THE WRAP: Bribery results in death sentence; RIM details staff cuts

It was the week that saw another death sentence for telecom-related bribery, job cuts for RIM and ministerial concerns over India’s hypercompetitive mobile sector.
 
Zhang Chunjiang – former China Mobile deputy GM and former CEO of China Netcom – was sentenced to death after being found guilty of taking 7.46 million yuan (€811,573) in bribes during his tenure at the operator.
 
The sentence has been suspended for two years, and could be reduced to life imprisonment with good behavior. Zhang is the second former China Mobile exec to get a death sentence for bribery following Shi Wanzhong last month.
 
Struggling smartphone vendor RIM revealed plans to slash around 2,000 jobs – roughly 10.5% of its workforce. RIM already cut 200 jobs in June, after a 10% slump in first-quarter profit. Financial analysts remained unimpressed, telling Reuters the cuts will do little to improve RIM's competitive position and that changes will need to be made at the top level to make a difference.
 
In other news for the week, India’s telecoms minister voiced concerns that the country’s hypercompetitive mobile sector was getting out of hand.
 
Telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the Economic Times that Indian mobile operators are “at war,” and “trying to destroy each other”, and that the industry risks destroying itself if it continues its intense rivalry.
 
In related news, Tata Teleservices reportedly plans to restructure itself by combining Tata Indicom with Tata DoCoMo, which is likely to result in the sacking of around 15% of its staff (mainly from Indicom).
 
Australian telecom regulator ACMA said it wants to prevent operators from misusing the term “cap” in advertising.
 
 
UK regulator Ofcom went on a similar mission, regarding the use of maximum data rates in adverts by internet service providers. A regular review of the market found the gap between advertised and actual data rates grew in the five months to end-May.
 
In Pakistan this week, the government was reportedly close to deciding on the terms of a 3G license auction, and would likely invite bids from foreign as well as domestic telecom players.
 
Figures from Maravedis reveal global LTE subscribers surged nearly 500% in the three months to end-June, as the number of commercial networks grew. The growth is far higher than that of Wimax networks, which saw subscriber numbers grow 14%.
 
In other news this week: Pacnet announced plans for a second so-called data landing station (i.e. a data center collocated with a cable landing station) in Hong Kong, its third such DLS in the region; Qualcomm bought IP from gesture recognition technology developer GestureTek in a bid to take on Microsoft’s successful Kinect gaming control sensor; and Singapore’s IDA released a new guide instructing consumers how to set up home networks for their NBN access services.
 
And finally, it was a week full of grim predictions for telcos hoping to cash in on the cloud hype machine.
 
A new report from Ovum said telcos face ‘significant’ operational hurdles to making a success of cloud services, while Informa Telecoms & Media reported that operators have yet to see any decent cloud revenues despite investing up to $8 billion (€5.6 billion) on cloud pursuits in 1H11.
 

Telecom operators must utilize their powerful differentiators in the cloud marketplace to avoid becoming “dumb clouds”, the firm warned.

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