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News in Brief 19 November 2014

Afghanistan: Broadcasting bidding - A report by Tolo TV claiming that the contract to provide the digital broadcasting network without a bidding process has been rejected by the Ministry of Communications & IT (MCIT) as 'baseless'. Bids were received from Ariana TV, Asia Advisory Company, Lewal Company and Noorin TV, and the offers evaluated by a committee with representatives of ATRA, Ministries of Economy, Commercial, Finance and Justice. ACG (ABS) was issued a license on 21 August 2013.

Africa: Airing for artists - Digital artist platform Bozza has partnered with Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe and Airtel Africa. The deals are expected to open doors for unsigned artists, with Econet and Airtel users having access to more songs from trending artists for use as caller ring-back tones. Emma Kaye is Bozza's founder and CEO.

Africa: Third share for Samsung - Samsung Electronics head of African business, George Ferreira, has said that its profit growth will slow as the effect of the global economic slowdown is seen in Africa. It claims to have a 35 percent share of the mobile phone market and expects to achieve 100 million handset sales this year. Its African workforce has also more than tripled to around 1,100 people in the past four years, according to Ferreirra. Samsung is looking to build an assembly line in Angola, and will join existing assembly plants in Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia and Senegal and a manufacturing operation in South Africa.

Africa & Middle East: Reliable redundancy - Global wholesale carrier BICS has launched a range of IP over satellite (IPoSat) services aimed at landlocked countries and a back-up for fibre and submarine cables. The SatFlex and MultiFlex services ensures connectivity is available even in the most challenging geographical and environmental conditions, where fibre or submarine cabling might experiencing outages. BICS is using its own Europe-based teleport satellite and fibre infrastructure. Capacity is available from both stable and inclined orbit satellites, offering providers data speeds of hundreds of Mbps in each direction.

Algeria: New areas targeted - Mobilis is marking the anniversary of the launch of its 3G network with a campaign with the theme: "3G within the reach of everyone! ". The campaign is to run from 11 November till 3 January 2015. Mobilis is targeting the 19 wilaya already covered by 3G, and also the 16 new wilaya with coverage from December 2014. From 15 December Mobils claims it will be the only operator to cover 35 wilaya.

Cameroon: New numbers - From midnight of 21 November 2014 at midnight the current two-digit dial code prefix for CTPhones will be replaced by a 3-digit prefix.

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Cape Verde: Government group - The government has set-up a working group to analyse the changes at Portugal Telecom (PT) and the likely impact on local operator Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT). The Minister of Local Finance, Cristina Duarte, told journalists that the group is headed by the Minister of Infrastructure and Maritime Economy, Sara Lopes, reports Noticias ao Minuto. Duarte added that the telecoms market in Cape Verde would be restructured to be more competitive.

Ghana: End game for Expresso? - The National Communications Authority (NCA) has formally notified Expresso subscribers of problems being experienced by the operator, particularly with regard to meeting its financial obligations, and in particular the Interconnect Agreements it has. The NCA has advised all Expresso Subscribers to 'make informed decisions on the purchase of goods and services from Expresso'. It also noted that the Mobile Number Portability platform would allow the transfer of numbers to another operator.

Ghana: Local handsets for Huawei - Huawei has said that it will start assembling mobile handsets in Ghana by 2016. The action is to address the poor marker share for its handsets. MyJoyOnline reported Managing Director, Russel Xu speaking at a meeting between it and MTN on improving customer service.

Kenya: iPhone insurance - Airtel is offering 2-year insurance cover to customers who purchase iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in any of its outlets. The insurance covers theft or accidental damage and is in addition to the default one-year warranty from Apple. Airtel is also offering unique data plans with 3GB or 4GB of data per month for 3 or 4 months. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available from the Airtel shops at Parkside, Sarit Centre, Koinange, Moi Avenue, Mombasa Moi Avenue, Nyali, Galleria, Lavington, Village Market, Nyeri and Eldoret.

Malawi: Fares facilitated - Commuters can now purchase bus tickets using Mpamba, Telekom Networks Malawi's (TNM) mobile money service. This follows with AXA Coach Service. TNM Head of Mobile Money Webster Mbekeane told Blantyre Newspapers that TNM customers will be able to buy airtime, register for TNM Mpamba and transact on the service all AXA outlets.

Morocco: Secure servers - inwi has formally opened its 1,000 m2 Datacentre in Nouaceur, in Casablanca. inwi is claiming it as the largest Datacenter largest in Morocco. It is designed to TIER III standards. Redundancy is incorporated in critical systems such as power and cooling plant to avoid any interruptions due to failure or incident. inwi is guaranteeing users an availability of 99.98 percent. There are three fibre optic cables connected to the centre.

Nigeria: Low-cost device - Tecno mobile is readying to launch a low-cost mobile device in 2015 with a retail price of around USD 30, itnewsafrica reported. Arif Choudhary, VP of Tecno Group, said that Tecno Mobile is bringing budget smartphones and data phones to Africa. He added that it could shift 1.3 - 1.5 million devices a month in Nigeria.

Nigeria: Remote monitoring solution - Kropmann Communications is planning to deliver technical solutions and services to businesses with its geospatial information systems (GIS) technology, The Guardian reported. Chief Executive Officer, Kim Fraser said it had created a niche for itself in number of areas, including telecoms. Base stations are widely dispersed and the solution would help operators identify faulty units, and whether damaged, vandalised or with technical problems. It has been working with MTN Nigeria.

Qatar: Media cloud contracted - Ooredoo is to provide the Al Jazeera Media Network with a media cloud connecting Al Jazeera?s main hubs in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and Africa, as well as linking its various bureaus around the world. Ooredoo will build cloud infrastructure using capacity on international fibre optic cables and will be a mix of SDH and MPLS technologies. The SDH network will provide high capacity synchronized circuits for critical video services, and the MPLS network will provide cost effective circuits for medium priority services.

Senegal: Surfing students - Minister of Higher Education and Research, Mary Teuw Niane, and Alioune Ndiaye, Director General of Sonatel Group on 24 October 2014 signed a MoU for the introduction of a connectivity option in 'A student, a computer' programme. The project, launched in 2013, aims to facilitate student access to ICT and the second phase, launched this year, includes connectivity made available through subsidiary Orange Business Services.

Senegal: Tigo takes off-the-shelf solution - Tigo Senegal has contracted Ericsson to supply it with its Wallet Platform Solution as readies for the launch of its ?Tigo Cash? mobile financial services. Tigo managing director Diego Camberos said: 'Mobile financial services are highly important to our subscribers and to drive continued success, it was important for us to speed up an easy to use, secure and reliable offering to market.'

South Africa: Repentant Riaan? - Privacy primary issue - How deep should one dig a hole? This is the question Cell C's management must now be asking, after it set out to have a banner created by an angry customer removed. The Johannesburg high court has dismissed an urgent application by Cell C against a banner critical of service at a retail outlet. The banner was displayed on Beyers Naude Drive in Randburg with the name and phone number of the agent provided the claimed poor service. Cell C said its motivation was purely 'the protection of the personal information and privacy of our employee, Riaan van Rooyen'. Restating his name in a press release has clearly helped the process.

South Africa: Telkom trial - Telkom Mobile is offering residents in Parkview and Parkhurst a free 2-week trial of its new 150 Mbps LTE Advanced network, RCRWirless reported. Triallists will receive an LTE router and 20GB of data for the trial. Telkom plans to roll out the LTE-A service to 50 cities around South Africa by March.

Swaziland: Orange online only - In October it was suggested that Orange was considering Swaziland as a potential mobile phone market, However ITWebAfrica reports that Orange has confirmed it has no plans to launch a mobile network operator in Swaziland, according to its Chief Executive Officer Sebastien Crozier. Crozier said the report was a 'misunderstanding' as its plans relate to its online store, which he said was doing well. Orange provides online services and sells devices and SIM cards for use in Europe, Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire and other African countries. From the start of 2015 the online store will be expanded as there is a customer union between Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia. The country is home to fixed-line Swazi Telecom and mobile-provider MTN Swaziland.

Tanzania: Suburban store - Vodacom Tanzania has opened its 83rd retail outlet in the popular tourist destination of Bagamoyo District. The retail unit will serve the growing subscriber base, including Boko and Bunju areas in suburban Dar es Salaam. Vodacom Tanzania?s Head of Corporate Affairs & Public Relations, Rosalynn Mworia, said: 'The expansion of our retail footprint is a major component of ongoing initiatives to improve customer experience on our network'.

Zimbabwe: Econet for energy? - Gas supply is the latest market Econet is considering entering, Business Live has reported. Consumers regularly experience prolonged power cuts. However Econet's Corporate Communications Manager Ranga Mberi neither confirmed nor denied the plans. Econet owns Econet Solar, and the operator owns Steward Bank and has moved into health insurance after acquiring TN Medical, which it has renamed Steward Health.