Iraq plans to auction third-generation (3G) telecommunications licenses for a minimum of $307 million each, sources familiar with the matter said, a move that could allow new entrants into the sector but slow the rollout of mobile Internet services.
The country did not have a mobile phone industry under Saddam Hussein but the sector expanded rapidly after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion which toppled the dictator.
Kore Telematics has launched an educational program in partnership with modem maker Multi-Tech Systems aimed at supporting M2M players facing a shutdown of 2G networks.
Leading US operators AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA) have both announced plans to switch off their 2G networks over the next few years and run all voice and data traffic over 3G and 4G infrastructure.
The plans have generated concern among companies that currently use those 2G networks for their M2M services.
Industrial giant GE has launched a new platform of industrial wireless routers aimed at helping oil and gas and mining companies to expand their communications infrastructure using a variety of technologies.
The company describes its MDS Orbit Platform as a next-generation wireless solution integrating cellular, licensed and unlicensed networks in a single device.
M2M device maker Novatel Wireless says US operator AT&T has approved a number of its products supporting vehicle telematics, telemetry and embedded solutions.
The approvals mean devices made by Novatel Wireless (San Diego, CA, USA) can be used on the AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) network.
These include the manufacturer’s MiFi-powered SA2100, the MT 4100 mobile tracking device, the SA-G+ telemetry platform and the Enabler HS 3002 module.
Qatari incumbent Ooredoo has launched what it claims is the first 3G network in Algeria, where it is the smallest of the country’s three mobile network operators.
In a statement, Ooredoo (Doha, Qatar) – formerly known as Qtel – said it had switched on its network in the country’s ten biggest cities just hours after getting the final regulatory sign-off.
Although it promises its 3G services will be available “at no additional cost”, the operator requires customers to procure a second 3G-enabled number (which it will supply) and add this to their SIM cards.
Hong Kong’s PCCW has announced plans to buy Telstra’s 76% stake in local rival CSL for the sum of $2.43 billion.
The deal will put PCCW (Hong Kong) in control of assets it sold more than ten years ago, reports Bloomberg, and help to reduce the level of competition in Hong Kong’s saturated phone market, where there are approximately twice as many subscriptions as people.
UK operator EE says it will invest £275 million ($450 million) in improving the quality and reliability of mobile calls on its 2G and 3G networks in 2014.
The funds will also be used to conduct trials of new voice technologies such as voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over WiFi.
Indian operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm have announced a network-sharing plan aimed at avoiding “duplication of infrastructure” and lowering costs.
The companies said they would share inter- and intra-city fiber-optic networks, submarine cable networks, towers, internet broadband services and other technologies that might emerge in future.
Besides avoiding duplication and freeing up capital for other projects, the operators said that comprehensive network sharing would help to “preserve the environment”.
Hong Kong authorities have denied that plans to re-auction some of the 3G frequencies currently in use will cause disruption and lead to higher prices for the country’s 3G users.
Frequencies in the 2.1GHz band are due to expire in October 2016, but under a so-called “hybrid approach” regulators plan to re-auction just a third of these frequencies, which – it insists – represents just 7–10% of the overall spectrum held by the incumbent operators.