Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finding the best freelancing jobs

Working as a freelancer on the Internet is one of the most popular ways of making money from home. Before you could work online as a freelancer, you had to hunt for projects hours and hours a day, so the business was challenging and less attractive. Today, however, you are always just a couple of clicks away from wining your first freelancing project and developing that work at home business you were always thinking about. Here are the most popular categories of freelance jobs:

Ghostwriting - The Internet relies on written text to provide visitors with information. This is the reason why search engines such as Google, MSN or Yahoo place a lot of value on original content. Freelance commercial writing is often a good trade both fro the freelancer and the customer, usually a web master who wants to add more content to an existing website or create content to build a new website. Freelance writing is greatly appreciated because it allows webmasters to get content for smaller prices than if they went and ordered copy from a local writer. As a freelancer, you should try and offer competitive prices and make sure that your writing quality and informational value of the articles are high at all times. Freelance writing money will come your way, but as with any business remember that you need to build a good reputation first. You can start your online money making venture by joining a freelance writing web site – some are free while others require you to pay for their services. It is not uncommon for a freelancer to build a list of 5-6 customers that offer repeated work, and this is one of the most successful Internet money making opportunities. Get more tips on successful copywriting and ghostwriting on Web2earn.comGraphic design - For many people all across the US and other countries, freelance graphic design is the number one choice when it comes to making money on the Internet. The need for graphic designers is on an ascending trend, since more and more resources and time are invested into advertising and creating web design. One of the most appreciated features of freelance graphic design, however, is not the multitude of projects you can win, but the fact that this type of online job allows you to set your own schedule and have a flexible work program. There are many cases of designers that are overwhelmed with orders from their clients and they create a freelance graphic design company. This sort of business can bring anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month, to tens of thousands of dollars (although, in the later case, this mostly refers to companies not individuals).

Coding and programming - Whether you are a professional coder or someone skilled in creating scripts and programs, you will probably find online programming jobs to be a good alternative money making opportunity. The need for freelance programmers is on an ascending trend, mostly because both the Internet and the related software industry are developing at a fast pace. A good online programming job will often determine programmers to quit their day job and start their own online business. While no one can predict exactly how much you can make by freelancing, it is certain that the potential of the online programming market is huge. Let's take a rather recent example – pixel advertising. Once the famous Million Dollar Home Page campaign got popular, thousands upon thousands of investors were looking for pixel ad scripts. This was concretized as a creation of plenty of online programming job opportunities, and many programmers made a lot of money developing such scripts.

Website design - Together with content writing and graphic design, freelance web design is a hugely popular field in which you can use your skills to earn money online, working from home. Although there is a lot of competition in the world of freelance web designers, there are also thousands upon thousands of new clients requesting website or web improvements on a daily basis. The nicest thing about freelance web design is that it allows you to earn considerable amounts of money while creating your own schedule – find out more on As with most freelancing jobs, web design is highly appreciated by a wide variety of peopleFind Article, from work at home moms and dads who want to spend more time with their family to students who find freelance web design to be the perfect answer for their financial problems.

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Mobily - Saudi Arabia

Mobily (Arabic: موبايلي‎) is the trade name of Saudi Arabia's second Telecommunications company, Etihad-Etisalat consortium (Arabic: اتحاد اتصالات‎). The company, as the winning bidder for Saudi Arabia's second GSM licence, provides mobile telecom services nationwide, breaking Saudi Telecom's monopoly in the wireless business. The company launched 3.5G services on the 27th of June 2006.


The consortium is led by UAE firm Etisalat who owns 35%, with 45% held by 6 strategic local partners. The remaining 20% was put up for public subscription in an IPO that was massively oversubscribed.


The GSM Associations "GSM Association Newsletter" September 2005 edition described Mobily as the fastest growing mobile operator in the Middle East & North Africa. In 2006, Mobily reached more than 4,800,000 subscribers. As of 20 January 2007, mobily had 6 million subscribers and 0.5 million 3G users.

Mobily introduced in 2004 the first telecommunication franchise business model in the Gulf Region, the Fully Branded outlet-(FBO), assuring rapid and cost effective expansion of its network of outlets.

Since entering the Saudi market in 2004 Mobily adopted a solid expansion strategy, based on a direct and indirect sales channels. This strategy allowed Mobily to quickly expand and establish the Mobily Brand throughout Saudi Arabia, and as a result achieve its set target for 2006, both in terms of sales and revenue targets.

The success over the last two years has been achieved through the efforts of all Mobily’s employees, including efforts of a professional and ambitious sales team via its own flagship branches, Fully Branded Outlets, Co-Branded outlets, Kiosks and thousands of dealers scattered throughout the country, covering the majority of the population.

This network of outlets and dealers was a major factor in mobilys' rapid growth and customer acquisition. As a result Mobily has earned a significant market share since launching operations on May 25, 2005.

Even with the successes over the last two years the sales department continues to look to the future with a strong commitment to continue to introduce new products and services as they are developed through its current and future retail outlets with a vision to make the Brand available ubiquitously, making Mobily services easily accessible to more and more of the country’s population.

Mobily has launched a mobile push-to-talk service (PTT) under the brand name 'Mobily Hawwel' in Saudi Arabia. The PTT service provides users with a different user experience to the traditional voice service, delivering a 'walkie-talkie' like experience - only one person can talk at a time. However, it is not limited in distance as with normal walkie-talkies, as the conversation is carried across the mobile GSM network. This service is being offered for the first time in the country.

The service can provide a one to one voice service or up to 10 people at the same time as group calling, allowing a user to know who is online through small icons appearing with certain colours. Mobily said that the service will be available for post-paid and pre-paid subscribers at monthly fees. Mobily Hawwel conversations are encrypted over GPRS data or 3G network to avoid cross-talk or listening-in.

This will be accomplished with the execution of an ambitious expansion plans for its own network of flagships, as well as introducing a new cost effective franchise retail concept (Mini-FBO).

The new concept (Mini-FBO) will complement the existing Mobily retail and channel partner outlets, and will cover more than 60 cities and towns, which will help achieve its targets, both in terms of sales and customer experience. Those outlets, as is the case with the Mobily flagships, will provide the full range of products and services to the current and future customers of Mobily.

The full efforts of the sales team, as it relates to the ongoing expansion plan, will focus on achieving the targets set by the company, to lead all the GSM operators in Saudi Arabia and the region, in terms of customers acquisition, service excellence and efficiency, taking advantage of Mobily’s commitment to always deploy cutting edge technology and solutions to it’s customers. (Commercial Support - Projects ).

Network Technology
Network Status Date
GSM900 Live/Active May, 2005
3.5G Live/Active Summer, 2006

What is Arbitration in Freelancing World?

What is Arbitration in Freelancing World? People do jobs at freelance sites in order to earn some money. But some people are not successful in this regard. There are some immature people who think that they can make
People do jobs at freelance sites in order to earn some money. But some people are not successful in this regard. There are some immature people who think that they can make thousands of dollars on the internet in very quick time and without doing any work. Some people are even willing to steal money from other people on the internet if they get that chance.
This is so immature and bad thinking but unfortunately, there are some people like these who join freelance site. If these people win any project then the chances for a dispute between buyer and that service provider are high. New service providers need to be smart but not over smart.
The biggest problem faced my buyers with new service providers is that the work is not completed within the given time period. In such case, buyer will enter the project in arbitration as the buyer did not got the work with in the given time period.
Arbitration is called when ever there is a dispute between the buyer and the service providers. Most of the time, the buyer enters the project in arbitration. In arbitration, the work on the project is stopped and the freelance site staff investigates. After investigation, the freelance staff decides who is right and who is wrong. In case the buyer wins the arbitration, then they don't have to pay the service provider.
Results of arbitration are always bad. Someone will get a bad feedback. People can avoid arbitration if they can work honestly. Also, there are few people who thing that they can earn money on the internet without doing much or any work. This concept is very disturbing. Few people are even willing to steal others money that is if they get a chance to do it.
How sad it is. I wish people only believe in legitimate ways to make money rather than illegal ways. AnywayFree Web Content, I hope to see a arbitration free environment for all freelancing sites.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What Is SDH ?

SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) is an international standard for high speed
telecommunication over optical/electical networks which can transport digital signals
in variable capacities. It is a synchronous system which intend to provide a more flexible , yet simple
network infrastructure.

SDH (and its American variant- SONET) emerged from standard bodies somewhere around 1990.
these two standards create a revolution in the communication networks based on optical fibers ,
in their cost and performance.

before SDH

The development of digital transmission systems started In the early 70s , and was based on
the Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) method.

In the early 80's digital systems became more and more complex , yet there was huge
demand for some features that were not supported by the existing systems.
The demand was mainly to high order multiplexing through a hierarchy of increasing bit
rates up to 140 Mbps or 565 Mbps in Europe.
The problem was the high cost of bandwidth and digital devices. The solution that was
created then , was a multiplexing technique , allowed for the combining of slightly
non synchronous rates, referred to as plesiochronous*, which lead to the term plesiochronous digital hierarchy (PDH).

*plesiochronous - "almost synchronous , because bits are stuffed into the frames as padding and the
calls location varies slightly - jitters - from frame to frame".

multiplexing with PDH

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why using SDH ?

Although PDH was A breakthrough in the digital transmission systems , it has a lot of
weaknesses :

  • No world standard on digital format (three incompatible regional standards - European, North american and Japanese).
  • No world standard for optical interfaces. Networking is impossible at the optical level.
  • Rigid asynchronous multiplexing structure.
  • Limited management capability.
Because of PDH disadvantages, It was obvious That a new multiplexing method is needed.
The new method was called SDH.

multiplexing with SDH

SDH has a lot of advantages:

  • First world standard in digital format.
  • First optical Interfaces.
  • Transversal compatibility reduces networking cost. Multivendor environment drives price down
  • Flexible synchronous multiplexing structure .
  • Easy and cost-efficient traffic add-and-drop and cross connect capability.
  • Reduced number of back-to-back interfaces improve network reliability and serviceability.
  • Powerful management capability.
  • New network architecture. Highly flexible and survivable self healing rings available.
  • Backward and forward compatibility: Backward compatibility to existing PDH
    Forward compatibility to future B-ISDN, etc.
The following Graph Shows the differences between PDH and SDH Prices:

SDH is based on byte interleaving and not bit interleaving , as PDH was based on.
The bit rate increased from 64 Kbps in PDH to 1.5 - 2 Mbps in SDH.


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when do we use SDH ?

  • When networks need to increase capacity , SDH simply acts as a means of increasing transmission capacity.
  • When networks need to improve flexibility , to provide services quickly or to respond to new change more rapidly.
  • when networks need to improve survivability for important user services.
  • when networks need to reduce operation costs , which are becoming a heavy burden .

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layers model of SDH

the following scheme describes the different layers of SDH , according to the OSI model :

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  • SDH has been standardized by ITU-T in 1988.
  • In November 1988 the first SDH standards were approved.
  • In 1989 , the CCITT (International Consultative Committee on Telephony & Telegraphy) had published in its "Blue book" recommendations G.707 , G.708 & G.709 covering the SDH standards.
G.702 - Digital Hierarchy Bit Rates
G.703 - Physical/Electrical Characteristics of Hierarchical Digital
G.707 - SDH Bit Rates
G.708 - Network Node Interface for the SDH
G.709 - Synchronous Multiplexing Structure
G.773 - Protocol Suites for Q Interfaces for Management of
Transmission Systems
G.781 - (Formerly G.smux-1) Structure of Recommendations on
Multiplexing Equipment for the SDH
G.782 - (Formerly G.smux-2) Types and General Characteristics
of SDH Multiplexing Equipment
G.783 - (Formerly G.smux-3) Characteristics of SDH Multiplexing
Equipment Functional Blocks
G.784 - (Formerly Gsmux-4) SDH Management

SDH Elements

The most common SDH elements are :

The terminal multiplexer is used to multiplex local tributaries (low rate)
to the stm-N (high rate) aggregate. The terminal is used in the chain
topology as an end element.

The regenerator is used to regenerate the (high rate) stm-N in case that the
distance between two sites is longer than the transmitter can carry.

The Add And Drop Multiplexer (ADM) passes the (high rate) stm-N through
from his one side to the other and has the ability to drop or add any (low rate)
tributary. The ADM used in all topologies.

The synchronous digital cross connect receives several (high rate) stm-N and switches
any of their (low rate) tributaries between them. It is used to connect between
several topologies.

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SDH Topologies

The linear bus (chain) topology used when there is no need for protection
and the demography of the sites is linear.

The ring topology is the most common and known of the sdh topologies
it allows great network flexibility and protection.

The mesh topology allows even the most paranoid network manager
to sleep well at nights because of the flexibility and redundancy that it

The Star topology is used for connecting far and less important sites
to the network.

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Usage of SDH elements in SDH Topologies

The Terminal multiplexer can be used to connect two sites in a high rate
connection .

The Add And Drop Multiplexer (ADM) is used to build the chain topologies in the above picture.
At the ends of the chain usually a Terminal Multiplexer is connected.

The Add And Drop Multiplexer (ADM) is used to build the ring topology.
At each site we have the ability to add & drop certain tributaries.

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SDH Protection

The SDH gives the ability to create topologies with protection for the data transferred.
Following are some examples for protected ring topologies.

At this picture we can see Dual Unidirectional Ring . The normal data flow is
according to ring A (red). Ring B (blue) carries unprotected data which is lost in
case of breakdown or it carries no data at all.

In case of breakdown rings A & B become one ring without the broken segment.

The Bi-directional Ring allows data flow in both directions. For example if data from one
of the sites has to reach a site which is next to the left of the origin site it will flow to the left
instead of doing a whole cycle to the right.

In case of breakdown some of the data is lost and the important data is
switched. For example if data from a site should flow to its destination through
the broken segment, it will be switched to the other side instead.

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SDH Management

SDH has enhanced management capabilities :

  • Alarm/Event Management
  • Configuration Management
  • Performance Management
  • Access and Security Management

Depicted above is a Management Station connected to a SDH ring through site 1 which contains the
gateway element. The Gateway elements receives the status of all the other elements in the net through
the special fields that exists in the SDH protocol (in band).


Few years ago the common way to build a backbone network that supplies broadband communication
to the suppliers (BT, Bezeq etc.) was a PDH network. The topology of a PDH network is the Mesh
topology where every multiplexer in each site worked with its own clock. In order to synchronize between two multiplexers that works together, usually the transmission was made according to the local clock and the reception was made according to the recovered clock that was recovered from the received data.
The PDH contains 4 basic bit rates:

  • E1 - 2.048 Mbit/Sec
  • E2 - 8.448 Mbit/Sec
  • E3 - 34.368 Mbit/Sec
  • E4 - 139.264 Mbit/Sec
The En is the result of multiplextion of 4 En-1.

The fact that each of the multiplexers transmits according to its own clock creates a problem when we need to multiplex several transmitted data streams, the problem is that we can't decide which clock to choose for the multiplexing. If we will choose a fast clock we will not have enough data to put in the frame from a slower incoming data stream (we will get empty spaces in the frame), from the other hand if we will choose a slow clock the data at the faster incoming stream will be lost.

This problem was solved with a stuffing algorithm, which is implemented by using a fast clock, that allows transmission of indication bits and stuff bits. In case that the data is slower then "expected", the indication bits indicate that the following stuff bits are "garbage" and if the data is faster then "expected" the indication bits indicate that the following stuff bits are data. This is the reason why 4 * En-1 <>

There are two common ways to connect between two PDH sites. The first is by Radio Frequency (RF)
and the other is by Electrical Signal over copper cable. since we cant afford to many cables or frequencies
usually E3 or E4 is used.
In order to transmit E1 (a very common data rate) we need 2 or 3 levels of multiplexing, this means that
in a full E4 constellation 1+4+16=25 multiplexers are needed.
Further more there is no inband management in the PDH protocol if we need to know the status of 1 of the multiplexers, or if we need to change the route of 1 of the trails we have to go to the site or build an
outside network that allows us to manage the PDH network.

In the latest years a new protocol was defined, this new protocol was aimed to provide all the PDH
capabilities and solve some of the PDH weaknesses that are mentioned above. This new protocol is the SDH.
The SDH network works with a single central clock that synchronizes all the elements in the network.
The SDH contains the following bit rates:

  • STM1 - 155 Mbit/Sec
  • STM4 - 622 Mbit/Sec
  • STM16 - 2.5 Gbit/Sec
  • STM64 - 10 Gbit/Sec
  • Etc.
In order to have the ability to connect a low rate PDH stream (E1, E3 etc.), an improved stuffing algorithm is used.
The SDH protocol enables transmitting any of the PDH bit rates directly by mapping it to the STM-n frame, that gives the user the flexibility to transmit any configuration of tributary rates using only one multiplexing element, depicted bellow the difference between the SDH network element and the PDH network elements that need to transmit different tributary rates.

PDH network elements.

The inband management functionality enables the SDH network manager to receive information about
the quality of service, the damaged elements (if there are any) and gives the manager the option to change the network configuration from a remote site. In order to be able to do the same things with the PDH network, one should build another separated network for the management and the remote control.

The ability to multiplex any of the standard bit rates into the STM-n frame is possible due to the complicated containers structure of the STM-n frame as depicted bellow.

In order to map an E1(2.048 Mbit/Sec) into the STM-n frame we have to create a TU-12 stream which is a low rate stream that is synchronized to the SDH network clock. The TU-12 is composed of the E1 data, indication bits, stuffing bits, management bits and a direct pointer to the E1 frame.
The TUG-2 is a structure that can be composed of 3 TU-12s (3 E1s), or 4 TU-11s (4 T1s), or 1 TU-2 (1 T2). This structure gives the STM frame its flexibility to multiplex different rates directly into the STM-n frame (impossible in the PDH protocol). The next stage is mapping 7 TUG-2s into 1 VC-3 or into 1 TUG-3 and so on according to the flow chart.

This method of multiplexing allow us to directly map the T1, T2, T3 (American standards) and the E1, E2, E3, E4 (European standards) into the STM-n frame.

Each time we map lower rate streams into a higher rate structure we add pointers to a fixed point in the lower rate streams, so we can directly extract the relevant information with out demultiplexing the all high rate stream.

When stuffing is needed the pointer to the fixed location is changed according to the direction of the stuffing, this is the improvement of stuffing algorithm used in the PDH .

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SDH Frame Structure

The STM-n frame structure is best represented as a rectangle of 9 x 270xN.
The 9xN first columns are the frame header and the rest of the frame is the inner structure data (including the data, indication bits, stuff bits, pointers and management).

The STM-n frame is usually transmitted over an optical fiber. The frame is transmitted row by row (first is transmitted the first row then the second and so on). At the beginning of each frame a synchronized bytes A1A2 are transmitted .

The multiplexing method of 4 STM-n streams into a STM-nx4 is an interleaving of the STM-n streams to produce the STM-nx4 stream. The method is shown in the next picture for producing STM-4 from 4 STM-1 streams.

After interleaving we get a higher order stream that in its rectangular form all the low order STM streams are placed as its columns which makes it easier to find each of them in the bigger frame.

SDH - In the future
The modern lifestyle requires high speed communication applications.
SDH provides large bandwidth that can meet the needs of this applications.
Here are some of the needs and there solutions.

Future of the private circuits


  • In the future there will be an increasment in the demand for private circuits (leased line traffic) and the associated capacity increase in the trunk network.
  • Mega stream services will be available for end users.
SDH solution:
  • SDH networks have flexible routing ability for circuit protection thus allowing rapid circuit reallocation and high circuit availability.
Future of the Broadband ISDN


  • Growing demand for non voice broadband services which require a variable bandwidth such as video signal transmission, video conferencing, remote data base access and high speed multimedia file transfer.
SDH solution:
  • ATM has been chosen by CCITT to be the target transfer mode for B-ISDN services, ATM cells can be easily transported in the SDH frame.
The Authors :
  1. Galit Rozenboim
  2. Hay Shaul
  3. Shay Turel
  4. Arik Litinsky
  5. Jacob Rutstein
  6. Itsik Shalom
Students of Tel Aviv University from the faculties of Engineering & Computer Scince.

References :

  • Most of the references to this Tutorial are taken from ECI Technology Seminars Center and ECI Virtual Training Center.Permission for useing the graphics from those sources was granted.
  • The ITU-T standards G.701 - G.708 (particulary the G.707 standard).
  • "Synchronous Digital Hierarch (SDH)" by Marconi.
  • "SDH - Three little words" by Erricsson

ZTE Wins Indonesian Network Contract

ZTE has won a contract from Indonesia's Telkomsel to help build its GSM/UMTS network in the country. Telkomsel is jointly owned by Indonesia's Telkom and SingTel. Beyond the quote below, no technical details of the contract were provided. No financial details either.

"We're pleased to forge a strategic collaboration with ZTE to build our GSM/UMTS network in Indonesia and reach our goal of offering customers a 3G high-speed data services network in 147 cities by 2013," said Mr. Sarwoto Atmosutarno, President Director of Telkomsel.

Figures from the Mobile World analysts shows that Telkomsel is the dominant operator in the country, having ended Q1 '09 with 72.1 million customers, and a market share of just under 50%

Monday, June 29, 2009


TelecomCareers.Net provides telecommunications job searches to job seekers and telecommunications resumes and wireless resumes to companies with jobs.

Why freelance?

Freelancing allows you to be your own boss. This means you make your own hours.

Wear what you want. Does your current job have a dress code? How does sitting in your pajamas all day sound; what about just spending the day wearing your favorite pair of worn out jeans and that T-shirt from that unforgettable 1980’s rock concert. If you are an independent agent, like a freelancer, then you decide the dress code. Making your own hours does not mean loafing around all day. It means having the self discipline to set aside a certain amount of hours that you work each day. But, as the boss, you get to decide what those hours are. That way you can pick up the kids from school, have lunch with the spouse, go to the gym during the day when it’s not so crowded, and never have to make that horrible rush-hour commute. Being a freelancer means that you get to set your own prices for what your time is worth. No more waiting years for a raise that may never come. As you become more proficient and widen your client base you can double and triple your earnings as you see fit. Have you ever considered living somewhere else but your job and family obligations keep you stuck in the same place. Freelancing gives you the freedom to take your family, if that applies to you, or just yourself and live wherever you want. As long as you have a phone, a computer and a way to receive mail, you can live at the South Pole or Hawaii and still have a lucrative freelancing career. Your home is your office. You can be sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying a scone with a mocha latte at the same time you are making millions of dollars. When I was a child my father always told me that “nothing in life is free,” and “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.” In the case of freelancing the price is minimal. As you will see in future chapters you will need some general items such as a computer, a printer and maybe a fax and scanner. After you have the materials needed to be a freelancer your greatest cost will be your time and effort. How much are you worth? The best part is that you get to decide what your time and effort are worth.As far as the rule “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is,” here is something to consider. You should not quit your day job immediately and hope to make $10,000 next month. Instead, start slow and work your way to making the money you want. If you are making the equivalent of your full time job and you have too much freelance work to do, then decide to freelance full time and quit your day job. If you work hard this process can happen rather quicklyArticle Submission, so don’t be discouraged. The jobs are real. The money is real. The only investment is the amount of time you are willing to invest.The market for freelancers is growing in leaps and bounds. The future markets are projected to continue to grow at the same rapid rate. This means more fantastic freelance opportunities and greater potential income.

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Celtel is a telecommunications company operating in several African countries and is a subsidiary of Zain Group, or "Zain" in short. It was founded by Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim.


Celtel coverage in Africa. Dark blue countries are where the Celtel brand is not used.

Originally known as "MSI Cellular Investments", the company began operating in 1998. In January 2004, the company name was changed to "Celtel International". In April 2005 the company was acquired by and became a subsidiary of the Mobile Telecommunications Company. Celtel now spans over 15 countries in Africa with over $750 million in investments.

Celtel operates in the following countries:

It currently has 20 million subscribers

One Network

In September 2006 Celtel launched "One Network", the world's first borderless network across East Africa. One Network enables its subscribers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to roam free between these countries, thereby scrapping roaming charges, making calls at local rates, receiving incoming calls free of charge, and recharging with local top up cards .

In June 2007 Celtel's One Network was extended to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Congo. The One Network will automatically activate upon crossing the geographical border into one of the six countries with no prior registration or sign-up fee. Celtel says it is moving towards a seamless network in all 15 African countries in which it operates.

In June 2007, Celtel International announced plans to add three more Celtel country networks to its "One Network". The additional countries are Malawi, Sudan (where it operates under the Mobitel brand), and Zambia. This further expansion would bring the coverage of One Network to nine of the 15 African countries in which Celtel operates.

On September 2007 Celtel's Parent Company MTC Group adopted a new name Zain (Arabic for ‘beautiful, good and wonderful) unifying it's different brands in 22 Countries. In Africa the Zain Group will continue to trade under the Celtel brand. On October 2007 Celtel International Acquired a 75% stake in Western Telesystems LTD (Westel) from the Ghanaian Government for $120 million US Dollars.

On 22 November 2007 Celtel doubled it's One Network countries from 6 to 12 countries by adding Burkina Faso,Chad,Malawi,Niger,Nigeria and Sudan. Celtel currently has 24 million subscribers in 14 countries of Africa

Celtel will restart rebranding into Zain in April 2008 and will expand its ``One Network" across its 22 Operations by end of June 2008.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

All your bass ­are belong to us

Nokia’s latest addition to their XpressMusic line brings with it a touchscreen interface and a bevy of features and multimedia goodies.

HO-HUM...another touchscreen phone. And a Nokia one at that. And it even looks like an iPhone.

We just wonder if everyone is just trying to create the next iPhone-killer. But then again, let’s not be biased. Nokia has tried to turn the 5800 into a multimedia powerhouse and has succeeded to some degree. Let’s have a closer look.

Check out that body

The body of the 5800 is constructed entirely of plastic. It isn’t as strong or sturdy as compared to a stainless steel bodied device such as the Nokia E71 but it feels solid enough. Holding it gives you a certain degree of comfort. Its shape is also comfortable enough for single thumb operation and I didn’t find myself having to stretch my thumb to reach most of the screen.

What a large screen you have..

The 5800 has a 3.2in screen in a 16:9 ratio which lets you play videos at 360p HD resolution. Suffice to say, the colours are clear and vibrant.

The screen is a resistive touchscreen which means it’s pressure-based. A capacitive touchscreen (such as that found on the iPhone) on the other hand, only works with skin contact and therefore only your fingertips alone can be detected by the screen.

The screen on the 5800 allows you to use your fingertips, nails or stylus. This opens up the possibility for different styles of input such as using handwriting recognition. Although not as responsive as a capacitive touchscreen, I found it to be good enough. You just have to put a little bit more force into your taps.

The only problem about the screen is the poor legibility under bright sunlight. It became extremely gray with the contrast becoming very poor. Unless you are outdoors most of the time, you wouldn’t find this a problem.

Touch-enabled OS

Being Nokia’s first Symbian S60 touch-enabled phone, the Finns have updated their current Symbian OS to 5th Edition. The user interface (UI) has been modified to be more touch-friendly.

The options in the menus and applications are generally placed logically and you can easily find what you’re looking for.

The only weird part of the UI is having to “double-tap” an item to execute a command — the first tap selects the item and the second executes it. The only logic for this is that when an item is selected, you have more options by tapping on the “Options” button. This behaviour is mostly found in lists. However, icons require just a single tap to execute.

The quirkiness of the UI needing double or single taps does need some getting used to initially, but you do get the hang of it after a while. Hopefully, the “double-tap” issue gets addressed by Nokia in the future.

The 5800 also allows for haptic (vibration) feedback whenever the screen is tapped. The strength of the feedback can be controlled and even turned off if you like to conserve a bit of battery power.

As with so many other touchscreen phones, the UI also has “theme effects” to make it look more interesting. The effects are simple wipes, zoom outs and slides when switching between different screens and are randomised.

They’re not as polished as the iPhone’s effects nor as fancy as those of the HTC Touch Diamond’s TouchFlo 3D.

Turning the effects on does make the 5800 slower. The default setting is to have them turned off and I did not find them appealing enough for the extra lag in response keep it on.

Media centre

The 5800 comes with 81MB of internal memory but it has an MicroSD card slot that accepts MicroSD and MicroSDHC cards of up to 16GB. The package includes an 8GB MicroSD card that should be enough to get you started.

Now, with that much space you could stuff in all your songs, videos and photos.

To reinforce just how media-centred the 5800 is, there is a touch-sensitive area above the touchscreen that is not part of the screen itself called the Media button. Pressing it drops a tab with icons that give you quick access to Music, Photo Gallery, Share Media, Video Centre and Web.

The 5800 has an audio chip to specifically handle your music and it also comes with stereo speakers that can go really loud. I mean really loud! In terms of built-in handphone speakers, these could very well be the loudest ones on the market today.

The only shortfall is because of the physical size of the speakers, they are way too small to generate full bass and at volumes above 50%, distortion starts to creep in.

There is a 3.5mm audio jack at the top of the phone, so you can plug in your headphones directly or through the supplied handsfree set that also functions as a remote control.

As usual, the default earphones of most audio devices in the market are tinny sounding so I tested the sound on a pair of Sennheiser MX500 earphones. The audio came out clear and without distortion this time and the bass was strong which is good for you bassheads out there.

I like my music without so much bass, so I made my own equaliser settings. The good thing is you can make your own equaliser settings without being constrained to a few defaults. There’s also a Bass Booster and Stereo Expander setting to give your music that extra “oomph” if you like those effects.

Not so picture perfect

The camera is a bit of a letdown though. Even though the specifications are noteworthy, the image processing itself was poor. Images usually turned out off-colour and noisy. Pictures taken in bright sunlight fare better and I recommend you play with the settings to get the best of indoor shots.

Video is a different story. Shooting at 30fps, the videos themselves look clear on the screen. You can even turn on the dual LEDs for extra lighting. There is also a bundled TV-out cable that connects to the 3.5mm audio jack so that you can watch your videos on your TV. Since the 5800 can only play MP4, WMV and 3GP files, it would have been sweeter if it could playback AVI files as well.

Wait… it’s a phone right?

Yes, the 5800 is a phone underneath all the bells and whistles. The voice clarity for calls is crystal clear. However, there have been reports that there is a manufacturing hiccup on nearly half the 5800s sold in the market where the earpiece speaker connectors are a tiny bit loose.

This slight defect causes the sound to fluctuate between being too loud or too silent to the point of being inaudible. Fortunately, you can get this problem fixed at Nokia Service Centres as it’s quite a simple ­operation.

For those of you who are worried that contact with your face and the touchscreen during calls causes unwanted commands to be executed, you will be pleased to know there is a proximity sensor that deactivates the screen whenever there is something close to it.

SMSes can be typed via a virtual alphanumeric keypad, mini Qwerty keyboard, virtual full Qwerty keyboard and handwriting. You can use the supplied guitar pick or the normal stylus for the mini Qwerty keyboard or handwriting. The mini Qwerty keyboard is just too mini for comfortable finger input so it necessitates the use of a stylus. Handwriting recognition is quite good and most of the strokes were easily recognised.

The alphanumeric keypad is good for single-handed typing and the full Qwerty keyboard lets you type faster with two hands.

Other extras

GPS and Nokia Maps 2.0 work very well together to pinpoint your location. A lock on your phone position can be achieved within a minute or less. You will need to upgrade the Maps application to have it give you route plotting and voice guidance.

There is also a radio function but that only works when you connect the headset to it. Reception is not the best and only improves when you are on a higher floor of a building.

The Calendar and Notes applications can help you set reminders and plan your day. You can also download QuickOffice and Acrobat Reader to read Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files.

Thanks to the WiFi and 3G capabilities, surfing speeds were comfortable and fast. The web browser rendered pages quickly and correctly.

Flash elements can even play in the browser itself. The only problem I found was that some video sites have Flash players that do not work quite well on the phone. But aside from that, reading text on the sites is quite comfortable thanks to the high resolution screen. You can zoom in on text, and pan the view as well.

Wrapping up

Since this is Nokia’s first Symbian S60 5th Edition smartphone on the market, there aren’t many applications that are available for it at the moment.

Third Edition applications can still work on the 5800 but they may act unpredictably as they’re not optimised for the touch interface. Give it a few more months and we should see more 5th Edition apps that make more use of the touch interface.

Another attractive factor of the 5800 is that it is bundled with Nokia’s Comes with Music Service which lets you download 1,000 songs for free. Now that’s music to a music lover’s ears.

Using the GPS for 20 minutes, an hour of web surfing via WiFi, an hour plus of music playback and general calls and messaging on a daily basis should get three days on a single battery charge which is pretty good. The phone doesn’t charge via USB though.

All in all, the features you get in this package for this price almost lets you forgive the little bugs on the phone. The 5800 is recommended for those looking for a music phone with a bit more power and features.

For those looking for a more business-oriented smartphone, the 5800 probably won’t be enough for your needs but a few extra applications could solve that problem.

Pros: Affordable; nice screen; excellent music playback; loud speakers; loads of features for a mid-range phone; good battery life.

Cons: Poor camera picture quality; user interface needs some extra work; poor screen legibility outdoors.



3G music phone

Camera: 3.2-megapixels; autofocus; dual LED flash

Display: 3.2in TFT touchscreen (360 x 640pixels)

Operating System: Symbian 9.4, S60 5th Edition

Messaging: SMS, MMS, e-mail

Connectivity: GSM850/900/1800/1900, HSDPA 900/2100, Bluetooth, USB, WiFi

Expansion slot: MicroSD / MicroSDHC up to 16GB

Phone memory: 81MB internal memory, 8GB MicroSD supplied

Battery type: 1320mAh lithium-ion (BL-5J)

Standby/talk time: 406 hours/8 hours 45 mins

Other features: Music player, Radio, GPS (A-GPS)

Weight: 109g

Dimensions (w x d x h): 111 x 51.7 x 15.5mm

Price: RM1,499


Open position at Connect 44

Ho Chi Minh kota unik

Pelancong teruja lihat budaya rakyat Vietnam

BUNYI hon kenderaan seawal jam 6 pagi pantas menceriakan landskap Ho Chi Minh (HCM) atau suatu waktu dulu dikenali sebagai Saigon. Bagaikan pesta keraian, begitulah suasana pagi yang melingkari kota yang pernah tercalar dek kancah peperangan ini.

Ribuan motosikal yang memenuhi simpang siur di laluan utama HCM menjadi bukti kepesatan pembangunan bandar yang sarat dengan sembilan juta penduduk.

Kunjungan wakil media bersama Majalah 3 ke HCM atas undangan AirAsia baru-baru ini membuka ruang meneroka sendiri tabir baru destinasi pelancongan sebenar kota di selatan Vietnam itu.

Kepesatan pembangunan HCM menangkis tanda tanya prospek pelancongan bandar bersejarah itu. Apatah lagi, penerbangan tambang murah, AirAsia menyediakan penerbangan terus dua hala setiap hari, sekali gus merapatkan hubungan Kuala Lumpur-Saigon.

Pertama kali menjejakkan kaki di bandar HCM, tiada yang lebih membuatkan kita teruja melainkan melihat betapa sibuk warganya menjalankan urusan seharian. Malah, bagaikan tidak lengkap identiti HCM tanpa motosikal.

Tinggalan kereta kebal di Terowong Cu Chi.

Seperti bandar pelancongan lain, HCM menjanjikan 1,001 tarikan yang mampu memberi kelainan daripada aspek percutian dengan menawarkan eksotika sejarah, peradaban dan elemen budaya sejagat. Malah, tidak lengkap percutian tanpa mencuci mata dengan membawa ole-ole pulang.

Antara lokasi menarik yang mesti dilawati di HCM ialah Istana Presiden, Terowong Cu Chi, rumah ibadat Cao Dai, pasar Ben Thanh dan restoran terapung.

Istana Presiden ‘Reunification Palace’ (Dinh Thong Nhat) pernah menjadi kediaman dan pejabat bagi presiden Vietnam Selatan sepanjang Perang Vietnam (dikenali juga sebagai Perang Indochina Kedua, dari 1959 hingga 30 April 1975).

Istana empat tingkat itu menjadi tempat rasmi penyerahan kuasa ketika kejatuhan Saigon pada 30 April 1975. Sejarah istana itu bermula dari era penjajahan Perancis di Vietnam bermula 1858 sehinggalah pernah menjadi pejabat koloni Jepun pada 1945, sebelum Jepun menyerah kalah kepada tentera bersekutu pada Perang Dunia II dan Perancis kembali ke istana terbabit.

Terowong Cu Chi yang terletak 70 kilometer atau lebih dua jam perjalanan dari bandar HCM adalah satu daripada destinasi yang tidak harus diketepikan ketika berada di Vietnam. Terowong yang menjadi medan pertahanan tentera tempatan ketika perang itu begitu unik dan cukup bersejarah.

Rumah ibadat Cao Dai pula dikenali sebagai kuil suci Cao Dai mungkin boleh dilawati bagi melihat bagaimana kepercayaan agama yang menggabungkan pelbagai agama di seluruh dunia sebagai pegangan baru di Ninh Province.

Pasar Ben Thanh menjadi nadi ekonomi penduduk tempatan dengan menjual pelbagai barangan produk kraftangan, pakaian, barangan kain sutera hinggalah kepada barangan perhiasan rumah.

Selain harganya yang jauh lebih murah, pelancong masih lagi boleh tawar-menawar. Terletak di tengah pusat bandar, pasar Ben Thanh memang sentiasa sibuk dengan kunjungan masyarakat tempatan dan pelancong luar. Bermula seawal pagi, pasar itu beroperasi sehingga ke malam bagi memastikan pelbagai barangan dapat dibeli dan dijadikan ole-ole wajib.

Restoran terapung adalah sebuah bot besar yang dijadikan restoran sambil menyusuri Sungai Saigon. Pelancong bakal disajikan dengan makanan laut segar sambil menyaksikan pertunjukan menarik dan nyanyian lagu tempatan. Layanan bagaikan VIP bakal diterima sepanjang melayari di atas bot. Bagaikan tidak terasa perjalanan kerana sajian makanan begitu lazat untuk dinikmati. Pelayaran ini mengambil masa lebih dua jam.

Ho Chi Minh

  • Ada lebih tiga juta motosikal bersimpang siur di bandar ini.

  • Motosikal adalah kenderaan utama di bandar ini kerana harganya yang jauh lebih murah, iaitu sekitar AS$300 (RM960). Kebanyakan motosikal adalah buatan China, Taiwan dan Korea.

  • Kebanyakan nama kedai dan jalan di bandar raya terbabit menggunakan bahasa Vietnam, malah hampir keseluruhan warga tempatannya berbahasa Vietnam.

  • Dua jenis mata wang digunakan iaitu Vietnam Dong dan Dollar Amerika Syarikat (AS$). AS$1 bersamaan 15,000 atau 16,000 Dong (kira-kira RM3.20).

  • Identiti orang Asia di kalangan rakyat Vietnam jelas kelihatan, kerana bertubuh sederhana, berkulit halus kuning langsat, malah warga tuanya masih mengenakan topi besar berbucu tajam di bahagian atas.

  • Pakaian tradisi seperti baju labuh ke betis juga masih boleh kelihatan pada sesetengah petugas hotel. Namun kebanyakan generasi mudanya lebih senang berkemeja-T atau kemeja.

    Bagaimana ke sana?

  • AirAsia membuka pejabat jualannya di 254 De Tham STreet bagi memudahkan urusan penerbangan dari bandar HCM ke Kuala Lumpur dan HCM ke Bangkok, Thailand. Penerbangan HCM ke KL setiap hari manakala HCMC ke Bangkok empat kali seminggu.

  • Penerbangan HCM ke KL bermula daripada harga RM146 manakala RM116 dari KL ke HCM. Maklumat lanjut layari laman web

  • Oleh Fairuz Zaidan

    Jamu mata di Dubai

    Koleksi abaya, emas dan keindahan kota batu jadi tarikan pelancong

    ABAYA, abaya, abaya. Selama tiga hari penulis dan rakan berada di Dubai, satu daripada tujuh negeri di Emiriah Arab Bersatu (UAE), perkataan itu sering disebut-sebut sehingga seorang kenalan yang bekerja di kota itu mengusik rakan tadi sudah 'gila abaya'.

    Abaya adalah jubah moden yang boleh digayakan dalam pelbagai fesyen dan diperbuat dalam pelbagai saiz, termasuk untuk kanak-kanak yang sesuai dipakai pada majlis keagamaan atau hari raya.

    Tumpuan kami ialah pasar tradisional di Naif yang menempatkan begitu banyak kedai menjual abaya pada harga amat berpatutan, malah pemilik sebuah kedai di situ fasih berbahasa Melayu kerana katanya ramai rakyat Malaysia berbelanja di situ.

    Selain pasar tradisional atau souq dalam bahasa Arab, ada lebih 40 pusat beli-belah di Dubai, hab komersial di Teluk Arab yang menjual apa saja, daripada barangan import China yang murah kepada barangan berjenama.

    Selama tiga hari itu, pantang ada kesempatan, kami berulang alik ke Naif, ke sana menaiki teksi, pulangnya berjalan kaki ke Deira sebelum menyeberang Sungai Dubai dengan abra atau teksi air dengan tambang satu dirham. Tiada rasa bimbang bersarang dalam hati sepanjang di Dubai kerana di mana saja pasti kelihatan muka orang Asia, terutama dari India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Filipina dan tidak kurang juga orang Malaysia yang bekerja di sana.

    PASAR Emas yang menjadi tumpuan pelancong.

    Kekurangan kawasan bersejarah tidak menghalang Dubai membangunkan sektor pelancongannya melalui aktiviti beli-belah, pusat peranginan dan hotel mewah serta bangunan pencakar langit yang unik dan menarik.

    Ada juga tarikan lain seperti Muzium Dubai yang mempamerkan pelbagai khazanah silam, termasuk alat muzik, elemen kehidupan di padang pasir serta senjata perang, namun bagi kebanyakan pelancong, membeli-belah lebih utama.

    Waktu senggang memberi peluang kami bersiar-siar di sekitar kota Dubai, sempat menjamu selera di kedai makan milik rakyat Malaysia serta berehat di tepian pantai.

    Sempat juga ke Palm Jumeirah, pulau buatan manusia berbentuk pokok palma yang turut menempatkan pusat peranginan mewah, Atlantis The Palm yang kadar sewa bilik termahalnya mencecah lebih RM85,000 satu malam!

    Hotel itu yang dibina mencontohi pusat peranginan di Bahamas menyediakan hiburan keluarga bertemakan lautan yang dilengkapi akuarium gergasi terbuka menempatkan 65,000 jenis ikan.

    Palm Jumeirah atau dikenali juga dengan nama Palm Dubai atau The Palms adalah antara tiga pulau buatan manusia yang terkenal dan dianggap sebagai keajaiban kelapan dunia.

    Burj Al-Arab, sebuah lagi hotel mewah di Dubai yang dipromosi sebagai hotel tujuh bintang pertama di dunia dengan kemudahan di situ hanya mampu dilanggan mereka yang cukup kaya.

    Pada sebelah malam, bangunan itu menawarkan pemandangan yang cukup cantik apabila lampu yang meneranginya bertukar warna dari semasa ke semasa mengikut tema air dan api.

    Bagi yang gilakan barangan kemas, Pasar Emas atau Gold Souq menempatkan deretan kedai yang boleh membuatkan wanita rambang mata memilih pelbagai jenis rekaan emas putih dan kuning.

    Beberapa kompleks beli-belah seperti Mall of the Emirates dan Dubai Mall turut kami kunjungi, tetapi wang belanja terhad membuatkan barangan yang mampu dibeli hanya minyak wangi dan tali pinggang berjenama pada harga lebih murah berbanding Malaysia.

    Jika tidak dihalang batasan waktu, mahu juga merasai pengalaman bermalam di padang pasir dan menjalani kehidupan gaya puak Badawi, tetapi letih bersiar-siar dan membeli-belah membantutkan hasrat itu.

    Tidak puas tiga hari di Dubai, namun kunjungan kali pertama ini amat berbaloi walaupun tangan lenguh mengheret beg yang penuh dengan abaya.



  • Mempunyai lebih 1.4 juta penduduk, paling ramai di UAE

  • Dikatakan berasal daripada perkataan Daba yang bermaksud menjalar

  • Keluasan 1.287 juta kilometer persegi

  • Bahasa rasmi, Arab tetapi Inggeris digunakan dengan meluas

  • Oleh Ahmad Naim Tahir

    Open position at Lemcon

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