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Paul Harper
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Having spent a fair amount of time in the international telecom market, I have developed a taste for Emerging Markets. My interests tend to be focussed on telecoms, energy & commodity stocks (mostly ADRs) & country sector ETFs
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  • Apple & China Unicom receive regulatory approval for iPhone launch
    Gasp … shock … applause, yes, according to tech website Engadget this morning, China Unicom & Apple have managed to get regulatory approval fromChina’s State Radio Regulatory Commission.  As Engadget states :

    According to the listing, we’re looking at a GSM / WCDMA cellphone complete with Bluetooth, an internal model number A1324, a little-known manufacturer called “Apple Inc.” and an approval date of May 7th, 2009. We’re also told that the certificate expires in five years, which should give China Unicom plenty of time to capitalize on its reported three-year deal to offer the phone in mainland China.

    A copy of that filing can be viewed here : Approvals (luckily for us, Google translate is working well)

    Engadget goes on to play this down, as there have been a plethora of iPhone / China stories ever since the first iPhone came on the scene two years ago. However, scooting around some telecom pit stops & also some Apple watchers, it would seem that there is real credence in this story. Over at iPhon Asia, Dan Butterfield, a veteran Asian mobile commentator, has been doing our job for us, with a regular stream of articles on the iPhone, here are a couple of lifts from him in the last week in reverse order :

    Press reports along with some documentary evidence, suggests that a new model iPhone was submitted to China’s authorities for mandatory “testing” sometime in late Spring. The MIIT’s testing process can take several months to complete. Foot-dragging by the MIIT might help China’s carriers to deploy their own Android-based phones + new WVAS + new mobile operating systemsbefore iPhone is launched.

    Multiple reports that Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision) will soon begin full production of a custom iPhone for China. This model will not have WiFi (due to WAPI/WiFi issues) but will likely come preloaded with several “for China” apps. Foxconn has given this iPhone a code name – “Model 90.” There is a very high probability that Model 90 is the same “yet to be unveiled” iPhone model (A1324) that China granted (in early June) a Radio Transmission Equipment Type Approval Certificate (RTETAC). China website Tech.QQ has posted a story today about China Unicom’s plans to bring iPhone to China. The report quotes anonymous “informed sources” who claim that Apple and China Unicom have finalized their deal to officially launch iPhone in China. The report does not mention when China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) might grant Apple’s iPhone the required Network Access License (NYSE:NAL).

    China’s Oriental Morning Post is jumping into the iPhone rumor mill. In a report today the Post reveals that China Unicom is in the midst of intense iPhone promotion/distribution planning. The Post reports that the new iPhone model for China will retail for 2,000 CNY ($293 USD) for subscribers who choose a data-plan + multi-year contract. This subsidized price would be 1,000 CNY below the reported (yesterday’s unverified rumor) 3,000 CNY ($440 USD) that China Unicom will pay to Apple for each unit. The Post notes that there will be other plan options that further reduce iPhone’s retail price. The Post sites “Shanghai Unicom*insiders” who provided information on condition of anonymity.


    Now, lets go all the way back to the first quote & concentrate on the highlighted text (my addition), Dan reported this regulatory topic back on the 25th July in his post : iPhone in China – “Are we there yet?”

    So thanks Engadget for “breaking” some news that was already out there & Big Kudos for Dan for sticking at it & being objective.

    Jul 31 4:26 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Qatar : LNG will support economy going forward

    Though international oil & gas prices have fallen steeply resulting in the economies of many countries in the Middle East facing negative growth and large-scale cut backs in energy projects, Qatar manages to stand out as an exception. 

    Though the country's hydrocarbons sector and the economy it underpins will not enjoy the same heady rates of growth seen over the past few years - with GDP estimated to have expanded by 18% in 2008 - predictions suggest that the economy will grow by around 9% this year. 

    Much of this growth will come through Qatar's increased gas exports. With proven reserves of 25trn cu metres and production capacity expected to reach 77m tonnes by the end of the decade, Qatar has positioned itself to be the world's leading supplier of liquid natural gas (NYSEMKT:LNG) for the foreseeable future. 

    Though gas prices have dropped over the past year, this is expected to have less impact on Qatar's overall economy than falling oil prices on some of its neighbours. This is due to the fact that many of the export contracts it has with overseas clients are long-term deals, rather than the more usual spot contracts in the oil industry. 

    Another factor in Qatar's favour is its ongoing programme of increasing output, meaning it can maintain earning levels even if prices fall simply by selling more gas at a lower price. 

    There have been some claims that the international LNG market could see a glut this year, as the global recession pushes down demand and production increases. With Russia looking to ramp up output and break into the Asian market - a traditional stronghold of Qatar - as well as other gas production projects due to start this year in Indonesia and Yemen, competition is increasing. 

    Though there could be a brief period of oversupply, Faisal Al Suwaidi, the chief executive of Qatar Gas, believes the recovery of the global economy will bring about a balance. 

    "I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the short-term outlook, but in the longer term the world will need this gas," Al Suwaidi said in a recent interview with The Times

    Though there may be concerns over pricing levels and oversupply, Qatar can look to the future with optimism, with clients lining up to secure imports. An increasing number of these new customers are in Europe, as the continent becomes increasingly disenchanted with Moscow as its main supplier, and Qatar is set to be one of the main benefactors from the recurring spat between Russia and Ukraine, which has seen pipelines running across Ukrainian territory into Europe closed twice in two years. 

    On April 16, 

Qatar Gas signed a 20-year agreement, due to come into force in 2014, to supply Poland's state-owned gas company Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo with 1.4bn cu metres of LNG annually, equivalent to 10% of present consumption. Currently, Poland imports around one-quarter of its gas needs from Russia and like many European countries saw supplies disrupted in January after Moscow turned off the taps during its latest pricing dispute with Kiev. 

    Bulgaria, another country that experienced supply cuts in January, could become the latest in the line of clients for Qatari gas imports, the subject being discussed during talks held in mid-April between Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. 

    Sofia also suggested the proposal of building an LNG terminal on Greece's Aegean coast to allow shipped gas to be unloaded before being piped to Bulgaria itself and other customers across Europe, a move that would further expand Qatar's export reach. 

    Established customers too are looking beyond the current economic crisis and are seeking to secure additional supplies. One of these is India, which Qatar is already contracted to supply 7.5m tonnes annually. On April 20, the Qatari deputy prime minister and minister of energy and industry, Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, told local media that India was seeking to increase its imports to feed a new regasification terminal under construction in Kochi. 

    Al Attiyah stated that one of the reasons India was looking to Qatar to meet its additional needs was down to the country's reputation for reliability. 

    "Since we began supplying to Petronet, there was no disruption in our LNG cargoes to India. We remain committed to being a reliable supplier and supplier of choice," he said. 

    It is this reliability as a supplier that is increasingly making Qatar the preferred choice for energy-hungry importers. With the country not using gas as a weapon of diplomacy as Russia has done; not being subject to sanctions or political concerns as is the case with Iran; and putting conditions on sales that Algeria, which is calling for the right to sell directly to consumers in some European markets, has done, Qatar has earned its reputation as a dependable business partner. It is this standing, along with reserves estimated to be able to maintain production at proposed levels for 100 years, that will aid the country's economic growth.

    May 25 12:28 PM | Link | Comment!
  • following on from China 3g & Dell article

    just received this is a newsletter from Interfax :

    "The annual growth of China's investment in telecom infrastructure for 2009 will be higher than that of any other country, an industry analyst told Interfax on April 16.

    "The combined amount Chinese telecom operators plan to invest in deploying telecom infrastructure will reach $6.64 billion in 2009, up 35.4 percent from $4.91 billion in 2008," Will Kong, an industry analyst with iSuppli, said.

    Of the total, investment in GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks will reach $3.23 billion, while CDMA1X, WCDMA and TD-SCDMA networks will receive investments of $1.1 billion, $1.21 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively.

    In contrast, overall global investment in telecom infrastructure is expected to decline by 3.5 percent year-on-year in 2009, according to iSuppli's prediction."


    will be interesting to see which equipment vendors will benefit, mostly ZTE & Huawei I suspect, but there could be some contracts for NOK too

    Apr 18 2:46 AM | Link | Comment!
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