News in Brief 19 February 2015

 

Africa: Integrated initiative - MTN is now the commercial partner for CNN International?s multi-platform initiative 'Africa View', an integrated television and digital sponsorship campaign. The advertising and sponsorship element is focused on the 'Africa View' infographics series, which runs on CNN International's television and digital platforms. Consumers will also have access to a dedicated news app for 'Africa View', when it?s launched later in 2015. The latest EMS figures from Ipsos in July 2014 show CNN as the leading international news brand in the Middle East and Africa.

Algeria: 3G enabled device - From 11 February Mobilis is offering the LG L20 for only DZD 5 (USD 63), with a pre-paid package through its 166 sales offices located in 48 provinces. The phone comes with a 2G/3G SIM and an initial credit of DZD 100 (USD 1.07) and monthly Bonus Call, SMS and Internet valid for 30 days to all networks, available for three consecutive months.

Bahrain: Batelco blossoming - Batelco is expanding its global network presence, and now has 23 active Point-of-Presence (PoPs) globally. Batelco Enterprise Division General Manager Adel Daylami has said that it won a number of major deals in 2014. He noted: "Batelco has strategically incorporated a range of value-added services such as an online monitoring and reporting portal and a competitive SLA (Service Level Agreement) offering. "

Bahrain: Caring cellco - Batelco has announced its 'Batelco Cares' programme, under which it is launching a range of smart solutions intended to improve the quality of its users' everyday life. Batelco Bahrain Acting CEO Muna Al Hashemi said: "This will be the beginning of a very bright future, as Batelco will be introducing a wonderful range of Health, Fitness and Entertainment Solutions plus more life enriching solutions in the near future ".

Congo Republic: CAB co-operation - Congo and Turkey are likely to co-operate on the Central African Backbone (CAB), a fibre optic project to link Central Africa and neighbouring countries. The Turkish Ambassador to Congo Can Incesu and Congo Posts and Telecoms Minister Thierry Lezin Moungalla met recently in Brazzaville. The CAB project is currently under construction and Congo is expected to take its network into Gabon via the cities of Dolisie and Mbinda. Phase One will connect Cameroon, Chad and the Central African Republic.

Cote d'Ivoire: Registrations requested - As per the Ordinance of 21 March 2012, the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications (ARTCI) is requiring all licence holders to complete a registration form by 20 February 2015. It noted that 'operators, independent network operators, infrastructure providers, telecommunications service providers and other stakeholders who have not submitted the filled forms and documents required, will not be able to avail themselves of their old permits'. A downloadable form is available on the ARTCI Website (www.artci.ci) for this purpose. The granting of authorisations backed by new certificates will be based on these authenticated documents.

Ghana: Directorial drop-in - Markus Reinisch, Vodafone Group's Public Policy Director has paid a two-day working visit to Ghana. BizTechAfrica reports that he met with key stakeholders in the Policy and Regulatory environment as well as key Government officials, Advocacy groups and Media representatives. Reinisch was appointed Group Public Policy Director in October 2012 and is responsible for Vodafone Group's public policy, both internally and with external government and regulatory bodies. He previously held senior regulatory roles in Vodafone Germany and Vodafone Group and has been active in the telecoms industry for more than 15 years as Director, Regulatory Development for the COLT Group.

Israel: Bought by Bezeq - Bezeq is to acquire the outstanding 50.22 percent of Israeli satellite platform Yes from partner Eurocom. The terms set out by the Antitrust Commissioner in its March 2014 merger decision will be followed. Approval by the competition authorities is expected. Bezeq will pay Eurocom an initial ILS 680 million (USD 172.2 million), with further payments of ILS 200 million paid according to tax synergies and ILS 170 million based on results over the next three years.

Jordan: Digital space seminar - Zain Jordan is hosting the first 2-day Digital & Innovation Forum for all of Zain's operating companies. This will see the senior management from its eight operations discuss strategies and opportunities in driving digital frontier and innovation. This builds on the establishment of the Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation (ZDFI) business unit in 2014, which is charged with launching Zain into the digital space through new business streams, and focuses on the areas of innovation; digital services; corporate venturing; and smart cities. Zain Group Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, Emre Gurkan led the Forum.

Kenya: Digital demise - The Communication Authority of Kenya has closed down the analogue signals of NTV, QTV, Citizen TV and KTN. This follows the CAK's directive to migrate to the digital platform at midnight on 13/14 February 2015. BizTechAfrica reports that the CAK gave the order following a ruling by the Supreme Court that reinstated the CAK's analogue TV shutdown timetable. This envisaged all analogue TV signals being switched off in Nairobi on 31 December 2014. But Nation Media Group (owner of NTV and QTV), Royal Media Services (owner of Citizen TV) and Standard Media Group (owner of KTN) contested the order in court. CAK intends to switch-off all analogue broadcasting by end of March ahead of the ITU?s global deadline of the end of June 2015.

Kenya: Internet interchange - The Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) is 13 years old and has 30 peering members making it one of the largest Internet exchanges in Sub Saharan Africa the Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) has said. It is now seeing an average of 1.2Gbps in bandwidth exchange compared to 900Kbps ten years ago. TESPOK noted that the existence of an effective KIXP induced Google to place a cache in Kenya, which has significantly increased the amount of locally distributed content (notably YouTube videos).

Kenya: Start-up success - The USD 1 million Spark Venture Fund for tech start-ups initiated by Safaricom now has 33 businesses shortlisted, according to Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore. The fund will offer equity investments and other debt instruments of between USD 75,000 - USD 250,000. Disrupt Africa reported that since the launch two months ago the Fund has received over 200 enquiries, and 125 applications have been submitted. Joe Ogutu, Safaricom's Director of Strategy and Innovation said the fund was seen as 'a much needed catalyst that will help actualise our aspiration to nurture a vibrant ICT economy in Kenya'.

Lebanon: Educational deal expansion - Dr. Imad Hoballah, TRA Acting Chairman and CEO, and Dr. Elias El Hachem, President of CNAM (Institut Sup?rieur des Sciences Appliqu?es et ?conomiques) on Friday 13 February 2015 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This agreement is an extension of the deal signed between the TRA and the Lebanese University in 2012, and aims to strengthening the relation between the Authority and the CNAM through the exchange of information, expertise and knowledge. The MoU covers various areas such as Student Project Topics, presentations and updates, R&D activities, workshop and training activities where the TRA shall be providing assistance to the students and graduates.

Mauritania: Renewal ratified - Mauritel has paid an estimated USD 100 million to renew its mobile network licence, Alamalnews has reported. The licence was formally renewed during Maroc Telecom CEO Abdeslam Ahizoune's visit to Nouakchott. Mauritel has a market share of 57 percent and generated revenues of USD 45 million from its subscriber base of 4 million customers. It competes against Tunisie Telecom's Mattel and Sudatel Mauritania.

Nigeria: Aerial alternative - Phase3 Telecom has called on telcos to explore the deployment of aerial OFC to assure seamless services, claiming that it provides a more reliable option than metro terrestrial fibre, which is susceptible to damage. Chief Executive Officer Stanley Jegede said aerial fibre optics technology is unique and provides the best and most reliable transmission medium connecting cities in Nigeria and across the West African sub-region. Phase3 is connecting several cities including Ibadan and Kaduna to its Internet protocol/multiprotocol label switching (IP/MPLS) point-of-access.

Nigeria: Confident recovery- Pyramid Research forecasts the mobile subscriber base growing to 182 million by 2019. The market is forecast to generate USD 10.9 billion in 2019, up from USD 9.2 billion in 2013. Growth will be slightly reduced in 2015, as the market recovers from the large number of fixed-line disconnections. The report suggests that long-term growth of the sector will not to be affected, and will grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2 percent over the next five years, with mobile data increasing at 16 percent up until 2019. Severin Luebke, analyst at Pyramid Research, said: "Political instability and low oil prices have led to a depreciation of the Naira against the US dollar, but the telecommunications market will remain an integral part of the country's efforts to diversify its sources of growth. " Luebke added: "Other countries in Africa are likely to follow Nigeria when it comes to mobile technology developments. The increasing demand for mobile data will offer service providers, as well as new entrants to the market, ample opportunity to test and grow their service offerings in Nigeria. " Further details are here.

Nigeria: Stakeholder spectrum forum - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is now exploring options for licensing users in the 70/80GHz Spectrum band. The NCC is to set-up an industry consultative forum, and is inviting stakeholders, service providers, investors, financiers, VAS providers, and experts to participate. The forum is to be held at 10 a.m. on 12 March 2015 at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Ikeja. Further details ate available from Engr. Austine Nwaulune tel: 0803 3147953 e-mail: nwaulune@ncc.gov.ng.

Qatar: Games galore - Ooredoo has launched the Ooredoo Gaming portal enabling smartphone users to play games on-the-go, and download and play unlimited games on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It includes more than 500 games including genres such as puzzles, sports, racing, arcade & action and strategy. Subscriptions start at QAR 1 (USD 0.27) per day on a recurring daily subscription, and weekly and monthly recurring subscriptions are available at QAR 5 and QAR 20 respectively. Savio Saldanha, CEO, Middle East & Africa, Nazara Technologies, which is working with Ooredoo on the portal, said Ooredoo users will have an unlimited access to its portfolio of titles across genres and mobile platforms.

South Africa: Divisive decoder ad dropped - Multichoice has been prevented from running a TV advertisement by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for its decoder exchange service, MyBroadband has reported. The ad indicated that customers needed to visit a Multichoice agent and 'make the swap for a new one'. However a small disclaimer in white on a light green background read: 'Terms and Conditions apply. Not applicable to SA.' It was argued that the ad was misleading, as the trade-in offer is only available outside South Africa. Multichoice said viewers outside the country shared the same satellite as South African viewers. Multichoice said the ad had been dropped.

South Africa: Jamming session - The government appears to have employed an illegal technology to effectively censor coverage of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 12 February, ITWeb has reported. Members realised that there was no mobile signal some 15 minutes into the speech. The SOS Coalition claims that Parliament has contravened a law it 'passed in that very chamber'; the Electronic Communications Act mandates ICASA to prevent harmful interference to radio signals. ICASA prohibited jamming devices in 2002, and again in 2011 and 2012.

Tanzania: Rural connectivity - By the end of March the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) will have spent some TZS 3.4 billion (USD 1.8 million) to provide mobile telephony and Internet to 20 wards on the Tanzanian Mainland that currently have no connection, the Daily News reported. TTCL Chief Commercial Officer in Zanzibar, Hussein Nguvu, made the statement during the launch of the new tower at Keigei village in Nachingwea, Lindi Region. Also, a total of 33 wards will benefit with the Universal Communication Services Access Fund (UCSAF), which TTCL will receive a total of USD 6.026 million to facilitate the second phase of the project.

Togo: Network enhancments - Togocel is readying to join the rapidly growing African 4G club, and has said that is will launch both 4G and mobile banking in 2015, MedAfricaTimes reported. State-owned Togocel competes with Maroc Telecom-owned Moov-Togo. Togocel launched in July 1998, and is a subsidiary of Togo Telecom, with more than 3 million subscribers (99 percent prepaid) and enjoys a 75 percent market share.

Tunisia: Small-print sought - Tunisie Telecom and Orange Tunisia have failed to address the concerns expressed by INT in a notice issued to them on 12 September 2014 regarding what it termed 'illegal advertising practices'. INT therefore decided at a meeting on 13 January 2015 to issue directives to these two operators, ordering them to immediately end the practices related to conditions in their advertised rates and commercial offers. It called for the offers to be made in a clear and transparent manner, with call charges clearly stated in all advertising media.

United Arab Emirates: Retailing renaissance - du has opened four new stores in Abu Dhabi, using the existing franchise model to cater to its growing customer base. The new outlets are at Deerfields Mall, Mushrif Mall and Al Khalidiya. The new outlet at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi caters to both consumers and enterprises. du plans a 19 percent expansion of its retail network, with 10 new franchise outlets scheduled to open during 2015. It opened its first shop-within-a-shop concept in 2011 with Virgin Megastores, followed by opening the world?s fourth Apple shop-within-a-shop concept within du retail space.

Zimbabwe: Digital doctoring - Econet has unveiled a dial-a-doctor service through its Econet Health division. Subscribers can get medical information on their mobile phones from qualified doctors for USD 0.70 cents a minute. The service will be made available on social media platforms and via SMS in the next stage. This leaves a subscriber with a need to assume the cost for another visit to a medical centre for the prescription. TechZim noted that by comparison a visit to a State clinic costs USD 5.