News in Brief 20 June 2013

Botswana: Mobile medicine - A 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for M-health services for more than 19 villages has been signed by Orange Botswana and the Ministry of Health (MoH), The Monitor has reported. In February 2009, Orange launched a pilot with the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, to provide a mobile health and telemedicine solution. The Ministry has now taken over the project and is incorporating it into its long-term health strategy. When it was initiated, it focused only on mobile oral telemedicine but now the project includes mobile tele-dermatology, tele-radiology, and mobile cervical cancer screening.

Egypt: Seat substituted - Telecom Egypt has announced the appointment of new board member Dr. Ashraf El-Sayed El-Araby, replacing Hassan Helmy for the remainder of the current term.

Ghana: No show Joe - Ghana Business News reports that Joe Ghartey, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, on Monday failed to appear before the Accra Fast Track High Court hearing the case involving the sale of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone in 2008. Ghartey is now Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and was the Attorney General and Minister of Justice at the time of the sale. It was unclear whether the subpoena had been successfully delivered.

Israel: Defensive dialling - The Minister of Communications has announced a new toll-free emergency number, 104, for Home Front Command's public emergency call centre. The new number will be implemented on 20 June 2013. All license instructions regarding public emergency services will apply to the new number, as is the case with the existing emergency numbers (such as police, medical first aid, and fire fighters). The MoC says all relevant licensees, including the domestic fixed and mobile operators, will be obliged in routing, no later than 20 June, all calls from subscribers to 104 will have identical routing to the present Home Front Command's 1207 number; the only difference being that the 104 call will be toll-free, as opposed to the 1207 number which bears the cost of a regular call.

Kenya: Bus broadband - Safaricom is providing free Wi-Fi for commuters via modems installed in public service vehicles (or matatus). The service will be free for the first month, but Safaricom is surveying users to determine future pricing. Currently the cost is KES 1,500 (USD 17.20) per vehicle per month, CIO East Africa has reported.

Kenya: yu-turn - Essar Telecom Kenya, (yuMobile) is now to invest in a 3G network; it originally planned to move directly to 4G Long. CEO Madhur Taneja told Business Daily Africa that it has applied for a USD 25 million data concession from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). However, it too faces issues of liquidity and is reported to have contracted BNP Paribas to find a suitable strategic investor by September.

Nigeria: Business bottle - Airtel Nigeria has appointed Segun Macaulay as its Regional Operations Director for West Region. Macaulay started his career in 1993 with Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited as Field Marketing Manager. In 2010 he joined Diageo and was assigned to Tanzania where he led the business acquisition team. Macaulay joins from East African Breweries Limited, Kenya.

Nigeria: Cell site confiscation - The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) has said the recent seizure of a Globacom base station by the National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) is illegal. This Day reports that NESREA claims Glo failed to conduct a Site Specific Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before commissioning the unit. NATCOMS claims NESREA is acting outside its remit, having impounded a number of stations, and that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the appropriate regulatory body.

Nigeria: Short News Service - Globacom has launched the Glo-Mpaper mobile newspaper. This Day reports Adeniyi Olukoya, Globacom's Marketing Coordinator, as saying news alerts are available via SMS. Breaking news from local and international newspapers is available via SMS and WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), and users can subscribe to three different newspapers. The charge is deducted from the pre-paid current balance, while a post-paid users are billed as normal. The service costs NGN 50 (USD 0.31) per week.

Qatar: Fast fibre - Ooredoo is to invest more than QAR 1 billion (USD 274 million) to develop its domestic fibre optic network so that it passes all residences by the end of 2014, Arabian Business reported Waleed Al Sayed, Chief Operating Officer at Ooredoo, as saying. It commercially launched Ooredoo Fibre in January 2012, and is currently connected to more than 50,000 customers. Ooredoo Business Fibre, offering similar speeds, will target small and medium sized businesses. At the start of June it said it had completed the commercial launches of its 4G mobile network in Qatar and Oman, with Kuwait due later in 2013.

Saudi Arabia: Efficient energy - The Economic Times of India reports Telecom Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) in advanced talks with Saudi Telecom and OmanTel for green energy solutions to power tower networks. These would be turnkey projects by TCIL's offshore joint venture, TCIL Saudi Communications Ltd (TSCL), in which the state-run telco is the majority stakeholder. Hybrid power solutions will combine renewable energy and grid power. TCIL Chairman and Managing Director Vimal Wakhlu said that similar green energy initiatives were also expected in key African markets. This is in addition to a number of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) ventures that TCIL is executing in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.

South Africa: Options mulled over - Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko has said that there are no plans to merger with mobile operator, Cell C. BusinessTech reports Maseko as saying that the operator was not in talks, at its annual results presentation. There has been speculation for some time that Telkom and Cell C are working on a merger plan. He did, however, say he had spoken with 'all the operators', and that 'all options' were on the table.

South Africa:Vodacom Vacancy? - Vodacom International Chief Executive Johan Dennelind is expected to be named as the new CEO at TeliaSonera, the Reuters news agency reported. Telia, 37 percent owned by the Swedish government and Europe's sixth largest operator by market value, has been headed by its CFO since former CEO Lars Nyberg resigned in February 2013. Dennelind is Swedish by birth and was CFO and deputy CEO at Telenor Sweden, although starting his career in the early 1990s with Telia.