November 2007

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TRAI Seeks Liberalisation of Telecom Infra Policy

 The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is further seeking for liberalisation of the Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocation (SACFA) policy to enhance tele-density in India.

TRAI wants operators to start operating cell sites immediately after submitting their applications. TRAI also urged the government to accord clearance for new infrastructure within two months. In case,  no communication is received within its stipulated time frame, TRAI needs permission to treat the application as ‘approved’. Simplified policy will help operators to double their existing infrastructure in the next 12-18 months. The mobile operators are also looking at the growing infrastructure in line with the government’s intention of offering 500 million connections in the next three years from the present around 200 million. Currently India has 17.3 percent wireless tele-density. There are around 120,000 towers in the country and it is expected to increase to 300,000 by the the end of 2010.

PTCL Launches Internet Service on Landline Network in Pakistan

The national telecom company of Pakistan, Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) has launched a metered Internet Service on its nationwide telephonic landline network at a flat rate of INR 0.10 per minute operative in all Provincial Capitals of the country.

PTCL is offering “phone-n-net” service as the most convenient landline Internet solution for its subscribers that converts a user’s phone into a basic Internet connection enabling no hassle, direct Internet access. Users can also enable code barring to restrict Internet access. The service is currently available in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad while it will be enabled on all landlines nationwide in a short span of time. Users may simply connect to the Internet by plugging their PTCL telephone lines into their computer’s modems and login to a generic usage account with the login id “PTCL” and password “ptcl” while dialing an ISP dial-up access number “13177777”. The billing appears on regular telephone utility bills distributed on a monthly basis to PTCL subscribers.

Soldiers use iPods as Language Learning Tool

iPod is becoming a new tool for soldiers of Iraq. They are using iPods with V-communicator mobile to translate Arabic into English. The software of the iPod contains a few hundred words and phrases. It organises everything into various situations that a soldier in Iraq may face, including vehicle checkpoints, medical triage, and many others. The software then displays useful phrases, offers the phonetic spelling, and Arabic script for those phrases. The software can also speak the phrase through an attached speaker. Soldiers can also add their own phrases and can upload maps or other useful images. It runs on several different types of iPod.

DoT Plans to Open 3G for Foreign Players

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has declared that any operator, including foreign operators, will be eligible to bid for 3G spectrum when these frequencies are auctioned by the Government of India.

The DoT has marked a change in TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendation that only existing operators be allowed to bid for 3G spectrum during the auction. All the new applicants and foreign firms can bid for 3G spectrum during the auction. Since 3G spectrum can be used both for voice and high-speed data applications, so any new player who wins the bid for 3G spectrum can also enter the traditional voice and SMS market.

Obregon Deploys First City-wide Wi-Fi Network in Mexico

The Sonora Institute of Technology (ITSON) Public University is deploying a multi-user, multi-application Wi-Fi network covering 23 square miles of Obregon, Mexico.

The wireless network, which uses the Tropos MetroMesh solution is part of the state and federally-owned university’s initiative to create a knowledge-based and more productive economy in the region. The university is investing in two technology parks in Obregon; one is a university-owned agri-business park and the other is a software park that is a partnership with state and local governments and in the city’s wireless network. The wireless network will cover the technology parks and most of Obregon to help improve the local economy and create an attractive outsourcing opportunity for international technology companies. In the first phase, the network is being deployed to support simultaneous services, applications and content offered from the city’s “Obregon Digital” portal accessible via laptops, PDAs and smart phones. Elementary schools will also be tied into the network for computer curriculum classes. In addition, the network will be used for public safety.

The city’s Water Department will replace the current communication infrastructure system for the department’s branches. In addition, an automated water meter reading pilot is being implemented to evaluate telemetry for industrial, commercial and residential consumption.

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