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March 27, 2013
Of the reported one-hundred-thousand BlackBerry 10 apps that populate the BlackBerry World storefront, barely 20 percent
of those apps are ported-over Android apps, adapted in a manner to integrate with the BlackBerry smartphone.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal’s All Things D, Martyn Mallick, BlackBerry’s vice president for global alliances
and business development, said the company uses an emulator that allows Android apps to more easily run on the BlackBerry 10
new mobile platform.
Mallick admitted that the emulator is a kind of a shortcut but the long-term goal is to get app developers interested in
creating native apps for the fledging operating system.
Prior to its U.S. launch last week, BlackBerry faced uncertainty as to how its mobile app store would stack up with Apple
and Google’s existing ecosystems.
Additionally, Netflix indicated that it had no plans to build BlackBerry 10 apps. But still some users from those ecosystems
are jumping ship for BB 10.
According to some Boy Genius Report findings, 50 percent of those who purchased a Z10 in Canada migrated from Android and
iOS, with about 31 percent of those who purchased the device in the United Kingdom came from those platforms.
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is having a tough couple of years. Gartner saw BlackBerry's market share fell 33 percent
last year, leaving BlackBerry with only 3.3 percent of smartphone sales by operating system globally.
To be sure, BB10 was recently launched with a lot of fanfare and noise, and at lot was riding on the new operating system,
and so far, the buzz has all fizzled out of the media, leaving the company to prove if it still has a viable business model.
In other mobile news
On average, wireless carriers in Brazil made record investments in infrastructure last year with inflows of US $12.53
The capital was mostly invested on network expansions, increasing city coverage and improving quality of services in most
regions. The total investment made in 2012 represents an increase of about 11 percent when compared to 2011, 54 percent
higher than the average annual contribution made since the privatization of telecommunications firms in Brazil in 1998.
According to Telebrasil, the Association of Telecommunications in Brazil, private providers invested more than US $142
billion over the past fifteen years, including grant payments.
By today’s standards, the investments represent about US $200 billion. “All that money over the years has enabled a rapid
growth in the overall number of mobile subscribers in Brazil, which reached a total of 343 million, considering the services
of fixed and mobile telephony, broadband and pay TV,” stated TeleBrasil.
Analysys Mason released new research predicting that telecom retail revenue in all of Latin America will grow at a compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3 percent between 2012 and 2017.
Mobile services will account for about 80 percent of this growth during the forecast period. Increased mobile handset data,
and mobile broadband service usage will boost mobile retail revenue at a 4.8 percent CAGR, while fixed retail revenue will grow
at a 1.4 percent CAGR.
Overall, the main contributors to revenue growth during the 2012 to 2017 period will most likely be mobile broadband, growing
at a CAGR of an estimated 15.6 to 15.8 percent, mobile handset data (at a CAGR of 12.6 percent) and fixed broadband at an
estimated 6.6 percent.
In a statement, Pablo Iacopino, an Analysys Mason research analyst, said that the relative value of the Latin American
telecommunications market is increasing as a result of higher revenue growth compared to developed markets. He explained that
Brazil is the largest telecom market in Latin America in terms of telecom retail revenue, generating US $62 billion in 2012,
and it's the fourth-largest market in the world after the United States, China and Japan.
Overall, no less than 16 LTE networks have been launched commercially in nine countries in South America and the Caribbean
(Antigua-Barbada, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Uruguay), according to
the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
Internationally, 156 wireless carriers have launched commercial LTE services in sixty-seven countries with 98 commercial
launches happening in 2012. The GSA predicts that by the end of the year, there will be about 245 commercial LTE networks operating
in 87 countries.
In Chile, mobile services provider Entel announced last week that it has selected Ericsson as the sole supplier of its 4G/LTE
network, and that the two companies expanded their partnership for Entel’s 2G and 3G networks. This includes the multi-standard
radio access network, Evolved Packet Core with Evolved Packet Gateway on the SSR 8000 family of Smart Services Routers, operation
and support system, and backhaul transport design. The amount of the deal was't disclosed, however.
In Brazil, the telecommunications R&D institution CPQD unveiled Latin America’s first laboratory for testing and measuring
LTE technology for the 450 MHz frequency. CPQD has been working on using LTE technology in the 450 MHz band for a while now.
Fabricio Lira Figueiredo, wireless technologies manager at CPQD, said that the company was testing the technology, and that
results are expected in mid-April.
While telecom operators are in the beginning stages of deploying LTE networks in Brazil and Chile, government telecom agencies
in other Latin American countries still have a lot of work to do to be at the same level. In Peru, the auction that will allow
LTE network deployment is expected to take place sometime in July.
The Agency for Promotion of Private Investment (ProInversion) will allocate two blocks in the bands of 1,710 to 1,770 MHz and
2,110 to 2,170 MHz, also known as the AWS band.
Brazil’s telecom regulator Anatel forecasts that the country will jump from its current 263 million connections to 1 billion
by 2018, driven by data and M2M (machine-to-machine) accesses. The prediction was made by Bruno Ramos,
Anatel’s mobile, data and satellite services vice-president, during last week’s Forum Latin America Summit.
Anatel’s latest research brief reveals that at the end of February, overall mobile market penetration reached a little
over 133 percent.
Telefonica’s Vivo led the pack with a 28.8 percent market share, followed by TIM at 26.8 percent, Claro at 25.1 percent
and Oi at 18.8 percent.
Although 2G GSM still accounts for the majority of lines (72.3 percent), WCDMA achieved a 22.4 percent market share. Mobile
broadband terminals totaled 65.68 million.
In Ecuador, Fabian Jaramillo, from the country’s superintendent of telecommunications, said that mobile lines had achieved
over a 110 percent penetration. There are 17.237 million mobile lines for the country’s population of 15.542 million. Claro holds
the biggest market share, owning 69 percent of all the mobile lines.
Claro is followed by Movistar with 29 percent and the state-owned company CNT EP with a minuscule 2 percent market share. “The
monopoly sure is a concern, that’s why Claro was named a dominant player years ago,” Jaramillo said.
In Chile, the country’s telecom watchdog agency announced that internet access penetration increased from 30 percent to 41 percent
in the past twelve months, achieving a total of five million connections.
Smartphones drove the increase in mobile internet access, and they currently account for about 76.7 percent of total mobile
navigation in Chile.
In other mobile news
The lobby association that represents Canada's wireless industry says cellphone service providers will start consulting
more with municipalities about improving the placement of cellphone towers in cities. The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications
Association announces a new plan to work closely with municipalities to "find solutions to the challenge of building Canada’s
digital infrastructure while respecting local land use preferences and community concerns."
Overall, more than 26 million Canadians currently own a mobile phone, and the wireless industry says that average traffic on
some wireless networks is increasing at a pace of five to six percent per week.
All that wireless traffic means that mobile infrastructure is getting more and more strained, and the industry says that
in order to avoid service outages, more wireless infrastructure is needed, but closer to people now than in the past.
That means that cellphone towers in cities and other populated areas, where they tend to draw complaints ranging from being
an eyesore, to creating electronic interference will definetely be on the rise.
There are even some claims that they cause minor health problems. To combat the backlash, the CWTA says it has created the
Joint Antenna System Siting Protocol, in which it promises "meaningful pre-consultations" with local landowners and authorities
regarding the placement and shape of new cellphone towers.
The plan has the backing of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Under current rules, a cellphone company can put up
a tower virtually anywhere it wants without any consulting, as long as the tower is less than 15 metres tall.
"Telecommunications carriers have agreed for the first time to notify municipalities of all antennas being installed before
their construction, regardless of height, and to undertake full public consultation for towers under 15 meters — whenever deemed
necessary by the municipality," the group said in a release.
"Canadians expect reliable, high-quality wireless service wherever they are," CWTA president Bernard Lord said. "By working
together, communities and the industry can guarantee there is enough critical infrastructure in place to keep Canadians connected
to the devices and technology they love, and keep our economy strong."
In other mobile news
The FCC said today it has informed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of its plans to auction
off wireless spectrum licenses in the 1695 to 1710 MHz, and the 1755 to 1780 MHz bands as early as September of next year.
The NTIA recently picked out the 1695 to 1710 MHz band of mobile spectrum to be reallocated for non-federal use.
In a statement, Commissioner Ajit Pai advocated offering up the whole range of wireless spectrum for commercial utilization.
“I continue to believe that we should aim to clear and reallocate the 1755 to 1780 MHz band rather than forcing federal users
and commercial operators to undertake the complicated, untested task of spectrum sharing,” Pai said.
The 1755 to 1780 MHz band has been spied as a good pairing with the 2155 to 2180 MHz band, another slice of spectrum Congress has
told the FCC to auction off by 2015 at the latest.
In September 2012, the FCC granted T-Mobile USA a special temporary authority to test mobile broadband in the 1755 to 1780
MHz band. T-Mobile indicated its belief that testing would reveal the wireless spectrum to be ripe for LTE deployment.
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