facebook-bigFacebook has created an initiative—Internet.org—to bring internet connectivity to the poor and underserved, recruiting a number of telecoms industry vendors as partners. But while the new group cites the importance of mobile operators in bringing connectivity to the unconnected, there are none among the founders.
Recent merger and acquisition activity has illustrated how Europe’s telecoms sector is becoming weaker, according to top executives at operator trade association the GSMA. Speaking at the GSMA’s Mobile 360 event in Brussels, chairman Franco Bernabè, who is also CEO at Telecom Italia, said that deals such as Vodafone’s sale of its Verizon stake and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia suggests that Europe is no longer a leading region in the telecoms sector.
The GSMA has issued a fresh call for policy overhaul in the European mobile sector in a bid to bring the region up to speed with the world’s leading markets. Spectrum harmonisation, the removal of barriers to consolidation and freedom from close regulator control on pricing are essential to the sector’s improvement, the group said.
The operator push to reclaim status in messaging services has received impetus in China where China Telecom has launched its own proprietary instant messaging application dubbed YiChat.
Three out of ten mobile operators believe GSMA offering Joyn is not the solution to successfully compete with messaging service providers such as WhatsApp and Skype, according to research published today.
Telefónica’s UK arm has been selected as the connectivity provider for the UK’s Smart Meter Implementation Programme in two of the project’s three regions. The operator will provide service in the Central and Southern regions for the programme, which will see the deployment of 53 million connected gas and electricity meters across the UK by 2020.
The European Commission is once again pushing its agenda to transform the EU’s 28 telecoms markets into one single market. Research undertaken by the EC found that mobile users across the EU face huge price differences for the same services.
At the Future of Wireless 2013 event staged by UK industry organisation Cambridge Wireless earlier this month, James Collier, the founder and CTO of white space solutions provider Neul, suggested that mobile operators are ill-equipped to provision the Internet of Things (IoT). Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA, countered by suggesting that the IoT opportunity is big enough for everyone, but MNOs will clearly be key players and not just for simple connectivity.
The chief government and regulatory affairs officer of GSMA, Tom Phillips, has responded to last week’s speech from Neelie Kroes, in which the European commissioner for the digital agenda called for the creation of a single European telecoms market by describing her comments as “unfortunate”.
Since the launch of Skype in 2003, over-the-top (OTT) service providers have been successful in convincing subscribers to opt for their perceived to be free offerings, at the expense of operators’ voice and SMS services.
Industry body the GSMA has called for national governments and regulators to review their approach to Universal Service Fund (USF) levies. The GSMA surveyed 64 USFs and found that most of them remain inefficient and ineffective, with more than $11bn waiting to be disbursed between them.
Operator group Deutsche Telekom has become the latest firm to offer the GSMA’s Joyn messaging platform to its users. The operator has rolled out the service to customers in its native Germany.
South Korean operator SK Telecom has announced that it has acquired one million users for its Joyn service, just 50 days after of launching it.
Mobile operators worldwide are still not doing enough to protect customers from bill shock, despite initiatives by trade association the GSMA and national regulators such as Ofcom in the UK and ACMA in Australia to promote transparency in roaming charges. The majority of mobile operators worldwide (62 per cent) have not yet implemented any form of bill-shock prevention, according to research conducted by cloud-based managed communication services provider Mach.
The GSMA-backed rich communication service initiative Joyn has split opinion among the industry’s forecasters. Some are encouraged by the strides the service has made, whereas others believe this is too little a step taken too late. Nonetheless, Joyn now seems to be gaining momentum; in recent weeks, Spain’s big three operators have thrown their weight behind the cause as well as SK Telecom in South Korea.
South Korean operator SK Telecom has become the latest carrier to throw its weight behind the GSMA’s Joyn initiative after announcing the availability of its joyn.T rich communications service to subscribers. The Joyn proposition, announced by GSMA at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year, is the group’s response to the increasing popularity of network independent, OTT messaging applications.
The Wholesale Applications Community, a mobile operator alliance focused on the creation of a web runtime environment for device and OS agnostic mobile apps and the wide scale provision of network APIs to developers, has sold its technical assets to specialist firm Apigee. Meanwhile the GSMA has announced that it will absorb what remains of WAC, just two years after it was created.
Connected cars are fast becoming the topic that has the telecoms industry’s tongues wagging excitedly. This year, Ford’s chairman gave a keynote presentation at Mobile World Congress, RIM showcased a connected Porsche at its BlackBerry World 2012 event, and Google secured the first ever self-driving car licence in the US. And as the connected car market continues to evolve, mobile operators are finding that they have a key part to play in the ecosystem, and are having to invest time and resources to ensure they are not overlooked as the connected car market matures.
Legislation being passed through European Court could radically change the EU roaming market and see operators competing for the business of travellers and the creation of an EU-wide “roaming marketplace”.
The GSMA has announced a collaboration with the Wireless Broadband Alliance aimed at simplifying the process by which mobile devices connect to wifi networks. The joint initiative will see the SIM adopted as the principal means by which managed wifi networks identify mobile devices, paving the way for cross-network roaming agreements.