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News in Brief 15 August 2013

Angola: Internet insight - News agency ANGOP has reported Second Internet Governance Forum for Southern Africa, spokesman Joao Leao as saying Internet penetration is 10 percent, according to data from the National Union of Telecommunications. Most Angolans apparently access the Internet via PC and mobile phone. That would suggest a total Internet population of some 1.85 million based on current population statistics: Facebook reckons to have some 1.16 million users in Angola, of which 1.052 million access the social networking site via their mobile phones. It was claimed that Africa overall has a 6 percent penetration.

Angola: Satellite scheduled - Russian Ambassador Dmitry Lobach told ANGOP last week that Russia is funding Angola's first communications satellite 'Angosat', following a December 2012 credit facility valued at AOA 37 billion (USD 382.0 million) granted through Rosecsimbank, a public bank. The satellite is expected to be launched by 2016 (the original launch date was 2015). Satellite managers will be trained in Moscow, and then will operate the satellite from Luanda.

Cape Verde: Regulatory reckoning - CVMovel has been fined CVE 5 million (USD 58,664) for failing to comply with the number portability regulations, having failed to respond to requests from the National Communications Agency (ANAC) within 48 hours. Broadcaster SGPM was also fined, having transmitted an analogue signal on UHF channel 44 without authorisation.

Cote d'Ivoire: Internal Internet - Agence Ecofin reported regulator ARTCI's Director General, Bile Diemeleou Amon Gabriel at an African Union workshop on 24 June 2013 as saying that the equipment for two Internet exchanges to be deployed by Orange and MTN had arrived. The exchanges will allow traffic to be routed internally, without having to be re-routed offshore, and were expected to be functioning by 12 July at the latest.

Cote d'Ivoire: Satellite for savers - Local largest financial institution UNACOOPEC (National Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives) has installed a private satellite network solution linking 97 branches. The solution is a fully customised and managed VSAT-based Private Network. SkyVision is an IP telecom service provider specialising in emerging markets, providing solutions that combine satellite service platforms with high-capacity fibre optic connections.

Egypt: CFO confirmed - Telecom Egypt (TE) has appointed Mohamed Shamroukh as its Chief Financial Officer. Shamroukh has been with the fixed-line operator for over ten years. He joined in 2002 as a network engineer, before being appointed as General Manager of Operations in 2007. In 2009 he was appointed as Director of Corporate Strategy.

Egypt: Shares safe - The Daily News Egypt reports Egypt Telecom Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Nawawy has denied reports that shares in Vodafone have been sold. Mubasher Misr reported on 7 August 2013 that TE's mobile licence had been facilitated by the sale of its Vodafone Egypt shares. On the same day Heba El-Serafi, Deputy Head for Listed Companies in the local stock exchange received a letter from Mohamed Kamal, the general manager for investor relations and internal reporting, stating that news reported 'are unfounded'.

Ghana: Communications committee - Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah last week inaugurated the Advisory Working Group on the creation of the Ghana Information Communication Technology Council (GICTC) in Accra. The ten-member team is to advise the Ministry on the delivery of quality ICT service to consumers. It is also tasked with determining appropriate sanctions for quality of service breaches, map out the degree to which GICTC can assess and monitor industry performance, certify and regulate ICT practitioners in Ghana and identify and assess market opportunities for national ICT products and services that the council will promote. Please e-mail editor@blycroft.com for a list of members.

Kenya: Maturing mobile money -The GSMA?s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) has recorded some 23.019 million people, or 74 percent of the adult population, now use mobile money services. The launch of M-PESA in 2007 was a critical breakthrough facilitated a basic payment service and so expanding access and reduced transaction costs. Mobile money has grown from a simple money transfer platform to a payment platform.

Kenya: Searching the SLO - Safaricom has won a KES 14 million (USD 160,000) contract that will see it automating some services at the State Law Office (SLO), providing its M-Pesa platforms for payment and offering business process outsourcing (BPO) services, CIO East Africa reported. By the end of August users will be able to query Company names through USSD on their mobile phones. Safaricom is to also provide a USSD service to track the progress of services rendered by the SLO.

Libya: Broadband beckons - In an interview with Marcopolis, the CEO of LTT (Libya Telecom and Technology) Husam Abulhul said its was focusing on the mass market with WiMAX and ADSL. It is expanding the two over the whole of Libya. It has almost 200,000 WiMAX subscribers and almost 100,000 ADSL subscribers. It is targeting a further 300,000 Internet subscribers, having already added 400,000 new subscribers, and so take Internet penetration from 5 to 15 percent.

Nigeria: Security system - Africa accounted for 9.3 percent of global revenues for Chinese-vendor ZTE. ZTE earned over USD 50 billion globally. Nigerian newspaper The Guardian reported ZTE?s Deputy Managing Director Brielle Gao as saying it had completed the USD 417 million Nigerian National Public Security Communications System, awarded in 2010, in 2012.

Sierra Leone: Broadband briefing - Ericsson provided a day's training last week, in conjunction with Airtel Sierra Leone, for government officials and the private sector. The Awoko news agency reported Johnethern Khann of Ericsson Africa saying that 50 billion devices will be networked or connected by 2020. The Deputy Minister disclosed that the Metropolitan backbone and the ECOWAN projects are still under construction. R V S Bhullar, Managing Director of Airtel, said it had introduced broadband in 67 locations and over 70 percent of the population are now connected.

Somalia: Satellite solution - O3b Networks has announced a major long-term deal to provide capacity to Glocall Telecoms, an ISP. Glocall, through its subsidiary Sahal Telecoms Somalia, a national telecoms licence holder, provides broadband access via Wimax and Super Wifi technologies, with a migration to LTE expected in 3Q14. O3b launched its first four satellites in June, and is readying to launch of the second series in late September, with commercial service launch expected later in 2013.

South Africa: Ace accountant - Cell C's Chief Strategy Officer, Robert Pasley is to now take-up a combined role of Chief Financial and Strategy Officer with immediate effect. Pasley is a qualified chartered accountant and theoretical physicist. In 1993, Pasley helped develop Vodacom?s original business plan and played a role in several large-scale business acquisitions in the market.

South Africa: Apology accepted - Telkom's newly appointed group CEO Sipho Maseko has formally apologised to the full council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) for its past aggressive behaviour towards the regulator. TechCentral reports that Maseko and the group executive for regulatory affairs, Andrew Barendse, attended a meeting with Icasa councillors. The separation of Telkom's wholesale and retail businesses was discussed at the meeting. According to TechCentral, a second meeting last week went into greater depth, and involved Telkom?s new head of strategy, Miriam Altman.

Tanzania: Electrical encouragement - Vodacom Tanzania is offering a 5 percent rebate to LUKU pre-paid electricity customers who pay their bills using M-Pesa. The Guardian newspaper reports that the rebate will go straight to their M-Pesa balance after the transaction. Managing Director Rene Meza said LUKU transactions have been on the rise, and customers buying TZS 10,000 worth of LUKU energy will receive TZS 500 in their M-Pesa account. The bonus can be used for any other purpose. Vodacom's M-Pesa service has over 5 million subscribers and over 45,000 agents nationally.

Zambia: Money milestone - Airtel Zambia mobile money service now has some 1.2 million subscribers. Managing Director Charity Lumpa said there are some 14,000 - 15, 000 regular users, with over 80 active Airtel money merchants. Airtel money has recorded at least USD 95,000 worth of daily transactions. Airtel is Zambia's largest mobile operator with over 4 million subscribers.