Issue 234: Mobile goes wi-fi
On reading this article, a few things occur to me:
- wi-fi phones are fundamentally different from GSM/GPRS/3G phones in that they completely bypass all telco infrastructure whether fixed or cellular -- pretty dangerous stuff :-) -- free phone calls for a start
- the future of mobile is fundamentally uncertain. It is very possible that Wifi and/or WiMax could deliver a mobile service to a new generation of phones that has nothing to do with the existing cellular infrastructure - in other words goodbye 3G
- GPRS is very different from 3G - max GPRS speed is 172 kbps but the typical actual speed is much slower.... nothing will ever be streamed over GPRS... however GPRS DOES offer significant opportunities when it comes to the seemless integration of voice and data. The blackberry is a very good example of how that can be made to work - the opportunities for interesting development projects using GPRS are significant - if the price were right
- GPRS shouldn't be as expensive as it is... as I understand it GPRS is basically a software upgrade to the existing GSM infrastructure... Mobile companies are extracting maximum value from it, probably because they know it is a transition technology to 3G/CDMA networks. However, GPRS could be around for much longer in Africa, especially if it were used effectively and priced right.
Issue 232: Mozambique - TDM's MD Adriano wants a new interconnect agreement
I am now working in Mozambique so I was very interested in the article on TDM. I have used both MCel and Vodacom and they both have quality problems (MCel are probably getting worse as time goes by). However the worst problems are in cross-network: SMS sometimes don't arrive even when you receive a delivery report, calls to the other network are impossible to make. Possibly due to the ruling party has indirect interests in both operators, regulatory pressure regarding these issues appears to be 'hidden/tacit' at best, non-existent at best.
MCel has a huge entrenched advantage as its startup packages and especially recharge cards are available pretty much every - whereas Vodacom recharge can often be hard to find. To a certain extent this seems to be a conscious strategy of Vodacom's, targetting upper income sectors, but I can tell you its really irritating - I know people who have tried Vodacom and switched back to MCel because of this.
I would like to make one criticism of your article: it uses a lot of jargon and does not explain clearly the concept of interconnect fees. I was left unclear as to exactly what was the basis of TDM's complaint. Certainly they charge very high fees for a call from EITHER mobile network to a fixed line.