News in Brief 16 October 2014

Angola: Fix fixed please - Jose Severino, Chairman of the Angolan Industrial Association (AIA), requested greater investment by Angola Telecom (AT) in the residential and business fixed line network. Angola Press reported his comments on the sidelines of the roundtable on 'Profitability of Public Telecommunications Infrastructures by Angola Telecom'. AT's Engineer João Adolfo Martins said the telco planned growth through to 2017, an average of 124 percent for residence and 19 percent for the business segment. The residential segment is a priority and the current 28.000 voice users will be provided with broadband.

Africa: Orbital solution for Orange - Eutelsat and Orange have signed a multi-year agreement for C-band capacity on the Eutelsat 3B satellite. The capacity will support a fast response to enterprises by Orange Business Services for communications, as well as serve Orange's own internal requirements. The newly leased resources complement C-band transponders already leased by Orange Business Services on the EUTELSAT 5 West A and EUTELSAT 10A satellites.

Bahrain: 4G fortified - Batelco and Ericsson have signed a new transformation agreement which will see Batelco's 4G network upgraded to provide faster mobile broadband connections. The network is to be expanded to cover new areas. The enhancement project is already under way.

Cameroon: Ministerial mediation - Jeune Afrique reports that there continues to be major divisions in third mobile operator Viettel Cameroon, such that Prime Minister himself, Philemon Yang, has stepped in to mediate between the two Deputy Directors-General, Bayi Moses and Haman Oumar, and Vietnamese Vu Khanh Duy. Contention appears to surround the requirement for dual signatures for business expenses, and the use of some 500 Vietnamese contractors.

Cameroon: Rain stops restoration - Orange Cameroon's General Manager, Elisabeth Medou Badang has apologised for the poor quality of its network over the past few weeks. She blamed network expansion works, although Business in Cameroon suggested that energy outages were causing service interruptions until back-up generators come online. Flooding in the Extreme-North region has made access to sites difficult.

Cameroon: Tax and turnover - Ministry of Postal Services and Telecommunication?s (Minipostel) statistics show that Orange and MTN turned over some XAF 500 billion (USD 966.1 million) in 2013. The Ministry also noted that the sector has created some 6,000 direct jobs and 300,000 indirect jobs. Taxes in the last five years stood at XAF 617 billion (USD 1.2 billion).

 

.

Ghana: Wages for weavers - Blessing Basket is to use Airtel Money to pay workers their wages using their mobile phones. The Blessing Basket model allows artisans to earn more than fair trade wages. The project in Ghana has over 1,600 artisans in six communities, namely Nyariga, Zoko, Sumbrungu, Gambigu, Tanga and Awa, all in the Upper East Region. Its head office is in Nyariga with a centre where weavers meet to have their baskets assessed and transported to Accra for export.

Kenya: Approval anticipated - The Indian Economic Times reports that the joint bid of Safaricom and Bharti Airtel to buy the Essar network assets is likely to be approved by the authorities in December. yuMobile's Chief Executive Officer Madhur Taneja said that the Communications Authority (CA) and Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has already given conditional approval for the deal.

Kenya: Money manager - Airtel has appointed the former head of Safaricom's M-Pesa, Topyster Namasaka Muga, as its new Director of Airtel Money in Kenya. Adil Yousefi, Managing Director of Airtel Kenya, said 'Topyster Namasaka Muga brings unique and individual qualities, cultural and international experience, which will add to the ability of our management team to provide quality services to consumers'.

Liberia: Fuel sought - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has issued a tender for diesel and petrol. All interested suppliers of petroleum products are invited to submit sealed bids to LTA?s Office in Congo Town (D-168 Congo Town Back Road) by 1:00 p.m. on 27 October 2014.

Namibia: Generator gap - An 'unintended' power outage saw Telecom Namibia (TN) struggling to keep services operating in some northern areas from 8 October. Some users experienced shutdowns in GSM, fixed Internet services. In some locations emergency generators provided power, but TN has a number of critical areas currently without back-up. NORED had commitment to restore power by 10 October.

Namibia: Modelling meeting - The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) have jointly hosted a cost modelling and pricing workshop in Windhoek. Thirty seven delegates from Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Telecom Namibia, Paratus Telecom and Mwireless t/a Africa Online attended.

Nigeria: New chair - Former Chief Justice Salihu Alfa Belgore has been appointed as Board Chairman of Bharti Airtel Nigeria. Previously Belgore served as a magistrate in Northern Nigeria and the chairman of several high level tribunals and commissions of inquiry including the Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and National Archives. He is a member in the Technical Committee on Law, Justice and Development in Africa. He was also the Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Commission until he retired in 2007.

Nigeria: Popular partner - Etisalat is to partner with voice and social media mobile apps firm Kirusa. The partnership will see mobile services such as ?Celeb Connect? and ?Sports Connect? being available to Etisalat Nigeria subscribers. The services can be accessed on both smartphones and feature phones, the statement added.

Nigeria: We'll come to you... - Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Executive Vice Chairman Dr. Eugene Juwah has noted that the Ebola Virus has affected the completion processes for the Infrastructure companies (InfraCos) which were expected to drive greater broadband penetration, The Guardian reported. The NCC is behind schedule as the foreign consultants hired for the implementation processes are have opted to stay away, although Juwah said last week he will now visit them. The NCC wants to complete the process 'as soon as possible', starting with Lagos and the North East.

Saudi Arabia: Executive tier strengthened - Mobile operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has named Serkan Okandan as its deputy Chief Executive. Okandan has been Etisalat's Chief Financial Officer since 2012 and has been appointed 'to support the company's daily operational works'; although he will retain his CFO role concurrently.

Senegal: Cloud solution - The National Telecommunications Company (Sonatel) last week formally launched Orange Cloud Pro targeting small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Head of Orange Business Services, Sekou Drame, said the offering recognised the increasing mobility of the work force, the development of social networks, the constant evolution of technology and an explosion of data, with millions of connected devices. The solution is the outcome of a partnership between Orange and Senegalese-based Numherit, which is active in the development of technological applications.

South Africa: Assignment approved - Nashua Mobile has told subscribers that their accounts will be moved to Altech Autopage Cellular (Cell C users), MTN, and Vodacom with effect from 4 November or shortly thereafter. According to MyBroadband, the competition authorities have now approved the deals.

South Africa: Dividends to dive - Telkom has advised that it expects earnings per share for the half year ended September 2014 to be 20 percent lower than in 2013. The group said in a statement said that this was due to a net curtailment gain of ZAR 2.2 billion (USD 199 million) recognised on the post retirement medical aid liability in the prior corresponding period. It claimed that the basic earnings per share for the 2015 interim reporting period would have been at least 20 percent higher than the prior corresponding period due to lower payments to other operators because of the lower mobile termination rates and lower asset write offs.

South Africa: Superior solution - Analyst houses Forrester Research and IDC have named SAP a leader for enterprise mobile management (EMM) in their recently studies, with the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio being noted in both Forrester?s EMM Wave and the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Enterprise Mobility Management Software 2014 Vendor Assessment. Rick Costanzo, Executive VP and GM of Global Mobility Solutions, SAP noted that its portfolio offers security features that expand beyond managed devices to BYOx environments for staff, partners and consumers.

United Arab Emirates: Harmonious satellites - The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has hosted a Frequency Co-ordination meeting with Belarus to discuss satellite networks, and in particular, techniques to resolve interference between respective satellite networks.

Zambia: Staff savings - Zamtel has refurbished its Technical and Resource Training Centre, which Chief Executive Officer Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe says will achieve annual savings of about ZMW 2.2 million (USD 346,000) next year by allowing staff to be trained locally. The savings represent 37 percent of our total annual training budget of ZMW 6.1 million (USD 959,000).

Zimbabwe: Internet a mobile thing - Telecoms regulator POTRAZ has reported Internet penetration as now standing at 47 percent. The total number of Internet subscriptions at the end of June 2014 was 6.1 million, up from 5.6 million in March 2014. Mobile, made up of 3G, Edge, GPRS, LTE, CDMA etc, accounts for 99.05 percent of the total base. Fixed Internet consisting of fibre, DSL, WiMAX and dial-up accounts for 58,000 or 0.95 percent of the total. Internet subscriptions have grown by 9.1 percent.