News in Brief 1 April 2015

Africa: Realtime regulation - CommProve has said it is working with an African regulator to monitor the Quality of Service (QoS) of MNOs, according to Darren Harding, CommProve VP of Sales for MEA. CommProve GSP feeds MNO network performance and customer experience information to a centralised reporting system. The regulator is intending to make the network performance information for specific locations available on its Website. The name of the regulator was not provided.

Africa: TV deal - Strong Media SAL-Off-Shore (SMO) has signed a multi-year deal with Eutelsat Communications. SMO has leased capacity on Eutelsat 16A satellite to deploy English, French and Arabic-speaking television services over Sub-Saharan Africa. Ma TELE and Shashatee, SMO's new French and Arabic-speaking pay-TV services, will launch in April, joining the established My TV service that has been re-branded as My TV Smart on Eutelsat 16A. Ma TELE will initially target Cote d'Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo with an offer of nearly 30 channels, including its own Africa-specific channels and AB Sat's BIS Africa service.

Africa & Middle East: Better broadcasting - UK-based SkyVision Global Networks announced on Monday 30 March the addition of broadcast services and engineering solutions to its diverse IP connectivity services and solutions portfolio. It said it had also appointed Eyal Maimon as its Broadcast and Engineering Solutions Director to service the increasing demand in Africa and the Middle East for DTH and IPTV services.

Ghana: Retail rollout - Tigo Ghana has opened a 'Customer Experience Centre' on the Spintex Road in Accra. The centre will serve the growing clientele in the Airport East and Sakumono areas. It offers free Wi-Fi with a guaranteed and reliable Internet connection. Head of Customer Operations for Tigo Ghana, Stephen Essien, said it is expanding its retail footprint to match the growing subscriber base. More are to be added in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions next quarter.

Jordan: Outlets opened - Zain has opened three new retail outlets in Amman and Irbid, and so bringing the total to 53 shops. The locations were selected according to the population distribution and the frequency of customer visits to these areas. It has also relocated its shop in Marj AlHamam to larger premises.

Kenya: Electric facility - A mobile phone-based soft loan facility for electricity consumers is to be jointly launched by Safaricom and Kenya Power enabling them to obtain credit to settle their energy bills and repay the debt within seven days. They will be able to borrow KES 100 - 2,000 (USD 1.10 - 21.50), to be repaid at 10 percent of the borrowed amount, The Business Daily reported. Kenya Power subscribers can currently only use Safaricom's M-Pesa to buy electricity tokens or pay their bills. The Okoa Stima advances will be deposited into a user's M-Pesa account, for onward transfer to their Kenya Power accounts, less the facilitation charge.

Middle East: Asian access - Tawasul Telecom is partnering with China Unicom to provide access to Tawasul's MPLS network, which connects the Middle East, including all six GCC nations, Egypt, as well as London, Frankfort, Singapore and Hong Kong. Tawasul will have access to China Unicom's network, which covers China, Hong Kong and other markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Middle East: Fast film access - Users of US-based Vuclip now have access to Arabic movies and music videos available on Melody Entertainment. Subscribers will have fast , unbuffered mobile access to the latest music videos and films.

Nigeria: Film fun - Etisalat Nigeria subscribers can now hire films and pay with airtime after the operator partnered with Dobox is now on the Etisalat network and can be seen on its Website. There are airtime charges but no data charges.

Senegal: Market ready for MNP - Tigo Senegal's CEO Diego Camberos has said that he believes the mobile market is ready for Mobile Number portability (MNP). He made the comments in an interview published in the weekly Nouvel Horizon. He said that he saw portability as 'an opportunity' for Tigo. He said the market was very competitive market with incumbent Orange in the lead, but with Tigo and Expresso providing 'real' competition.

South Africa: Increases imminent - Some of Vodacom's mobile subscription plans will be increased from 1 May, TechCentral reports. The Vodacom Smart, uChoose Smart, uChoose Flexi, Top Up and mobile broadband packages will be revised, with 'the price changes applicable to existing Vodacom customers on these price plans as well as new customers'. Smart XL will rise from ZAR 699 (USD 60) to ZAR 739 (USD 63.40), while uChoose Smart XL will retail for ZAR 809 (USD 69), up from ZAR 769 (USD 66).

South Africa: Solution for steelco - Steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa has chosen Samsung Electronics South Africa to equip its staff with the smartphone technology. Samsung has consequently partnered with MTN Business to provide a comprehensive solution. ArcelorMittal required a mobile solution that would integrate with their SAP release processes and offer total device security, mobile device management (MDM), while providing pertinent order information on-the-spot for its workforce.

United Arab Emirates: Etisalat board named - The President has issued a Federal Decree to appoint government representatives to the Board of Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) effective from 25 March 2015 for a 3-year period. Government representatives to sit on the Board are Isa Mohammed Al Suwaidi as Chairman, along with Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri, Mohamed Sultan Abdulla Ghannoum Al Hameli, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Abdel Fattah Mansour Sharaf, Essa Abdulfattah Kazim and Mohamed Hadi Ahmed Abdulla Al Hussaini.