News in Brief 23 April 2014

Afghanistan: Tower totals - Afghanistan ended 2013 with 5,383 base stations, up from 5,119 at the end of 2012, according to the Ministry of Communications and IT. Total investment stood at USD 2.24 billion. Over 88.6 percent of the population had access to telecom services, the ministry said.

Bahrain: Attacks arrested - Canada-based DOSarrest is to provide cloud based DDoS security protection services to Bahrain Telecom (Batelco) for its enterprise customers as part of its cloud portfolio. Batelco Enterprise General Manager Adel Daylami said: "DDoS Mitigation solution is designed to protect customers? networks against any malicious attempts by containing the harm of such attacks, thus ensuring the operational status of the organisation. "

Cameroon: Nine number notification - The Telecommunications Regulatory Board (TRB) has called for bids for the implementation of a communication campaign to support the change of the telephone numbering system to nine digits. Bids are to be submitted by 12 noon on 29 April 2014. The bidding document is here.

Egypt: Disability dealt with - The Daily News reported that TE Data has hired 10 people with hearing disabilities to serve similarly disabled clients. The new service is called M3ak (Arabic for 'with you'). TE Data Communication Manager Mervat Abu Shady said customers with hearing disabilities could request technical assistance through videoconferences with trained TE Data agents and use sign language to communicate. The move followed the discovery that people with hearing disabilities spend much of their time surfing the Internet as it is an easier form of communication.

Ghana: Booming broadband - National Internet penetration is expected to reach 50 percent in 2019 compared with the current 17 percent according to Vodafone Ghana CEO Haris Broumidis. The CAJ News report suggested network expansion and a significant increase in the spread of smartphones and tablets would drive this. He was speaking at the West Africa Telecom Summit in Accra. Since 2008 data has grown from primarily a SAT 3 fibre optic cable to 3G, and Internet penetration has grown from 7 to 24 percent in 2014.

Egypt: Mobile windfall - National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) head Hisham El-Alayleyi told Reuters last week that Telecom Egypt (TE) will pay the regulator some 6 percent of its mobile revenues. Mobile services are expected to be launched within three months following the issuing of a unified license which would allow state-owned TE to offer mobile services using mobile operators' existing infrastructure for a fee of EGP 2.5 billion (USD 352.8 million).

Jordan: Job alerts - Umniah is to work with employment Website to provide its users with a smartphone app that provides notifications of new job vacancies. Director of Marketing at Umniah, Omar Al Omoush, said: "Since Umniah?s establishment in the local market, the telecoms company has made youth their main priority, particularly in helping them find jobs. "

Kuwait: Legal expertise - Corporate law firm Al Ruwayeh & Partners (ASAR) has been appointed as legal counsel to Boubyan Bank in relation to a USD 250 million four-year Murabaha facility to meet Zain Group?s financial needs across its operational and for future expansion plans. The lenders are a syndicate of financial institutions led by Boubyan Bank with participation of Kuwait International Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank.

Kuwait: No change for Zain - Zain has is to continue its relationship with advertising agency Mindshare. The agency has held the regional account since 2009 and the local accounts for Kuwait and Bahrain since 2002 and 2003. Campaign ME magazine noted that a number of international agency networks with a regional presence were invited to pitch. As part of Zain?s non-equity Vodafone Partner Agreement, the review was also held in collaboration with Vodafone.

Namibia: Certification contracted - Telecom Namibia is to employ Pearson VUE to provide IT certification test delivery using its VUE Testing System. The computer-based testing system administers exams for leading IT certification programs such as Cisco, Oracle, CompTIA, Citrix, EMC, Novell, VMware and others through a global network of quality test centres.



Saudi Arabia: Computer co-operation - Mobily has signed with IBM to enhance the existing Mobily-IBM alliance. Mobily is now a tier 1 partner to provide certain IBM hardware products. It will allow Mobily to diversify the services provided to the business sector, in addition to providing organisations an end to end solution covering hardware, software, and connectivity through a one stop shop model, which will reduce IT infrastructure spending and increase efficiency.

Saudi Arabia: High users targeted - Mobily has launched its Prime 100 promotion targeting high value customers who consume high voice and data bundle. Users can subscribe for SAR 100 (USD 26.65) a week and weekly benefits include 2,000 minutes, 150 SMS within Mobily?s network, 150 SMS for other operators in addition to a 2GB data package. The unused minutes and SMS messages can be carried forward to the following week?s balance on renewal.

Saudi Arabia: Profitable period - Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) reported a 4.5 percent rise in its first quarter net profit SAR 1.4 billion (USD 373.2 million), up from SAR 1.34 billion (USD 357.2 million) in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Senegal: 4G thoughts - Orange's Director General Stephane Richard said in an RTS television programme that he had discussed the provision of 4G with the President of the Republic, Macky Sall.

Senegal: Competitive cash - Tigo Senegal launched its Tigo Cash money transfer service in early April, using an Ericsson platform. Tigo CEO Diego Camberos told Le Soleil newspaper that its customers could use the service to send money to customers of any operator, a facility unique to Tigo Cash. It has opened 2,000 points of sale nationally and also intends to work with distribution partners.

Senegal: Telecom tenth of GDP - Telecommunications contributes some 10.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); contribution 23 percent of economic growth and generated 60,000 jobs. The numbers are from a study undertaken by Dr. Raul Katz on the growing economic impact of telecommunications conducted in October 2013. Katz warned that a fourth operator would not be productive for the sector, citing Brazil where four operators saw services degraded.

South Africa: Bundles bigged-up - Cell C is to raise its out of bundle data rates, with its Website suggesting a 560 percent increase with effect from 1 May 2014. Smartdata bundles will increase from ZAR 0.15 per MB to ZAR 0.99 per MB. Cell C originally reduced its standard data rate to ZAR 0.15 per MB. MyBroadband quoted Cell C as saying that its bundles now offer customers some of the lowest in-bundle rates.

South African: Media man - MobiMedia, mobile marketing agency, has appointed Craig Newton as its new lead mobile developer. Desere Orrill, Group Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the Ole! Media Group and Managing Director of MobiMedia said: "Newton is an asset to our team and we look forward to working together to continue to grow our skills offering and deliver the most advanced services to our clients in South Africa and throughout Africa. "

South Africa: MTR martyrs - Nashua Mobile, with almost a million users has already announced its plans to wind down its operations following ICASA's ruling on MTRs. TechCentral notes that Altech Autopage Cellular is the other remaining independent mobile service providers. Altron, however, said it is in a closed period and cannot make any statements about Autopage?s performance, with 2014 results due on 14 May.

South Africa: New man not named - Keith Matthews, Managing Director of BT in South Africa and General Manager of the sub-Saharan Africa region, is stepping down at the end of April according to TechCentral. A successor is believed to have been appointed. BT, formerly known as British Telecom, employs 170 people in sub-Saharan Africa, of which about 150 are based in South Africa. It provides IT and telecommunications services to large companies in the region.

Tanzania: Fuel facilitated - Motorists can now use M-Pesa to top up their cars at Total Tanzania petrol stations. Local paper The Guardian reported Vodacom Tanzania External Affairs Manager, Salum Mwalim as saying at the launch last week that the service that users will no longer need to carry cash just to pay for fuel. There are currently over 55,000 M-Pesa agents nationally.

Turkey: Cable deal completed - Superonline Iletisim Hizmetleri (Turkcell Superonline), a wholly owned unit of Turkcell, has acquired all the shares of Metronet Iletisim Teknoloji (Metronet), an affiliate of ES Mali Yatirim ve Danismanlik Group. This was completed on 15 April after obtained the necessary approvals. Turkcell Superonline's fibre in-city coverage will now stand at 14 cities, up from the present 12. Turkcell Superonline home pass will increase by approximately 100,000 when Metronet's infrastructure integration is completed. Metronet's enterprise value was estimated to be TRY 29 million (USD 13.6 million).

Uganda: Dealer jolly - Murchison Falls National Park was the destination for a dealer's conference organised by MTN Uganda. MTN said in a press statement that the meeting had been convened to bring the 12 MTN dealers and its management closer. The conference reviewed MTN's performance for 2013, and reviewed its business strategy for 2014.

United Arab Emirates: Multiple mobile users - Etisalat has launched shared mobile data plans for multiple users. Its Business DataShare plans allow businesses to choose from smaller data packs such as 5GB and as their business grows, the size of data packs can go up to 30GB per month. They facilitate sharing of data among multiple users. Starting at AED 249 (USD 67.78) per month, business the pool can accommodate up to eight users.

Yemen: Ministerial meeting - Ministers from Yemen and Djibouti met earlier this week to discuss co-operation in respect of telecommunication and posts. The meeting reviewed the details of the Aden-Djibouti Sea submarine cable project and so determine the points agreed as a prelude to a future co-operation agreement draft. The session was co-chaired by Yemen's Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry Undersecretary Abdul-Latif Abu Ghanem and Djiboutian Minister of Communication in charge of Posts and Telecommunications Ali Hassan Bahdon.