News in Brief 26 August 2015

Algeria: 3G expansion funded - Africa Intelligence reports that Ooredoo is to borrow EUR 450 million (USD 501 million) from a banking syndicate to finance the expansion of its 3G network.

Algeria: Wi-Fi comments - The Regulatory Authority launched on 19 May 2015 a call for comments on the conditions of deployment of Wi-Fi networks outside of buildings (Outdoor). The Authority says it has received thirteen responses. Responses were received from Algeria Telecom; Algeria Telecom Mobile; Optimum Telecom Algeria; Wataniya Telecom Algeria; DIVONA Algeria; WMCSAT; ICOSNET; TDA; BringCom; Ericsson; Intel; Mr. Fateh Allah Merazga and M.Dabouz M'hamed (co-ordinator of the National Commission of High and Very High Speed).

Bahrain: Licence revoked - Following the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority?s notice published on 2 July 2015 in the Official Gazette and on the TRA Website, asking for comments on the proposed voluntary revocation of Individual Very Small Aperture Terminal Licence awarded to Gulf Aluminum Rolling Mill Company, TRA has not received any comments. Therefore the TRA has revoked the licence effective as of 13 August 2015.

Bahrain: Media specialist - The TRA is looking for a Senior Media Specialist and Public Relations for its Media Affairs Department. The successful applicant will assist in the development of the long-term media and awareness plans and as well as the preparation and execution of monthly media plans that involve external and internal communications to continuously enhance TRA?s image in Bahrain and the region.

Burkina Faso: Fraud training - ARCEP held a training seminar between 12 - 14 August 2015 on the theme 'The fight against fraud and Telecom Bypass: Focus on the role of the regulator and competent authorities'. Participants included the Ministry for Justice, national and local police and consumer organisations, which have joined the staff of ARCEP, and operators. The seminar reviewed all types of fraud and the mechanisms to overcome them. Youma Zerbo, Secretary General of the Prime Ministry addressed participants. He defined 'bypass' as the fraudulent practice of "diverting international calls from their normal circuit and some Burkinabe have found that telephone calls from foreign countries, are displayed on their laptops with the code of our country which is the 00226. ''

Cameroon: Subscriber switch-off - Cameroon Telecom (Camtel) started cancelling unregistered SIM cards on 18 August, Agence Ecofin reports. The date was the deadline for subscribers to present their ID cards or passports in Camtel stores. The deadline for Nexttel customers was set as 19 August. Registration is still ongoing for MTN and Orange Cameroon users.

Gabon: SMS spam tool - Moov Gabon has launched its 'Moove web2sms' service to allow PC users to click once to send up to 10,000 SMS simultaneously, reports Agence Ecofin. The price is XAF 140,000 (USD 235) for two months or 10,000 messages; consumers pay a minimum of XAF 9,000 (USD 15) for up to 500 messages over one month.

Ghana: Improvement directed by NCA - The latest Quality of Service (QoS) tests undertaken by the National Communications Authority (NCA) found Vodafone Ghana the leader in terms of voice quality. The survey focused on the Central Region in May and June for all operators except Expresso, and measured call set-up time, congestion rate, drop rate, call audio quality and coverage signal strength. The NCA has directed all operators to improve coverage in some localities by December 2015. Tigo has been directed to resolve traffic congestion at Cape Coast and Elmina, and was also sanctioned for violating its TCH Congestion obligation in the Central Region.

Jordan: Car Intertainment - Zain Jordan has launched a Car-Fi service, providing wireless 4G /LTE Internet inside vehicles, and connections for up to 10 devices. Five bundles are available, starting at JOD 13 (USD 18.30) per month for 17 GB, although prices do not include the Car-Fi device. Zain provides free Wi-Fi in more than 45 public and archeological locations, and intends to cover 70 locations by the end of 2015 include the governorates of Tafieleh, Ma'an and Zarqa.

Kuwait: New CFO - Ooredoo Kuwait has named Gabor Kocsis as its Chief Financial Officer. Kocsis succeeds Peter Kuncewicz, who is joining the Ooredoo Group in Qatar as regional CFO. The date that Kocsis will take office has yet to be confirmed.

Kuwait: Top-up gift - Zain Kuwait's post-paid customers can now gift Internet plans or extra GB to families and friends whom are Zain customers. A full monthly Internet plan up to 500GB or extra gigabytes reaching up to 25 GB can be gifted.

Kuwait: VAS resellers recognised - Zain has held its second quarterly lunch event to recognise its outstanding authorised service providers for value added services. Recognition was based on several key indicators: 'ISYS' was first in Zain net revenue and overall revenue, while 'Media Phone Plus' ranked first in bulk SMS revenues, in addition to 'Concept' which was recognised as the company with the best support team.

Liberia: Regulatory funding - The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has imposed a surcharge of USD 0.05 per minute with effect from the end of July 2015. The regulatory surcharge, which is not seen as a tax, is to be paid to the LTA and used as additional funding for the LTA?s budget. Users already pay a 15 percent General Sales Tax. There is also a surcharge imposed on incoming international calls of USD 0.14 per minute.

Maldives: ISP licence - Ooredoo Maldives has been granted an Internet Service Provider licence from the Communication Authority of the Maldives (CAM) earlier this month. The licence was awarded following a competitive bidding process. Nasser Marafih, group CEO, Ooredoo, said: "Receiving this ISP Licence will enable to bring positive changes to the quality and affordability of the Internet for the people of the Maldives. "

Nigeria: Sunday SIM solution - Etisalat's Vice President, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Ibrahim Dikko has told ThisDayLive that Etisalat has extended the opening hours of its Experience Centres. These are now open into the late evening and also on Sundays to deal with the volume of SIM card re-registrations. Etisalat has also recently completed rolling out almost 2,000 km of fibre nationally. It has also installed a large, second data centre outside of Lagos.

Rwanda: Official payments - Tigo is now providing payment facilities for e-Government services directly from mobile phones. Tongai Maramba, Chief Executive Officer, Tigo Rwanda noted that there are over 2.5 million subscribers registered with Tigo Cash who will be able to pay for Birth Certificates, Register for Driving Tests, Trading Licences for Other Profit Oriented Activities, and Trading Licences for VAT Registered Companies.

South Africa: Free City calls - The City of Tshwane has launched free calls over its free Wi-Fi network built by Project Isizwe. Users can make free calls to others in a free Wi-Fi zone, provided they are both running the VoIP application on their phones. Users not in a free hotspot zone can still use the app to make free calls to other app users, though calls placed over the mobile networks will incur a data charge, TechCentral reported. The system can initially carry up to a thousand concurrent calls. The network has 700 live sites in 95 percent of the city's wards. To date the service has had more than 720,000 unique users, according to Project Isizwe.

South Africa: Internet initiative - Telkom has introduced a new, entry-level Internet product at a wholesale price of less than ZAR 50 per month, TechCentral has reported. The new 1Mbit/s plan is intended to win new users to its fixed network, and should allow Internet Service Providers to offer capped services at less than ZAR 100 (USD 7.74) a month, excluding telephone line rental. Telkom is also considering not asking users to pay for a dial tone in addition to the ADSL subscription charges. This would involve providing a single price for copper-based subscriptions.

Swaziland: Makhubu moves on - MTN Swaziland's Corporate Affairs Manager Mpumelelo Makhubu is stepping-down after seven years to join Swaziland Beverages. His last day at MTN Swaziland is to be 19 September 2015.

Tanzania: Agency credit - Airtel Tanzania has teamed up with Tanzania Afb to launch a credit service for its Airtel Money users. Airtel Money's 20,000 agents will be able to obtain credit without surety from TZS 50,000 - 500,000 (USD 23 - 231). Clients who pays the loan off daily or within 28 days will be given an option to have another loan.

Tanzania: Family funding - Tigo Pesa has joined with UK-based online money transfer service WorldRemit. Tanzanian ex-pats will be able to send funds via their smartphones, tablets and computers directly to families and friends back home. Tigo Head of Mobile Financial Services, Ruan Swanepoel, said Tigo Pesa is now the most common method for international remittances to Tanzania for WorldRemit customers, having overtaken cash pick-ups, airtime top-up and transfers to bank accounts. There are about 250,000 Tanzanian emigrants living abroad, according to the latest World Bank data.

Tunisia: Legal package - Tunisie Telecom (TT) and the National Order of Lawyers of Tunisia (GNTB) have signed a three-year partnership deal. TT will offer members a range of value added services including related segments the fixed, mobile and data.

Zimbabwe: Salaries streamlined - TelOne has applied a 15 percent cut to all salaries with effect from 1 August and said it will not pay annual bonuses, The Source has reported. Payment of overtime has also been suspended until year-end. TelOne Chief Executive Officer, Chipo Mutasa, wrote to staff on 18 August to tell them that the telco is affected by the liquidity crunch, and needs to reduce costs.