TMCNet:  AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, telecommunications briefs

[January 28, 2013]

AME Info, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, telecommunications briefs

Jan 28, 2013 (AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- THREE JORDANIAN FIRMS INTERESTED IN TELECOM PROVIDER LICENCES: Jordan's telecoms regulator has said three local firms have expressed interest in obtaining licences to provide mobile telecoms and fixed wireless broadband services in the kingdom, Jordan Times has reported. The Telecoms Regulatory Commission (TRC) said it plans to provide one licence for the provision of fixed wireless broadband services and a new licence for a mobile telecoms operator. The TRC said it will soon set all conditions and criteria needed for obtaining the licences, adding that they will be announced by the end of March.


NAWRAS POSTS 22 percent DROP IN NET PROFIT: Oman-based telecoms operator Nawras has said its full-year net profit for last year dropped 22.1 percent to OR37m, compared with OR47.5m a year ago, owing to lower Ebitda and higher depreciation partially offset by lower interest cost, Reuters has reported. The ebitda achieved in the fourth quarter was OR26.2m, compared with OR26.8m in the same period last year. Ebitda for 2012 was affected by lower revenue as well as increase in cost of sales due to increased international minutes, Nawras said. Full-year revenue also fell 1.7 percent to OR193.5m from OR196.9m in 2011, primarily due to a reduction in SMS and on net voice revenue, partially offset by growth in both mobile and fixed data revenues, the firm said.

GLOBAL INTERNET CONNECTION SPEEDS INCREASING: US-based Akamai Technologies, Inc. has said the number of devices connected to the internet worldwide grew by nearly 3 percent in the third quarter of 2012, as average connection speed rose 11 percent, PC World has reported. Globally, average internet connection speed grew 11 percent, to 2.8 Mbps, over the previous year. South Korea logged the fastest average, with 14.7 Mbps; followed by Japan, at 10.5 Mbps; and Hong Kong, at 9 Mbps, the firm said. Internet disruptions were recorded in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria during the quarter, it noted.

INTEL UNVEILS SMARTPHONE FOR EMERGING MARKETS: Intel, in partnership with integrated communications provider Safaricom, has launched a new entry-level smartphone designed for developing markets this week, PC World has reported. The new device, dubbed the "Yolo," is powered by an Atom Z2420 SoC, a 1.2GHz chip based on a 32nm process and boasting support for 1080p video and 8MP image capture. It will be an Android-based device, though the company did not indicate which version of the mobile platform would be used. It will also have a 3.5" screen, HSPA+ capability and support for global roaming.

QATAR TO PROVIDE ALL PARKS WITH FREE INTERNET SERVICE BY 2014: Qatar's telecoms regulator, ictQATAR, in association with the municipality and urban planning ministry, has launched an initiative that will see all public parks in the country have high-speed free internet service by 2014, Gulf Times has reported. The iPark initiative will reach all seven municipalities in the country, said ictQATAR. Already, seven parks in the country are getting "sustainable high-speed internet connection" at 8Mbps, which is being used by thousands of visitors to these amusement facilities.

IRAQ'S SUBMARINE CABLE PROJECT COMPLETED: The Iraqi communications ministry has announced the completion of a submarine cable project linking Iraq with other countries, Iraq Business has reported. The two-year, $36m project, which was completed by Gulf Bridge International (GBI), will provide internet, telephone and television services at lower prices and with higher quality, the ministry said.

SAMSUNG POSTS $8.3BN RECORD PROFIT: Samsung Electronics has posted a record 89 percent increase in quarterly profit to $8.3bn and kept its 2013 investment plans at the previous year's level, Reuters has reported. The world's biggest smartphone maker and a key supplier of memory chips, flat screens and microprocessors for Apple's iPhone and iPad, has increased its capital spending every year except 2009 since 2004.

LEBANON UNLIKELY TO PRIVATISE TELECOMS SECTOR: Business Monitor International (BMI) has said the new proposal by Lebanon's telecoms ministry to restructure the country's mobile phone sector would leave little or no room for privatisation of this lucrative sector in the future, The Daily Star has reported. "The telecoms ministry's proposed structure for Lebanon's mobile phone sector would meet the government's revenue targets, but is not likely to stimulate innovation or raise the usage of telecoms services in the country," BMI said. The government's decision to retain control of the sector is attributed to its need to secure revenues from telecoms services, it noted. State-owned operators Touch and Alfa posted total revenues of about $1.6bn in 2011, of which $1.4bn were directly transferred to the government, the report said.

ASIACELL IPO EXPECTED TO BE FULLY-SUBSCRIBED: Iraq-based Rabee Securities has said the $1.35bn share sale by mobile operator Asiacell will be fully subscribed, Reuters has reported. The country's second telecoms operator, 53.9 percent owned by Qtel, is due to list on the Iraq Securities Exchange (ISX) on February 3, following a month-long book-building process. It aims to sell 67.5 billion shares in the offering, which began on January 3. "I knew there would be interest, I just didn't know how much - I can say that we will easily cover it," Shwan Ibrahim Taha, chairman of sole book runner Rabee Securities, told the news service. "We will be fully subscribed." "We are opening up a lot of accounts and we are not refusing anyone," said Taha. "Very roughly, it is half Iraqi and half international." NOKIA POSTS FIRST QUARTERLY NET PROFIT IN 18 MONTHS: Nokia has reported a net profit of EUR202m ($ 269m) in the fourth quarter, its first quarterly profit for 18 months, AFP has reported. In the three months ending December 31, Nokia made a net profit of 202 million euros compared to a loss of EUR1.07bn in the same quarter a year ago, when results were hit by a goodwill impairment charge in its Location and Commerce unit. "We are very encouraged that our team's execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results," said chief executive, Stephen Elop.

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