29 Oct 2008

Eurasia Com: 2 out of 3 giant Russian cellcos say 'yes'

Following hot on the heels of our recent announcement about Russian cellco MegaFon sending its Deputy CEO to our 2009 Eurasia Com conference in Istanbul comes news of another important speaker confirmation.

Joining MegaFon's Alexey Nichiporenko in a Keynote Session Roundtable Discussion will be Oleg Raspopov, VP and Director of the Foreign Subsidiaries Business Unit at market-leading MTS (MobileTeleSystems). We expect the discussion to be a robust forum for the exchange of views about how best to exploit the remaining telecoms sector growth opportunities across the CIS markets of Central Asia and the Caspian region.

In the region we have defined as the target market for delegates for this particular conference, MTS has a presence in Armenia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. MTS has furher CIS subsidiaries in Ukraine and Belarus.

Of Russia's 'big three' mobile players, only Vimpelcom has yet to confirm that a participant will take part in this discussion, which will take place on the morning of Tuesday 31 March, day one of the two-day Eurasia Com conference and exhibition. Naturally, we are in discussions with Vimpelcom about this and I remain confident about a positive outcome.

I will consider this Roundtable line-up to be perfectly formed if we are also able to add a high-level participant from TeliaSonera's Eurasia business unit. I will keep you posted.

28 Oct 2008

MegaFon, Kuzey Kibris Turkcell join speaker line-up for Eurasia Com 2009

I am pleased to announce the confirmation of two very strong additional speakers for Eurasia Com 2009 (Istanbul, 31 March & 1 April 2009), both representing influential cellcos in the region served by the conference.

Mr Alexey Nichiporenko is First Deputy CEO at Russia's MegaFon, and General Director, of MegaFon-International, the unit which manages the Russian MNO's subsidiaries beyond the Russian Federation. Mr Nichiporenko will be joining a day one round table discussion (on Tuesday 31 March), during which participants will be invited to comment on the Eurasia region's most promising remaining growth opportunities and the challenges operators can expect to face when working to exploit them.

Turkcell is also a significant player in the region, not least in the host country of our conference, where the cellco is the mobile market leader. For the past two years, Turkcell have strongly supported our event, sending large delegations of executives to enjoy the networking, discussions and presentations, as well as confirming CxO-level speakers from the company. We are in discussions with our friends at Turkcell now about who will represent the business at the lectern in 2009. In the meantime, a Turkcell subsidiary company has already confirmed its high-level participation.

Kuzey Kibris Turkcell operates in the Turkish Republic Northern Cyprus, where the company has recently rolled out 3.5G services over an Ericsson-supplied W-CDMA/HSPA network. The three MNOs in Turkey itself have yet to go to market with 3G services and of the Caspian and Central Asian countries from where we will be gathering delegates, only Tajikistan and Georgia have W-CDMA networks. We therefore expect there to be a strong interest in the detailed network/services-deployment case study that will be offered at the conference by KK Turkcell. The speaker will be Mr Burak Merzeci, the company's CMO.

We are having many positive conversations with invited participants and we confidently expect to assemble our strongest-ever speaker line-up for the event in 2009.

27 Oct 2008

Positive numbers from LatAm iDEN group

In a recent post on the prospects for MVNOs in Latin America, I mentioned in passing NII Holdings, ­whose Nextel-branded operations offer mobile services over iDEN networks in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. I found myself reminiscing about trips to the last two of these countries and observing almost every cab driver I'd encountered using the Push-t0-Talk functionality of their Nextel handsets.

Last week, I was joined here in London by a colleague from our sister company in Sao Paolo, whose team will be more closely involved than in previous years in the research leading to the creation of the conference agenda for our annual Americas Com event in Rio de Janeiro. My Brazilian colleague told me about friends with small businesses, all of whose staff stay in touch via the Nextel PoC (Push-to-Talk over Cellular) service. Her impression, based just on this anecdotal evidence, was of good growth for the iDEN network operator.

I was therefore not too surprised to see pick up on very positive noises coming out of NII Holdings HQ, picked up late last week by a Cellular News story, according to which the company "has reported that for the third quarter, the Company added 394,500 net subscribers, matching the company's quarterly record of net subscriber additions set in the second quarter of 2008, resulting in an ending subscriber base of over 5.8 million subscribers, a 33% increase over the subscriber base reported at the end of the third quarter of 2007."

We usually see a smattering of delegates from the various Nextel operators at Americas Com. At the most recent event, I ran into some folks from the Peruvian operation. We will certainly be inviting the company to share some useful insights at the 2009 conference.