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In 2017 the global mobile market has its sights firmly set on the opportunities offered through mobile data as well as looking for potential new revenues streams presented by the enterprise sector, data mining, 5G and international expansion.
Mobile saturation has occurred in many of the developed markets and this has forced some of the operators to look for new opportunities – particularly those offered by expanding regionally or internationally. This has occurred in most regions of the world – and as a result some operators have become powerful and dominant regional leaders.
In Latin America, for example, the mobile market continues to be dominated by a small number of operators which each have businesses in multiple countries. These include Telefónica Group; Mexico’s América Móvil, trading as Telcel in its domestic market and as Claro in the remaining 16 markets in the region; Telecom Italia, AT&T Mexico and Millicom International. The dominance of these operators is being gradually eroded however as a result of efforts by a number of national regulators to facilitate the entry of MVNOs and to encourage the participation of smaller players in spectrum auctions.
In the more developed markets of Asia, growth is shifting away from a focus on subscriber numbers and towards the expansion of new generation platforms and increased data usage driven by value-added services and increased ARPUs. There are those companies such as SingTel, Vodafone, and Axiata (formerly Telekom Malaysia International) that have built a substantial presence around the Asian region beyond their own domestic market through their shareholdings in operators in multiple other markets.
In the Pacific region; the Australian mobile market is dominated by the three major mobile network operators Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone (VHA), though there are numerous MVNOs which have a significant market share. These have been able to offer LTE services on a wholesale basis since early 2016, thus encouraging growth in the LTE sector and cementing the role which MVNOs play in the overall market.
Fiji is one of the telecoms leaders in the South Pacific region, along with Papua New Guinea. Similar to many developing nations, it is heavily reliant on mobile technologies rather than fixed lines. The percentage of unique mobile subscribers in Fiji sits at around 69%. Vodafone Fiji Limited (VFL) and Digicel Fiji are the major mobile operators and the only MVNO is Australian company, Inkk Mobile which operates on VFL’s network.
Three mobile service operators provide services in Papua New Guinea including Digicel, Bmobile (Vodafone), and Citifon (Telikom PNG). However, in February 2017 it was announced that Dataco, Bmobile and Telikom PNG would be merged together to form Kumul Telikom. The three entities would be able to share resources and infrastructure, making it potentially more cost effective and competitive.
Although there are a large number of network operators across the African continent, and also smaller niche MVNO players, there are also a small number of pan-regional network operators. These include Millicom, Orange Group, Vodacom and Bharti Airtel. Some rationalisation of their operations continues as these players adjust their strategies to fit in with market positions and expectations.
There are a number of companies which have a large presence in the Middle East. Zain, Ooredoo and MTN are three examples of companies operating in multiple markets and the international players of Orange and Vodafone also operate in region.
As with Latin America and Africa, the European region is notable for having half a dozen pan-European operators with interests in several key markets. These main players include Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Vodafone Group, Hutchison and TeliaSonera. There has been much jostling among these operators as they seek to strengthen their presence in particular markets. This has in turn caused some disquiet among national regulators and European competition authorities, which are keen to preserve a quorum of key players (generally four) within a given market.
This BuddeComm publication provides a global overview of the mobile market, supported by statistics as well as an overview of the mobile markets for each major region of the world. Country case studies for each region are also included, along with identification of the major MNOs and MVNOs operating in each region/country.For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Global Mobile Operators - Regional Leaders - Overview and Statistics
My involvement in the Australian energy market started in 2001 when I brought the energy companies together in Sydney. At that time we were looking at utilising their infrastructure to assist the ailing competition in the telecommunications market that was dominated by Telstra, which at that point was unwilling to introduce residential broadband services to Australian users.
Within the alliance, called Utilitel, a range of telecoms-related businesses were initiated at that time.
But the big change came during 2006-2007 when climate change became the hot political topic of the day. Energy companies realised that in order to respond to this ecological disaster they would have to change their operations, as 30% of national carbon emission was directly linked to their operations.
The first action undertaken by what would become Smart Grid Australia was to petition energy ministers in COAG, urging them to use the smart grid, rather than smart meters, as a strategy. We used the analogy of promoting cars without having the appropriate roads. But our advice fell on deaf ears and the resulting disastrous rollout of smart meters in Victoria was a clear indication that a holistic national smart energy policy would be needed before embarking on any details.
At the same time there was internal resistance to such an approach. After all, saving energy would mean less income for energy companies. Perhaps the best example of this came from Basil Scarsella, at that time the CEO of ETSA, the energy distribution company in South Australia. I sat on a panel with him at the ENA Energy Australian conference in 2007.
There I participated on behalf of Smart Grid Australia, arguing for smart grids. Basil made it very clear that ETSA would not do anything without clear government policies and regulations. ETSA (now SA Power Network) is a privatised energy company majority-owned by Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings. Basil made it very clear that without a national policy his company would not invest in any significant new energy investments beyond their normal run of the business.
Things started to look up with the government announcing an Energy Trading System, as this was seen by countries around the globe as the best basic policy system for the future (and this is still the case).
Climate change, together with government leadership, meant that the energy companies’ communications interests changed from external opportunities for their network – such as public telecommunication services – to an internal strategy on how communications could assist them in modernising their infrastructure in order to become far more energy-efficient. Organisations such as Ausgrid (at the time Energy Australia) had indicated that a full-blown smart energy operation could deliver energy efficiencies between 30% and 40%.
The government of the day picked this up and in 2009 made $100 million available for what became known as the Smart Grid Smart City Project. A further $200 million was added to the project by direct and indirect private investment. The project included smart grids, micro-grids, integration of renewable and the deployment of an electric vehicles infrastructure. The geographic area covered Sydney, Newcastle and the Upper Hunter region (Scone).
The project would run for three years and would become the blueprint for a national approach to smart grids. The project was seen as one of the most significant smart grid projects in the world and gained international attention, especially as part of the project was that the data gathered would be made available nationally and internationally (this has happened and many organisations from around the world have received that information from the Australian government).
What, however, became very destructive was that while the federal government at that time launched its new policies the federal opposition undermined it by mischievously calling it a carbon tax system. Ever since then a bi-partisan political energy solution has eluded the country.
This was based, not on the national interest, but on party politics.
What also hasn’t helped the situation was the sometimes rather militant position taken by many people and organisations involved in the green movement. It is simply not possible in the short and medium term to replace all of our energy needs with renewables. This was used politically by the more conservative forces in politics to oppose anything renewable – resulting, for example, with leading national politicians bringing coal into Parliament to undermine renewable energy policies. Similar unhelpful actions were taken by senior politicians ridiculing wind energy. As a result we still don’t have a long term energy policy that let’s say over a period of 20-30 years would transform the Australian energy market to one mainly based on renewable resources.
In this already convoluted environment another disastrous policy was taken.
For more than a decade natural gas had been seen as another cleaner energy solution, and Australia is one of the largest producers of natural gas. But in its infinite wisdom the Australian government issued gas mining licences allowing the producers to export nearly all of that gas, with only a small proportion to be made available for Australia. Changing this policy now (as mentioned by the Prime Minister) will mean that Australia will have to buy back its own gas at prices significantly higher than customers in Asia are paying for it.
Despite constant warnings the organisation in charge of national energy management, NEM, together with the Australian Energy Regulator, have largely been asleep at the wheel. The NEM has belatedly mentioned that Australia is facing a national energy crisis as there will not be enough energy available for the running of the country. Where were these organisations a decade ago, to add their weight to the development of sound national policies?
Even now political disarray continues, with the Prime Minister plucking yet another rabbit out of the hat – an upgrade of the Snowy Mountain Hydro System. Something that came totally out of the blue, with no consultation with the country, the industry or the energy experts. Another ill-considered development in a non-existing national energy policy that is simply aimed at quick political scores rather than addressing the long-term national interest.
See Australia smart grid reports
Paul is by far, the leading telecommunications analyst in Australia. Not only is his company's research first class and timely, it is superbly contextual to the complexities of today's modern media and communications technology. He is always extremely generous in sharing his knowledge with others and has a great ability to connect people together and be a thought leader on topics of National interest such as the NBN, FttH and Smart Grids.
Bruce Duyshart, Director Strategic Technology, Lend Lease
Morocco - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
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Algeria - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
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