News in Brief 27 June 2013

Cameroon: Bandwidth bonanza - MTN has launched its Xtra surf package. Based on WIMAX 16e technology, bandwidths of up to 2Mbps are being offered. Free until 31 July 2013, the package is freely available in Yaounde and Douala, and in other select areas. It can be personalised or shared through a single Wi-Fi terminal. The package has minute, daily, weekly and monthly tariffs as well as special night access rates.

Ghana: Good Glo - The Minister for Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah said on a visit to Glo's head office that he was 'delighted' that 52 percent of its base stations were located in rural areas. The Minister noted that criminals used sections of roads that did not have coverage for their activities, and increased coverage helped reduced these areas. The Minister also noted that Glo had put in place a fraud management system.

Iran: Telecoms triumphant - The telecoms sector is expected to account for 8 percent of the country's GDP, IRNA quoted Iranian Communications and Information Technology Mohammad-Hassan Nami as saying.

Israel: Cable calendar - Cisco Systems' CEO John Chambers has been asked to reduce the timescale for the fibre optic project by the Prime Minister and Minister of Communications, the Globes news agency has reported. The CEO in turn requested that the government reduce the time taken to issue the licence, to allow work to start as soon as possible. The project has to cover 65 percent of residences within seven years. During the first four years the vendor determines installation, but in the final three years it must deploy cable in the periphery and in central areas simultaneously. National deployment must be completed within 20 years.

Jordan: Airport Antennas - The Queen Alia International Airport has deployed SITA interfaces across all IT and telecommunications services. SITA selected Zinwave?s distributed antenna system (DAS), the System 3000, because of its flexibility and its ability to support multiple services and frequencies on a single hardware layer. TETRA coverage is being provided within all areas of the airport. Visual impact has been minimised with respect to roof structures and cabling.

Jordan: New network - According to the Xinhua press agency, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority on Monday invited bids for a new telecom operator licence. The report said that local, regional and international investors, as well as current operators, could submit bids for new licenses to provide 2G, 3G and 4G services. The deadline for submissions is 1 September.

Morocco: Maroc Telecom move - Maroc Telecom (IAM) has moved into its 23 storey ?Tour de Verre? headquarters building in the capital Rabat, so providing accommodating for its operations under one roof. The new building can accommodate 800 staff and the cost is put at some USD 120 million.

Nigeria: SIM seduction - In a bid to boost SIM card registrations Globacom is offering unregistered subscribers who register before the 30 June deadline NGN 1,000 (USD 6) of free airtime. Globacom said that the free credit offer is to encourage subscribers to use the remaining window to register their cards.

Saudi Arabia: Socialable Saudis - The population of Saudi Arabia is one of the most active users of content sharing in the region. Rupesh Chatwani, Technology Vice Chairman at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) made the claim when speaking at the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai, according to Gulf News. Saudi Arabia apparently accounts for more than half of Arab users on Twitter, according to the fifth edition of the Arab Social Media report series, recently launched by the Governance and Innovation Programme at the Dubai School of Government.

Tanzania: News text - Mobile operator Tigo and The Guardian newspaper have jointly announced the launch of News SMS. Premier Mobile Solutions (PMS) are providing 'Guardian SMS 'and' NIPASHE SMS technical support for the two services. News headlines for the keyword nominated will be charged at TZS 99 (USD 0.06) per day. Tigo launched in 1994 and was the first mobile network in Tanzania. It now covers 26 regions in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Tunisia: Stake for sale - Dubai Holdings? Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT) is selling its 35 percent stake in state-owned Tunisie Telecom (TT), the government said on Friday. The stake was bought for USD 2.25 billion in 2006. EIT has been concerned about strike action and demands for higher pay. TT has more than 4 million mobile subscribers and a million fixed-lines.

Uganda: Transfers to be taxed - Uganda is to follow Kenya, with the introduction of 10 percent tax on money transfers made by mobile phone. Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka made the announcement as part of the 2013-14 budget. The tax will be imposed on mobile operators who are expected to pass on the charges to subscribers; some UGX 32 billion (USD 12.26 million) is expected to be raised annually. A tax on incoming international calls is also expected to raise USD 16.5 million annually, according to the BBC.

Yemen: Fiscal falsification denied - The Yemen Post reports several press sources, including the General People's Congress in-house newspaper, as saying that Sabafon has falsified its tax returns. Last week Sabafon issued a statement in which it denied the accusations. It rejected the claim that billionaire businessman Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar, Sabafon Chairman sought to defraud the state by manipulating the company's finances and profit margins.