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Joseph Waring

August 05, 2014

Another holiday to the US and another customer service nightmare with a US cellco. After issues with AT&T and T-Mobile in the past, this latest chapter with Sprint takes bad customer service to an entire new level.

To summarize a long saga, a sales rep at a Sprint retail shop failed to mention a $36 activation fee when I signed up for a $55-a-month plan with unlimited calls and 1GB of data.

A call to the hotline only brought accusations that “you signed the contract” – I did nothing of the sort… I signed a digital screen after tapping “yes” a couple of times. No fine... MORE

July 01, 2014

PCCW/HKT is finally offering its customers a single bill for all services – instead of separate ones for fixed, mobile, broadband and IPTV.

The company sent subscribers an email over the weekend informing them that they can manage all the services via a single log-in to a new portal.

That’s certainly been a long time in coming! The industry has been talking about a consolidated bill since I joined Telecom Asia ten years ago.

A couple of years back, when I finally gave up on iCable and switched to Now TV, the agent quoted a single price for triple-play service: IPTV... MORE

June 09, 2014

Roland Montagne, IDATE principle analyst: “The best friend of fiber is wireless. Fiber handles up to 75% of mobile broadband Wi-Fi offload.”

TM chief strategy officer Farid Sani: “The future of mobility is fixed. The length of the wireless portion of networks is going to get smaller and the length of wired portion will get longer.”

Khoong Hock Yun, IDA assistant CEO, suggests to regulators looking at NBN projects: “Do your homework, which allows you to be bold in pushing incumbents. You are not there to kill existing players. But you don’t want them to hold back the rest... MORE

June 06, 2014

In a country with 1.35 billion people and a land mass of  9.6 million square kilometers, national and industry stats are often in a category of their own. And fiber is of course no exception.
The country’s broadband subscriber base increased 15 times over 10 years and stands at 189 million. It has 155 million kilometers of fiber, a 13 times increase from 11 million in 2003. That represents 30% annual growth and 60% of the world’s total.

China has 40 million FTTH subs, which account for close to 50% of the global total of 90 million. China Telecom has about 80% of the... MORE

May 27, 2014

The growth in larger-screen smartphones, or phablets if you must, has already impacted the young tablet segment, which is only four years old. Apple introduced the first iPad in April 2010.

IDC reported tablet shipments grew just 3.9% in Q1 to 50.4 million compared to a year ago. The single-digit figure merely confirms the downward trend first experienced in Q4, when growth slowed to 28%. That’s huge shift for the segment accustomed to robust annual increases – 68% in 2013 and 78% in 2012.

Apple was the big loser in Q1, with shipments down 16% and its market share dropping... MORE

May 23, 2014

Point Topic has just released its forecast for worldwide fixed broadband at the end of the decade – its estimate is 989.4 million lines at the end of December 2020.

Let’s put that number in perspective. That’s significantly less than current 1.1 billion fixed telephone lines and less than half the 2.3 billion active mobile broadband subscribers the ITU reported in May.

Actually, comparing 2014 figures, the ratio is closer to 3:1 – global mobile broadband penetrating is 32% vs 9.8% for fixed broadband, according to the ITU. (No doubt the subscriber number is inflated due to... MORE

May 22, 2014

SmarTone CEO Douglas Li was in Guangzhou last week with his CTO doing a monthly review of its hotline performance. Specifically they were looking at the 0.43% of callers who rated it “bad” when taking its customer satisfaction survey.

For April, of the odd 7,000 who completed the survey (about 30,000 were invited) 95% rated its service “good” and 4.7% rated it "acceptable”.

The management team reviewed the background of each of the 19 cases to see what happened, look for lessons learned and determine what steps need to be taken to rectify each issue. He says the hotline team... MORE

May 12, 2014

Just as telcos’ fixation with ARPU hasn’t led to improved profitability for the majority of mobile operators, the messaging and social media giants’ reliance on metrics such as monthly active users (MAUs) is a worrisome sign.

WhatsApp reported recently that its MAUs rose from 450 million in mid-February to 500 million. So now the $19 billion Facebook plans to spend acquiring the company seems so much more reasonable!

That’s less than half of Facebooks’ 1.23 billion in Q4, which were up 16% year-on-year. Its mobile MAUs hit 945 million in Q4, after expanding 39% year-on-year.... MORE