Friday, July 11, 2014

Notable Regional Developments in Telecommunications


New Zealand mobile operator 2degrees is fostering competition in trans-Tasman roaming rates by offering a new plan to all its Pay Monthly and Business customers who are roaming in Australia. Customers who activate the operator’s 10/10/10 tariff will be charged AUD 0.10 (US $0.09) per minute for calls from Australia to New Zealand, AUD 0.10 per SMS and AUD 0.10 per MB of data. In addition, later this month 2degrees will be launching Australian 7-day data roaming packs for all 2degrees customers. Packs include 300 MB of data at a cost of AUD 10.00 (US $9.40) and 500 MB of data at a cost of AUD 15.00 (US $14.10).


Customers of the Dutch utilities group Essent can now use WhatsApp to contact the utility company’s customer service department. While this is a pilot program, Essent is the first large business in the Netherlands to use the popular messaging service. According to a recent report, WhatsApp has 9.5 million users in the Netherlands, and this exploratory program may be seen as another area in which OTT services will be used to facilitate communication.

Latin America

Android phone users with NFC-enabled phones can use their devices to recharge Single Ticket contactless smartcards used to pay fares on São Paulo, Brazil’s SPTrans transportation system. Users can put all types of credits—monthly, student, Valley Transportation and Common—on the Single Ticket option. Passengers need to download the Single Ticket mobile phone app and place their mobile phones near their smartcards to top up or check the balances on their smartcards. This mobile payment method should reduce congestion at physical recharge points, especially during peak periods.

Middle East/Africa

Namibian operator MTC is partnering with the University of Namibia (Unam) to enable students enrolled at Unam campuses across the country to access the internet via Wi-Fi. Students will be charged an annual fee of NAD 500.00 (US $46.77) for a SIM card with an internet access code. The unlimited service is available to students for 24 months and can be accessed from their homes as well as college campuses. The country’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Joel Kaapanda, says this partnership is to be commended for meeting the government’s objective of promoting e-learning in institutions of higher learning.

North America

The CEOs of several major America companies, including Adobe, Facebook, Intuit, Wells Fargo and Dropbox, have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of its chairman, Tom Wheeler’s proposal for E-rate modernization. The letter’s contents is also supported by the EducationSuperHighway (a non-profit organization that is working to enable high-speed internet access in every classroom across America), bipartisan groups of politicians including governors, senators, congressmen and mayors and education technology innovators. E-rate modernization is a movement calling for upgrades to outdated broadband systems in schools across the country with high-speed connectivity, and the proposal will be voted on at the FCC’s 11 July meeting.

The above item appeared in a recent issue of The Tarifica Alert, a weekly resource that analyzes noteworthy developments in the telecoms industry from around the world. To access all of the latest articles and issues:

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