Proposed Joint Project – Local GSM Mobile Network

The author just submitted a  letter of intent to CAMTECO (Camiguin Telephone Cooperative) to jointly develop, setup, operate and maintain a local mobile network.  This is a mobile service using any cellphone (from first generation Nokia 5110 to the latest Android/iPhone) within the franchise area of CAMTECO (Camiguin province and eastern part of Misamis Oriental from Balingasag).

Mobile Phones

Unlike the mobile service provided by the big players, the coverage is local.  The cellphone number is local, too. It’s a local call between CAMTECO landline to CAMTECO cellphone. (Re local metering rate. The author will recommend marketing strategies to attract subscribers. This include rate reduction, limited-time free trial, unlimited promos and so on.) The CAMTECO cellphone should work anywhere within the franchise area (even in Itum).

Aside from voice, the following services are available – text messaging (SMS) and GPRS (wireless Internet).  Higher speed wireless Internet technologies 3G and LTE will be available in the near future.

Why? CAMTECO revenue was greatly affected by the entrance of cellphones because they are are portable, there’s text messaging and very cheap – anyone can sport it (e.g. habal-habal drivers). By employing mobile technology, voice, texting and Internet services, CAMTECO can regain part of the lost revenue stream.  With competitive promos to be offered like pre-paid services,  CAMTECO’s subscriber base will just grow dramatically! And, of course, the monthly revenue. With local metering, more subscribers means more calls and more calls means more revenue.

Finally, add VoIP – combining Internet telephony and regular phones.  If you’re a Camiguingnon living abroad and you want to call home (to CAMTECO landline or cellphone) without paying per-minute charge? Yes, it’s ready.  How it works?  If you’re living in London (or wherever) – just dial a local phone number in London (or  in your city) and the preset CAMTECO landline or cellphone rings!

With these future services and technologies in place, CAMTECO will regain back portion of the lost revenue stream to cellphones and dramatically increase revenue by multiplying subscriber base (quick and cheap) with more services.

Since this is a joint project,  no need for CAMTECO to look for suppliers costing millions. The author is proposing a very low-cost system using the latest technologies.

All the revenues mentioned above, it’s the general membership that will be benefited. Just by looking at the technology trend of giant telcos. PLDT, for example, is using this technology in their Landline Plus (wireless landline). This system has a very high commercial value.  I’m sure other small telephone operators would scramble to get this low-cost system into their network.  And … CAMTECO can market this system to other telcos and gets a reasonable share.

If you support this proposal, kindly share and explain this to all CAMTECO members. To request a copy of the formal proposal (or letter of intent) submitted by the author to CAMTECO, contact the author by posting your comment here.

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Is VoIP good for CAMTECO?

Small telephone operators except CAMTECO (Camiguin Telephone Cooperative) are affected by cellphone and Internet. But CAMTECO is in a better revenue position because of the local metering. CAMTECO has a better chance of survival.

Now comes the Internet – this time it’s the overseas calls.  Another blow due to email, voice/video chat and VoIP (simply means Internet telephony like Skype, Viber, etc.). Will jumping to VoIP beneficial to the small operators?

Without going into detailed research like world market demands, market share, etc. – just follow what big Philippine telcos are doing:

  • convergence of technologies: voice and data
  • inter-connection via VoIP

Convergence

By merging phone calls and Internet into one infra-structure:

  • one cable – from CAMTECO to subscribers
  • one radio/fiber-optic – among all stations around the island
  • equipment that carry both information in all stations

huge savings is possible.  If PLDT is migrating to VoIP, it should be the way to go.

Another major advantage of upgrading to VoIP – virtually unlimited capacity of the system to add subscribers. In contrast to the current system, to expand the system it must be by blocks of thousand lines. The initial investment is huge.

With VoIP, CAMTECO can expand in very small increments – as few as 24 lines! With virtually unlimited capacity plus hundreds of calls in one time (One system is limited only to 24 connections), CAMTECO can restructure the local metering rate to encourage more calls to hundreds. More calls means higher revenue.

Overseas calls

Another problem, how to regain lost revenue from overseas calls.  Only one solution – focus on Internet connection. With higher monthly fee, CAMTECO prefer Internet subscription although it means losing the revenue share from incoming overseas calls (which is small anyway – the big chunk goes to PLDT). But Internet will only appeal to the young generation not to the parents.  The popular concept of Internet means – PC/laptop is required. This is wrong! An Internet connection can carry any information – text, photos, audio and many more.

If audio or voice is the only interest, no PC/laptop is needed. Just plug any of these to the modem:

The old folks in Camiguin would be glad to talk much longer knowing that it’s an unlimited-free call. Our loving folks are concerned of the cost, right?

For CAMTECO to tap this market, they must provide this class of Internet connection for voice-only:

  • moderate speed – 256kbps download/download
  • low-latency – less than 120ms

Is VoIP good for CAMTECO? In my opinion, yes, but CAMTECO has to deliver the goods and YOU must voice out, too.  Feel free to comment. CAMTECO is reading this blog.

Have a good day!

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DSL or ADSL – Which One for Rural Internet Providers?

Rural telephone operators and cable TV  operators have no other choice to survive – offer Internet service. Unfortunately, they are still at the mercy of giant telecom operators who control ALL parts of the Internet connection:

  • the IGF (international gateway facilities)
  • Backbone
  • Local networks (mostly in profitable metropolitan areas).  

Giant telcos have huge bandwidth capacities –  in terabit levels and they’re charging around P55,000/month for a mere 2-MB(megabit) DSL link to rural operators! In contrast, a 2-MB ADSL are offered to household subscribers in metropolitan areas for only less than P6,000 per month!  Unfortunately rural providers make the mistake of getting a 2-mb DSL link instead of a cheaper ADSL link!!! Technically, a cheap 2-mb ADSL link is sufficient for small rural Internet provider.   Here’s the explanation.

What’s the difference between a DSL and an ADSL line? ADSL stands for Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line.  The asymmetry lies in the difference of bandwidth (or speed) between the downlink (operator-to-subscriber) and the uplink (subscriber-to-operator). DSL is actually abbreviated SDSL which stands for Symmetrical DSL (i.e. equal speed in both direction).  

Rural Internet providers should know this vital information :

WEB SURFING REQUIRE LESSER UPLINK SPEED THAN DOWNLINK SPEED

An example would explain this.  When a user types http://www.yahoo.com, how much data is sent to Yahoo? Just a few bytes. Now look what is the response from Yahoo – lots of text, pictures, applets, etc. all over the page. Hundreds or even thousands of bytes isn’t it? Therefore, a cheap ADSL link from telco to rural Internet provider is enough! For redundancy, it’s help to get other links for other providers, too.

Who needs DSL lines?  Corporate or business users. They need it to do:

  • File transfers
  • Email
  • Telephony
  • Video and video surveillance
  • Networking of computers and servers

DSL lines are expensive. The rough monthly figures I know are:

  • 2MB – P15,000
  • 4MB – P55,000
  • 10MB – P250,000

So … rural operators don’t be fooled of subscribing DSL links without knowing your requirements.

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PSTN Access Number – a kept secret in Internet telephony

Dear fellow Filipinos worldwide,

I’m sure you are using  SkypeViber, etc. to call your family here in the Philippines.  But …

Don’t you know that you can call them from landline or cellphone in 37 countries? Well … not to any telephone in the Philippines. But to keep in touch with your family, this is perfect. This is one of the best kept secret in Internet telephony (aka VoIP) – totally unknown to almost all Filipinos abroad. Want to know?”  Continue reading

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RSS in Simple English

RSS Subscription SymbolThis symbol is commonly found on blogs and websites.  It took me sometime to appreciate it’s usefulness until I found this YouTube video.  This is really a nice time-saving tool for us readers.   Highly recommended! Click the symbol to watch the video.

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Moving my gcd.i.ph blogs here

Sad to say www.i.ph blog site closed down last may 22, 2012.  I’m consolidating my i.ph posts here to streamline my effort. I’d be focusing on giving tips about telecommunications, Internet stuff especially Internet telephony (aka VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol).

Stay tuned …

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18 Years – Camiguin Telephone Network

Today marks the 18th anniversary of Camiguin Telephone Cooperative, the start of commercial operation of the digital telephone network around the island province. The inaugural call was placed by the late Usec. Josie Lichauco to Pres. Fidel V. Ramos. The grant was initiated upon the request of the late Pres. Cory Aquino to Chancellor Helmut Kohl during her state visit to Germany. We, Camiguingnons, are grateful to the German government for the grant – from the hardwares, installation, workshops, training and seminars; the Provincial Gov’t under the administration of then Gov. Nieto Gallardo for leasing part of the Capitol building for the telephone exchange, the backup genset and the tower; and to the initial members who believed in the project.

Image of Heinz Pomplun

Heinz Pomplun

However, there are also unsung heroes. One of them is the late Heinz Pomplun, the GTZ consultant. I would say he’s the workhorse on the German side. Heinz assisted us in coordinating the details with gov’t agencies and PLDT, guiding CAMTECO directors, managegement and staff what needs to be done. He’s down-to-earth. He listens to people from all walks of life – from meeting with PLDT top brass to drinking sessions with practically anyone at sari-sari stores. He (and Mr Juergen Marx) justified NOT TO HIRE an on-site German consultant (which is unusual especially to a capital-intensive project) but instead hire a qualified Filipino engineer/manager. They believed the Filipinos can do it! Just too bad he passed away at a very young age, 45, in 1999. To Heinz – we salute you. Auf Wiedersehen!

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The first telephone system in Camiguin

The first telephone system in Camiguin is NOT  the Phil-German Rural Telephone Network Project/Camiguin Telephone Cooperative (CAMTECO).  Believe it or not – there was a working telephone system in the 60s spanning the entire town of Mambajao – from Tupsan to Naasag.

The equipments
WWII US Signal Corp surplus


Continue reading

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“IPTV next” – CAMTECO

CAMTECO just posted on Facebook “IPTV next”. It looks like a head-on collision with Island Cable TV. Cable TV operators are offering Internet service. Perhaps, it’s one of the main reason why the latter is upgrading to fiber. What comes next after Internet? Value-Added Services. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), IPTV, etc. So, Island Cable becomes a telephone provider? It’s not a remote possibility. If there’s a direct competition, what matters to the general public is Quality of Service vs Price. But for CAMTECO members, it’s more complicated because there is a 3rd factor – patronage to the cooperative.

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CAMTECO fiber network expansion

CAMTECO completed the fiber optic link from Catarman to Mambajao. This is part of their expansion program to offer multimedia services (voice, data and video). With this new link, CAMTECO now covers Mahinog to Catarman with fiber technology.

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