About this weblog

What you need to know: This weblog captures key data points about the global telecoms industry. I use it as an electronic notebook to support my work for Pringle Media.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Unicom Sees Strong Mobile Growth

China Unicom, said its total revenue was 70.6 billion yuan (11.4 billion US dollars), up 15.4% year-on-year, in the first quarter. The equivalent figures for China Mobile were 21.8 billion dollars and a growth rate of 5.7%. Service revenue in Unicom's mobile business was 35.24 billion yuan, up 20.4% year-on-year. Unicom added a net total of 11.4 million mobile subscribers during the quarter. 

China Unicom said it added 11.36 million 3G subscribers during the quarter and the number of 3G subscribers reached 87.82 million on 31 March 2013. For the first quarter of 2013, ARPU per month for the 3G business was 78.2 yuan (12.7 dollars). source: China Unicom statement

Friday, April 26, 2013

Telenor Scales Back Growth Forecast

Telenor lowered its forecast for 2013, predicting that its revenues will rise between 2% and 4% in organic terms, compared with its earlier forecast of 3% to 5%. In the first quarter, the Oslo-based group saw its revenues rise just 0.3% on an organic basis to 24.72 billion Norwegian krone (4.24 billion US dollars), after growing more than 5% in 2012. It blamed "multiple issues in Asia." source: Telenor presentation

Samsung Sees Sales Soar Again

Samsung Electronics said that sales in its IT and mobile communications division rose 46% year-on-year to 32.82 trillion Korean won (29.53 billion US dollars) in the first quarter. Samsung said it "maintained a steady pace of Galaxy SIII sales and improved sales of Note II" in the smartphone sector and there was "continued growth momentum with increased sales of Tab2" in the tablet sector.

The Seoul-based company said that it expects to see "replacement demand grow" in developed markets driven by LTE expansion and growth in emerging markets led by mass-market smartphones. source: Samsung presentation

Qualcomm Raises Guidance on Strong Quarter

Qualcomm, a leading maker of wireless chips, said its revenues rose 24% year-on-year in the quarter ending March 31 to 6.12 billion US dollars. It said that shipments of its MSM (mobile station modem) chips rose 14% year-on-year and total reported device sales in the quarter ending December 31 were up 18% to 61.1 billion dollars (Qualcomm earns a small percentage of these revenues in license fees).

The San Diego-based firm said that it now expects its revenues to rise between 25% and 36% year-on-year in the current quarter and between 26% and 31% for the year ending September 30.

“Looking forward, we are seeing strong traction with our new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and 800 processors, and we continue to expect healthy growth in 3G and 3G/4G multimode devices around the world,” said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. "We are... raising our calendar 2013 3G/4G device shipment estimates and our revenue and earnings guidance for fiscal 2013." source: Qualcomm statement

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sprint's Capex More than Doubles

Sprint said its consolidated net operating revenues rose almost 1% year-on-year to 8.8 billion US dollars in the first quarter of 2013. It said the improvement was primarily due to higher equipment and wireless service revenues, partially offset by a reduction in wireline revenue. 

Sprint reported capital expenditures, excluding capitalized interest of 15 million dollars, of approximately 1.8 billion dollars in the quarter, compared to 800 million dollars in the first quarter of 2012. Wireless capital expenditures were 1.7 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 710 million in the first quarter of 2012, as Sprint implements its "Network Vision" upgrade. source: Sprint statement

MTN Adds Another 6 Million Subs

Pan-Africa mobile operator MTN said it added 6.12 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, taking the total to 195.4 million. MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa said: "This supported growth in traffic volumes and local currency revenue. In South Africa, despite a slow start to the year, MTN maintained its market share and reviewed its market offerings to be more competitive. In Nigeria, MTN continued to record a good performance in a highly competitive market.... The solid performance over the past quarter means we have maintained our guidance for net additions for the full 2013 year at 21 million.” MTN also said that data revenues rose 42% year-on-year. source: MTN statement

Dogfight for Orange in France

France Telecom-Orange said its revenues fell 4.1% year-on-year on a comparable basis in the first quarter to 10.28 billion euros. It blamed 2.3 percentage points of that decline on regulation.

Mobile service revenues fell 8.1% in France and 9.7% in Poland as competition intensifies. The Paris-based group is responding by increasing capital spending. Capex was up 6.5% year-on-year to 1.15 billion euros in the first quarter, as the group accelerates the rollout of LTE and fibre in France. source: FT presentation 

AT&T to Cut Back Capex

AT&T said that its revenues rose 0.9% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter to 31.4 billion US dollars. Total wireless revenues, which include equipment sales, were up 3.4% to 16.7 billion dollars, but total wireline revenues fell 1.8% to 14.7 billion dollars.

“Our wireless network performance continues to be terrific,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “And that helped drive our best ever first quarter for smartphone sales, improved wireless churn and strong growth in mobile data revenues. We also posted record sales of our U-verse high-speed IP service.

While it continues to expect capital expenditures for 2013 to be about 21 billion dollars, AT&T now expects capital expenditures for 2014 and 2015 each to be about 20 billion dollars, rather than 22 billion. The telco said it is achieving savings through greater integration efficiencies, accelerating LTE build in 2013 and other ongoing initiatives. source: AT&T statement

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ericsson Sees Steady Growth

Ericsson said that it sales increased 7% year-on-year in the first quarter, stripping out the impact of currency movements, to reach 53 billion Swedish krona (8.02 billion US dollars). Sales in the networks division rose 7%, boosted by mobile broadband deployments in the US and Indonesia, while sales in the global services division climbed 9%. source: Ericsson statement

Apple Believes Revenue May Fall

Apple said it expects its revenue in the quarter ending June 30 to be between 33.5 billion and 35.5 billion US dollars. That suggests Apple believes its revenue will probably decline year-on-year for the first time in many years. Its revenue was 35 billion US dollars in the equivalent quarter of 2012. 

In the quarter ended March 30, Apple's revenue rose 11% year-on-year to 43.6 billion US dollars. The California-based company sold 37.4 million iPhones in the quarter, compared to 35.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 19.5 million iPads during the quarter, compared to 11.8 million in the year-ago quarter. 

“Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline,”  said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. source: Apple statement

Monday, April 22, 2013

China Mobile Faces Intense Market Competition

China Mobile said its operating revenue climbed 5.7% year-on-year in the first quarter to reach 134.7 billion Chinese yuan (21.8 billion US dollars). That marks a slowdown from 2012 when group revenue rose 6.1% across the year. In the first quarter, average revenue per user fell to 63 yuan (10.2 dollars) from 71 yuan in the previous quarter, as it added a further 16 million connections taking the total to 726 million.

China Mobile said: "Faced with various difficulties and challenges arising from the increasing mobile penetration rate, unprecedentedly intense market competition and more apparent substitution of traditional communication business by new technologies and new businesses, the group persisted with the mantra of ‘‘customers are our priority, quality service is our principle’’."

It added: "Wireless data traffic in the first quarter of 2013 increased by 1.6 times compared to the same period of last year. Key businesses, such as Mobile Mailbox, Mobile Reading and Mobile Video, have maintained a favourable growth momentum." source: China Mobile statement

Saturday, April 20, 2013

American Music Downloads Hold Up

Apple had 63% unit share of the U.S. paid music download market in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to research firm NPD Group, followed by AmazonMP3 with 22%. 

According to NPD’s surveys of consumers, 44 million Americans bought at least one song track or album download last year. The research firm said: "That number has remained relatively stable over the past three years, despite the rapid growth of Pandora and other music-streaming options." NPD estimates that average per-buyer spending on music downloads increased 6% year over year  "due largely to increases in music purchasing by teens, along with an increase in the number of consumers purchasing both single song tracks and full albums." source: NPD statement

Friday, April 19, 2013

Home is where the Future Is

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry

Enterprises can learn from Facebook Home and Google Now

Facebook Home has polarised industry commentators. Some love the idea of Facebook feeds taking over the home screen of their smartphone, some hate it. 

But the concept of highly-relevant, real-time information being pushed to a smartphone's home screen is basically sound and should be more widely adopted by enterprises. Highly-selective updates pushed to employees could take friction out of many organisational processes. 

In time, such systems could become a standard part of an enterprise mobile solution, but they won't be easy to implement well. Consumers' reactions to Facebook Home and other attempts to push timely and personlised info, such as Google Now, will give some pointers as to how this might be done effectively. 
Facebook Home

First let's look at the value proposition from a CIO's perspective. The beauty of a Facebook Home style newsfeed is that it overcomes inertia and laziness - rather than requiring employees to log into an IT system and search for specific data (a pull approach), it pushes info to the employee. In some respects,  the concept emulates the effortless elegance of the original Blackberry experience - your emails came to you.

Removing friction in the field
For a field engineer working for a utility, live updates on how the overall electricity grid  is performing could help him or her tackle a specific outage. Their personalised newsfeed could also alert them to the location and telephone number of another engineer working on the same problem. In the public sector, health workers could get real-time updates on health scares, flu outbreaks and vaccination programmes, while police officers could benefit from status updates on the whereabouts of colleagues and which cases they are working on.

The home screen newsfeed for CFOs, CMOs and their staff could include regular updates on key performance metrics - how many orders for a new product or the footfall in stores. Ideally, the newsfeed will link to some kind of data visualisation system, such as that built by startup Captain Dash, that clearly shows the trends behind the figures. If they bump into the CEO in the lift, the CMO will then be able to give him or her a snappy update, rather than saying "I'll get back to you."

Relevant, very relevant and even more relevant
Of course, these kinds of home screen newsfeeds will only work if everything on them is highly-relevant - they can't be like email, Twitter or Facebook, where a few valuable nuggets can be swamped by dross. The analytics engines behind these newsfeeds will need to be very, very selective and their timing has to be spot on. For a sales representative, breaking news on a client they are about to meet is valuable, but real-time info on a client they are going to meet tomorrow could distract them from the client they are meeting today.

Moreover, the analytics engines will need to learn, prioritising items that the employee clicks on and demoting those that get ignored. Different employees work in different ways - some people are information junkies, while others will only want three updates a day - these newsfeeds need to adjust to that.

All this won't be easy, but Google Now, in particular, shows how cloud-based systems can draw on many different data sources to provide people with relevant and timely info.  Google Now pulls in data from WiFi, GPS, search queries, email, calendars and other sources to provide people with  timely information, such as the time of the next bus or train or the exchange rate when you arrive in another country. It is far from perfect, but Google Now is a pointer to the future.
Google Now

Must have mobile security

Finally, in an enterprise context, mobile security will obviously be key. The newsfeed will be carrying sensitive info  - it shouldn't be appearing on the lock screen, where anyone might see it.  The feed should be on the home screen, protected by a PIN. Smartphones may also need to be equipped with cases that obscure the screen to anyone not looking at the device square on. Highly sensitive newsfeeds may need over-the-air encryption and there should be a remote wipe feature in case the handset is lost.

The actual implementation is also going to depend on the smartphone operating system. While Facebook Home has shown how it is possible to completely take over the home screen of an Android device, Apple isn't going to allow a third-party to hijack the iPhone experience. Still, I suspect consumer and enterprise demand will mean iOS is going to have to provide better support for real-time newsfeeds on the home screen. 

Done well, push can be better than pull.

This post is sponsored by the Enterprise Mobile Hub and Blackberry

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Robust Quarter for Google

Google  said its revenues in the first quarter rose 31% year-on-year to 13.97 billion US dollars, boosted by the inclusion of Motorola's handset business. On a like-for-like basis, Google revenues rose 22% to 12.95 billion dollars.  Google's "Other" revenues, which include sales from its Google Play app store, rose by 150% year-on-year to 1.05 billion dollars, more than Motorola Mobile managed to generate. source: Google statement

América Móvil Sees Slight Uptick

América Móvil said its revenues rose 6.1% year-on-year in the first quarter at constant exchange rates to 193 billion Mexian pesos (15.69 billion US dollars), with service revenues growing 4.6% led by mobile data (25.6% growth) and by PayTV  (20.6% growth).  Revenue rose 5.8% in the previous quarter.

The pan Latin-America group said it finished March with 328.2 million connections, 7.4% more than in the first quarter of last year. This figure comprises 262.9 million wireless subscribers, 30.3 million landlines, 17.8 million broadband accesses and 17.2 million PayTV clients. source: América Móvil statement

Nokia Sees Another Sharp Sales Fall

Nokia said that its net sales fell 21% year-on-year in constant currencies in the first quarter to 5.85 billion euros, as sales in its devices and services division fell 33%. Nokia Siemens Networks' revenues declined 4%.

Nokia said it shipped 11.1 million smartphones in the quarter consisting of 5 million Asha full touch smartphones, 5.6 million Lumia smartphones (running Windows Phone) and 0.5 million Symbian smartphones. Nokia said: "In the second quarter 2013, supported by the wider availability of recently announced Lumia products, Nokia expects the sequential growth in Lumia unit volumes to be higher than the 27% sequential growth in the first quarter 2013." source: Nokia statement

Wireless and Fibre Lift Verizon

Verizon Communications said its revenue rose 4.2% year-on-year in the first quarter to 29.4 billion US dollars, driven by a 9% uplift in wireless revenues and a 15% rise in fibre-related revenues. Verizon said that 54% of its wireless data traffic is now on its LTE network, which now covers 287 million people. source: Verizon presentation

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Intel Cuts Capital Spending Plans

Intel said it expects its full-year capital spending to be 12 billion US dollars, plus or minus 500 million dollars, down 1 billion from its prior expectations. However, it still expects a low single-digit percentage increase in revenues in 2013. "Amidst market softness, Intel performed well in the first quarter and I'm excited about what lies ahead for the company," said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. "We shipped our next generation PC microprocessors, introduced a new family of products for micro-servers and will ship our new tablet and smartphone microprocessors early this quarter. We are working with our customers to introduce innovative new products across multiple operating systems. The transition to 14nm technology this year will significantly increase the value provided by Intel architecture and process technology for our customers and in the marketplace." source: Intel statement

Google Welcomes Facebook Home

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has welcomed Facebook Home, the software that puts the social network on the home screen and lock screen of smartphones running Google's Android software, according to TechCrunch.  "[Facebook] read the rules and they adhered to them. If you look at what Facebook did they maintained full application compatibility. I think it’s a tremendous endorsement of the platform and what it can do,” he is reported to have said at a conference. source: TechCrunch article

Friday, April 5, 2013

Facebook Tries to Take Over the Home Screen

Facebook unveiled its Facebook Home application which will feed status updates from the social network on to the lock screen and home screen of some Android phones. It said this feature, called Cover Feed, "is for those in-between moments ­like waiting in line at the grocery store or between classes ­when you want to see what's going on in your world." Facebook Home also enables the use of Facebook messenger and/or SMS while using other apps. 

Facebook said "Home will be available as a free download from the Google Play Store starting April 12. Home works on the HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung GALAXY S III and Samsung GALAXY Note II. Home will also work on the forthcoming HTC One and Samsung GALAXY S4, and on more devices in the coming months."

It added that "Home will also be available pre-installed on phones through the Facebook Home Program. HTC and AT&T are the first companies working together to deliver a phone with Home. It's called the HTC First and it goes on sale April 12. We designed Home to be the next version of Facebook. But we also wanted to do something more. We wanted to reimagine the way we all use computing devices to make us more connected and bring us closer to the people we care about." source: Facebook statement