News in Brief 12 August 2015

Afghanistan: SIM spotlight - ATRA held a co-ordination meeting with representatives of telecom service providers to discuss the current status of telecom sector in early August. Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Azizi, Chairman of ATRA, stressed the significance of SIM registration.

Africa: IHS HR - IHS Towers has announced the appointment of Ayotade Oyinlola as its new Global Head of Human Resources, ThisDay reported. Oyinlola will report directly to the CEO. Nigeria-born and raised, Oyinlola most recently served as Millicom Services UK's Head of HR for Africa and Europe.

Africa: Tower sale recorded - Bharti Airtel posted a 40 percent rise in quarterly net profit, attributed to a one-time gain from the sale of some of its African towers. Net profit rose to INR 15.54 billion (USD 243.5 million) for the quarter ended 30 June, from INR 11.09 billion (USD 173.8 million). The profit recorded a net benefit after tax of INR 4.58 billion (USD 71.8 million). Towers were sold in four African countries for about USD 1.3 billion.

Bahrain: First with the fastest - Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) and Huawei have trialled 4G Time and Wavelength Division Multiplexing Passive Optic Network (TWDM PON) technology, achieving speeds of 40Gbps. Trade Arabia reports Batelco saying it is the first in Bahrain to test the technology.

Botswana: Retail resizing - Orange Botswana opened a shop at the Railpark Mall, The Voice reported. Boga Chilinde-Masebu PR and Foundation Manager for Orange, said that the shop is a fully-fledged service centre providing all Orange products and services. Customers can carry out SIM-card replacements, Orange Money transactions, devices and airtime purchases, purchases of home Internet services and signing of post-paid contracts. The Gaborone Station and Camphill shops have consequently been closed.

Cameroon: Investment injection - Vietnamese Viettel, which trades as Nexttel, has invested more than XAF 200 billion (USD 333.7 million) since it started network deployment, The Cameroon Concord reported. This injection has led to a significant development of its network and enabled among others the setting up of 1,200 base stations and 1,600 sites that provides coverage of all 10 regions. Viettel is the first holder of a 3G licence. In May 2015, Nexttel reported that it had 2 million subscribers against 10.1 million for MTN Cameroon and 6.2 million subscribers for Orange Cameroon. Viettel obtained its licence in 2012 and launched services in September 2014.

Cape Verde: DTT tender - ANAC, as Co-ordinator of the Implementation Committee and the Transition Monitoring of Analogue Television Broadcasting System for DTT, has launched a tender for the construction of the new DTT transmitter centres on the islands of Santiago, Maio, Sal and Boa Vista. The deadline for submission is 7 September 2015. The documentation is here.

Ghana: Acting CMO for MTN - MTN Ghana has named Noel Kojo-Ganson as its Acting Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), effective 30 July. Kojo-Ganson, who was the General Manager in charge of Consumer Marketing at MTN Ghana, replaces Rahul De, who was promoted to MTN Nigeria as CMO, The Chronicle reported.

Ghana: DTT Receivers - The National Communications Authority (NCA) has published a list of approved Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Receivers. The lists can be viewed here.

Ghana: Fresh fibre - Vodafone Ghana has started a USD 1million network expansion project in the Western Region, intended to provide uninterrupted connectivity to Oil and Gas companies along the Takoradi-Agona highway. Haris Broumidis, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana said it aimed to provide businesses with fibre, dedicated Internet and wifi. The investment includes the laying of over 24km of fibre from Takoradi through Apowato to Agona and Nkwanta.

Iraq: Sales tax - Zain Iraq confirmed last week that it is obliged by government decree to impose a 20 percent tax on the sales of refill cards and Internet services. In a statement, received by Shafaq News, it said it would pass the charge directly onto customers. The regulation was effective from 1 August.

Israel: Strike threat - Pelephone Communications said it has been notified by the General Organisation of Workers in Israel - Cellular, Internet and Hi-Tech Employee Union that it will convene a strike on 17 August. The union is challenging decisions taken by Pelephone relating to organisational and structural changes with a likely impact on working conditions, as well as an expansion of outsourcing.

Kenya: Collymore for Acumen - Last week Acumen announced that Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, would join its Board. Collymore previously sat on the Advisory Council of the non-profit social venture fund founded by Jacqueline Novogratz. Safaricom launched M-KOPA, an energy company, in which Acumen invested in 2011 that uses the M-Pesa payment platform to provide solar power to the poor. The appointment comes just three months after Collymore was re-appointed to the board of the United Nations Global Compact.

Kenya: Transparent sponsorship - Safaricom has re-started talks with the Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) over a new sponsorship deal, The Citizen TV reported. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said it recognises the needs for sponsorship to expand the sport. However any new deal would require transparency in the expenditure at the KRU, with those implicated in corruption allegations stepping down.

Kuwait: Venture Capital venture - Zain has invested in Earlybird´s Digital East Fund, Zain's third investment in venture capital funds. The Fund will invest in early-stage and growth-stage companies in Central and Eastern Europe, and Turkey. Investors in the Fund include the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Maldives: Number switching from October - Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is to be launched in October, according to the Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM). Subscribers of Dhiraagu and Ooredoo Maldives will be able to keep their number when changing operator. Haaveru Online quotes CAM?s CEO Ilyas Ahmed as saying that equipment had to be acquired from abroad, and this had delayed the introduction of MNP, which was originally scheduled for 31 July 2015. He added that the Dhiraagu and Ooreedoo had had to be overhauled to allow introduction of the service.

Mozambique: Mobile payment enhancement - Money remittance service Mukuru has partnered with Mkesh, the mobile money service owned by mobile operator Mcel. Users in South Africa can now send money directly to a Mkesh wallet. Mcel is the largest mobile operator in Mozambique with a 40 percent market share. Any Mukuru user in South Africa can send money via their mobile phone, and payment can be made using the Mukuru card, or at any retailer such as Pick n Pay, Checkers or Shoprite that offers the Mukuru service.

Namibia: Standards Chief named - The Namibian Standards Institution's (NSI) new CEO Chie Wasserfall was officially introduced to the organisation's staff last week by the Namibian Standards Council chairperson, Dr Martha Kandawa-Schulz. Prior to NSI, she was the head of field services at Telecom Namibia. Wasserfall will undertake a 90-day strategy assessment with senior management to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the institution. The primary role of the NSI is to promote standardisation and quality assurance in industry, commerce and the public sector, with the aim to improve product quality, industrial efficiency and productivity, and to promote trade.

Nigeria: 70/80GHz consultation - A Draft Licensing Framework for the use of the 70/80GHz band has been issued for Stakeholder comments and observations. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is making available 2.875GHz Bandwidth each in the Uplink and the Downlink directions for Point-to-Point. Comments should be submitted by 7 September 2015 to the The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission, Plot 423 Aguiyi- Ironsi Street, Maitama District, Abuja-Nigeria, for the attention of the Director Spectrum Administration Department. Full details are here.

Oman: Automated testing - Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is carrying out field tests during this year's Khareef Season to assess the performance of mobile networks in Salalah and other tourist attractions in Dhofar Governorate. In these tests the Advanced Automated Quality Measurement System (AAQMS) will be used for the first time, which is considered a standard tool to measure QoS indicators for mobile services and to collect data on signal strength and network coverage of mobile networks that use 2G, 3G or 4G.

Qatar: Phone promo - Vodafone Qatar is offering an exclusive Samsung Galaxy S6. Customers trading in their old phone and purchasing the new Samsung Galaxy S6 will receive an extra QAR 400 (USD 110) discount on the S6, in addition to 15 GB of free data per month for three months for post-paid services, and 6 GB of free data for 90 days for pre-paid services. Assuming a phone in good order, trade in values for a Samsung Galaxy S5 is QAR 750 (USD 205), the Galaxy S4 QAR 540 (USD 148), iPhone 5s QAR 950 (USD 261) and iPhone 5 at QAR 630 (USD 173).

South Africa: Doghouse for Department director - The Director General in the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) Rosey Sekese has been placed on precautionary suspension, MyBroadband reported. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services' Siyabonga Cwele said that leadership problems that were causing 'paralysis' at the department would be investigated, which are claimed to be negatively impacting the department's ability to execute its functions in a timely fashion.

Tunisia: QoS report published - The Institute of National Telecommunications has undertaken its service quality assessment measures (QoS) of 2G and 3G networks. The report summarises the results of the fourth year of service quality evaluation measures of the three mobile networks 2G / 3G for the year 2015 and which was carried out in the 20 delegations of the governorates of Ben Arous and Manouba. The report is here.