Archive for the ‘mobile’ Category

Nokia launches first handset on China Mobile 3G standard

nokia logoHere at Emerging Voice, we have been following the the whole Nokia / China Mobile / 3G story for a good while, you can pick up on some of those previous posts here : Nokia in China

Today, Nokia has finally launched it’s first TD-SCDMA compliant handsets the Nokia 6788, which was built from the ground up for China Mobile.


Nokia (NYSE: NOK) today announced the Nokia 6788, its first device for TD-SCDMA – China’s domestic 3G standard, at an event in Beijing. The Nokia 6788 is the result of close collaboration between Nokia and the world’s largest mobile phone operator, China Mobile.

Speaking at the event, said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia: “Nokia sees TD-SCDMA as being central to the successful evolution of 3G in China, and so is fully committed to this 3G standard. With a wide range of integrated China Mobile applications, the Nokia 6788 marks a new level of collaboration with China Mobile and offers enriched experiences to China’s 3G users. Nokia plans to introduce more TD-SCDMA phones in the near future, further boosting the development of this 3G standard in China.”

“We are excited to see the launch of Nokia 6788,” said Mr. Lu Xiangdong, Vice President of China Mobile Communications Corporation. “With extensive experience in the China market, Nokia will provide Chinese consumers with TD-SCDMA solutions that are perfectly catered to their needs. Such cooperation between the world’s largest operator and the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer will provide an important boost to the development of TD-SCDMA in China.”

The Nokia 6788 is specifically designed for China Mobile’s (NYSE: CHL) network and offers rich data services. It is an all-in-one device that provides its users with faster Internet speeds and download times. Featuring a 5-megapixel (2592 x1944) camera with a dual-LED flash, a 2.8″ QVGA display, and the hugely-successful Symbian S60 platform, the Nokia 6788 allows people to instantly share the things that matter to them most.

& here’s some pics

Nokia 6788

we apologise for the Engadget style of this post, but it’s been a long time coming !!

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Strong VAS revenues offset by weak dollar for Millicom

millicomEmerging Markets focussed telecom operator Millicom International (Nasdaq:MICC) has  posted a 12% decrease in net profits of US$143mn in the third quarter of 2009 compared to US$161mn in the same quarter a year ago, the company said in a statement.

Overall revenues were up 7% to US$856mn compared to US$800mn a year ago. However, top line figures have been heavilyimpacted by the dollar exchange rate across all of it’s markets, resulting in a 9% negative translation impact, the company said.

EBITDA has  increased 13% to US$392mn year-on-year, while  margin was 45.8%, up 2.6% compared to Q3 as a result of cost control initiatives and strong growth in higher margin Value Added Services (VAS) revenues. In Central America, Millicom’s Tigo brand returned a margin of 55.2% and in South America the margin increased to 40.7%.

Speaking during a conference call with investors, Millicom‘s CEO Mikael Grahne said the company had seen a lower level of customer intake in Central America, reflecting high voice penetration and an increasing focus on higher value customers and Value Added Services.

For the group, VAS revenue was up an encouraging 46% in the quarter in local currency terms and represented 19% of recurring mobile revenues. Demand for 3G services remains high in Latin America, especially for datacard customers. Paraguay represented the best market overall for VAS, where it brought in 30% of mobile revenues. Grahne said that in the long term, the company is aiming to have VAS represent an average of 25% of revenues across all markets.

In Central America, Honduras grew its customer base 11% year-on-year despite the entry of a third operator Digicel in late 2008. Guatemala grew its customer base by 19% and El Salvador 10%. Net additions were lower in Central America resulting from a combination of high penetration, weaker economic conditions and an increased focus on high quality customers, the company said.

In South America, total customers increased by 17% year on year, with Bolivia surging 47%. In Colombia, the increase was 9% and in Paraguay 12%. Constant currency ARPU in South America was up 2%, while in Central America it fell 5%. This was mainly a result of lower ARPU in Honduras, which was negatively affected by a new regulatory tax on international inbound traffic and continued promotional activity by competitors.

Grahne said that capex for 2010 would be US$700mn, US$50mn of which is held over from 2009. Though not giving a break down, Grahne said that capex in Central and South America would increase in 2010 as the company steps up investment in 3G capacity and coverage.

Millicom’s internet and TV assets that it purchased last year, Amnet and Navega, saw a sequential decline in EBITDA margins to 43% from 45% of revenues in Q2, which Grahne attributed to restructuring changes since the acquisition, but forecast that the margin would rise over time. Millicom also expects capex for Amnet to be lower in the medium term as the company focuses on increasing customer penetration with its existing footprint, rather than extending coverage.

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Baidu clinches mobile search for China Unicom

baidu9Baidu, Inc., the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited to provide wireless search for China Unicom’s 3G mobile subscribers.

Under the agreement, Baidu’s wireless search service will be embedded in China Unicom’s 3G mobile phone modules. China Unicom’s mobile subscribers will be able to use preinstalled applications to access Baidu products including web search, Baidu Knows, Baidu Post Bar, image search, news search, MP3 search and other useful services. Baidu (Nasdaq:BIDU)will also provide search functions within China Unicom’s wireless Internet sites to service the carrier’s users.

”We are very excited to join hands with China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) today following our partnership agreement with China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) in May,” said Xuyang Ren, Baidu’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. ”As the leader in Chinese language search, we hope that Baidu’s cooperation with major telecom providers in China will accelerate the development of 3G services and allow us to provide the rapidly growing population of mobile search users better access to information.”

This can be seen as a major coup for Baidu, as it has once again managed to pip it’s major competitor Google at the post. For China Unicom this is also a boon, with the upcoming launch of Apple‘s iPhone on their 3G network.

Original editorial : MyStockVoice.com

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Unnatural activity on Turkcell points to another leg up

Having been a long term holder of Turkcell (NYSE:TKC)  & having written about it here on my own blog & Seeking Alpha on a number of occasions, I hadn’t thought recently about an article on the subject. However, a few things in the past week have brought it to the forefront of my mind & a conversation with a contact yesterday peaked my interest, so have been doing some back research & looking a little more intently at the action over the last week.

As (hopefully) anyone that is reading this article knows, Turkcell is the market leader by subscribers & mobile revenues in it’s domestic market, with more than 36.3 million users, or 60%, whilst competitors Vodafone & Avea (Turk Telekom) have 24% & 16% market share respectively.

TKC_Long_term

Last week along with 15 of the country’s major banks, Standard & Poors upgraded TKC‘s long term foreign currency rating from negative to stable. TKC has also been a pretty strong performer this year, hitting a low of $11.15 in March up to a high of $18.09 on Wednesday (of which more in a moment). Looking at the long term chart, it’s been a pretty good trend all year, adhering to it’s 20 day SMA, albeit with some volatility coming in in the last two months or so & also increased volumes being traded since August.

Recently we have seen some interesting sell activity in the stock, with plenty of unnatural selling pressure on Monday 21st September, when more than 75% of the daily trades on the NYSE for TKC were sells, against an exchange average of 48%, this is the first thing that caught my eye, but dismissed as housekeeping & profit taking, which is understandable.

This was then followed by two straight days of reasonably heavy buying, followed again by some sustained selling pressure on the 24th September, again followed by heavier than normal buying again. On Monday this week, we saw this activity starting again,out of  120k  TKC shares traded 94k or 77.85% were to the short side against an exchange average of 47%. Then yesterday, we saw TKC share volume shoot to nearly 2.3 million shares traded & the stock dropped $0.90 or 5% in an hour. OK, the markets took a tumble yesterday all over, but this is unprescedented for TKC since February this year.

People may be getting nervous on emerging & developing markets & admittedly, we have seen increased volatility coming in in the last 20 days trading, however, Turkcell registers normal daily volumes of of circa 660k shares traded, yesterday we saw 2.273 million shares exchanging hands.

Looking historically at TKC from a technical perspective over 2009, whenever we have seen volatile activity as above, it has been a precursor to another leg up in the stock, as per the chart below.

TKC_12_month

On the basis that it has just been upgraded on a long term basis, it’s major shareholder is Sonera BV (Telia Sonera of Sweden) & it has just launched 3G along with a raft of new services, I’m a perma-bull on this stock. I spent quite a bit of time researching yesterday & was not able to come up with one single reason why TKC has sustained such a beatdown, I can only surmise that some speculation has been going on in Hedgistan & expect to see another brisk leg up. Correspondingly, yesterday I added 50% to my position at 17.01 & am quietly confident we will see $20 in quick time.

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AT&T eyes 25% stake in India’s BSNL as 3G comes to the fore

att-logo-orangeAccording to the Economic Times of India, domestic US telecom giant AT&T is in talks with state controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) regarding placing an investment, that would see the company make a comeback in one of the fastest growing telecoms sectors. With mobile penetration advancing from 2% in 2005 to over 40% in 2009, still leaving plenty of room for growth.

AT&T (NYSE: T), which has been expanding its mobility business globally, quit the Indian mobile sector in 2005, selling its 33% stake in Idea Cellular following it’s merger with Cingular Wireless. It received around $250 million from the stake in Idea,that stake would now be valued at circa $3.5 billion. So a strategic mistake, that the New Jersey based company looks keen to repair. CEO Randall Stephenson spent much of 2008 in acquisition talks with Reliance, Idea and Aircel Cellular parent Maxis Communications, demonstrating a real desire to take a piece of the action.

BSNL has suffered from lackluster performance, as it’s monopoly has been slowly eroded over time, with new entrants carving up the market, especially in the mobile sector. The launch of 3G licences this year has seen heavyweight MNC telcos taking a greater stake in this huge growth market. Vodafone (UK) acquired Essar, Mobile TeleSystems (Russia) entered the market via Shyam Teleservices,  DoCoMo (Japan) has formed a joint venture with Tata Teleservices, whilst Telenor (Norway) has taken a passive route by acquiring shares in Unitech Wireless & SingTel (Singapore) has also invested heavily in Bharti Aircel, alongside Telia (Sweden) & BT (UK).

The Indian government reiterated plans to publicly list BSNL in July , although a firm time frame has not been committed to. Earlier that month, BSNL chairman Kuldeep Goyal said that the company was exploring a possible stake sale to a foreign firm to raise funds to help it compete better against its domestic rivals; however, he didn’t comment on how large the stake would be.

According to BSNL’s FY 2008 accounts, the value of the company is circa $17Bn. MTNL, the second of the telecom monopolies, which operates purely in Delhi & Mumbai, currently trades on the Bombay Stock Exchange  at Rs95 ($1.95) per share. BSNL would be expected to attain a much hirer premium, as it is the only current national carrier & market watchers have stated that post IP the company could be worth anything from $13Bn & $16.3Bn 65,000. Sources state that AT&T is interested in a 25% stake, so would need to buy in with $3Bn / $4Bn to make this work.

At present BSNL is the leader in all services in its license area, with over than 49 million mobile subscribers (17% market share), 35% fixed line subscribers (85% market share) & 2.5 million broadband subscribers.

I can see this coming off, as AT&T can offer extended network services & serious technical know how to BSNL, an area in which the company has lagged. AT&T India also operates a state of the art IP MPLS network across India that will also help the Indian company to expand it’s offerings into the burgeoning Enterprise market. With the Indian mobile market set to double by 2014, this would also give access to a potentially huge subscriber base of 100 million & dare I say it, a potential launch pad for iPhone.

For BSNL, this could be a great route to forestall the new & legacy players across the sub-continent, particularly in mobile & broadband, more importantly with infrastructure restrictions, LTE could play a defining role for any telecoms carrier in India.

Granted, this is all pure speculation at this point, however, if the rumoured talks firm up, I’ll be taking a long hard look at AT&T again.

Original post can be found at MyStockVoice.com

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MyStockVoice.com is now alive & kicking

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It’s taken a while & it’s been an interesting experience, but am pleased to say that we released MyStockVoice.com into public beta. For me personally, there have been a few challenges, “assisted” along the way by re-locating with my family from Switzerland to Slovakia.

The team at Connection Services who have designed & support the MSV platform have been excellent, especially when responding to an ever changing set of requirements. MyStockVoice started as this WordPress blog, where I could muse on my views on Emerging Markets & BRIC economies. A conversation with a friend who works in the City (London) encouraged me to look at doing something a little more. The original format, was a forum, then a newswire service & now it’s a fully fledged blog publication platform. So you can imagine how happy my colleagues at CSL were, when I tripped back every few months & said “right, this is what we are doing now”

Our aim at MSV is to provide an ever widening audience with value insights into what is rapidly becoming a major topic for hedge funds, investment managers & retail investors alike : BRIC & Emerging Markets. International stocks traded on US exchanges are becoming ever more popular, especially via Depositary Receipts (ADR,ADS,ADN) , for the more cautious or long minded, a number of ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) have sprung up to service the appetite to take part in these growing economies.

Covering all the major regions, MSV provides focussed channels into a variety of sectors & also specific categories for Macro Econmics, ADR & ETF investing. We are pleased to be working with some well established names from the investment community, along with faculties such as Knowledge at Wharton, the Economics Faculty at Beijing University, Skolkovo Business School in Moscow & Cranfiedl University in the UK.

Our strapline is “your community … your voice”  & to reflect this, we will be bringing our readers plenty of new unique content. Much of my time in the last two to three months has been spent contacting individual bloggers & also online media services that are based in the regions covered. In this way, we can present a “blend of thought”, that will allow our subscribers to formulate informed opinions on their own particular areas of interest.

So, enough jawing from me, but to close, Alex, Chris & myself would like to thank the team at CS & all the people that have had input into the project. We sincerely hope that you enjoy the MSV experience & are always open to new ideas, partnership opportunities & most of all feedback.

Many thanks

Paul

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Apple & China Unicom receive regulatory approval for iPhone launch

china unicom iphoneGasp … shock … applause, yes, according to tech website Engadget this morning, China Unicom & Apple have managed to get regulatory approval fromChina’s State Radio Regulatory Commission.  As Engadget states :

According to the listing, we’re looking at a GSM / WCDMA cellphone complete with Bluetooth, an internal model number A1324, a little-known manufacturer called “Apple Inc.” and an approval date of May 7th, 2009. We’re also told that the certificate expires in five years, which should give China Unicom plenty of time to capitalize on its reported three-year deal to offer the phone in mainland China.

A copy of that filing can be viewed here : Approvals (luckily for us, Google translate is working well) & here is an image of the actual filing itself :

china-iphone-approval

Engadget goes on to play this down, as there have been a plethora of iPhone / China stories ever since the first iPhone came on the scene two years ago. However, scooting around some telecom pit stops & also some Apple watchers, it would seem that there is real credence in this story. Over at iPhon Asia, Dan Butterfield, a veteran Asian mobile commentator, has been doing our job for us, with a regular stream of articles on the iPhone, here are a couple of lifts from him in the last week in reverse order :

Press reports along with some documentary evidence, suggests that a new model iPhone was submitted to China’s authorities for mandatory “testing” sometime in late Spring. The MIIT’s testing process can take several months to complete. Foot-dragging by the MIIT might help China’s carriers to deploy their own Android-based phones + new WVAS + new mobile operating systemsbefore iPhone is launched.

Multiple reports that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) will soon begin full production of a custom iPhone for China. This model will not have WiFi (due to WAPI/WiFi issues) but will likely come preloaded with several “for China” apps. Foxconn has given this iPhone a code name – “Model 90.” There is a very high probability that Model 90 is the same “yet to be unveiled” iPhone model (A1324) that China granted (in early June) a Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC). China website Tech.QQ has posted a story today about China Unicom’s plans to bring iPhone to China. The report quotes anonymous “informed sources” who claim that Apple and China Unicom have finalized their deal to officially launch iPhone in China. The report does not mention when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) might grant Apple’s iPhone the required Network Access License (NAL).

China’s Oriental Morning Post is jumping into the iPhone rumor mill. In a report today the Post reveals that China Unicom is in the midst of intense iPhone promotion/distribution planning. The Post reports that the new iPhone model for China will retail for 2,000 CNY ($293 USD) for subscribers who choose a data-plan + multi-year contract. This subsidized price would be 1,000 CNY below the reported (yesterday’s unverified rumor) 3,000 CNY ($440 USD) that China Unicom will pay to Apple for each unit. The Post notes that there will be other plan options that further reduce iPhone’s retail price. The Post sites “Shanghai Unicom*insiders” who provided information on condition of anonymity.

Now, lets go all the way back to the first quote & concentrate on the highlighted text (my addition), Dan reported this regulatory topic back on the 25th July in his post : iPhone in China – “Are we there yet?”

So thanks Engadget for “breaking” some news that was already out there & Big Kudos for Dan for sticking at it & being objective.

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