News in Brief 11 May 2017

Angola: Technology hub - Angola Comunicacoes e Sistemas Lda is to invest USD 19.5 million in a telecommunications technology hub, under the terms of a contract signed last week in Luanda with the Technical Unit for Private Investment (UTIP). ACS Director Edgar Martins said the project will contribute to the development of the sector in Angola and  aims to ensure improvements in the quality of infrastructure supporting information and communication services.

Gambia (The): 4G launch - QCell has launched its 4G-LTE mobile network at the GCCI Trade Fair in Bakau, on Saturday 6 May. The GMD 150 million (USD 3.2 million) project promises high coverage in the greater Banjul area, The Point reported. QCell's CEO, Muhammed Jah, said the operator was offering 4G WiFi dongles and Mifi Routers, a first in The Gambia.

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Ghana: Regional rates - In the Volta and Eastern regions Tigo has launched 'Talk Talk' which includes free calls after paying for a minute. Bonk)m) provides free calls from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 50MB data daily for 7 days at just GHS 3 (USD 0.71) to users in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. Meanwhile in the Central and Western region Sankofa has been launched, givings customers free calls and data for 30 days from 6 a.m. to 12 noon and a special 50 percent discount on data packs after 7 days. The Brong Ahafo and Northern regions including Upper East and West have free calls to both Tigo and non-Tigo numbers between 12 midnight and 6 a.m. after paying for just the first 5 minutes. In the Greater Accra region, users get a 3 times bonus on all weekly and monthly data bundles for 90 days in a product called Agbo.

Iran: Network upgrade - Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) has signed Huawei to integrate and upgrade fixed and mobile networks, CITNA has reported. According TCI's Chairman Babak Tarakome, Huawei has started workshops for local technicians who will be working on the project. He said that several other contracts with other foreign firms for integration and upgrading will be signed in the near future. Currently, TCI has bought and is importing the required equipment. The reconstruction includes IP Network Integration (IPNI) and evolution of mobile backhaul networks.

Kenya: Airtel man for Liquid - The new Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Telkom Kenya has been named as Adil Youssefi, the former Managing Director of Airtel Kenya. Youssefi left Airtel after his three-year contract expired, and replaces Ben Roberts, who is now Chairman of Liquid Telecom Kenya.

Morocco: Audit operations audited - The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) has certified Maroc Telecom's internal audit operations, awarded by the French Internal Audit and Control Institute (IFACI), in accordance with Internal Audit Professional Practices (RPAI) based on International Internal Audit Standards. Maroc Telecom said it was the first company listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange to be certificated.

Oman: 4G showcase - Omantel has concluded its 2-month 4G roadshow, which kicked-off in Khasab and Dibba. The roadshow had over 15,000 visitors from 13 different wilayats. Omantel notes that Oman is among the top 20 countries with the fastest 4G networks in the world and the second fastest in the Arab world, according to the OpenSignal report published in 2016. Omantel's 4G network also covers a number of exclusive cities and regions such as Sur and Buraimi, among others. The 4G network currently covers more than 86 percent of inhabited areas.

Oman: Stake syndication - Oman Investment Fund (OIF) has closed the syndication of USD 600 million of conventional and Islamic facilities for its wholly owned subsidiary United Telecommunication Limited (UTL). The proceeds were put towards the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Oman Telecommunications Company SAOG (Omantel) from the Ministry of Finance of the Sultanate of Oman. The transfer of the stake in Omantel was disclosed on the Muscat Stock Exchange.

Nigeria: Banking platform - The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group has introduced a full-fledged banking platform, tagged 'UBA Magic Banking' and enabled by dialling *919# within Nigeria. Users can open UBA accounts, transfer funds to UBA and other banks, buy airtime, pay bills and access a mini statement. The Bank's Group Head, Consumer and Digital Banking, Dr. Adeyinka Adedeji noted that the phone does not require data to be loaded on it for money to be transmitted. It also allows a higher transaction limit of up to NGN 1 million (USD 3,140) per day with the UBA Secure Pass (formerly token).

Qatar: 10th 5G base station for Ooredoo - Ooredoo Qatar is building a 5G-ready network, and has added a tenth base station equipped with 5G-ready technology on 6 May. The operator has already started reducing the latency of its network towards 1 millisecond, the standard specified by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as the proposed baseline for 5G technology.

Qatar: More content - Ooredoo Qatar has announced a new premium content subscription bundle from BeIN for its Ooredoo TV and Mozaic TV service. Customers can now access sporting content from BeIN; the Full Package will cost QAR 110 (USD 30.18) a month for 58 channels with live and exclusive sports stations as well as children's programmes, lifestyle shows, factual programmes, films, music and more.

Sierra Leone: Rural tower - On 1 May Africell commissioned a tower in Fintonia, the Chiefdom Headquarter town of Tambakha in the Bombali District, close to the border with Guinea. The National Telecommunications Commission's (NATCOM) Chairman, Momoh Konte, said the commissioning of the tower was welcome in the previously unserved area, and noted that inhabitants had previously been forced to use the Guinea network using the Guinea currency as a medium of exchange.

Somalia: Stakeholder seminar - The Prime of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Ali Kheyre, inaugurated a national consultation conference on telecommunications and technology for ICT stakeholders in Mogadishu 6-8 May 2017. More than 70 delegates including the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Telecommunications, communications ministers from federal states, telecom operators, ISPs, The SIRAD Institute and university associations are attending.

South Africa: Property partnership - Vox subsidiary Frogfoot Networks has partnered with Safari Investments to provide its property portfolio with fibre connectivity. Safari's CEO Francois Marais said: "…we welcomed the input and partnership approach we received from Vox and Frogfoot." Safari, which oversees multiple retail nodes, will own the passive infrastructure in its portfolio, while it will be managed by Frogfoot Networks as the open-access provider.

South Africa: Sales partner - Vodacom On the Line has named Mediamark as a Strategic Sales Channel Partner representing its Mobile and App channels, including SMS, Please Call Me, MMS,  Video and other advertising products. Mediamark's Head of Digital, Mark Botha, said: "We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with Vodacom as it provides us with a foothold in the mobile market which we have not truly had to date." Mediamark's Managing Director Werner Lindemann, noted: "With the addition of Vodacom, Mediamark is now a true multi-channel media solutions partner.  In a world where the consumer increasingly demands instant gratification from a marketing campaign, the Vodacom partnership provides us with audience scale that will amplify advertiser campaigns and complement our existing offerings."

Tanzania: Listing latest - Maxcom Africa, an ICT integration firm, expects to list 25 percent of its shares on the local exchange during 2017, The Citizen reported. It will be complying with the Electronic and Postal and Communications Act 2010, as amended by the Finance Act 2016, which requires communication firms to sell 25 percent of their shares to the public. Maxcom Africa is looking to serve four more countries, in addition to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia. Locally, it plans to expand its activities with an establishment of 100,000 by 2022, up from the current 16,000. The company has provided the billing system used by the operator of Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit system.

Tanzania: Share sale hearing - The sale of 34,479 shares in MIC Tanzania Limited is subject to a hearing in the Court of Appeal brought by Quality Group Limited and Golden Globe International Services, Tanzania Daily News reported. Millicom (Tanzania) NV claims to own the shares, worth over TZS 13 billion (USD 5.7 million). MIC Tanzania, trading as Tigo, has had to ask the Court to consider the matter urgently as it needs to comply with the Tanzania Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to list a minimum of 25 percent of its stock on the local bourse.

Uganda: Managed services - ZTE Corporation has launched its Ugandan network operation centre to deliver enhanced network and maintenance services to MTN Uganda. The centre will manage equipment sourced from a variety of vendors. The total number of network elements will be increased from over 4,000 to over 5,000 by 2019.

Uganda: TV promotion - GOtv Uganda has launched its 'Wangula School Fees ne GOtv' offering cash prizes to reward customers in preparation for the second school term of 2017. Eligible customers are those who purchase a full GOtv kit and those who renew their subscriptions. A full GOtv full kit costs UGX 87,500 (USD 24). It comes with a decoder, an antenna plus one month subscription on GOtv plus. The promotion will run till 3 June 2017.

United Arab Emirates: Deals of the Day - Etisalat has announced its Smiles customer loyalty scheme which offers deals and rewards in the form of Etisalat services as well as cinema, shopping, dining, health and travel benefits from hundreds of top brands with thousands of partner outlets. Etisalat Rewards, Deal of the Day and Etisalat Marketplace are now discontinued. Subscribers will be offered personalised deals every day that are tailored to their interests with each customer will now get six Deals of the Day, of which one is related to Etisalat products and services, and five are lifestyle deals such as discounts for shopping and dining.

Zimbabwe: Groups targeted - NetOne has launched its One-Cliq Call User Group product which allows subscribers to call a group of numbers at discounted rates. Subscribers need a minimum of 5 NetOne numbers to form a group, and the members activate the service by dialing *371#. Such calls are at discounted rates.

Zimbabwe: Wi-Fi entrant - Telecel has launched a Wi-Fi network for its subscribers comprising 70 Wi-Fi hotspots in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Victoria Falls, TechZim reported. Telecel will be directly competing with ZOL, which currently has some 670 hotspots nationally. ZOL offers free access for an hour, including people without a ZOL account. Also in the market are TelOne and Dandemutande (Yo Africa Chilli spots & Maxspots). In addition Econet offers WiFi on the same bases as ZOL.