Taiwan’s 4G penetration nears 32%
Taiwan’s operators boosted their 4G numbers to more than 10 million at the end of October and expect LTE connections to surpass 11 million by year-end.

4G users are forecast to account for 32 per cent of total mobile connections by the end of the year, according to GSMA Intelligence. The top three players launched 4G in Q2 of 2014.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) expects 4G users to increase to 28 million by the end of 2018.

Chunghwa Telecom is the leader with 3.84 million 4G users, followed by Far EasTone with 2.78 million, Taiwan Mobile with 2.63 million, Asia Pacific Telecom with more than 500,000 and Taiwan Star Cellular with more than 400,000, according to NCC.

Smart expects remittances to expand 30% next year
PLDT’s digital financial services unit, Smart eMoney, expects remittances to increase 30 per cent next year to about PHP130 billon ($2.75 billion).

Remittances this year are projected to hit nearly PHP100 billion, Business World reported.

PLDT recently launched its Smart Padala Pick-Up Anywhere service, which allows users to send money to any mobile phone number, regardless of the provider. Previously customers could claim cash only from a preselected Smart Padala centre. With the new feature, users can send or receive money at more than 15,000 agents and centres nationwide, which it claims is more touch points than all the ATMs, bank branches and pawnshops in the country combined.

China Mobile, ZTE test 3D-MIMO on live network
China Mobile and ZTE have demonstrated that 3D-MIMO (multiple input multiple output) technology can boost average data throughput rates by two to four times, with data rates at the cell edge increasing as much as five to seven times, based on a test on the operator’s commercial network in Guangzhou.

The pre-commercial test, conducted with support from China Mobile’s Research Institute, showed the capability of ZTE’s 3D-MIMO solution to improve network throughput and coverage in an area with a high concentration of tall buildings.

3D-MIMO provides more precise beamforming and more effective spatial multiplexing to strengthen the network’s resistance to interference and improve the performance of cells and the overall network, ZTE said.

The vendor claims that results take its so-called ‘pre-5G’ technology a step closer to commercial deployment.

Bangladesh prepares for MNP
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is waiting for the finance ministry to approve the draft guidelines for mobile number portability (MNP), which it aims to start in January.

The proposal has been with the finance minister since early October. Once approved, the BTRC will hold a tender, which is open to local and foreign registered companies with a local partner with a 51 per cent stake, The Independent reported.

Customers will need to pay a maximum fee of BDT30 ($0.38) to move their number to another operator, but will need to keep their service for at least 40 days.

Data to drive slowing growth in Australia
Australian operators’ revenue and EBITDA growth next year is forecast to remain in the low single digits, with data and non-traditional revenue sources such as network applications and services driving the increase.

Intensifying competition in the mobile segment, Fitch Ratings says, will result in lower ARPU, although this will be somewhat mitigated by data-centric pricing to capture higher data usage. Strong data consumption growth will offset some of the expected decline in voice revenues (both mobile and fixed). Increased take-up of bundled services will boost margins in the fixed-internet segment.

Challenges across the sector, from changing technology and regulations to rising competition and ongoing capex needs, will prevent any major sustained improvement in business or financial risk, Fitch predicts.