News in Brief 04 April 2013

Afghanistan: Interconnect qualified - The Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has issued a Decision on the method to be used for calculating the costs of interconnection between telecom networks in Afghanistan. The full document is here.

Africa: Partnership - Nokia and Bharti Airtel have announced a sales partnership in Africa. Bharti will sell a selection of Nokia?s services such as mobile-phone software and Internet browser, starting in Kenya. The services are already available in Nigeria. Consumers who buy Nokia software to be used on their mobile phones in Nigeria and Kenya will be billed by Bharti.

Bahrain: British buy - As anticipated last week, Batelco Group formally completed its acquisition of all Cable and Wireless assets in the UK's Isle of Man and Channel Islands on 3 April 2013. Eddie Saints, Chief Executive of Sure Operations Channel Islands and Isle of Man said he was confident Batelco will invest 'significantly' in the local mobile and broadband infrastructure. Batelco Group CEO Mohamed Al Khalifa described the event as 'an important milestone'.

Ghana: Nominations notified - Vodafone Ghana has recorded 13 nominations for the 3rd Ghana Telecom Awards scheduled for 31 May 2013, hosted by MobileWorld Magazine. Vodafone Ghana?s CEO, Kyle Whitehill is nominated as CEO of the year, while Vodafone Foundation is nominated for implementing of the ?CSR initiative of the year?. Other nominations are Best Business Solution of the year, Best Customer Service, Marketing Campaign of the year, Operator of the year, Best ISP of the year, Mobile Innovative Product of the year, Telecom Brand of the year and Telecom Wholesale of the year (Vodafone Wholesale).

Kenya: Communications communicator - Telkom Kenya has named Ms. Maureen Sande as its Chief Corporate Communications Officer, with effect from 14 January 2013. Sande was previously with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and her prior posts include British American Tobacco as its Head of Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility (East & Central Africa) and UNAIDS and Ogilvy Public Relations Kenya.

Liberia: Cable improvements - The Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) said there would be a minimal Internet service in a 5-day period staring on 27 March as a program to resolve a number of technical issues in the network between Dakar, Senegal and Lezerbond was implemented. The aim is to improve access to the Ace Cable.

Liberia: Distributor distribution - Lonestar Cell MTN has launched its 'Air Time all the Time' promotion to expand the distribution of its products through trained airtime dealers. Dealers previously had to visit a Lonestar Cell office to acquire airtime: now MTN airtime distributors will deliver scratch and SIM cards and mobile money service kits to local dealers nationally. Distributors will be issued with Lonestar Cell branded motor bikes.

Libya: Internet betterment - Chief Marketing Officer of Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT), Ahmed Mansur Habil told the Tripoli Post in a recent interview that it is working to increasing the capacity of its ADSL service to support up to 60,000 more subscribers. Habil also said it plans to expand its Wimax network from 18 cities currently to over 140.

Middle East: Operator-centric domains - Gulf News reports that Etisalat and Qatar Telecom are seeking their own top-level domains (TLDs). In March the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) released the initial evaluations of around 60 applicants. Etisalat passed its first application for the TLD ?etisalat? in Arabic letters, and has also applied for ?etisalat? in English: the initial evaluation of the application is expected to be released later in 2013.

Saudi Arabia: Stand-in Awards - Mobily?s CEO Khalid Al-Kaf has been named as the best telecom sector CEO at the ITP annual ceremony in Riyadh. Abdul Aziz Khoja, Minister of Culture and Information has lent his support to the event, although Abdullah Al-Jassir, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information made the award. Abdullah Al-Hariri, Mobily?s Executive Manager of Media Relations received the award on behalf of the CEO.

United Arab Emirates: Cable cut - Etisalat confirmed a break in the SMW4 submarine system close to Alexandria in the Mediterranean sea. Etisalat said it contingency plans to re-route traffic had minimised customer impact.