Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ISP economics of video

See this article on Joost and UK ISP bandwidth charges.

New York Times: Data Retention national laws

PARIS, Feb. 19 — European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people’s Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive.
In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.
A draft law in the Netherlands would likewise go further than the European Union requires, in this case by requiring phone companies to save records of a caller’s precise location during an entire mobile phone conversation.
Even now, Internet service providers in Europe divulge customer information — which they normally keep on hand for about three months, for billing purposes — to police officials with legally valid orders on a routine basis, said Peter Fleischer, the Paris-based European privacy counsel for
Google. The data concerns how the communication was sent and by whom but not its content.
But law enforcement officials argued after the terrorist bombings in Spain and Britain that they needed better and longer data storage from companies handling Europe’s communications networks.
European Union countries have until 2009 to put the Data Retention Directive into law, so the proposals seen now are early interpretations. But some people involved in the issue are concerned about a shift in policy in Europe, which has long been a defender of individuals’ privacy rights.
Under the proposals in Germany, consumers theoretically could not create fictitious e-mail accounts, to disguise themselves in online auctions, for example. Nor could they use a made-up account to use for receiving commercial junk mail. While e-mail aliases would not be banned, they would have to be traceable to the actual account holder.
“This is an incredibly bad thing in terms of privacy, since people have grown up with the idea that you ought to be able to have an anonymous e-mail account,” Mr. Fleischer said. “Moreover, it’s totally unenforceable and would never work.”
Mr. Fleischer said the law would have to require some kind of identity verification, “like you may have to register for an e-mail address with your national ID card.”
Jörg Hladjk, a privacy lawyer at Hunton & Williams, a Brussels law firm, said that might also mean that it could become illegal to pay cash for prepaid cellphone accounts. The billing information for regular cellphone subscriptions is already verified.
Mr. Fleischer said: “It’s ironic, because Germany is one of the countries in Europe where people talk the most about privacy. In terms of consciousness of privacy in general, I would put Germany at the extreme end.”
He said it was not clear that any European law would apply to e-mail providers based in the United States, like Google, so anyone who needed an unverified e-mail address — for political, commercial or philosophical reasons — could still use Gmail,
Yahoo or Hotmail addresses.
Mr. Hladjk said, “It’s going to be difficult to know which law applies.” Google requires only two pieces of information to open a Gmail account — a name and a password — and the company does not try to determine whether the name is authentic.
In the Netherlands, the proposed extension of the law on phone company records to all mobile location data “implies surveillance of the movement of large amounts of innocent citizens,” the Dutch Data Protection Agency has said. The agency concluded in January that the draft disregarded privacy protections in the European Convention on Human Rights. Similarly, the German technology trade association Bitkom said the draft there violated the German Constitution.
Internet and telecommunications industry associations raised objections when the directive was being debated, but at that time their concerns were for the length of time the data would have to be stored and how the companies would be compensated for the cost of gathering and keeping the information. The directive ended up leaving both decisions in the hands of national governments, setting a range of six months to two years. The German draft settled on six months, while in Spain the proposal is for a year, and in the Netherlands it is 18 months.
“There are not a lot of people in Germany who support this draft entirely,” said Christian Spahr, a spokesman for Bitkom. “But there are others who are more critical of it than we are.”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Suggested questions - ideas?

1. Is the 2006 review of the Electronic Communications framework likely to lead to greater legal powers for the European Commission or national regulators? Assess with respect to the arguments of the European Regulators group, national governments and the Commissioner.
2. It has been claimed that in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in 2003, 'Freeserve lost, British Telecom lost and Oftel lost.' Do you agree? What will be the future for margin squeeze tests under the new regulatory settlement for BT Openreach?
3. Will Voice-over-Internet-Protocol be regulated as a telecoms or an Internet service? Illustrate your answer with reference to regulatory proposals in both mobile and fixed telephony.
4. Will telecoms law ever be supplanted by competition law? Explain with reference to the case law of national regulators and expert testimony.
5. What does net neutrality mean for European regulators? Explain with regard to the EC Staff Working Paper.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Reading for 19th February

1. Re-read the Freeserve case!
2. Read Faulhaber on comons spectrum (the middle article of the 3, beteen Cave and Noam).
3. Read this article on 'standards wars' - I'll also have it printed for you.

India - Vodafone just paid $11.1b for 67% of Hutchison Essar

Fixed line service providers:
BSNL includes WLL services (wireless in local loop)
MTNL includes WLL services
Bharthi Ltd includes WLL services
GSM operators:
MTNL - Idea cellular - Airtel ( www.airtel.in ) - Hutch (www.hutch.in )
Reliance infocomm

Service providers:
Aircel Digilink India Limited - Haryana, Rajasthan, U.P. ( East)
Aircel Limited - Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Bharti Cellular Limited - Delhi (Metro), Mumbai (Metro), Kolkata (Metro), Chennai (Metro), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP (West), UP (East), West Bengal
BPL Cellular Limited - Mumbai (Metro), Kerala, Maharashtra & Goa, Tamil Nadu
Hutch Group - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,Punjab
Idea Cellular Limited - Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh,Kerala, Haryana, U.P.(W), Madhya Pradesh
Reliance Telecom Limited - Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, North East, Orissa, West Bengal
Spice Communications Limited - Karnataka, Punjab also www.spicetele.com

1. BSNL - All India (except Delhi & Mumbai)
2. MTNL - Delhi & Mumbai
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. formed in October, 2000, is World's 7th largest Telecommunications Company providing comprehensive range of telecom services in India: Wireline, CDMA mobile, GSM Mobile, Internet, Broadband, Carrier service, MPLS-VPN, VSAT, VoIP services, IN Services etc. Within a span of five years it has become one of the largest public sector unit in India. BSNL has installed Quality Telecom Network in the country and now focusing on improving it, expanding the network, introducing new telecom services with ICT applications in villages and wining customer's confidence. Today, it has about 47.3 million line basic telephone capacity, 4 million WLL capacity, 20.1 Million GSM Capacity, more than 37382 fixed exchanges, 18000 BTS, 287 Satellite Stations, 480196 Rkm of OFC Cable, 63730 Rkm of Microwave Network connecting 602 Districts, 7330 cities/towns and 5.5 Lakhs villages.BSNL is the only service provider, making focused efforts and planned initiatives to bridge the Rural-Urban Digital Divide ICT sector. In fact there is no telecom operator in the country to beat its reach with its wide network giving services in every nook & corner of country and operates across India except Delhi & Mumbai. Whether it is inaccessible areas of Siachen glacier and North-eastern region of the country. BSNL serves its customers with its wide bouquet of telecom services.BSNL is numero uno operator of India in all services in its license area. The company offers vide ranging & most transparent tariff schemes designed to suite every customer.BSNL cellular service, CellOne, has more than 17.8 million cellular customers, garnering 24 percent of all mobile users as its subscribers. That means that almost every fourth mobile user in the country has a BSNL connection. In basic services, BSNL is miles ahead of its rivals, with 35.1 million Basic Phone subscribers i.e. 85 per cent share of the subscriber base and 92 percent share in revenue terms. BSNL has more than 2.5 million WLL subscribers and 2.5 million Internet Customers who access Internet through various modes viz. Dial-up, Leased Line, DIAS, Account Less Internet(CLI). BSNL has been adjudged as the NUMBER ONE ISP in the country. BSNL has set up a world class multi-gigabit, multi-protocol convergent IP infrastructure that provides convergent services like voice, data and video through the same Backbone and Broadband Access Network. At present there are 0.6 million DataOne broadband customers. The company has vast experience in Planning, Installation, network integration and Maintenance of Switching & Transmission Networks and also has a world class ISO 9000 certified Telecom Training Institute.Scaling new heights of success, the present turnover of BSNL is more than Rs.351,820 million (US $ 8 billion) with net profit to the tune of Rs.99,390 million (US $ 2.26 billion) for last financial year. The infrastructure asset on telephone alone is worth about Rs.630,000 million (US $ 14.37 billion). BSNL plans to expand its customer base from present 47 millions lines to 125 million lines by December 2007 and infrastructure investment plan to the tune of Rs. 733 crores (US$ 16.67 million) in the next three years.The turnover, nationwide coverage, reach, comprehensive range of telecom services and the desire to excel has made BSNL the No. 1 Telecom Company of India.

India Mobile Subscriber Statistics - December-2006
At the end of December 2006, India has 146.1 Million Mobile subscribers. [40.7 Million CDMA + 105.4 GSM].
Top 5 Mobile Service Providers in India [GSM and CDMA]:
1. Bharti Airtel Ltd - 31.2 Million subscribers
2. Reliance Communications Ltd - 29.7 Million subscribers [26.3 Million CDMA + 3.4 Million GSM]
3. BSNL Cellone - 23.61 Million [Excludes MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi]
4. Hutchison Essar - Hutch - 19.06 Million [Excludes BPL Mumbai]
5. Tata Indicom Mobile - 14.4 Million [All CDMA]
Top 5 GSM Service Providers in India
1. Bharti Airtel Ltd - 31.2 Million subscribers
2. BSNL Cellone - 23.61 Million [ Excludes MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi ]
3. Hutchison Essar - Hutch - 19.06 Million
4. Idea cellular Ltd - 12.43 Million
5. Reliance Telecom - 3.3 Million

RCom and Tata Indicom are the only two major service providers in CDMA segment.
Reliance Communications now has 26.3 Million CDMA [includes WLL] mobile subscribers and 3.7 3.4 Million GSM mobile subscribers taking the tally to 30 29.7 Million. Tata Indicom which is focusing only on CDMA had a good quarter too. It’s mobile subscriber base now stands at 14.4 Million [includes WLL].

Indian GSM subs pass 127 million in September
India added 4.39 million new GSM users in September, the highest ever monthly additions figure, boosting the total mobile base to more than 127.83 million, according to the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI). Bharti Airtel, 30.8% owned by SingTel, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Hutchison Telecommunications remain the country’s largest GSM providers with 27.06 million, 20.94 million and 20.36 million customers respectively at the end of period. The COAI says more than three quarters of India’s mobile customers use GSM technology. The remainder utilise CDMA-based platforms; CDMA operators have yet to report subscriber figures for September.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Reading for 12 February will be available from Hayley

Hayley will email around - for next week, read the Competition Appeal Tribunal case: Freeserve v. Oftel (2003).

Also, we WILL finally discuss the Eli Noma article - you should also email me your notes on mobile market shares from your national regulator.