Regulation

Regulation, OTT threat and spectrum dominate operator challenges

The most serious challenge mobile operators face over the next five years is the competitive threat from OTT players, according to overall respondents to the Telecoms.com Intelligence Industry Survey 2014. Almost 50 per cent of respondents rating the OTT threat a six or seven on a one-to-seven scale of severity. But the operator repondents themselves when broken out, however, judged regulatory pressure on pricing to be the biggest threat, with almost 60 per cent of operator respondents giving this a high rating for severity.

Uncertainty and risk: the results of spectrum renewal by auction

The use of auctions for spectrum renewal seems pointless and likely only to create uncertainty and risk for operators, says Graham Friend, managing director at Coleago Consulting. New entrants know they are likely to be outbid by incumbents and the uncertainty generated dampens the desire of those incumbents to invest and innovate, which is not good at a time when governments want to see a rapid and extensive roll-out of LTE.

African LTE operator “could happily prioritise Skype traffic”

A greenfield LTE operator that has launched this year in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda would “happily prioritise Skype traffic” at the expense of standards-based voice services if that is what the market demanded, its chief operating officer has told Telecoms.com.

Austrian spectrum auction comes under fire

Industry consultants have attacked the recent Austrian LTE spectrum auction process, claiming that the outcome took too much money out of the market and threatens competition in the Austrian mobile sector. The fact that incumbent Telekom Austria was able to acquire half of all the spectrum made available could be particularly detrimental.

Canada introduces telecoms code

Canada’s telecoms regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a wireless code for operators in a bid to make it easier for subscribers to understand their contracts and their basic rights.

European regulators begin Roaming Regulation assessment

Starting this week, European operators are looking at the development of a coherent strategy to prepare for the arrival of roaming MVNOs in 2014. From May 14 to June 3, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is holding a public consultation on draft guidelines in relation to regulated retail roaming services.

T-Mobile US bins device subsidies and annual contracts

US operator T-Mobile has revamped its retail offering, abolishing handset subsidies for premium devices in favour of an interest-free scheme that separates the cost of the device from the cost of network service. Annual service contracts have also been withdrawn. The pricing overhaul is expected to be one of a number of announcements made by T-Mobile at a press event later on Tuesday, although the changes have already been made on the operator’s online retail portal.

France pressures Skype to register as operator

French communications regulator ARCEP was gunning for internet telephony player Skype this week, which it suggests is committing a criminal offence by not declaring itself as a communications operator.

Telenor cuts its losses in Mumbai

Norwegian operator group Telenor will cease operating in Mumbai, after being told by India’s Supreme Court to shut down its operations in the city. The operator’s Indian subsidiary, Uninor, will lose around 1.84 million customers as a result.

Ovum finds disparity in regulation environments

Competition and investment in the global telecoms industry is being held back by inconsistent regulatory frameworks, according to research firm Ovum. The firm assessed and ranked the regulatory performance of 11 countries across three geographic areas in the second iteration of its annual Regulatory Scorecard.

Ofcom moves to block mid-contract price hikes in UK

UK regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation into methods of protecting consumers from mid-contract price increases for fixed, broadband and mobile services. The consultation comes on the heels of a review in which Ofcom studied more than 1,600 consumer complaints in a six-month period about changes in tariffs for what consumers believed were fixed-price contracts.

Local manufacture essential to Brazil, says Minister

The Brazilian government will continue to require that a significant portion of telecoms network equipment is manufactured locally as it seeks to harness the sector’s growth to create jobs and local wealth, according to the country’s minister for communications.

Western European roaming to be hit hard by roaming regulation

European operators will face a challenging time ahead as Western Europe is overwhelmed by strict EU regulations, with the price of voice calls falling by 46 per cent and data roaming services cut from average costs of around $4 to just $0.26 by 2014.

Everything Everywhere rues impact of MTR cuts

Everything Everywhere, the company formed by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, has posted a drop in service revenue of 2.5 per cent to reach £1.5bn in its first quarter earnings statement.

China Mobile exec given death sentence for bribery

A former deputy general manager at China Mobile has been sentenced to death by the Chinese state, having been found guilty of corruption. Zhang Chunjiang, who was detained late in 2009, confessed to having accepted US$1.16m in bribes between 1994 and 2009.

Verizon to appeal data roaming requirement

Verizon Wireless is suing US telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in a bid to have it overturn a decision forcing larger operators to share their data networks with smaller players. Verizon claims that the decision represents an “arbitrary, capricious abuse of discretion”.

Sweden to auction 800MHz spectrum in February 2011

The Swedish telecoms regulator, PTS, has set a date for the auction of wireless broadband spectrum in the 800GHz band, making the announcement on the eve of the first anniversary of the commercial introduction of LTE. The auction will begin on February 28th 2011, with interested parties required to apply for participation by the end of January. Nordic carrier TeliaSonera launched the world’s first LTE service in Stockholm and Oslo on December 14th last year.

Afghanistan to push for next generation wireless in 2011

The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) is currently in talks with the country’s four mobile carriers to gather opinion on the allocation of spectrum for next generation services. It is not yet certain whether the regulator will simply allocate spectrum to the operators or whether an auction will take place, however the aim is to have commercial 3G services in Afghanistan by the end of 2011.

Operators lose battle against roaming price caps

Four of Europe’s largest mobile operators – Vodafone, Telefónica O2, T-Mobile and Orange – lost their battle with European authorities on Tuesday, after the European Court of Justice ruled that roaming caps can stick.

France Telecom gains approval for Egyptian purchase

Egypt’s financial regulator has granted approval for the purchase of the stake it doesn’t already own in the country’s leading carrier Mobinil by France Telecom’s Orange. For some time the deal has been the subject of a spat between France Telecom and Mobinil’s other principal shareholder, Egyptian player Orascom Telecom.

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