Apr 19, 2012 (AME Info - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
FAKE INSTAGRAM PHOTO APP WARNING FOR ANDROID USERS: Cybercriminals have created fake version of Instagram for Android, designed to deposit malware onto users smartphones in a bid to steal money, according to IT security firm Sophos. The popular photo sharing app has been available on Apple devices for some time. Android users who download the app from unapproved sites, rather than official sources, they run the risk of infecting their smartphone. Once installed, the app will send SMS messages to premium rate services, earning revenue for its creators. Instagram has featured heavily in the media in recent weeks after being made available on Android devices and selling to Facebook for $1bn.
ORASCOM TELECOM PAYS OUT $40M IN TAXES AFTER EXTERNAL AUDIT: Egypt's Orascom Telecom (OT) has said its 2011 net profit dropped by a further $40m after external auditors requested a change in the calculation of the corporate tax charge on the company's financial statements ending in December 2011, Ahram has reported. The company's board of directors approved the change, which slashes its net income attributable to shareholders to $621m, OT said.
SAMSUNG, APPLE SMARTPHONES TO ADOPT NEW INNOVATIVE MATERIALS: Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. are shifting the focus of their competition to new materials, ET News has reported. The next flagship handsets by the two smartphone makers are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies such as ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts, the report said, citing unnamed industry sources. Samsung's Galaxy S3 is scheduled to be unveiled in London on May 3, while Apple's iPhone5 is expected to make its debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June.
ZAIN SAUDI READIES $2,6BN REFINANCING DEAL: Zain Saudi has announced it was finalising the refinancing of a SR9.75bn ($2.6bn) facility due in July after it posted another quarterly loss, Reuters has reported. The facility will be replaced by another with a five-year term as the operator, an affiliate of Kuwait's Zain, looks to bolster its balance sheet, with current liabilities now worth more than its assets, the company said.
MOBILY IN TALKS WITH OVERSEAS MOBILE VIRTUAL NETWORK OPERATORS: Khalid Al-Kaf, the chief executive of Saudi-based telecoms firm Mobily has said the company is in talks to sell surplus network capacity to a number of foreign operators, Reuters has reported. The negotiations come after the kingdom's telecoms regulator said it would issue three mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences in 2012. "We are talking to a number of MVNO operators worldwide," Al-Kaf told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai. "If it will add value because it can address a segment much better than us, we will be glad to host an MVNO," he said, adding a decision on the sale is to be expected by the end of the third quarter.
SAUDI TELECOM MOBILY SEES NET INCOME RISE 21 percent: Saudi-based telecom operator, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has said its first-quarter net income rose 21 percent to SR1.21bn, compared with SR998m for the same period last year, but was 29 percent less than the SR1.7bn the company made in the previous quarter, Arab News has reported. Gross profit climbed 14 percent to SR2.61bn from SR2.29bn for the same period last year, while operating income for the period jumped 19 percent to SR1.25bn, compared with SR1.05bn, Mobily said.
SAMSUNG TO ANNOUNCE NEW GALAXY S SMARTPHONE MAY 3: Samsung Electronics Co has announced its third-generation of its flagship smartphone Galaxy S is to launch on May 3 in London, banking on a heavy marketing campaign heading into the summer Olympics in the city, Reuters has reported. The South Korean firm sold over 40 million Galaxy smartphones since the model was released in June 2010. It became the world's top smartphone maker last year on the back of strong sales of Galaxy lineups, and the latest edition comes after it released Galaxy S II in late April last year.
OMAN'S NAWRAS TO BOOST VOIP AND DATA CONNECTIVITY: Oman's telecoms operator, Nawras it plans to boost connectivity around the country in 2012 as the company seeks to build on the growing demand for data and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, Muscat Daily has reported. The company currently covers 57 percent of the Sultanate with its 3G network, 97 percent with a voice network which also provides data services and 87 percent of households with home broadband, Nawras said.
LUMIA 900 BUG FIXED, NOKIA SAYS : Nokia has said it has fixed a software bug in its Lumia 900 smartphones which went on sale a week ago in the US, Reuters has reported. Lumia 900 is the third Nokia phone to run Microsoft's Windows operating system since it abandoned its own Symbian system last year. It is due for a wider global launch this quarter.
SAMSUNG OUSTS NOKIA AT TOP OF MOBILE PHONE MARKET: Analysts have said South Korea's Samsung Electronics has outsold Nokia in the first quarter of the year, ending the struggling Finnish handset maker's 's 14-year leadership of the global mobile phone market for the first time ever, Reuters has reported. On average, analysts expect Samsung to have sold 88 million phones in January through March, exceeding the 83 million which Nokia sold in the quarter. "After 14 years as the largest global mobile phone maker, getting knocked off the top spot will come as a bitter blow to Nokia," said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, who has followed the industry since the 1990s. "In contrast it will be greeted with euphoria by Samsung - they'll be dancing from the boardroom to the factory floor," Wood said.
RIM EYES MIDDLE EAST PUSH WITH DUBAI OUTLET, SEEKS TO OFFSET US DECLINE: Blackberry maker, Research In Motion is preparing to open stores across the Middle East, in a bid to offset plunging US sales, Bloomberg has reported. The company is in the final stages of negotiating a lease on a flagship store of up to 1,500 sq ft in Dubai, said Sandeep Saihgal, managing director of RIM's Middle East business. Stores with local partner Axiom Telecom are planned across the region, he said. "We're getting the first one up and running and then we'll be looking at other cities across the Middle East -- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar," Saihgal said.
OMAN TELECOMS REVENUE GROWS 9 percent: Oman's two integrated telecoms service providers, Omantel and Nawras, have continued to show growth in terms of both revenue and subscriber base for the financial year 2011, , mainly driven by the broadband and data segment, Oman Daily Observer has reported . Omantel's revenues witnessed a growth of 9 percent year-on-year to OR453m at the end of 2011. Nawras reported a 4 percent annual growth in revenue to OR197mm supported by attractive promotions and innovative offers through its distribution network. According to data by the country's Telecoms Regulatory Authority, a total of 71 promotional offers were approved during the year 2011, of which 28 were of Nawras and 19 were Omantel's.
EGYPT'S NEW MOBILE RULES TO ONLY AFFECT NEW ENTRANTS: Egypt's communications ministry has said proposed amendments to a law requiring mobile telecoms operators to give a percentage of their shares to Egyptians would apply only to new licence operators, Reuters has reported. The proposed amendments aim to ensure 20 percent of the shares in a local telecoms business were owned by Egyptians. "The proposed amendments to the telecommunications regulatory law in parliament are limited to new licenses and won't be applied to existing operators," said a ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They will be applied to the fourth operator in case it exists."
MOBILE PHONE SUBSCRIPTIONS JUMPED 27 percent IN EGYPT: According to official figures by the Egyptian government, the number of mobile phone subscriptions in the country jumped 27 percent to 91.32 million users in the year to January, compared with 83.43 million in December 2011, Reuters has reported. In January 2011, Egypt's three mobile operators, Etisalat Egypt, MobiNil and the Egyptian unit of Vodafone, had 71.5 million subscriptions.
IRAN DENIES INTERNET SHUTDOWN, WILL NOT SWITCH TO NATIONAL INTRANET: Iran's ministry of communication and information technology has denied online reports that it plans to cut access to the internet in August and replace it with a national intranet, AFP has reported. The reports derived from an alleged interview with communications minister Reza Taghipour published on April 1 that was in fact a hoax, the ministry said. The hoax report quoted Taghipour saying that Iran would from August launch a "clean internet" that would block popular services like Google and Hotmail and replace them with government-sponsored search engines and e-mail services. "The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry" and is "completely baseless," the ministry said.
GULF TELECOM FIRMS MISS OUT ON MOBILE HANDSET SALES, SAYS MICROSOFT BOSS: Samer Abu-Ltaif, the general manager for Microsoft Gulf has said telecoms companies handle only 2 percent of mobile-phone sales in the region, marking an opportunity for the region's struggling operators, The National has reported. "The number of devices that are sold by the telcos directly is only 2 percent of all devices in the region," he said. "Here, the telcos are not engaged heavily in that. And there is an opportunity for them to make money," he added. Microsoft is in talks with Gulf telecoms operators about future launches of Windows Phone devices, notably those manufactured by Nokia, Abu-Latif said.
WINDOWS PHONE WILL ACCOUNT FOR 2 percent OF APP DOWNLOADS THIS YEAR: Market research firm ABI Research has said Microsoft's Windows Phone platform will only account for 2 percent of all mobile application downloads in 2012, despite reinforcements arriving this year from Nokia. "Although Windows Phone lags behind RIM's BlackBerry and even Nokia's Symbian, we shouldn't ignore the fact that the 2 percent that we forecast for 2012 would be twice the share the platform achieved last year," ABI analyst Lim Shiyang said. Smartphones and tablets are expected to download nearly 36 billion apps this year, and an overwhelming 83 percent of those downloads will be served to either Android or iOS-powered devices, the firm said in its report.
SOME VOIP SERVICES GET UNBLOCKED IN OMAN, GIVES OPPORTUNITY TO SMES: Users in Oman have said a number of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services have been unblocked last weekend, Muscat Daily has reported. The move could pave the way for cheaper international communication and provide a boost for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). No official announcement has been made by the operators or the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA), but users said services such as Google Talk, Viber, FaceTime and MSM Messenger have been unblocked since last Wednesday.
SAMSUNG TEAM UP WITH ANGRY BIRDS MAKERS FOR NEW GAMES: Samsung has partnered with Finnish video game developer and entertainment company Rovio to introduce the Angry Birds Space for the first time on its Android smartphone and tablet computer Galaxy Note. The company said the Note is a perfect gaming device as it comes with a vivid and expansive 5.3-inch HD Super Amoled screen and a dual-core processor, which ensures incredibly fast and smooth game play. An exclusive Samsung Galaxy Note level will be provided in the Angry Birds Space game, Samsung said.
WORK BEGINS ON REGIONAL NETWORK IN JORDAN: The Jordanian ministry of information and communications technology has announced work on the $500m regional cable network (RCN) project is under way and the network is expected to be launched during the third quarter of this year, Jordan Times has reported. The project, which started in late 2010, is being implemented by seven ICT operators from Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It involves the construction of the Middle East's longest redundant terrestrial communications infrastructure along a 7,750-kilometre round trip route. The cable network extends from the city of Fujairah in the UAE to Istanbul in Turkey and onward to Europe and will serve as a gateway to the internet for two billion people. The project is being implemented by a consortium of the UAE's Etisalat, Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Jordan Telecom/Orange Jordan, Mada-Zain Partnership (Jordan), Syrian Telecoms Est (Syria), and Superonline (Turkey).
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