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Com . issue 34 2012

CEO's interview with Comm. titled "Delivering on the vision".

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Com . issue 34 2012

  1. 1. Summer 2012 Issue 34 Price vs. value Nawras continues to press ahead despite sluggish share price performance Towering ambition Is the independent tower company business in Africa just a fad? Maximum data Umax, Zimbabwe’s latest data network providerDecisive coverage of telecommunications strategy promises unique offeringsDelivering onthe visionQ.NBN’s success remains more important than ever inreaching Qatar ICT Strategy 2015 goals Mohammed Ali Al Mannai, CEO of Qatar National Broadband Network
  2. 2. Introducingthe all-in-onemobile processor.Snapdragon™ processors bring together all the best-in-class components a Smartphone needs on asingle chip. Because when everything is made to work together, everything works more efficiently.So you can do more. Do it faster.©2012 Qualcomm Incorporated. All rights reserved. Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.The Snapdragon logo is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated.
  3. 3. EditorialActive developments underway C omm.’s Summer 2012 issue is be a business fad or a sustainable crammed with developments way of conducting business that in the Middle East and Africa benefits all parties signing up to it. telecom landscape that are genuinely We also report on the launch of market firsts, and which point to a one of Zimbabwe’s newest Internet rejuvenation of service providers’ efforts application providers, Umax, and to modify their business models. consider whether what they claim to be Qatar National Broadband Network a differentiated WiMAX service in the is an initiative aimed at turbo-charging country delivers on what it promises. Qatar’s broadband connectivity, and There’s also a view from our is a brave move on the part of the colleagues at Arab Advisors Group state to stump up the cash for the on the investment opportunities that investment in passive infrastructure, exist in sub-Saharan Africa, extracted which can sometimes be a stumbling from a report recently published by block to wider broadband advancement. them in associated with Pursuit Mode Talking of turbo-charging, we also Initiatives, the publisher of Comm., talk to Ross Cormack, CEO of Nawras, entitled Untapped potential: Africa’s about his company’s investment in remaining growth markets in focus. 4G as well as its progress in the offer of wireline broadband services. Africa’s independent tower companies have been hitting the headlines in recent years and we look a little closer at whether the model may just Tawanda Chihota, Principal
  4. 4. Contents I S S U E 3 4 su m m e r 2 0 1 2Features 20 24Price vs. value 20Despite a stock market share pricethat is languishing at more than30 per cent below the level it listedon the Oman bourse in November2010, Nawras continues to be anenergetic operator that is looking tomaximise the opportunities data usagerepresents. Through the leveragingof its various access technologies andthe bundling of products and services,Nawras continues to expand its base ofoperations, believing such a focus willgenerate the necessary good resultsTowering ambition 24Africa has been at the centre of a growingnumber of tower sale and lease-backannouncements in recent years, with 30such arrangements typically involving thesale of the passive elements of networkoperators’ infrastructure. Initially itappeared to be an emerging businessmodel that benefitted all parties, thoughthe recent insolvency issues of sometower operators raises questions whetherthe model is as compelling in the long-term as it was initially made out to beMaximum data 30The demand for broadband data acrossAfrica continues unabated, and inZimbabwe one of the first of a dozenlicensed Internet access providers,Dandemutande Investments’ Umax,launched service in June promising awholly differentiated offering to whatconsumers have so far been used to2
  5. 5. cover story:Now or neverQatar National Broadband Network (Q.NBN) isa private company owned by the government ofQatar and charged with the responsibility to rollout passive fibre infrastructure across the country.Given the Qatar’s ambitious digital plans, which aresummarised under the Qatar ICT Strategy 2015 andfurther articulated through the Qatar National Vision2030, Q.NBN is playing a critical and pioneeringrole with respect to public-private partnershipICT infrastructure investments in the Gulf. “Q.NBN is a catalyst for competition,” saidthe company’s CEO, Mohammed Al Mannaiin an interview with Comm. “I believe whatwe are trying to achieve is a first in the Gulfregion in so far as the costly part of thedeployment of passive fibre infrastructure isbeing absorbed by the government,” he added. Established last year, Q.NBN’s mandate is toroll out passive fibre infrastructure across Qatar, 16and in so doing, place the company in a positionto offer wholesale fibre backbone connectionsand capacity to licensed operators, hastening theuptake of broadband services. It is forecast that such Our role at Q.NBN is to wholesale connectionsuptake will cascade all the way down to consumers to the service providers, so to offer capacity orbeing offered a much improved and powerful fibreoptic broadband service to empower their lives. bandwidth. The wholesale agreement we plan to Earlier this year the company received a 25 put in place is under review, as is the costingyear licence to provide Qatar with fibre optic calculation, though we are clear that we shallbroadband throughout the country, having beenofficially endorsed as the fibre optic broadband charge licensed operators per connectioninfrastructure provider for the country. regulars Editor’s note 1 Comment 32 Comm.’s Summer 2012 issue is crammed Philippe Vogeleer offers his opinion on with developments in the MEA telecom the long-term views service providers landscape that are genuinely market firsts need to adopt to drive success News 4 Hot Spots 38 Looking back at the most significant telecom Comm.’s guide to the most relevant developments and updates taking place telecom industry events to attend in emerging markets around the world during the coming month Movers & shakers 28 Comm. café 40 32 A roundup of some of the most significant IHS CEO Issam Darwish answers questions position changes that have taken place about the role his company is playing in the in the telecom market globally telecom tower market in sub-Sahara Africa Summer 2012 3
  6. 6. Regional newsBulletin board Etisalat looks to open Zain subs grow 5% Y-o-Y inH112, but revenues and net in- up equity ownership tocome remain flatZain Group reported its con- foreign investorssolidated financial results forthe half-year ended June 30, Foreign investors will be owned by overseas investors. listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock2012, which reflected revenues able to buy stock in the UAE’s Etisalat operates in 18 coun- Exchange.of KD663.5 million (US$2.38 Etisalat, according to local tries across Asia, the Middle Of the listed companiesbillion), up 0.6 per cent year- media reports. East and Africa. It has a pres- that do permit overseas in-on-year. Net income for the half Etisalat Group CEO Ahmad ence in markets including vestors, the majority havewas also flat at KD141.9 million, Abdulkarim Julfar is quoted Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghani- limited this to around 25 peralso up just 0.6 per cent year- as saying Emirates Investment stan, Sri Lanka, Niger, Cen- cent, although in some caseson-year. Council is currently working tral African Republic, Tanza- the stakeholding is permitted The operator counted 41.4 on amending the law to allow nia and Sudan. to be as high as 49 per cent.million consolidated active sub- foreign ownership of Etisalat Etisalat is currently 60 per Meanwhile rival UAE tel-scribers at the end of June, an shares. It remains unclear how cent owned by the govern- ecom operator Du reportedincrease of 1.8 million users or much of the telco could be ment, with the remainder Q2 revenues rose by 12.9five per cent over the 39.6 mil- per cent to AED2.5 billionlion counted at the same time (US$689 million), while netlast year. By way of compari- profit surged by 51 per cent toson, Zain added 5.4 million new AED651 subscribers over the 12 The net profit margin (beforemonths to end-June 2011. royalty) stood at 26.6 per cent, up from 19.1 per cent in Q211. Mobile revenues grew by a Qtel blames FX fluctuations further 14 per cent year-on-for 11.8% fall in H112 net profit year, reaching AED 1.9 billion,Qtel Group announced results with drivers of performance infor the six-month period to end- this segment continuing to in-June, reporting its consolidated Etisalat Group CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar is quoted as saying Emirates clude growth in the company’s Investment Council is currently working on amending the law to allow foreigncustomer base stood at 83.7 mil- ownership of Etisalat shares customer base, strong minuteslion, up eight per cent year-on- of use, and data usage.year. Group revenue for the pe-riod amounted to QAR16.4 billion(US$4.5 billion), up 6.1 per centyear-on-year, with EBITDA forthe period amounting to QAR7.8billion, up 8.2 per cent. Qtel moves to acquire the remaining 47.5 per Net profit attributable to Qtelshareholders was down 11.8 per cent of Wataniya Telecomcent to QAR1.35 billion, with thetelco attributing this mainly to Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has Qtel is being advised by Wataniya can review the of-foreign exchange losses in Indo- offered to buy the remaining Barclays Capital and the in- fer and appoint financial ad-sat and Algeria. 47.5 per cent stake it does vestment banking arm of visors to evaluate it. For Q2 to end-June, Qtel’s not already own in Kuwaiti National Bank of Kuwait, a Qtel bought the Wataniyarevenue was up 4.6 per cent to unit Wataniya, a Kuwaiti source with direct knowledge stake in 2007 for approxi-QAR8.356 billion year-on-year, bourse statement said on of the matter told Reuters. mately US$3.7 billion. Ku-while EBITDA was up 8.5 per June 26. The Qtel offer was sub- wait Investment Authority,cent to QAR3.964 billion. Net Based on Wataniya’s cur- mitted to Kuwait’s Capital the Gulf state’s sovereignprofit attributable to Qtel share- rent market capitalisation of Markets Authority, which is wealth fund, has a 23.5 perholders was down 11.3 per cent US$3.97 billion, the stake is reviewing the proposal, the cent stake in Wataniya andyear-on-year to QAR641 million. worth about US$1.9 billion, source said. Based on the au- the remaining shares are Reuters data estimates. thority’s recommendation, publicly held.4
  7. 7. Qualcomm advertorialQualcomm charts newdirections for content andapplications marketWith smartphones having entered the affordability ranks, the devicegame is being spruced up with the drive towards enhancing supportingapplications and content. Set to up the stakes in the mobile contentspace, Qualcomm is taking new routes to drive the content ecosystemA s an enhancement by giving consumers better Augmented Reality presents to its traditional applications and content,” he opportunities partnership approach explains. At the high-end, Qualcomm with telecom players, Qualcomm is creating a part- has been leading the develop-Qualcomm is emphasising the nership network that will work ment of augmented realitykey role content will play in towards increasing the availabil- applications by training softwaredriving the telecom industry by ity of content that is optimised, developers to work with Qual-sponsoring the Cinemobile Film localised and built using a comm’s Vuforia augmentedFestival in Egypt. network of local developers to reality platform and to develop “Our association with Arabi- deliver more regionally relevant localised applications that areacpd - the largest film produc- mobile applications. The com- optimised – but not restricted -tion and distribution company in pany recently announced a col- to run on Snapdragon-powered Moheb Ramsis is senior directorEgypt - to organise this festival, laboration with one of Egypt’s phones. of business operations for Northis a major step towards enhanc- largest telecom conglomerates, “Augmented reality is the con- Africa, Qualcomming user created content and Orascom Telecom Ventures (OT cept of superimposing digitalcreating high quality videos op- Ventures). graphics on top of a view of the content in other directions,timised for smartphones,” said A holding company for several real world as seen through you including through its R&D inMoheb Ramsis, senior director entities such as ARPUPlus, mobile device’s camera. It is a chipset development.of business operations for North LinkDev, ConnectAds, and very attractive concept in itself “We collaborate with a lot ofAfrica, Qualcomm. “It’s a clear others, OT Ventures develops and there are many ways to ap- companies that use our proces-way for us to show that content and provides different types of ply it in different areas of life. For sors in their devices and weis a key value driver for the telecom value-added services example, imagine pointing your work with them to port applica-smartphone industry.” ranging from applications devel- smartphone’s camera at a sign tions and pre-load them on to This initiative represents a opment to content creation and printed in Arabic and watching it devices sold in the region to givestrong march towards expand- aggregation, online advertising instantly translate to English. Or the devices and mobile servicesing locally relevant content, and more. Qualcomm’s as- imagine pointing it at an in-store a local flavour,” Ramsis says.complete with a specialised sociation with Orascom will give advertisement and watching Another way to drive collabo-jury, an online platform for film- both companies the opportunity the images spring to life in 3D. rations is through retail initia-makers to upload their movies, to dip into the mobile content There are also many other pos- tives and operator partnerships,and viewers to watch and vote and applications pie across sibilities, such as in education, where content and applicationsfor their favourite films using segments. entertainment, advertising, are offered for free downloadtheir smartphones or other con- “Our partnership is overarch- and more. The only limit is the when a device is purchased.nected devices. ing and gives us the leg room to imagination of local developers,” “Content strategy is being engage with Orascom in differ- Ramsis says. approached in many ways,From affordability to attrac- ent areas, including jointly help- including using it as a market-tiveness ing developers with trainings Looking at new ways for ing tool and promoting partnerFor Ramsis and his team, to create ground breaking new partnerships solutions. We are already seeingsmartphone affordability is just apps based on Qualcomm’s Besides working with partners significant traction and expectthe starting point. “Now the developer tools, such as our to drive content development, to see many more locally de-focus is on enhancing the value Vuforia SDK (Software Develop- Qualcomm is also investing its veloped applications,” Ramsisof premium-priced devices ment Kits). time and efforts to grow mobile emphasises. summer 2012 5
  8. 8. Regional newsBulletin board Tunisian government to auction 25% stake in LiberCell suspends ops overunpaid tax billLiberia mobile network, LiberCellwas ordered to close its servicesby the country’s tax courts for Tunisianareportedly failing to pay licencefees. The Tunisian govern- Slim Besbess said in a press and operator shareholders The company, which is 30 per ment plans to put its 25 per conference that offers can are forbidden from partici-cent, owned by Kuwait’s Hits cent stake in number-one only come from financial pating in the auction.Telecom is said to owe US$1.5 operator Tunisiana up for companies and investment The stake being auctionedmillion in licence fees, and will auction, reports Reuters. funds and must be submitted was confiscated from theremain closed until the debt is Finance ministry official by November 2. Operators Princesse Holding conglom-settled. erate controlled by the son Citing local reports, Bloomberg of ousted Tunisian presidentNews said that court documents Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.have been delivered to the doors Tunisiana won a US$135of the company’s head office in million licence to launch 3GMonrovia. and fixed-line networks in The suspension of licences in the country in May. The re-sub-Sahara Africa is unfortu- maining 75 per cent stake innately relatively common, though the operator is owned by Ku-most operators fall in line. waiti group Wataniya, which is majority owned by Qtel. Tunisiana controls 53 per Ericsson to deploy RBS 6000 cent of the three-operatortechnology in Vodafone Egypt market. It has approximatelyEricsson has entered an agree- seven million mobile con-ment with Vodafone Egypt to nections, ahead of rivals Tu-continue to provide a quality Tunisiana controls 53 per cent of the three-operator market. It has approximately nisie Telecom (4.5 million) seven million mobile connectionsnetwork to subscribers through and Orange (1.7 million).the transformation of VodafoneEgypt’s radio network. Ericsson is set to deploy itslatest RBS 6000 technology inthe Vodafone Egypt network,which will allow the operator to MTN solid H1 results, with revenues up 17.5%meet the demands of its growingsubscriber base and continue to South Africa based MTN year to 176 million. The growth in EBITDA wasprovide them with quality mobile Group announced first- Market conditions con- mainly due to strong organiccoverage throughout the coun- half revenues rose by 17.5 tinued to be impacted by growth in South Africa andtry. The RBS 6000 is a site so- per cent to ZAR66.5 billion increasing levels of compe- Iran, which grew local cur-lution that supports GSM/EDGE, (US$8.1 billion), impacted tition, regulatory require- rency EBITDA by 10.5 perWCDMA/HSPA and LTE in a sin- by solid growth in South Af- ments, political unrest in cent and 36.4 per cent re-gle package. rica, Iran and Ghana, as well certain countries and the spectively. Ericsson has enjoyed tremen- as by foreign exchange gains. global economic slowdown. Capex increased 77.7 perdous success with its RBS 6000 On a constant currency ba- Growth in Nigeria was lower cent to ZAR10.14 billion, duetechnology, helping it maintain a sis, group revenue grew 12.5 than anticipated as a result mainly to an aggressive roll-strong leadership position in the per cent year-on-year. First of intense competition. out programme implement-next generation infrastructure half operating profit also Group EBITDA increased ed earlier in the year andmarket despite the significant rose, to ZAR21.641 billion, 18.2 per cent to ZAR29.8 the ongoing focus on criti-competition that exists across up 22 per cent year-on-year. billion. On a constant cur- cal capex investment pro-the globe. MTN’s subscriber base rency basis, EBITDA grew grammes across the group’s grew by 6.9 per cent year-on- 12 per cent year-on-year. operations.6
  9. 9. Regional newsChanges following Friendi Africa Cellular Towers served withGroup merger start taking liquidation notice South Africa based mobileeffect at Virgin Mobile SA towers infrastructure opera- tor, Africa Cellular Towers has been served with a liquidation order by the South Gauteng Virgin Mobile South the aim of the changes is to offering online sales and ser- High Court after failing toAfrica announced the closing deliver an improved and dif- vice through a new improved stave off bankruptcy.of 30 of its 38 retail stores in ferentiated customer experi- website and is exploring new, The company has struggledthe country as it looks to re- ence by leveraging VMMEA alternative sales channels. against rising debts and fall-focus its marketing efforts. best practice and investment Vinter had suggested that ing revenues for the past year,The initiative has already in improved systems and pro- changes would be made in and a few months ago an un-commenced and is expected cesses. South Africa in order to bring named creditor started pro-to conclude during the first Virgin Mobile South Af- the company to profitability ceedings against the company.half of 2013. rica will convert the eight in that market. Speaking to The company, listed on the The MVNO in South Africa remaining stores from sales Comm. in June, Vinter said: stock exchange, declined tomerged its operations with focused franchise stores into “Yes, there are still losses at name the creditor in June butDubai-based Friendi Group, full service stores offering Virgin Mobile South Africa, simply said that a liquidatorwhich is led by Mikkel Vint- its entire range of products but I think what is required would be appointed Together the two MVNOs and services including sales, are some structural changes Two directors also resignedare known as Virgin Mobile renewals, upgrades and cus- and tweaks, which I believe from the company.Middle East and Africa (VM- tomer service and advice. can turn the operator around Africa Cellular Towers oper-MEA), and the company said The company will also be quite quickly.” ates three divisions, providing power lines, cellular towers and equipment shelters. The company has been post- ing losses and was seeking an outside investor but had notSTC Group together with Maxis and Oger Groups secured the necessary invest- ment before the winding up order was served.engage Ericsson as preferred supplier The STC Group an- In 2010 the telco groupsnounced that along with jointly launched a series ofits affiliates, the Maxis and global initiatives focused onOger Groups, they have se- capturing synergies acrosslected Ericsson as one of their nine operating com-their preferred global ven- panies and on working withdors for network infrastruc- best-in-class global suppliersture, as part of their global to become preferred part-synergy creation activities. ners based on value creatingThe agreement will allow agreements.Ericsson to offer its portfolio One of the initiatives isof network infrastructure to focus on technology in-equipment through a global frastructure synergies, withprice structure based on to- an objective of developingtal business in Bahrain, In- a global price book and for-dia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Ma- malising volume discounts Left – Anders Lindblad (Ericsson), right - Ghassan Hasbani (STC International).laysia, Saudi Arabia, South based on overall groups The agreement between the two companies will allow Ericsson to offer its portfolio of network infrastructure equipment through a global price structureAfrica and Turkey. scale. summer 2012 7
  10. 10. Alcatel-Lucent advertorialManaging thenew conversationexperienceAs LTE is commercialised in an increasing number of markets across the globe, Laura Merling,Alcatel-Lucent’s senior VP of Application Development Platform and Strategy, details howservice providers, enterprises and developers can work intelligently to ensure they remain anintegral part of the rapidly evolving wireless data ecosystem L aura Merling leads strategy and the need for operators to identify new execution for Alcatel-Lucent’s revenue streams. There is also a require- company-wide push to trans- ment for service providers to consider form the network into a powerful business models beyond access. platform for service providers, enterprises Merling describes application providers and developers to reap benefits from as having seized the consumer experi- through the delivery of high-quality ap- ence; driven by consumer demand, plications. In July 2012, the GSA (Global with service providers now needing to mobile Suppliers Association) said 338 redefine and reinvigorate their role in telecom operators in 101 countries had the value chain. In order to participate in committed to commercial LTE network the ecosystem, Merling advises carri- deployments or were engaged in tri- ers shorten time-to-market and lower als, technology testing or studies. costs for delivering new services. The report went on to say 280 op- With mobile data users forecast to erators have made firm commitments consume as much as 100 times more to deploy commercial LTE networks data by 2016 than they do today, pos- in 90 countries. A further 58 opera- ing both an opportunity with respect to tors in 11 more countries are in a pre- the generation of increased revenues, commitment stage and are engaged in and a challenge with respect to manag- LTE technology trials, tests or studies. ing the network’s ability to cope with The GSA stated that 89 LTE operators such a significant increase in data traffic,Laura Merling is Alcatel-Lucent’s have now launched commercial services operators need to make savvy choices.senior VP of Application in 45 countries, with this number forecast An evolution of web and mobile isDevelopment Platform and Strategy to rise to 150 by the end of 2012. Given underway as Merling describes the this level of investment in high-speed new conversation experience as com- mobile broadband networks, much of prising connectivity, cloud, commu- it driven by demand for video content, nications, data and ecosystems. Merling suggests carriers should start “Carriers need to think beyond transpor- regarding themselves as an integral tation,” Merling says. “They need to view part of the application delivery eco- LTE as a services-enabled environment system rather than merely as sellers of in which they can charge differently. They data, or providers of just transport. can do this by partnering with a platform The telecom environment today is provider such as Microsoft to offer an characterised by SMS and voice rev- Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast enues being on the decline, accelerating Service (eMBMS), which is tailored for LTE8
  11. 11. Alcatel-Lucent advertorialand allows multimedia content to be sent applications to bring personal, social monetisation and optimisation softwareonce and received by many end users.” media, and business contacts, and solution, essential for service providers Service providers can also form conversations together in one place, to turn their data and telecommunica-content partnerships and offer the and the development of high quality tion infrastructure into a commercialoption for application updates to be video conferencing applications, unified transaction platform. OAP provides thepushed during off-peak times for ad- inboxes, and device transfer services. expertise, tools and services for APIditional credit to the end-user. The management of consumers’ data, management, API design and creation, Connectivity in the evolving conversa- with respect to their value and identity reporting and analytics for optimisationtion experience requires service pro- is another required progression in the of API programmes, business modelviders to think beyond transport and evolutionary path of conversations, with design for maximising revenue and ser-initiate new technologies and business cross-telco Application Programming vice integration for time to market.models such as eMBMS and Smart- Interfaces (APIs) being developed for opt- Using OAP, service providers are able topush for the efficient delivery of con- in subscriber data. The benefit of such for create and securely expose new services,tent; or the auctioning of spare network subscribers includes the ease of log-in, either directly or via composite APIs, socapacity as a new business model. personal data being stored in a single, they can be made available internally Merling says service providers also have trusted place, a reduction of forms to be and/or to third parties, allowing for theto consider bringing the power of the ser- creation and delivery of new offers tovices of the network to the cloud, ensuring market, faster, at lower cost and at scale.three fundamental building blocks – trans- The benefits of cross- Alcatel-Lucent also recently intro-formation, enterprise, and building – are telco APIs to service providers duced its API Lifecycle Methodology,in place. With respect to transformation, which looks to help carriers create anservice provider infrastructure, operations include the improvement effective end-to-end API strategy,and business models need to aligned; of identified visitors and while simultaneously establishing awhile enterprises appear to be ready for personalised services, to be repeatable process that maximises ef-carrier cloud, which has a far greater rev- able to feed databases with ficiency, cost savings and revenue.enue potential for service providers (10x) qualified operator data, and toand is more attractive (4x) to enterprisesthan existing public cloud services. increase the account creation The Alcatel-Lucent API Life- Carriers should also be busy- success rate – more sales; cycle Methodology has threeing themselves with the building of more information requests; main areas of specialisation:an agile service delivery platform more subscriptionsfor a new class of cloud services. Definition - Knowing who you would “There are three main ecosystem want to use your API and what youcategories in the evolving data-centric filled in from a mobile, and an ultimate would want them to do with it will helpconversation experience and these are enhancement to customer experience. you define an initial business goal.the OS platform providers; the infrastruc- The benefits of cross-telco APIs to Design - Determine which pieces ofture as a service (IaaS) providers such as service providers include the improve- your existing functionality, services,cloud providers; and the content players,” ment of identified visitors and per- and data can be tapped with APIs. TheMerling says. “Deployment of metrocells sonalised services, to be able to feed protocols you use, the complexity of thecan optimise any downloading of data, databases with qualified operator data, APIs and their inputs and outputs willand what LTE offers is the opportunity and to increase the account creation have tremendous bearing on whether andfor service providers to gain a better un- success rate – more sales; more infor- how third-party developers use them. derstanding of their customers’ contexts mation requests; more subscriptions. Deployment - An API platform doesand to provide services and applications Alcatel-Lucent is heavily involved in not get built once; it is continuouslyspecifically tailored to those contexts.” helping customers around the world monitored and improved on the basis of According to Merling, the new conver- to transform their businesses to take developer response, application us-sation experience is being reinvented in advantage of the changing landscape age, and evolving business strategy.part by faster, higher capacity networks, where APIs have emerged as the lan- The right analytics tools can not onlysmartphone proliferation, and changing guage of the information economy. help you maintain control of API use,consumer habits. Thus the requirement Alcatel-Lucent developed Open API they can help you understand how youfor management tools for converged Platform (OAP) is an end-to-end API are meeting your business objectives. summer 2012 9
  12. 12. International newsBulletin board RIM reports US$518 million loss in quarter to June 2 Huawei reports 22 per centfall in operating profit in H112Chinese telecom technologyprovider Huawei reported H112sales revenue of CNY102.7 bil- Research In Motion During the period, the the overall BlackBerry sub-lion (US$16.16 billion), represent- (RIM) reported that in the company shipped 7.8 million scriber base continued to grow,ing an increase of 5.1 per cent three months to June 2, 2012, smartphones and 260,000 with increases in all regionsyear-on-year. Operating profit the company made a loss of tablets. This compares with except for North America.amounted to CNY8.79 billion US$518 million, compared 13.2 million smartphones Internationally, revenue fellwith an operating margin at 8.6 with a prior-year profit of and 500,000 tablets in the during the period, reflectingper cent, an increase of 20.3 per US$695 million, on revenue of same quarter in fiscal 2012. price pressure due to compe-cent half-on-half and a decrease US$2.81 billion, down from Providing something of a tition, and sales of its agingof 22 per cent year-on-year. US$4.91 billion. positive, the company said that device line – a refresh is cur- In the first half of 2012, Hua- rently underway.wei’s three business groups – The handset manufacturerHuawei Carrier Network, Huawei also stated that its first Black-Enterprise, and Huawei Device— Berry 10 (BB10) device willachieved considerable progress now not be available untilin technological innovation and the first quarter of 2013, say-market expansion, further con- ing that the integration of keysolidating the company’s posi- features into BB10 has beention as a leading global ICT solu- “more time consuming thantions provider. anticipated,” pushing back the launch from late 2012. RIM also confirmed its an- ticipated job cuts, although Smartphone success pushes the size of the cull – around50% rise in Q2 net profit at 5,000 staff from a workforceSamsung of 16,500 – was larger thanSamsung reported a near 50 per Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins said the company shipped 7.8 million many expected. smartphones and 260,000 tablets during the three months to June 2cent rise in net profit for the sec-ond quarter on the back of strongsmartphone sales. The South Korean electronicsvendor reported Q2 net profitof KRW5.19 trillion (US$4.56 Ericsson impacted by lower profitability inbillion), up 48 per cent fromKRW3.51 trillion a year ago. To- Networks and increased loss at ST-Ericssontal revenue rose 21 per cent toKRW47.6 trillion with the mobile Ericsson reported that net “In 2010 we made a con- decline in CDMA equipmentunit accounting for KRW20.52 sales in Q212 to end-June scious decision to gain market sales as well as weaker sales intrillion, a 75 per cent increase increased one per cent year- share and increase technology China and Russia.year-on-year. on-year to SEK55.3 billion and services leadership, well Global Services and Sup- According to figures published (US$8.13 billion), and was aware of the short-term prof- port Solutions showed strongby Strategy Analytics, Sam- up nine per cent quarter-on- itability pressure. Our focus performance, up 26 per centsung consolidated its lead as quarter. However, net income is now on translating these and 47 per cent year-on-yearthe world’s largest smartphone fell a staggering 63 per cent gains into sustainable profit- respectively, with Ericssonvendor by selling 50.5 million in the quarter to SEK1.2 bil- able growth,” commented describing that the underly-devices in Q2. It is thought that lion from SEK3.2 billion a Hans Vestberg, Ericsson and ing business mix, with higherthe flagship Galaxy S3 – launched year earlier. The company president and CEO. share of coverage projectsduring the quarter – accounted said net income was impact- Ericsson explained that Net- than capacity projects, wasfor 6.5 million in sales. ed by lower profitability in works sales decreased 17 per unchanged in the quarter Networks and increased loss cent year-on-year to SEK27.8 and is expected to prevail in ST-Ericsson. billion due to the expected short-term.10
  13. 13. International newsBulletin board Facebook squashes rumours Airtel profit falls for anotherregarding smartphone develop-ment consecutive quarterAlthough Facebook’s US$1.18 bil-lion in revenue for Q2 was slightly Bharti Airtel saw its hanced capex and licence fees million, up 23 per cent fromahead of Wall Street expectations profit fall during its fiscal resulted in the lower profit. US$50 million, on revenue ofand up 32 per cent year-on-year, Q1 to end-June, as the op- Mobile subscriber revenue US$1.1 billion, up nine perthe company swung to a US$157 erator was faced by regula- in India during the period cent from US$979 million.million net loss – and gave little tory and tax developments was impacted by two chang- The company noted chal-guidance on future prospects. in India, and planned accel- es: Airtel said that guidelines lenges on the horizon, how- The number of Facebook’s erated investments in India from watchdog TRAI around ever, including “economicso-called monthly active users and Africa. processing fees restricted the and currency headwinds” in(MAUs) hit 955 million at the end In a statement, Sunil Bharti sale of bundled tariffs; and a key markets, as a result ofof the period, up 29 per cent year- Mittal, chairman and MD of tax increase led to all telecom the Eurozone crisis, lower aidon-year, while 543 million of these the company, said: “Telecom services becoming more ex- and grants, rising inflation,now access the service via mobile revenues in India have been pensive by two per cent. and “political issues” in somedevices, a 67 per cent rise. depressed due to hyper-com- In Africa, EBIT was US$62 countries. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Fa- petition and recent regula-cebook was “focused on invest- tory and tax developments…ing in our priorities of mobile, On the African side, we areplatform and social ads.” On the gaining market share, ben-subject of mobile, Zuckerberg ap- efiting from the significantpeared to shoot down long-run- investments made in the lastning rumours about a Facebook two years.”smartphone. During a conference For the quarter to Junecall he described “building out a 30, 2012, the company an-whole phone” as something that nounced net income of“wouldn’t make much sense for us INR7.62 billion (US$138.6to do.” million), down by 37.3 per cent from INR12.2 billion, on revenue of INR193.5 billion, Alcatel-Lucent reports net up 14 per cent year-on-year.loss of €254 million in Q212 Stagnant EBITDA coupled Airtel’s EBIT in the quarter to end-June in Africa was US$62 million, up 23Alcatel-Lucent reported a net with higher depreciation and per cent from US$50 million, on revenue of US$1.1 billion, up nine per cent from US$979 millionloss for its second quarter and amortisation arising from en-announced that it is planning toreduce its headcount by 5,000 inan effort to further cut costs. Theresults make it the latest infra-structure vendor to suffer at thehands of the economic downturn, Unitech blocks Telenor’s attempts to sellalong with Ericsson and Huawei. The company reported a net loss Uninor assets in Indiaof €254 million (US$ 313 million)for the second quarter on the back India’s Unitech has se- future. of securing higher valuations.of revenue of €3.55 billion. The cured a court order blocking The Company Law Board Telenor had said that it wouldloss was particularly severe when the mobile network, Uninor has upheld a challenge by Un- make an offer if no other bid-the previous quarter’s €398 mil- from selling its assets prior to itech against the sale of net- ders emerged.lion net profit is taken into account. the network’s expected clo- work assets. Uninor said that If Telenor did buy the net- Revenue was down 7.1 per cent sure in August. it would appeal the ruling. work infrastructure, it wasfrom €3.82 billion reported in The network is a 67/33 joint Uninor had invited bids for seen as a precursor to re-en-Q211 but up 10.6 per cent from the venture between Telenor and network assets, which it was tering the market followingprevious quarter’s €3.21 billion. Unitech, and the two com- looking to sell before the net- the forthcoming re-sale of the panies are in dispute over its work closure in anticipation cancelled GSM licences.12
  14. 14. International newsBulletin board Nokia reports Q2 results reflecting difficult market RIM unveils LTE BlackBerryPlayBook Research In Motion (RIM) haslaunched a LTE variant of its Black-Berry PlayBook tablet with built-in conditionssupport for cellular networks. The LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Nokia announced a ing price (ASP) of the Lumia billion. On an operating lev-tablet is also enterprise ready. It sharp fall in sales leading in range fell to €186 from €220. el, the loss amounted to €826can be managed with BlackBerry Q112, resulting in a loss of With the company having million, compared with a lossMobile Fusion and includes Black- €1.4 billion (US$1.73 billion) shipped 10.2 million smart- of €487 million in Q2 2011.Berry Balance technology, which for the period. phones during the quarter, In its Smart Devices unit,allows a user to utilise a BlackBerry During the three months this means that Symbian and net sales fell by 34 per cent toPlayBook for both work and per- (April to June) volumes of its MeeGo devices still make €1.5 billion, as volumes fellsonal purposes by keeping busi- Windows Phone-powered Lu- up more than 60 per cent of by 39 per cent to 10.2 mil-ness information secure and sepa- mia range increased to four these sales. lion units. More encourag-rate from personal information. million units. However, it Sales for the quarter ingly, average selling prices in- The LTE BlackBerry PlayBook also noted that on a sequen- amounted to €7.5 billion, creased both year-on-year (uptablet comes with 32GB of mem- tial basis, the average sell- down 19 per cent from €9.3 seven per cent) and quarter-ory storage and became available on-quarter (up six per cent)from Bell, Rogers and Telus in to €151, aided by stabilisationCanada on August 9, 2012. in the Symbian portfolio. Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO noted that Nokia’s mass- Indian government proposes market Mobile Phones unit2G licence fee reduction “demonstrated stability,”The Indian government has agreed with a two per cent year-on-to lower the proposed base prices year increase in shipmentfor new 2G licences, with a govern- volumes to 73.5 million.ment body known as the Empow- However, sales for this busi-ered Group of Ministers (EGoM) ness declined by 11 per centhaving recommended a base price year-on-year to €2.3 billion,in the upcoming auctions of be- with average selling pricestween INR140 billion to INR160 Nokia CEO Stephen Elop noted that sales in Nokia’s mass-market Mobile dropping by 14 per cent (sixbillion (US$2.5 billion to US$2.9 Phones unit declined by 11 per cent year-on-year to €2.3 billion, with average per cent over the prior quar- selling prices dropping by 14 per cent to €31billion) for a pan-Indian licence. ter) to €31.That is below the INR36.22 billion/MHz proposed earlier this year bythe Telecom Regulatory Authorityof India (TRAI), which would haverequired local operators to shellout more than INR180 billion for a Etisalat reaches deal over PTCL stake paymentnationwide 5MHz licence. According to local press reports, The Pakistan government a dispute over the transfer of ment every six months.operators will still be required and Etisalat are reported to assets from the government The settlement reportedlyto pay existing spectrum usage have settled a long running to the telco. agrees to a payment of US$700charges of 3-8 per cent on top of dispute over the price paid for According to the terms of the million by Etisalat, which is athe licence fee. a stake in Pakistan Telecom- agreement, Etisalat was due to reduction of US$100 million However, the EGoM has report- munication Company Lim- pay US$1.4 billion within one based on the valuation of theedly agreed to allow operators ited (PTCL) in 2006. month after the signing of assets not handed pay for licences in instalments Etisalat offered US$2.6 bil- the deal in early 2006 and the Long standing plans by Etis-with GSM operators only required lion for a 26 per cent stake remaining amount of US$1.2 alat to increase its holding toto pay 35 per cent up front, and in PTCL back in 2006 in billion was due to be paid in a controlling 51 per cent stakeCDMA players 25 per cent. staggered payments, but has equal instalments over 4 and have been on hold until the withheld US$800 million in a half years, with one instal- dispute is settled.14
  15. 15. , SUBSCRIBE TO THE MEA S LEADING TELECOM JOURNAL DECISIVE COVERAGE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY DECISIVE COVERAGE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS STRATEGYWelcome to Comm. the monthly telecom journal, that charts the strategic decisions service providersare making across emerging markets in order to remain competitive. The publication incorporatesnews, analysis, data, and research on the fundamental issues affecting service providers in theMiddle East, Africa, and wider emerging market landscape. Comm. is free-to-post in the UAE. Post and packaging to countries outside of the UAE costs US$50 for nine issues annually, and is payable by PayPal online. International subscribers receive the issue by PDF at no additional charge. Should an international subscriber seek to receive a hard copy of the issue, a fee of US$50 per year is payable for the post and packaging of nine issues annually. Start receiving your monthly copy by subscribing below. Title: First name: Last name: Nationality: Company name: Position held: PO Box: City: Country: Contact telephone number: E-mail: Yes! I would like to subscribe to Comm. and receive a copy each month. I am an international subscriber, and would like to receive a hard copy of Comm. monthly Signature Date: Scan and email to Brought to you by Pursuit Mode Initiatives FZE
  16. 16. Delivering on the visionMohammed Al Mannai, CEO of Q.NBN hasmore than 13 years of experience in networkplanning, deployment and optimisation withQtel, where he most recently served as seniordirector for Network Design and Rollout16
  17. 17. Qatar National Broadband Network Qatar National Broadband Network (Q.NBN) is a private company owned by the government of Qatar and charged with the responsibility to roll out passive fibre infrastructure across the country. Given the Qatar’s ambitious digital plans, which are summarised under the Qatar ICT Strategy 2015 and further articulated through the Qatar National Vision 2030, Q.NBN is playing a critical and pioneering role with respect to public-private partnership ICT infrastructure investments in the Gulf“Q .NBN is a provider for the country. guiding principles for a equipment imminently catalyst for Q.NBN’s directive is in line sustainable economy and with testing commenc- competition,” with the Qatari govern- growth path for Qatar focus ing and services set to gosaid the company’s CEO, ment’s vision to become one on human, social, economic live in the short-term.Mohammed Al Mannai in of the most well-connected and environment develop- As part of the involve-an interview with Comm. “I countries on Earth with ment. Providing the high- ment with Qatar’s licensedbelieve what we are trying to respect to broadband; ambi- speed communications and operators, in April Q.NBNachieve is a first in the Gulf tions that are detailed in increased fibre capacity announced it had signedregion in so far as the costly the Qatar ICT Strategy 2015 Qatar requires to achieve an Infrastructure Accesspart of the deployment of and the Qatar National its ambitions is central to Agreement (IAA) with Qtel,passive fibre infrastructure Vision 2030. The aim for building on the relationshipis being absorbed by the 2015 is to see Qatar benefit- and cooperation estab- Q.NBN is a catalyst lished between the twogovernment,” he added. ting from information and Established last year, communications technol- for competition. I companies with a heads ofQ.NBN’s mandate is to roll ogy (ICT) solutions in key believe what we are agreement signed in Julyout passive fibre infrastruc- aspects of its society and trying to achieve is a 2011. The agreement lastture across Qatar, and in economy. Articulated in first in the Gulf region year represented the firstso doing, place the com- 2010, Qatar’s five-year plan step to defining a frame- in so far as the costly work through which bothpany in a position to offer ending 2015 contains thewholesale fibre backbone following measurable goals: part of the deployment parties could work togetherconnections and capacity to • Double the ICT sec- of passive fibre to support the govern-licensed operators, hasten- tor’s contribution to infrastructure is being ment’s goal of acceleratinging the uptake of broadband GDP (US$3 billion) absorbed the implementation of high-services. It is forecast that • Double the ICT speed broadband servicessuch uptake will cascade all workforce (40,000) government for households, businessesthe way down to consum- • Achieve ubiquitous and government agencies.ers being offered a much high-speed broadband ac- Q.NBN’s mission, which the Under the deal signedimproved and powerful fibre cess for households and company is diligently going in April, Qtel will supplyoptic broadband service businesses (95 per cent) about trying to achieve. Q.NBN with duct networkto empower their lives. • Achieve mass ICT The passive fibre network access and access to other Earlier this year the and Internet adoption that has so far been com- passive telecommunicationscompany received a 25 year by all segments of so- pleted by Q.NBN consists infrastructure over the nextlicence to provide Qatar ciety (90 per cent) of 6,000 connections, with 20 years. Such an arrange-with fibre optic broadband • Achieve wide accessibil- Al Mannai forecasting that ment is set to help reducethroughout the country, ity and effectiveness of all licensed network operators civil infrastructure costshaving been officially key government services (Qtel and Vodafone Qatar on the part of Q.NBN.endorsed as the fibre optic (160 online services) for the meantime) shall In May 2012 Q.NBNbroadband infrastructure Qatar Vision 2030’s four commence installing their went on to announce it summer 2012 17
  18. 18. had signed an interim nections by 2015,” he added. view, as is the costing calcu- be attracted to invest inwholesale agreement with The fibre network’s speci- lation, though we are clear because the return on in-Vodafone, the first such fications have been tested that we shall charge licensed vestment is not that high,”wholesale agreement to to meet customers’ expecta- operators per connection.” Al Mannai acknowledged.enable a licensed telecom tions as well as to ensure Q. NBN will thus be of- “One of the government’soperators to use Q.NBN’s interoperability with legacy fering licensed operators goals is to have affordablenetwork to deliver telecom systems and Al Mannai is open access to a backbone broadband services avail-services to customers. confident the wholesale network without discrimina- able in the country, and it The signing represented a model being instituted by tion of any one party, and is willing to bear the initialmilestone in the relation- Q.NBN will prove com- agreement terms will be costs to achieve this. Soship begun between Q.NBN pelling to the licensed uniform across the board. while the government hasand Vodafone in 2011 with service providers it sells Al Mannai went on to ex- and will contribute fundsthe signing of a heads of connections to currently plain that while Q.NBN has to the entity, existing telcosagreement similar to the one as well as in the future. begun its life being owned are likely to also becomeQ.NBN inked with Qtel. shareholders in due course.” Under the interim whole- Our role at Q.NBN is to wholesale Al Mannai did not wantsale agreement reached with to be drawn on the capex connections to the service providers, so to offerVodafone, the cellco will estimation for the firstinitially provide broad- capacity or bandwidth. The wholesale agreement phase of the infrastructureband services to residential we plan to put in place is under review, as is the investment to end-2015,and business customers costing calculation, though we are clear that we though published reportsin Barwa City and Barwa in the media have sug- shall charge licensed operators per connectionCommercial Avenue. gested it may rise as high “By 2015 we should cover as US$500 million.95 per cent of the house- “Our role at Q.NBN is to by the government, over “The costs may vary quiteholds in Qatar and 100 wholesale connections to the time this is likely to change widely,” Al Mannai said.per cent of the business service providers, so to offer as private investors become “Depending on whether weestablishments in Doha,” capacity or bandwidth,” Al involved in the project. are rolling out infrastructureAl Mannai said. “In num- Mannai explained. “The “Passive infrastructure is to brownfield or greenfieldbers, this will account for wholesale agreement we plan not the part of networks areas, costs could vary by asapproximately 260,000 con- to put in place is under re- that typical investors would much as 80 per cent. So we have an estimate, but it’s not an exact figure, though fromA high percentage of copper based broadband the start we are looking tocoverage exists in Qatar but Al Mannai believes minimise costs as muchcustomers are keen to have this migrated to fibre, as possible by using anyand thinks much of the demand coming between nowand 2015 shall be from this segment of the market existing infrastructure that exists in-country,” he added The secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Com- munication Technology (ictQatar), Hessa Al Jaber has been one of the driving forces behind the expan- sion and development of Qatar’s digital credentials, and she remains a staunch supporter of Q.NBN as a conduit for the country to catalyse digital development. Currently Qatar has among the highest broad- band penetrations in the world, however, it lags significantly behind leading nations in terms of speed, with current maximum18
  19. 19. Qatar National Broadband Network Ray Hassan, president Ericsson Gulf Countries and Hassan Al-Sayed, ictQatar assistant secretary general, IT and ICT Government Sector signing the ICT MoU collaborate in a number ofspeeds of only 8 Mbps. And areas including “Technol-while the penetration rate Depending on whether we are rolling out ogy for Good” which coversis high with 70 per cent of infrastructure to brownfield or greenfield areas, initiatives such as sustain-homes having broadband costs could vary by as much as 80 per cent. So we ability through ICT solutionsat the end of 2011, Qatar’s have an estimate, but it’s not an exact figure, and also aims to use ICT topopulation is expected to though from the start we are looking to minimise unlock the potential of thedouble over the next five e-Economy such as e-Edu-years, meaning more lines of costs as much as possible by using any existing cation and e-Governmentconnection will be needed. infrastructure that exists in-country in Qatar and the region. Current data from ic- Other areas of collaborationtQatar estimates there are connectivity to every corner and 2015 shall be from this include revamping the ICT186,000 broadband lines of Qatar, including the most market segment,” he added. infrastructure, and ena-in the country, with nearly remote areas,” she added. As further evidence of bling platforms to support400,000 expected to be For his part, Al Mannai Qatar’s focus on improv- consumer driven Arabicnecessary by 2020. Q.NBN believes the overriding factor ing its ICT credentials, in content development, andaims to have 439,000 broad- driving broadband demand May Ericsson and ictQa- improving the quality andband lines by 2025, covering and uptake in Qatar is the tar announced the launch efficiency of ICT services.households, government basic desire for connectivity, of a strategic partnership In addition, Ericsson andentities and enterprises.  and Q.NBN is determined to that aims to boost the ictQatar will focus on ICT “As a relatively small help drive the Small Office adoption of ICT in Qatar. maturity in order to create amarket, relying solely on Home Office segment of The partnership, which knowledge-exchange basedattracting private invest- the market in particular. was formalised through a environment to increasement to build an expensive “To be frank, both the memorandum of under- the ICT usage in Qatarfibre network infrastructure traditional business as well standing, seeks to support while leveraging Ericsson’swould limit progress, delay as the traditional home seg- Qatar’s ICT Strategy 2015. global and local compe-advancements in important ment is driving broadband The MoU was signed by tence in the ICT industry.sectors and likely stall some demand significantly in Qa- Hassan Al Sayed, ictQa- All said, Qatar is a bristlingalready planned, forward tar,” Al Mannai said. “A high tar assistant secretary ICT and broadband marketlooking projects,” Al Jaber percentage of copper based general, IT and ICT Gov- to witness, and the suc-said. “This government- broadband coverage exists ernment Sector and Ray cess of policies institutedled national broadband but customers are keen to Hassan, president Erics- in the coming 20 years arenetwork effort will ensure have this migrated to fibre, son Gulf Countries. likely to be tied directly toprogress and keep our and I believe much of the de- As part of the partnership, the success of dedicatedcommitment to bringing mand coming between now Ericsson and ictQatar will entities such as Q.NBN. summer 2012 19
  20. 20. Price vs. valueDespite a stock market share price that is languishing at more than 30 per cent below the levelit listed on the Oman bourse in November 2010, Nawras continues to be an energetic operatorthat is looking to maximise the opportunities data usage represents. Through the leveraging ofits various access technologies and the bundling of products and services, Nawras continues toexpand its base of operations, believing such a focus will generate the necessary good results N awras CEO, Ross a 4.4 per cent growth rate. Cormack believes the The fixed service customer telco has the neces- base grew by nearly 176 sary positive momentum per cent during the half to to continue propelling the 36,787 customers, though company forward in Oman, Nawras’ overall revenue for despite coming through a the period was down 1.7 tough operational period that per cent to OMR95.3 mil- has impacted its financial lion, delivering a net profit performance as well. of OMR19.5 million, down In the first quarter of 11.8 per cent from OMR22.1 2012 the telco reported million a year earlier. revenues fell by 2.7 per “We recently moved into cent to OMR46.8 million new open plan office space, (US$121.6 million), while the Nawras Campus, where net profit also fell by 19.1 per our people can see one cent to OMR9.8 million. another and easily interact,” The company’s total Cormack told Comm. “It is subscriber base rose by a fantastic location for us 2.4 per cent year-on-year to be able to make decisions to reach 1.99 million. quickly and there is a palpa- Nawras attributed the fall ble energy that drives us.” in revenues to a reduction in Cormack freely admits that SMS revenues that was not the competitive landscape fully compensated by growth in Oman has become more in data revenue. In addition, aggressive in the last few revenue in Q1 2012 included years, not least through theCormack freely admits that the competitivelandscape in Oman has become more aggressive in a one-off accounting adjust- presence of value-focussedthe last few years, not least through the presence ment of OMR658,000. resellers together with theof value-focussed resellers together with the The second quarter of 2012 omnipresence of a well-omnipresence of a well-entrenched incumbent marked a stabilisation in entrenched incumbent. Nawras’ operational and Nawras’ competitive ap- financial results, though proach appears to be based the telco’s first half perfor- on focussing primarily on mance still highlights the the factors within its own competitive nature of the control, more so than look- telecom market in Oman, ing to what other players and the on-going pressure are doing in the market and on margins. Nawras closed reacting to those factors. the six months to end-June “It would be fair to say with a customer base of that in some areas the huge 2.03 million, representing increase in use of data in20
  21. 21. NawrasOman outstripped our abil-ity to provide it,” Cormack At the end of June Nawras announced it had entered intoacknowledged. “We prob- an agreement with Huawei to upgrade its Radio Accessably did not build as fast as Network (RAN) by advancing all sites to enhancedwe should have done but 3G+ and increasing coverage, in-building penetration, capacity and the speed of the entire networkthat is all changing nowand going forward, we areconfident that we will man-age and support the growingdata demand. We also havenew people in our top lineup, with a world leadingCTO and CMO contribut-ing additional expertisefrom worldwide markets.” Part of Nawras’ plan tokeep abreast with the surgingdemand for data is a projectit describes as ‘turbocharg-ing’ its network, which inessence means upgradingthe network for increasedcapacity and performance. To this end, at the end ofJune Nawras announced ithad entered into an agree-ment with Huawei to upgradeits Radio Access Network(RAN) by advancing all sitesto enhanced 3G+ and in-creasing coverage, in-buildingpenetration, capacity and thespeed of the entire network.At the same time Nawrassaid it would be launch-ing 4G LTE technology. Nawras is deploying a LTEFDD 4G network in the1800MHz spectrum band,and together with the Tel- It would be fair to say that in some areas the with an overlay of 4G atecommunications Regulatory huge increase in use of data in Oman 1800MHz also being intro-Authority’s release of two duced in the major cities.” outstripped our ability to provide it. We probablymore 3G+ frequencies, the Cormack broadly describestelco is looking to at least did not build as fast as we should have done but the telecom sector as beingtriple its mobile broad- that is all changing now at an inflection point givenband capacity. This upgrade the growth and prevalence ofprogramme is due to begin Wadi Kabir, Muttrah, Qurm, Oman. At the same time over-the-top (OTT) players,in August in Al Amerat. Azaiba, Al Khuwair, Ghala, as new 3G+ sites are being with social networking and Around 30 per cent of sites Baushar, Mawaleh and The introduced, the WiMAX the consumption of videoare set to be upgraded before Wave, by the end of the year. home broadband network content via Internet-basedthe end of the year and All major cities will enjoy will be extended further. companies such as YouTubecustomers are forecast to im- LTE coverage by June 2013. “Over the coming 2-3 years accounting for the major-mediately notice the differ- In addition to the launch we intend to turbocharge ity of today’s data demand.ence as they start to receive of 4G LTE, 3G+ population every base station, resulting Nawras’ broadband networkfast 3G+ and 4G services. The coverage will rise dramati- in 97 per cent of the popu- development approach is a4G LTE network will cover cally from 53 per cent to 97 lation having 3G+ access,” diversified one, incorporatingall major areas of Muscat per cent over the next three Cormack confirmed. “Hun- a number of access tech-governate including Ruwi, years including greater cover- dreds of such base stations nologies spanning mobile,the central business district, age in remote areas across will be running by year-end, wireless and fixed-line. Last summer 2012 21