News in Brief 14 June 2017

Bahrain: TV treats - During Ramadan Batelco's users will be able to enjoy free access to 'Batelco TV on-the-go' service until 30 June, through the Website www.batelcotv.com and Batelco TV Android app, the company said in a statement. Live TV channels, catch up on 14-day recordings, and access to a free movie library featuring more than 1,000 popular movies are being offered. Batelco Bahrain CEO Muna Al Hashemi said: "The service allows our customers the freedom of watching TV anytime and anywhere as well as having access to a wide range of shows and series including the popular Ramadhan shows."

Benin: Bad boys - Telecom regulator Arcep has published three rulings involving Glo Mobile, Moov and MTN who all now face sanctions for not meeting their quality of service obligations. A fourth ruling directed at Moov focuses on its failure to secure its network from fraudulent activity with regards to incoming international calls. The regulator will detail the penalties for the three companies within fifteen days.

Cameroon: Presidential push - A Presidential decree issued on 8 June 2017 terminated Jean Louis Beh Mengue's appointment as the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART), Journal du Cameroun reported. He has been replaced by Philemon Zo'o Zame, formerly secretary-general of the Public Works Ministry after holding several positions at the presidency, notably in the field of infrastructure and economic affairs. In early 2015 a report of the State Superior Control found that Mengue was responsible for a series of expensive errors, and more recently involved in conflicts with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications including the granting of operating licenses to private operators, and the unilateral grant of abatement to companies in the sector subjected to heavy fines.

Egypt: CCTV police cameras - The Ministry of Telecommunications is to install 420 surveillance cameras in main streets and squares in the resort town of Hurghada, the Egypt Independent reported. In a meeting with Deputy Minister of Telecommunications Raafat Hindi, as well as Telecom Egypt officials and police in the province, Red Sea Governor Ahmed Abdullah stressed the necessity of coordination between Telecom Egypt, police and the Hurghada city council in order to fully utilize the infrastructure. Police telecommunication engineers said another 420 cameras will be installed across the governorate which will be linked to the electronic monitoring centre and the Hurghada police department.

Ghana: Greater coverage mandated - Mobile network operators Airtel, Tigo and Expresso (Kasapa) are likely to be sanctioned if they fail to expand their network in the Adaklu district of the Volta region. Minister of Communications Ursula Owusu-Ekuful told parliament on 6 June 2017 that six telecos had been given six months to comply with the injunction. The Minister of Communications made the comment in response to a question from the deputy for Adaklu.

Kenya: Decoder discounted - The price of the high definition decoder has been cut by 22 percent by DStv Kenya. New customers will also get a month's free subscription with every purchase and activation of a decoder. The DStv Zappa HD decoder now retails at KES 5,000 (USD 48), down from KES 6,400 (USD 61). The package also includes cabling, satellite dish and installation fee.

Kenya: Mobile medicines - A mobile app has been launched by Neotech Kenya allowing the public to buy medicine and personal care items at the best possible prices. The Livia app is available from Google Playstore and Apple Appstore.

Kenya: Satellite office - Integrated satellite communications provider Intelsat has opened a new sales office in Nairobi. It said in a statement: "Our decision to open an office in Nairobi reflects our belief that our satellite-enabled broadband solutions can be a catalyst in the region to expand digital inclusion, creating economic growth." The new office will be managed by Lawrence Mungai. Intelsat's Managing Sales Director, East Africa Region, Hans Geldenhuys: "Kenya is the business hub of East Africa. Nairobi and our Westlands office location is close to several of our existing customers and offers an outstanding base from which to share our technology and insights with our customers." Intelsat 33e started serving Africa in January 2017.

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Kuwait: Charitable campaign - Zain's Sustainability and Social Responsibility (CSSR) Campaign run during the Holy Month of Ramadan for the second year running will donate KWD 0.50 (USD 1.64) to a charitable organization for every paid bill during the month of Ramadan. In 2016 Zain donated over KWD 45,000 (USD 148,000) on behalf of its customers.

Namibia: Rate rises - Mobile Telecommunications Limited (MTC) will raise pre-paid subscription fees from 1 June by 7 percent. MTC's Aweh, Happy Hour and NetMan Instant Bundles will be affected, while the price of its post-paid and other bundles will increase on 1 July. MTC said this it had not raised rates in the last 11 years, despite the rise in operating costs. MTC spokesman Tim Ekandjo noted the reduction in mobile termination rates, as well as increased costs of network investment.

Nigeria: Call for Chiefs - On 6 June the House of Representatives' Telecommunications Committee issued an ultimatum to telco Chief Executives to appear before it over on-going job losses, falls in revenue and regular network failures on 14 June. The committee has also directed that documents requested, including nominal roles, expatriate quotas and other relevant documents by each company for the period of 2010 - 2017, be submitted to it on or before Monday 12 June.

Rwanda: Easy enterprise entry - Tigo Business has partnered with domain hosting company GoDaddy to offer GoDaddy online services to business customers in its African markets, starting with Rwanda. Eligible Tigo Rwanda Business customers on specific data plans will have access to a set of online tools. This includes domain name registration and corporate e-mail, both backed by GoDaddy's 24/7 customer support.

South Africa: Tutor finder - Start-up SkillUp Tutors, a web-based platform that helps parents and students find and schedule lessons with tutors in their area, has launched its app. Launched in beta mode in January 2016, SkillUp Tutors specialises in high school mathematics, science and languages, and matches students and tutors. The app was developed by SkillUp's head of mobile Kent Hawkings, who also developed the Superbalist Andrioid app. An iOS version will follow. Over the past six months more than 4,000 tutors have completed the SkillUp application process, and it is targeting 20,000 by the end of 2017.

Turkey: Eurobond sold - Turkcell sold Eurobonds with a total nominal value of USD 2 million comprising a portion of the Eurobonds previously added to its portfolio within the scope of its BoD's buy-back decision dated 27 July 2016. The Eurobonds were sold at an average price of USD 105.4 totalling USD 2.125 million on 7 June.

United Arab Emirates: Broadcasters barred - Qatari broadcasters BeIN Sports and Al Jazeera have been blocked in the UAE after a diplomatic stand-off between the countries came to a head, The National reported. The channels have been off air from 5 June as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar over alleged links to terrorist groups. BeIN has the sole rights in the Middle East to broadcast the English Premier League, La Liga in Spain and tournaments such as the World Cup. Access to the Websites also appears to have been blocked.

United Arab Emirates: Satellite enhancement - Etisalat has launched a new class of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) service to provide high performance Internet to businesses in remote locations or harsh environments. Described as being offered at an 'affordable' price, the new service will provide higher speeds, improved coverage and flexibility. Etisalat Business' Senior Vice President, Oscar Garcia, said in a statement: "Etisalat new HTS services will be able to reach out to a wider industry segment offering affordable satellite solutions."