News in Brief 6 November 2013

Algeria: New chair - The Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications has announced Mohamed Toufik Bessai, former Board member, has been appointed Chairman of the ARPT. The appointment was made by the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and formally installed in his post on 28 October 2013 by Mrs Zohra Derdouri, Minister of Post and Information Technology and Communication.

Bahrain: Security service - Batelco has launched a video surveillance service on its 4G LTE network. The CCTV video surveillance enables businesses to monitor their premises with instant online access using HD (High Definition) and real time video for centralised monitoring. Batelco GM (Enterprise Division) Adel Daylami said the service eliminates the need for fixed connectivity, so allowing easy and smooth deployment within a short time span.

Egypt: Cloud coverage - Tawasul Telecom has signed a co-operation deal with Etisalat Misr to offer data transfer services and international connectivity between its branches, utilising the MPLS technology. Tawasul Telecom CEO, Hani Al-Shakhs said it would continue to extend and develop its cloud network particularly in the business sector aiming at linking its global operations. Tawasul's cloud network now covers 10 active markets; namely Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, UK, Germany, Singapore and Egypt.

Ghana: Bonus balances - Glo is offering subscribers with a zero balance free calls with its Glo Bounce promotion. Glo Mobile Ghana?s Head of Business, Akeem Kazeem, said users would be rewarded with up to 100 percent instant bonus airtime every time they recharge which they can use to make calls to all networks, send SMS and browse the Internet.

Cote d'Ivoire: Customer complaints - Aggrieved Moov Côte d'Ivoire subscribers have set up a Facebook page to provide a focus for customer complaints. The page features a caricature of the Moov logo with a dig at Moov's 'No Limit' with 'We will show you your limits'. The page is at https://www.facebook.com/DeleteMoov.

Jordan: Timely travel aid - Orange Jordan has launched 'Orange Travel' for post-paid subscribers allowing them to track of international roaming costs whilst abroad. The app enables users to choose the best network that suits their needs, as well as being able to preset outgoing minutes, incoming minutes, number of text messages (SMS) and the usage of Internet service (MB). Orange Jordan Roaming Unit Manager Anwar Hamdan said the will help users to manage expenditure levels whilst travelling.

Kenya: Conversion scheme closed - A scheme to convert Safaricom's Bonga Points to cash has been closed down by the operator. Onfon Media was buying loyalty points from Safaricom subscribers at KES 0.20 each and selling them for KES 0.35. BusinessDailyAfrica reports that the platform was operational last Wednesday and is said to have handled more than 10,000 orders in the four hours it was on air before being closed down by Safaricom. Customers earn a point for every KES10 spent on voice calls, SMS, Internet and some chargeable M-PESA transactions

 

Kenya: Lumia latest - The Nokia Lumia 1020 is being offered by Safaricom. Bruce Howe, General Manager of Nokia East Africa, said: "...the first Lumia?s based on Windows Phone 8 earlier this year...has resonated with our consumers. " Morris Maina, Safaricom?s head of Internet and Content, said such partnerships enabled it to push 'towards our goal of achieving wider and quality mobile Internet experiences for the customer...'

Kenya: Payment promotion - Safaricom and Western Union are jointly offering a promotional deal that allows Western Union users in Europe to send money to M-PESA accounts for free until the end of 2013. The promotion is available to Western Union customers sending money from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Greece and Poland.

Nigeria: BlackBerry bounty - Globacom has halved tariffs for BlackBerry plans together with an increase in the data allowance for both BlackBerry 10 plans and the generic BlackBerry plans, BusinessDay reported. In a statement issued by Adeniyi Olukoya, Globacom?s Marketing Co-ordinator said that the Absolute Month platform, which was NGN 2,800 (USD 17.40) with 3GB data, is now available for NGN 1, 000 with 3GB data. Other plans have seen similar reductions.

 

Nigeria: Daily deduction - MTN Nigeria has introduced an airtime-based life insurance service for its subscribers, according to Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer at MTN, Babatunde Osho. For NGN 15 daily, subscribers could enjoy NGN 350,000 life insurance cover, ThisDay reported. The MTN Y'ello policy covers medical expenses incurred in case of accidents and also pays benefits in the case of accidents resulting in permanent disability or demise.

Qatar: iPhone cometh - Vodafone Qatar has said that the iPhone 5s and 5c can be pre-ordered through its Website. Subscribers will be able to collect their handsets from 7 November.

South Africa: E-education - Telkom Business is partnering with private education provider, Damelin, in a mobile deal that aims to help students stay connected and in touch. The promotion will see 40,000 SIM cards handed to students for free, over a three-month period. This is part a strategic initiative known as Project Athena. The next phase of the agreement will see free Wi-Fi rolled out to designated Damelin sites.

South Africa: Smart revision - Samsung Electronics South Africa and Mindset Network have announced a partnership that makes content and revision material available for Grades 10-12, on eligible Galaxy devices until 31 December 2013. The broadcast lessons for cover mathematics, physical sciences, life sciences, geography, accounting, English FAL, IT and history.

 

Swaziland: Dominant dog - In a submission to the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on ICT, Swazi MTN has said that the Communications Act gave SPTC the exclusive right to maintain and operate the national telecoms backbone infrastructure, but that it is unreliable and expensive to operators. It added that SPTC?s pricing model is anti-competitive and makes it extremely expensive for the operators. It called for liberalisation of the sector.

United Arab Emirates: Exclusive to Etisalat - Etisalat has announced its exclusive launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom 4G LTE smartphone. Etisalat is offering the Galaxy S4 Zoom 4G LTE in three plans. Under the Post-paid Plan, customers pay AED 199 (USD 54.16) per month over an 18-month contract period and receive the device and a 1GB monthly data allocation. With the Post-paid non-contract plan, customers pay AED 1,999 (USD 544) for the device and AED 225 (USD 61.23) per month for a monthly data allocation of 10 GB. Under the pre-paid plan, customers pay AED 1,999 for the device and a monthly 1GB data allocation. After three months this data allocation is charged at AED 99 per month.

Zimbabwe: Better browsing - Telecel Zimbabwe reports the number of subscribers using the Opera Mini, Telecel's co-branded Web browser, has risen six-fold over the last 18 months, without reference to actual number. It was launched locally in February 2012. Opera Mini compresses data file sizes by up to 90 percent, resulting in browsing speeds that are 10 times faster than normal and lower data costs for those who use it.

Zimbabwe: Mobile medicine - Econet Wireless is to launch its Econet Disease Surveillance Network (EDSN). The operator says it has been working with partners in America to develop a test kit, which can be installed at any rural clinic or hospital. A blood sample from a finger prick is placed on a strip of absorbent paper impregnated with antibodies, which changes colour if there is an infection. A photograph using a mobile phone camera, supplied as part of the kit, is sent to a computer that provides a diagnosis that is sent back to the remote clinic by SMS. The test covers malaria, HIV, dengue, influenza and hepatitis B.

Zimbabwe: Tele-cash - TechZim reports Telecel is readying to launch its Telecash mobile money service in November to compete with Econet's EcoCash and NetOne's OneWallet. The journal reports that agents are currently being recruited.