19 Mar 2009

Singapore hotels tried to block Skype
The IDA turned down applications from four luxury hotels in Singapore to block guest access to the Skype domain, IDA deputy director-general Andrew Haire told a conference panel session.

Three five-star and one six-star hotels had asked the regulator to block the VoIP provider, he said in answer to a question from a Skype staffer. "That kind of appearance of anti-competitive activity troubled me," he said.

He said he drew the "unscientific" conclusion that, "the fewer stars you have, the more likely you are going to offer internet access at no charge."

The IDA regarded Skype as a software company and as a result it "doesn't come under our licensing regime," Haire said.

Ofta nearly bailed on LTE auction
Hong Kong regulator Ofta nearly called off its LTE auction after the financial crisis arrived last September, deputy director general Ha Yung Kuen revealed.

"There was a lot of discussion about whether the government should hold back the auction. We decided we would follow the market approach."

The January auction reaped an unexpected $1.5 billion ($193 million) for the governments' coffers.

"We were successful beyond our imagination," Ha beamed.

Singapore very close to NGN announcement
Singapore Communications Minister Lui Tuck Yew is "very close" to announcing the award of its NBN "OpCo" contract, IDA's Haire said. He said he had been working "15 hour-days for the past year" to ensure that structural separation of SingTel would work.

Japan cellcos won't share
European and Australian telcos are strking network sharing deals to cut costs, but that's not happening in Japan.

"There's no sharing in Japan," said Yoshiro Obata, executive vice president, of Japanese cellco Emobile. "Everyone has their own infrastructure. With mobile broadband, nobody has enough capacity."

Verizon focusing on Mid-East, Africa
Verizon is expanding in the Middle East, says Yali Liu, director of Asia-Pacific network planning. It has six nodes in the region and plans to build more, as well as hook in to growth in the African telecoms sector.

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