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News in Brief 23 October 2014

Algeria: Speedy surfing - Mobilis has achieved speeds of up to 63 Mbps per second, utilising HSDPA provided by Ericsson. CEO Mr Damma Saad said the tests had been successful. The tests were conducted at the National Technical Centre of the FAF in Sidi Moussa, to provide optimum conditions.

Algeria: Vendor verification - It might be expected that a network provided by a vendor would top the vendor's own network quality monitoring. And so it is with Ooredoo Algérie's 3G++ network, which Ericsson's NetQB (Network Quality Benchmark) ranked as first in North Africa in the first three-quarters of 2014 for throughput, Ooredoo said. It claims to be one of the first MNOs to achieve a throughput network of 63MB/s., and said in a statement: "Several million of Algerians already live the experience of 3G ++ of Oooredoo in 19 covered provinces for a population of over 21 million Algerians ".

Angola: Park participants sought - The Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technologies wants to attract South Korean companies for the future Luanda Technology Park. José Carvalho da Rocha made the comment before departing for Seoul, where he will participate in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Conference, macauhub reported. The Minister said the Technology Park would be completed in 2016.

Cameroon: SIM shops - Viettel's Nexttel unit has announced the opening of 22 Nexttel Shops in 9 of the 10 regions. The operator claims these are already offering its SIM cards with the exception of the Northeast region. The Central region, with the capital Yaounde, has some seven outlets, followed by the Littoral region, with five. The Far North, Northwest and Southwest are starting with two outlets.

Cameroon, Mali: Payments planned - Orange is to launch its Afrimarket service for money transfer in Cameroon and Mali in 2015, TicMag reported. The service allows direct payment from Europe. The recipient is informed by SMS of the payment. The service is already available in Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Senegal and Benin.

Cape Verde: Meeting of Minders - Regulator ANAC participated in the First National Forum of Independent Regulators 16-18 October in Mindelo - Sao Vicente. The aim was to create a platform for joint action by all regulatory bodies in Cape Verde. A Fair was held simultaneously to allow direct contact with the general public.

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Cote d'Ivoire: Asian assembly - A delegation from the Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (ARTCI) is to attend the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU in Busan, South Korea from 20 October to 7 November 2014.

Guinea: Improved infrastructure - MTN has said it has commissioned 148 new 3G sites, along with 18 2G sites. The 2G sites are in Boke in Dabis, Kankan (Saraya Babilla, Frankama, Farabana, Kiniéran, Fankono, Kobada, Mansadiaradou, Nounkounka and Balandou) Faranah (Arfa-Moussaya and Banko) in Labe (Kolet, Dalain, Pilimini) and Nzerekore (Bountoundou and Gueasso). The 3G sites are divided between maritime Guinea, Middle Guinea, Upper Guinea and Forest Guinea.

Ghana: Mobile money mentoring - Over 2,000 agents are being schooled by Tigo Ghana for its mobile money service, Tigo Cash. The training is being undertaken in 19 towns and cities. Various customer care strategies are being explored to ensure customer expectations are met and exceeded. Several of the agents also registered for the Tigo Cash Agent Investment Fund, which will allow agents to expand their business. Agents who excel during the year will be acknowledged.

Ghana: Calling Nigeria - Glo Mobile subscribers in Ghana can make free calls to Nigeria. Named 'Glo Kappah', the product also offers subscribers outstanding credit for voice calls, SMS and data usage in Ghana. Two packages are being offered; Mini and Super; it gives subscribers international minutes to make calls to Nigeria through special SIM card. Subscribers will enjoy free 300 or 900 minutes depending on the package.

Kenya: Laptop lament - Thwarted school laptops provider Olive Telecommunications is to appeal the September ruling to have the tender floated afresh. The company was initially awarded a school laptop tender by the Ministry of Education, and is now seeking the typed proceedings of the High Court ruling to help it lodge an appeal. The Indian firm was awarded the KES 25.39 billion (USD 285.0 million) tender in February to supply 1.3 million units, which was subsequently cancelled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.

Kenya: Redundancy case resolved - Telkom Kenya is to pay 996 staff made redundant in 2006 some KES 1.4 billion (USD 15.5 million). The staff will also be entitled to a KES 150,000 (USD 1,656) golden handshake. Telkom will also pay costs of KES 300 million (USD 3.3 million) as the cost of the suit. A ruling was obtained in 2011 but Telkom appealed the decision.

Madagascar: Certification completed - Mobile operator Telma has been awarded ISO 9001-2008 certification. Telma has shown 'necessary for continuous improvement of telecom services to consumers'. Patrick Pisal Hamida, the CEO of the company said: 'We are the first telecommunications company in Madagascar to achieve this certification. This is due to the efforts of all Telma staff.' Telma has invested more than EUR 20 million per annum and expects to continue at that level, with emphasis on developing the Internet backbone.

Nigeria: Big boy - MTN is due to renew its licence in 2016. It has invested some USD 13 billion in the previous 13 years of operation, and currently controls 45 percent of the market and has 58.2 million subscribers. The Guardian notes that MTN is the biggest network covering 3,649 communities in all 36 states. Its network covers 74.56 percent of the landmass, and 87.15 percent of the population. Ninety-nine percent of its 5,800 staff are Nigerian. It has 78 trade partners and an information distribution chain of over 450 walk-in centres. It is constructing a 100 G/ps fibre network, whilst Alcatel-Lucent is building a 100G DWDM/OTN network using its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) system.

Nigeria: Partner party - Handset manufacturer Wiko has set its sights on Nigeria, and it has said that it intends to launch ten of its devices on 22 October 2014. The vendor was reported to take 12 channel partners on a pre-launch excursion to Dubai, with the aim of interacting with other partners. John Peters, Country Sales Manager Nigeria said the event had allowed partners to better understand the Wiko brand culture, vision and attributes. Recently Wiko launched its mobile devices to Kenya. Marcel Van de Pas is Wiko Global's International Business Director.

Nigeria: Remote remittances - Following the launch of Glo Lagos Xchange in August, the service has been rolled-out in Abeokuta, Enugu, Onitsha, Kano and other cities. Glo is working with Zenith, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank and First Bank to provide mobile payments in the most remote areas of Nigeria.

South Africa: Local language - A Zulu-enable tablet is now available from Vodacom. The Smart Tab 3G sells for ZAR 999 (USD 56) on a pre-paid deal. Times Live reports this is the second low-cost device offered by Vodacom, which launched the Smart Kicka smartphone in August and sold 250,000 units in the first month. Vodacom plans to add Afrikaans, the third most spoken language after Zulu and Xhosa, in future. It will initially release 20,000 tablets and aims to sell 100,000 during the first year. MTN launched the low-cost MTN Steppa for ZAR 500 (USD 28) earlier this year.

South Africa: Phased parting - On 10 October Telkom wrote to 105 staff to dismiss them. The unions, however, are claiming this number exceeds that discussed in negotiations. Solidarity, South African Communications Union and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) agreed some 2,500 staff would be laid off in three phases and compensated. It is claimed that Telkom, by initially laying off 223 members of management, has already exceeded the expected number for the current phase.

South Africa: LTE roaming - Vodacom's post-paid users will be able to roam on selected LTE networks when travelling, the operator said last week. Users will need a 64k or 128k SIM card and an LTE-capable device. The service is currently available on Vodafone LTE networks in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, and New Zealand. Additional Vodafone partner networks will be added over the next few months.

South Africa: Wi-Fi widened - ZyXEL is to supply Mweb with its WRE2205 range extender to provide better Wi-Fi coverage in the home. The WRE2205 provides fast and easy extension of the range of 802.11 b/g/n wireless networks. It comes in a compact wall-mount design to fit into a power outlet. A built-in LED indicates signal strength aiding its optimum location, and it features a one-click Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS).

Turkey: Approval sought - Turkcell said last week that it had now applied to the Capital Markets Board of Turkey for permission to merge Turktell Uluslararas? Yat?r?m Holding with Turkcell.

Uganda: Satellite students - SES and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange are launching a Live Interactive Classroom application with partners from the Catholic University Eichstatt in Ingolstadt and local The Permanent Centre for Education. This is part of an on-going eLearning project under the Kuganda moniker that includes a demonstration of an interactive classroom session via SES satellite broadband solution to Ugandan teachers at The Permanent Centre for Education.

United Arab Emirates: Done deal - Etisalat has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone. The agreement was signed by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Managing Director of RAK FTZ and Abdul Aziz Taryam, CEO Advisor and General Manager - Northern Emirates.

Zambia: Counterfeit cellphones curtailed - A joint technical committee has been set up to stop the sale of counterfeit mobile phones, ITWEb Africa reported. The committee consists of the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) MTN, Airtel and Zamtel. ZABS Director Manuel Mutale said that the bureau had fast-tracked the process of dealing with the sale of imported substandard phones.

Zimbabwe: Auto app - Econet Wireless has launched the Econet Connected Car. The Ecotracker service is being offered at USD 100 for installation by corporates and USD 200 for individuals, and USD 20 as a monthly subscription, making it USD 20 cheaper than rival TracKing for business users. There are1 some 1.2 million vehicles in Zimbabwe according to the motor industry association.