-T based. Not only DVB-H or T-DMB, this will be the first DVB-T phone on the market, around end of April, beginning of May time.
You have to have a mobile digital TV signal in the air in order to have and promote the product. Italy is very advanced in this respect and was the first one to launch mobile digital TV and also launch 3G. So anyhow, due to the fact that Italy, as you can see is pushing very aggressively the mobile digital TV. This is the first commercial product that will manage to break through and later on we are working with a variety of phone vendors top tier one and second tier and third tier and soon we are going to find a lot of phone based on the Siano chip in the market.
Can you tell me about the China company ZTE. What were you doing with them?
ZTE has been chosen by Telecomite Mobile Italy to provide them with a 3G phone. This phone is already commercially available in Italy right now. You can go to the stores and buy it. This is a UMTS based phone with the Siano chip embedded. Since mobile digital TV is already a commercial service in Italy, a DVB-H phone... and this is the lowest in cost DVB-H phone that exists in the market. And ZTE was chosen to provide this phone, they have chosen to work with Siano as the mobile DVB-T partner and this is already a commercial phone, you can find it Italy when you go to Milan or Rome, you can by it in the stores. This is a commercial phone with the Siano chip embedded.
Are you looking for a partner in Turkey?
We are very eager and hungry to engage with new projects and new device manufacturers, it can be either cellular phones, PDA’s, laptops, navigation devices.
Beko and Vestel are also an opportunity for Siano. Beko I know. We work with Beko; actually, I went there a month ago. They have chosen Siano for their portable media player, which they are going to launch in Turkey and the rest of Europe at 5000 stop shops spread all over Europe. This is going to be a portable media player device with the Siano chip embedded. I can approach them. Of cause because they export their laptop and is not just for Turkey, so it fits other markets. Bearing in mind that mobile digital TV is a peripheral component, it is exactly like blue tooth, wireless LAN, GPS. It is another type of application and in order to support it you need a specific network to communicate with it.
Is there anything you want to add?
As a summary I can say, that Siano chip is in the mass production phase and the product
is on the market. The market is too segmented, or diversified, too many standards exist and Siano extended its offering and in its new chip we are going to support some more standards and cover more countries in this respect, so the pace of deployment of different standards in different countries only justifies the advantage of having multi-standard support in one chip. It can provide your user the content and the service while they are roaming from country to country, from city to city, and this is the main asset of the chip.