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News in Brief 18 July 2013

Bahrain: Home hub - Batelco is following up on the launch of its superfast 4G LTE Network by introducing 4G LTE Mobile Broadband for use with any WiFi device at home, a first in Bahrain. Users can connect up to 32 WiFi enabled devices including TVs, Receivers, mobile phones, laptops and tablets. Batelco Group General Manager Media Relations Ahmed Al Janahi said that the launch of Batelco 4G LTE had been 'extremely well received'.

Botswana: ICT input - The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has submitted a draft National ICT Broadband Strategy, with feedback requested by 19 July 2013. Comments on dividing up coverage of rural areas with mobile broadband networks are particularly required. The documents are available for downloading at the BOCRA website (www.bocra.org.bw) or at: http://www.bta.org.bw/development-national-broadband-strategy-phase-3-report or https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k5r4y9xx6nknibh/NX9ykNaLUT

Egypt: Revenue protected - Etisalat Egypt has selected Lisbon-based WeDo Technologies' revenue-assurance software, RAID. The project was divided into three phases: usage control, platform integrity and rating validation. The first two phases were implemented successfully completed, with the third phase almost complete.

Ghana: Friendly phone - Adler Systems has launched its Amigo phones and tablets locally, including the Amigo 3i and7s phones and a 10i tablet. The Chronicle quoted Executive Director of Adler Systems, Vincent Yaw Preko, as saying Amigo translates as 'friend'. The products are being assembled in Hong Kong.

Ghana: Savings success - Tigo has recruited a thousand agents for Tigo Cash since its launch six months ago, CifiFMonline reported. Over 12 percent of its subscriber base are actively using the Susu product to manage their finances, with its focus on savings. Selorm Adadevoh, Head of Mobile Financial Services at Tigo, said Tigo Cash Susu is the first of its kind in the country.

Israel: Fast fibre financing - A plan to offer super-fast Internet using the Israel Electric Corporation's power grid being developed by Sweden?s Viaeuropa said last week it had raised the required capital. It needed ILS 100 million in capital and ILS 200 million in bank guarantees needed for the joint venture. The system will provide speeds of a gigabit per second, representing a 100 percent increase on what is available now. The government early in 2012 gave the go-ahead for state-run utility IEC to seek investors to build the network using fibre optic cables.

Israel: User upgrade - Bezeq is upgrading Internet access speeds free of charge. Users with 20-30 Mbps will be upgraded to 40 Mbps, and those with 50 Mbps will be moved to 100 Mbps. Bezeq also said that the cost of 100 Mbps was being dropped from ILS 130 (USD 36.07) per month to ILS 110 (USD 30.52). The 40 Mbps plan will cost ILS 85 (USD 23.58) a month.

Liberia: Rural reach - Members of the House of Representatives have commented positively on a presentation made by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to defend their budget for the financial year 2012-2013, the New Dawn in Monrovia has reported. The Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Dr. Frederick Nokeh, said services were available in 12 major counties, and still needed to take communications to all 15 counties. The Minister emphasised the urgent need to allocate funds telecommunications to allow the development of outreach plans for the betterment of rural communities.

Kenya: Money meltdown - On Friday 12 July Safaricom's M-PESA and M-Shwari mobile financial service was off-line for a four hours. The operator said that subsequent delays were due to the high traffic following restoration of the service.

Kenya: Service required - The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK), telcos and the National Police Service have to re-introduce toll free emergency number; although the 999 number has not been used for more than 20 years. The Star reported the High Court giving them till 31 July to restore the service. The CCK informed the court that it has met with the stakeholders twice and needed more time to consult. CCK was ordered to bring the minutes of the meetings to court at its next appearance.

MEA: Advertising ascendant - A research study by IHS notes that rising smartphone adoption and and better ad targeting and inventory consolidation are the drivers for mobile advertising growth. The study noted that in the Middle East and Africa mobile display advertising accounting for 38.5 percent of the revenue in 2012. Messaging accounts for only 25.6 percent, reflecting the growth of smartphones; and search-related advertising stood at 36.0 percent.

Nigeria: State standards - The Lagos State government has published a new standards for the installation of towers in the state. According to This Day, the telcos will not be affected as they are already commissioning base stations to international standards. Those thought most likely to be affected are the banks, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and other Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are using communication masts. Details of the new rules were released by General Manager, Urban Furniture Regulatory Unit (UFRU), Joe Igbokwe.

Rwanda: Node fixed - On 12 July MTN Rwanda subscribers could not receive or make phone calls for nearly three hours from 10.00 a.m. The New Times reported public relations officer David Kezio-Musoke saying that one of its nodes had failed, which affected some subscribers.

Tanzania: Cards curtailed - Vodacom Tanzania has disconnected some 450,000 unregistered SIM cards from its network, according to Managing Director Rene Meza. Meza said that the operator has also implemented SIM locking of all its cards, effective 1 June 2013. Activation can only be done after suitable documentation has been provided. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) gave network operators a timeframe of 1 June 2013 to 10 July 2013 to register existing SIMs and lock new cards.

Turkey: Nominees to be named - The Capital Markets Board (SPK) is to appoint two members to the management board of Turkcell, Reuters noted SPK chairman Vahdettin Ertas telling the broadcaster CNBC-e this week. The move may help break a board deadlock, which has been unable to agree the constitution of its board or pay dividends due to a dispute between shareholders TeliaSonera, Altimo and Cukurova.

Uganda: Ministerial mission - Newly appointed Minister of Information Communications Technology (ICT) John Nasasira has challenged the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to improve telco quality of service, The New Vision reported. The Minister toured UCC's premises last week, taking in spectrum monitoring, as well as emergency response to cyber-attacks. The UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, Patrick Mwesigwa, the UCC Director of Technology, and the Ministry of ICT Permanent Secretary Pat Saamanya accompanied him.

West Africa: Transfers targeted - Orange has initially launched its Money International Transfer service in Mali, Senegal and Cote d?Ivoire, and plans to cover other countries in Africa and the Middle East. Orange reckons some USD 261.3 million moves between the three countries in money transfers.