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News in Brief 13 August 2014

Africa: Tough at the Top - While Airtel's financial performance has seen improvement in the last quarter, Bharti Airtel's founder-Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal has seen a fall in the total remuneration due to a INR 7.5 million (USD 1.23 million) reduction in performance-linked incentive, as per the latest Annual Report. Mittal's annual remuneration fell to INR 238.8 million (USD 3.91 million) in last financial year from INR 243.3 million in the previous fiscal. The remuneration paid to Mittal in 2013-14 was almost double of the remuneration paid to all directors on the Airtel board.

Cameroon: Poor performance - Orange Cameroon customers have seen a sudden drop in service quality in Yaounde and other cities, Agence Ecofin has reported. Calls are not getting through, and SMS can't be sent or are shown as 'failed'. Users have not been able to add credit using the on-line facility, and a message informs them that the network is overloaded and to try later. Dongles connect to the Internet but users cannot access the Web. Orange Cameroon's Website was still down on 11 August.

Egypt: Managed maintenance - Vodafone Egypt has extended its partnership with Ericsson by signing a 3-year managed services agreement for network field maintenance services to improve the quality of its network in the greater Cairo area. Osama Said, Chief Technical Officer, Vodafone Egypt, commented: "With this agreement, we aim to achieve world class network quality with the most innovative solutions that best serve our customers' needs. " Ericsson Egypt is Vodafone Egypt's incumbent supplier and initial turnkey provider, with a partnership that dates back to 1998.

Kenya: Money deals mounting - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has revealed in a new report that mobile money transactions totalled over KES 1 trillion (USD 11.2 billion) in the first half of 2014. This is up from KES 872.1 billion (USD 9.76 billion) in the first half of 2013. Players are M-Pesa (Safaricom), yuCash, Airtel Money, MobiKash, Tangaza Pesa and Orange Money. The growth in mobile money usage, according to Bob Collymore, Safaricom's CEO, is driven by an increase in the number of transactions per customer. 25.9 million people had subscribed to at least one mobile money platform by the end of June, growing 9.2 percent over June 2013's 23.75 million.

Kenya: School support - Orange has partnered with the Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to support e-learning and integration of ICT in education, with the donation of 60 modems to teachers in Nakuru and Machakos counties. The two-year program, which is also supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aims to train teachers to integrate technology in Education through everyday learning for students in rural areas. GESCI was established in 2003 by the United Nations ICT Task Force which identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make a positive impact.

Kenya: Upgrade unveiled - Pay-TV and teleco Zuku is to undertake on a KES 220 million (USD 2.5 million) network upgrade, aimed at improving speeds and reducing downtime on the network. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of October. The work will see speeds of up to 50 Mbps for its Nairobi customers; Mombasa already has such speeds. Richard Alden, CEO of the Wananchi Group, said the upgrade would see improved quality of service.

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Kenya: Money deals mounting - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has revealed in a new report that mobile money transactions totalled over KES 1 trillion (USD 11.2 billion) in the first half of 2014. This is up from KES 872.1 billion (USD 9.76 billion) in the first half of 2013. Players are M-Pesa (Safaricom), yuCash, Airtel Money, MobiKash, Tangaza Pesa and Orange Money. The growth in mobile money usage, according to Bob Collymore, Safaricom's CEO, is driven by an increase in the number of transactions per customer. 25.9 million people had subscribed to at least one mobile money platform by the end of June, growing 9.2 percent over June 2013's 23.75 million.

Kenya: School support - Orange has partnered with the Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to support e-learning and integration of ICT in education, with the donation of 60 modems to teachers in Nakuru and Machakos counties. The two-year program, which is also supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aims to train teachers to integrate technology in Education through everyday learning for students in rural areas. GESCI was established in 2003 by the United Nations ICT Task Force which identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make a positive impact.

Kenya: Upgrade unveiled - Pay-TV and teleco Zuku is to undertake on a KES 220 million (USD 2.5 million) network upgrade, aimed at improving speeds and reducing downtime on the network. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of October. The work will see speeds of up to 50 Mbps for its Nairobi customers; Mombasa already has such speeds. Richard Alden, CEO of the Wananchi Group, said the upgrade would see improved quality of service.

Kenya: Money deals mounting - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has revealed in a new report that mobile money transactions totalled over KES 1 trillion (USD 11.2 billion) in the first half of 2014. This is up from KES 872.1 billion (USD 9.76 billion) in the first half of 2013. Players are M-Pesa (Safaricom), yuCash, Airtel Money, MobiKash, Tangaza Pesa and Orange Money. The growth in mobile money usage, according to Bob Collymore, Safaricom's CEO, is driven by an increase in the number of transactions per customer. 25.9 million people had subscribed to at least one mobile money platform by the end of June, growing 9.2 percent over June 2013's 23.75 million.

Kenya: School support - Orange has partnered with the Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to support e-learning and integration of ICT in education, with the donation of 60 modems to teachers in Nakuru and Machakos counties. The two-year program, which is also supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aims to train teachers to integrate technology in Education through everyday learning for students in rural areas. GESCI was established in 2003 by the United Nations ICT Task Force which identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make a positive impact.

Kenya: Upgrade unveiled - Pay-TV and teleco Zuku is to undertake on a KES 220 million (USD 2.5 million) network upgrade, aimed at improving speeds and reducing downtime on the network. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of October. The work will see speeds of up to 50 Mbps for its Nairobi customers; Mombasa already has such speeds. Richard Alden, CEO of the Wananchi Group, said the upgrade would see improved quality of service.

Kenya: Money deals mounting - The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has revealed in a new report that mobile money transactions totalled over KES 1 trillion (USD 11.2 billion) in the first half of 2014. This is up from KES 872.1 billion (USD 9.76 billion) in the first half of 2013. Players are M-Pesa (Safaricom), yuCash, Airtel Money, MobiKash, Tangaza Pesa and Orange Money. The growth in mobile money usage, according to Bob Collymore, Safaricom's CEO, is driven by an increase in the number of transactions per customer. 25.9 million people had subscribed to at least one mobile money platform by the end of June, growing 9.2 percent over June 2013's 23.75 million.

Kenya: School support - Orange has partnered with the Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to support e-learning and integration of ICT in education, with the donation of 60 modems to teachers in Nakuru and Machakos counties. The two-year program, which is also supported by the Mastercard Foundation, aims to train teachers to integrate technology in Education through everyday learning for students in rural areas. GESCI was established in 2003 by the United Nations ICT Task Force which identified education as an area in critical need of development, and one where ICT has the potential to make a positive impact.

Kenya: Upgrade unveiled - Pay-TV and teleco Zuku is to undertake on a KES 220 million (USD 2.5 million) network upgrade, aimed at improving speeds and reducing downtime on the network. The upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of October. The work will see speeds of up to 50 Mbps for its Nairobi customers; Mombasa already has such speeds. Richard Alden, CEO of the Wananchi Group, said the upgrade would see improved quality of service.

Madagascar: Bank cooperation - Orange Madagascar has signed with BOA-Madagascar bank to allow customers to conduct transfers between their bank account and Orange Money accounts, reports Midi Madagaskara. Joint customers will have lower fees on transactions between the accounts. Orange Money can be used to pay for goods and services, and to buy airtime credit.

Morocco: Vanishing Viber - Viber users are claiming they can no-longer access the VoIP application via Maroc Telecom. Agence Ecofin reports access has been denied for the last two weeks. Inwi and Meditel users can still use VoIP via Viber. Maroc Telecom blocked access to Viber and Skype for several days in 2012. The operator has not commented on the matter.

Namibia: TV turn-on - The Minister of Information and Communications Technology (MICT), Joel Kaapanda, is optimistic that the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) deadline of June 2015 will be met. The Minister said Namibia's progress could be compared with Mauritius and Tanzania, which have finalised their switch over to digital terrestrial television (DTT). MICT statistics show 67 percent of households have analogue television sets and at least 80 percent in a given area need an NBC decoder.

South Africa: Acquisition approval - Telkom says 80 percent of Business Connexion (BCX) shareholders have given their written undertaking to support Telkom?s proposed acquisition of the technology company. A final vote is scheduled for 11 August 2014. The two companies have already submitted merger notifications to the Competition Commission (ComCom), according to TechCentral. In May 2014 Telkom proposed to buy BCX for ZAR 2.7 billion (USD 253.2 million) and delist it from the bourse.

South Africa: Benefits intact - Telkom's Chief Financial Officer Jacques Schindehutte has left the company with immediate effect following a disciplinary process, which started in October 2013. The disgraced executive retires on full benefits, with the disciplinary proceedings will be discontinued. The CFO earlier repaid a ZAR 6 million (USD 562,000) loan that was used to buy shares after the transaction was found to have breached corporate rules.

South Africa: Cisco collaboration - Cisco has appointed Telkom as its first Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) strategic partner in South Africa. The solution offers highly secure collaboration solutions for public, private and hybrid clouds from partners delivering Cisco Powered cloud services. "As more devices and people in South Africa are connected on the network, service providers such as us will need to continue to innovate, diversify and transform to meet the demands of our customers, " says Johann Henning, MD of Telkom Business.

South Africa: Popular phones - Samsung is the most popular smartphone brand according to the latest Effective Measure and IAB South Africa report, followed by BlackBerry, and then Nokia. Apple iPhone?s is relatively low ranked as the device is expensive in the local market. Some 5,113 desktop Internet users were surveyed.

South Africa: Popular provider - An Ask Afrika survey has seen MTN voted one of the most popular tech companies in. MTN was voted the nineteenth most popular brand overall in South Africa, but came top in the ISP and telecoms categories, according to BusinessTech. The results are based on 15,169 interviews conducted by the Target Group Index, which looked at thousands of brands across 163 product categories.

South Africa: Settlement service - Cell C has upgraded its roaming partner agreements management system to TNS's Nextgen portfolio of financial clearing and settlement services, including IOTRON Inter-Operator Tariff (IOT) discount management. Cell C expects to lower its inter-carrier outstanding debts and increase cash flow.

South Africa: Toll-free tariff - Cell C is to increase its special or toll-free number rates from 1 September. The change will affect all Infinity Select, Straight Up, Straight Up Top Up and selected Pre-paid customers. Users will be charged a flat out-of-bundle rate of ZAR 2.50 per minute for voice calls to Special Numbers. Special number voice calls will not deplete from unlimited minutes, inclusive minutes, any free minutes or free airtime including the Supacharge free rand value bonus.

United Arab Emirates: Family friendly - Etisalat has launched a Family Pack offering free calls and shared data between family members. The package allows free mobile calls within a family group of up to ten members, and gives savings on shared data for group members. Packs range from 5 to 50 GB and rates are AED 29 per member per month. Khaled El-Khouly, Chief Marketing Officer, said: "It truly is the answer to a family's daily calling and data usage needs. "

United Arab Emirates: First call - du says it has made a VoLTE call, a first on a live network. Saleem Al Balooshi Executive Vice-president Network Development and Operations du said: "With VoLTE we will be exploiting the full potential of 4G LTE. " du launched HD Voice on mobile in 2012, and it offers it on both its 3G mobile and fixed line networks.

United Arab Emirates: Regulatory report - The ?UAE Telecommunications Sector Developments & Indicators, 2010 ? 2013?, provides a snapshot of the state of the fixed, mobile, and data markets in terms of subscribers, penetration rates, revenues, and usage. H.E. Mohammed Al Ghanim, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said: "This report highlights the continued development of the telecommunications sector of UAE. Evidently from the statistics contained within it, the sector continues to experience significant growth with the period from 2010 to 2013 building on the positive sector development seen in 2008 to 2011 ". It can be downloaded here.

Zambia: Rural rollout - The Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) is to construct 500 towers by the end of 2016 in rural areas. ZICTA has commissioned 169 from Huawei, taking the total in the rural program to 204. The towers will be shared among the MTN, Zamtel and Airtel who will be levied by ZICTA for their use. ZICTA Director General Margaret Mudenda said the project had the support of the government.

Zimbabwe: Binga BTS - State-owned NetOne is now providing service in Binga, a remote district on the border with Zambia and nearly 900 kilometers from Harare. It said in a statement: "NetOne has gone as high as Tundazi mountain to install a new base station providing seamless network coverage to the people of Binga and surrounding areas. This base station is at the heart of Chizarira Game Reserve and connects ... to the world ". NetOne says now has about 700 base stations nationally.