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State-owned telecom incumbent Ghana Telecom was put up for sale by the Ghana government. The government had decided to sell a 66 percent stake in Ghana Telecom to a strategic investor. There were conditions: the investor to be a telecom incumbent with customer base of nearly 1 million fixed-line and 6 million mobile subscribers. The investor also had to achieve the target of increasing the customer base three-fold by 2010 as well as expand the fixed-line capacity, which has to be done through fixed wireless instead of cable or fibre. Submissions were required by 20 July 2007.
Ghana Telecom also rolled out its Broadband4U Internet service in Cape Coast, enabling the operator?s high-speed Internet services in the entire Central region. The new service, which could be accessed through fixed-line phone connections, offers 40 times faster speed as compared to that provided at most of the Internet cafes in the region.
In Kenya British Telecom (BT) and Libyan investors were viewed as the sole strong candidate to purchase a 40 percent stake in Telkom Kenya. Senior officials from BT and Libyan investors had met senior Treasury and Ministry of Communication officials. The Treasury had assessed the value of the 40 percent stake to be KES 5.6 billion (USD 84.59 million), bringing the total value of Telkom to KES 14 billion (USD 211.48 million). The government had previously offered part of the firm for sale; however, the attempt did not materialise due to lack of real finances with the bidders, Econet Wireless and Reliance Telecom. BT was only a technical partner of the Libyan team, which was to finance the deal.
Morocco?s Ministry of Finance announced that the government had decided to sell 4 percent of its stake in Maroc Telecom by releasing a tender at the Casablanca Stock Exchange. Both national as well as international investors were eligible to apply for the stake. The government had a 34 percent stake in the company. However, following the sale, the government aimed to maintain its position as an important shareholder in Maroc Telecom.
mCel, the incumbent mobile operator in Mozambique and a wholly owned subsidiary of Telecomunicações de Moçambique (TDM), released its annual financial results for 2006 which showed it had generated profits of MZN 491 million (USD 19.13 million) during the year. Revenue rose by 26 percent to reach MZN 4.4 billion (USD 171.41 million) in 2006 as against the corresponding figure in 2005. It accounted for 70 percent share of the mobile market and had a subscriber base of 1.6 million by the end of 2006. Meanwhile for the year ended March 2007, Vodacom Mozambique, the sole competitor, incurred a loss of nearly MZN 641.75 million (USD 25 million).
In Qatar the mobile phone segment had achieved a penetration rate of 121 percent by March 2007. Faten Bader, an analyst at Arab Advisors, revealed that the penetration was 110 percent by the end of 2006
Meanwhile the Qatari government published a list of 12 telecom operators and consortia that had pre-qualified to bid for the second mobile telecom operator licence in Qatar, with the licence to be awarded in October 2007. Bidders included Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon Communications, MTC, Etisalat, Batelco, Orascom Telecom, Jordan Telecom Group, Reliance Communications and a consortium including Belgacom and Oman Telecommunications Co.
Saudi Oger, parent of Oger Telecom, signed a deal with Telecom Italia to acquire back its 10.36 percent share in Oger Telecom owned by the latter for USD 477 million, the transfer to be completed by the end of July 2007. Oger Telecom has a 55 percent stake in Turk Telecom, while Turk Telecom has an 81 percent stake in Avea, the local mobile operator. In addition, Oger Telecom also owns a 75 percent indirect stake in South Africa?s Cell C.
The UAE?s du said that its subscriber base has reached the 500,000 mark within 5 months of launch. Osman Sultan, the CEO of du, said the operator y had beaten its own targets to achieve the milestone, and was eyeing a 30 percent share of the UAE mobile market by end of 2009. Etisalat, du?s competitor in the market, had a subscriber base of 5.78 million at the end of March 2007.
Zamtel, the Zambian state-control telecom incumbent, initiated work on its USD 100 million enhancement project, with Chairman Ernest Muyovwe saying it anticipated completion of a fibre optic network for the introduction of cable TV services in the country by 2008. The included the launch of Cell-Z mobile phone service in all 72 districts of the country in order to service a customer base of about 1 million.