News in Brief 23 November 2017

Africa:

Africa: Local focus - Truecaller is expand in Africa, reports ITNewsAfrica. Director and Head of Worldwide Developer Relations, Priyam Bose, made the announcement at an event in Lagos. The Call ID app maker will set-up an African headquarters and said the it will start recruiting shortly. The business also launched its SDK developer programme through which it is offering its mobile identity product to African start-ups and developers to verify end users.

Algeria: Cyber attack curbed - Algerie Telecom (AT) said last week that it had been subjected to series of cyber attacks designed to hack and disrupt its system, .Xinhua Net reported. It said that the attacks had failed and security services had managed to identify and arrest those responsible, AT said in a statement. Minister of Post, Information and Communication Technologies and Digital Economy, Iman Houda Faraoun, said the e-commerce bill, which had been approved by the Council of Ministers, now has to be approved by the parliament.

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Angola: Mobile on the horizon - Angola Telecom is reported to have said that it has almost completed the technical part of its mobile roll-out is and is now awaiting final approval by regulator Inacom to start the testing programme.

Botswana: Broadband broadening - The Botswana Communications Regulator Authority (BOCRA) has granted a licence to Globalstar Botswana to provide terrestrial mobile broadband services over 16.5 MHz of S-band spectrum at 2483.5 to 2500 MHz. Globalstar filed its application in early 2017 and said it appreciated BOCRA's accelerated review.

Egypt: Investor relations induction - Sarah Shabayek has joined Telecom Egypt as head of Investor Relations based in Cairo, moving from Arqaam Capital's equities research team.

Ghana: Money tax denied - Deputy Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has said that the government has no intention to tax the mobile money sector, Ghanaweb reports. The Parliamentary Opposition has claimed that mobile money transactions are to be taxed in the 2018 budget statement.

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Ghana: Slim line staffing - The employees of merged telcos Tigo and Airtel Ghana have been asked to reapply for their jobs, a day after the firms merged as AirtelTigo, Starr FM reported. Applicants are to be screened and workers who are not retained will receive three months' salary multiplied by the number of years they have worked with the firm. Previously it had been suggested that no jobs would be lost after the merger.

Kenya: Ill wind - Airtel Kenya claims to have signed up an additional 11,000 subscribers in Homabay County in the two weeks since the National Super Alliance (NASA) called for a boycott against Safaricom, reports Capital FM News. South Nyanza Airtel Regional Manager Robert Mayabe said that the region, which covers Migori, Homabay, Nyamira and Kisii counties, had seen a high demand for Airtel services since the ban.

Kenya: No news - Safaricom has denied that Yolanda Zoleka has been named as its new Chief Executive Officer replacing Bob Collymore, The Star reported, following reports on social media. Zoleka, a citizen of South Africa, is currently the Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana. She joined Vodafone Ghana in March 2016 following the departure of Haris Broumidis, who took up a new appointment as Chief Executive of Vodafone Greece.

Nigeria: More fibre - On 7 November the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah said that the government will deploy some 18,000 km of fibre in the next 12 months. The investment will improve the broadband penetration rate in the country, and will also support the local ICT industry. On 30 October the government and the Consultative Council for Industrial Policy and Competitiveness reached an industrial support agreement in five key segments of the national economy, including ICT.

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South Africa: Sales security - Fingerprint recognition is now part of MTN's upgraded security systems. The biometric fingerprint scanning system will targeted at identity theft in retail outlets. It will be used for new contract applications or an additional SIM, or when performing a SIM swap. It will be used to authenticate the identity of contract subscribers. The system will match the customers' fingerprints with their identity numbers by consulting the credit bureau's consumer database.

Tunisia: Inward investment - Qatar has invested over USD 1 billion in Tunisia over the past three years according to the Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Jassim Al-Thani. The investment has been mostly directed at the tourism, telecommunications and financial sectors. The remarks were made at the Tunisian-Qatari investment Forum last week. Qatar-based Ooredoo is the lead mobile operator by subscribers in the country.

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Uganda: Free rides - Africell Uganda and Uber have partnered to provide the 'Uber With Africell' providing free rides for first time users, The Independent reported. Launched on 2 November, new users get free first time rides with a value of up to UGX 10,000 (USD 2.72) redeemable using promo Code TRIPLEDATA on downloading the Uber App on Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Africell Commercial Director, Milad Khairallah, said: "We are conveying our generosity with which we triple our subscribers' daily data to show both our customers and other people yet to switch to Africell that we have a heart for them."

Uganda: Opinions sought - Former presidential candidate Dr Abed Bwanika (76) has written to MTN and Airtel for help in collecting signatures of people support a national referendum on the lifting of presidential age limits, The Observer reported. Bwanika is asking them to collect the signatures via SMS with particulars such as national identification number and district of origin submitted.

Rwanda: Airtel arising - Regulator RURA has reported that Tigo Rwanda added some 68,555 new subscribers in October, bringing the number of subscribers from 3.39 million in September to 3.45 million in October. Due to these gains in subscribers, Tigo Rwanda now has a market share of 40 percent, up from 36.5 percent in December 2016, it said.

Zambia: Return on Investment - Zamtel expects its USD 300 million investment in new infrastructure to more than double its mobile subscribers in the next three years, Reuters reported. Zamtel spokesman Kennedy Mambwe said subscriber numbers are expected to increase from about 2.2 million to 3.0 million by the end of 2018, and to 4.0 million by the end of 2019 and 5.0 million in 2020. The government is providing some USD 280 million of the funding, with the rest from the company's internal resources.

Zambia: TV top-ups - TopStar is to offer the Zamtel Mobile money platform as a payment option, the Daily Mail reported. In October it launched a subscription service allowing decoder owners to pay for various bouquets. TopStar Chief Executive Officer Leo Liao said over 60 percent of subscription payments are made through electronic platforms such as mobile payment, electronic vouchers and mobile banking.

Zimbabwe: Crisis management - Senior telco executives are reportedly holding crisis meetings after the military assumed control of state media and placed the President under house arrest, ITWebAfrica reported. This reportedly involved mobile companies Telecel and NetOne which are state-controlled, as is the single fixed phone operator TelOne. The third mobile operator is privately-owned Econet Wireless. It was reported last week that all networks were fully operational.

Zimbabwe: Joint endeavour - Mobility solution vendor Mahindra Comviva and Econet Wireless have jointly won the AfricaCom Award in the 'Fintech Innovation Award' category for EcoCash Diaspora services. EcoCash is managed by Cassava Fintech (Cassava) on behalf of Econet Wireless Operations. The award was presented on 8 November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa. The EcoCash Diaspora service was launched, to provide a quick, secure, cost-effective and convenient way for Zimbabweans to remit money home. Partnerships were structured and subsequently managed by Cassava, so that funds can be emitted from over 200 countries and can be cashed-out at any of the 30,000 EcoCash agents.

Middle East:

Iran: MCI facilitates music app - Local firm 'MyApps' has launched an online video and music streaming app, the Financial Tribune reported, available through the myapps.ir Website and Android and iOS applications, which can be downloaded from local app markets Cafe Bazaar and Apple's App Store. Users can purchase monthly accounts and get unlimited access to movies, TV series and music tracks offered by MyApps. It has now has a deal with the Mobile Company of Iran, and MCI's subscribers will not be charged by the operator for using MyApps.

Kuwait: Celebrator calls - Zain Kuwait ioffered a special 50 percent discount on international calls to all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on 18 November. This was to celebrate Oman's National Day.

Qatar: App milestone - Ooredoo Qatar's mobile app has achieved a million downloads. The App was first launched in 2013, and is available for iOS and Android users and has an average score of 4.3 on the iTunes store. It is designed to give users access to their services so they can check their balance, maintain subscriptions, resolve issues and obtain assistance.

Qatar: Notices issued - The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) conducted its second round of inspections of retail outlets selling telecoms devices and equipment in early October. The inspections covered 330 shops and resulted in 98 written violation notices being issued to those outlets that did not have the required licenses.

Saudi Arabia: Wi-Fi in the sky - Passengers flying to 47 international destinations by Saudi Arabian Airlines can now connect to its Wi-Fi service. On six of routes; to Los Angeles, Washington, New York, London Heathrow, Manchester and Dubai, passengers in Guest Class (Economy) can access complimentary Wi-Fi for 20 minutes, after which several packages are available for purchase. Guests travelling in First and Business Class will receive a complimentary Wi-Fi session on all 47 routes (quota provided varies by route).