As predicted, Celtel announced BES support in Kenya today. Once again, EMS partnered up with Celtel to bring BlackBerry service to a new market. (Celtel Kenya’s parent company, MTC, has done some business recently with Fastlink out in Jordan.) Celtel’s seeing Safaricom’s initial two releases of the Pearl and BlackBerry 8700, and raising them a BlackBerry 8800. We’ll keep you posted on how these two compete in the months to come.
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If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. The Mobile World has just run a report claiming there will be 3.25 billion mobile users before the end of the year, pushing it over the 50% penetration mark. The Mobile World’s Senior Analyst John Tysoe puts this number into startling perspective.
“The mobile telecommunications industry continues to set new records, driven by huge demand, especially in India, China and Africa. And the growth rate is still accelerating. It took over 20 years to connect the first billion subscribers, but only 40 months to connect the second billion. The three billion milestone will be passed in July 2007, just two years on. By the end of the year, the global mobile base will exceed 3.25bn connections, or over half the world’s population. With handsets and services becoming ever more affordable, the prospect of a fully connected mobile world is becoming ever more real.”
A recent study by Ovum is suggesting that 300 million people across Africa, Asia and Europe could be getting in on wireless broadband by 2012 with some investment in the 900 MHz and 2100 MHz bands. The main pull would be cost effectiveness, but consistent international standards could slow down progress.
“National governments need to coordinate their spectrum policies to enable the widespread rollout of HSPA in the 900MHz band,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer of the GSMA. “Such coordination would make HSPA at 900MHz a cost-effective way to provide valuable broadband services to the many people untouched by the high-speed Internet revolution that has swept through the developed world.”
900 MHz is a pretty high-traffic right now, so some heavy restructuring would be necessary in order to make 3G work without interfering with existing GSM signals.