News in Brief 17 October 2018

Angola: Customer service - Mobile operator Movicel is upgrading its call handling facilities and increasing the speed of its data network, General Manager Gianvittorio Maselli, told Jornal de Angola. In December Movicel will provide credit down payment and call collect services.

Cameroon: Equity funding - Enko Capital, an investment fund co-founded by Cameroonian brothers and financiers Alain and Cyrille Nkontchou, is reported to have acquired a 31.5 percent stake in Cote d'Ivoire's Network Industries and Services (NETIS), which specialised in the design, construction and deployment of telecommunications infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. Business in Cameroon reported that the investment is part of the USD 65 million Enko Africa Private Equity Fund. Strategic support was prvided by Ernst & Young.

East Africa: Regional oversight - Liquid Telecom's new regional CEO for East Africa is Adil Youssefi who will be responsible for wholesale, enterprise and retail businesses in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Youssefi was CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya since April 2017. In Kenya oversaw a ten-year partnership with Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO), which will enable Liquid Telecom Kenya to operate KETRACO's Optical Ground Wire (OPGW) fibre cable and expand its Internet network in East Africa. The post is newly created.

French Overseas Territories: Bank expansion - Orange Bank's services are now available in Guadaloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, and Reunion. The launch matches the existing offer for French consumers, including a 'welcome' cash bonus of up to EUR 120 (USD 139) for new customers applying for a bank card. It launched in November 2017 and signed up 100,000 customers in the first four months. CEO Paul de Leusse recently told Le Monde that the third quarter has seen 15,000 - 20,000 new accounts a month; its long term target is 2 million French customers by 2027.

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Kenya: More schools - Airtel has extended its free internet services to 30 schools in Nyeri County, including educational content from Longhorn. The Nyeri schools join the over 300 schools that have so far benefitted from Airtel's Free Internet for Schools programme in 36 counties since its inception in 2014. The programme is offered in partnership with Computers for Schools Kenya (CFSK) and Longhorn Publishers.

Malawi: TV subs - Airtel Malawi has partnered with Kwese TV that subscription payments be made via mobile money, the MaraviPost reported. The move follows Airtel partnering First Merchant Bank (FMB), which allowed customers to transact between the two banking platforms. Airtel's Marketing Director Frank Magombo said that Airtel money customers will be able to pay their Kwese TV subscriptions from their Airtel Money Wallet, with the Kwese TV subscription being activated instantly.

Namibia: Migration starts - Paratus has started rolling out its TD-LTE network in parallel to its current Wimax network. The Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has provided temporary spectrum to maintain client service uptime during the transition process to the new TD-LTE network for a 10-month period. Paratus Namibia's Infrastructure Executive Samantha Geyser said there has been extensive testing, and by the end of last week, Paratus will have migrated its first 15 customers to TD-LTE. Paratus said that the project is on schedule.

Nigeria: DBI initiated - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has inaugurated the new board of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), naming Titi Omo-Ettu as Chairman.

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Nigeria: More 4G states - Airtel Nigeria has launched 4G-LTE service in Delta State, covering major cities and towns including Warri, Effurun, Asaba, Kwale, Ughelli, Sapele, Okpanam, and Agbor. Also speaking at the event, the Regional Operations Director of Airtel Nigeria, Oladapo Dosunmu, said the SIM Swap would not just two minutes. Airtel has already launched the new technology in the states of Oyo, Abuja and Anambra.

Nigeria: Service sanctions - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has notified mobile network operators that sanctions will be applied for poor quality of service, poor reception, automatic data roll over, wrong billing and deductions, among other issues, The Nation reported. NCC executive vice chairman Umar Garba Danbatta told a public forum that operators had been directed to give a 14-day window to enable the roll over of unused data, even if the contract is not renewed.

State of Digital - Angola: February 2018

Nigeria: Tracking reminder - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has cautioned against the illegal operation of automated vehicular tracking (AVT), CommunicationsWeek reported. NCC's Enugu zonal controller Emilia Nwokoro said that it is illegal for people to operate vehicular tracking services without registering. The NCC has the powers to seal off AVT services operating without licence; D-Tech Multi Services were closed down on 31 October 2017 following the refusal of its managers to regularise their operations with the commission.

Nigeria: VAS reminder - The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is still looking to clean-up the Value Added Service (VAS) segment and will sanction deviant VAS operators sending unsolicited messages to subscribers, ThisDayLive reported. The comments were made at the first Bi-Annual Nigeria Valued Added Services Stakeholder's Forum in Lagos. Other transgressions include spam messages, fraudulent bank alerts and forced subscriptions or automatic renewals. NCC's Director,of Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Efosa Idehen noted that despite the benefits it would not allow it to be used as avenue to 'inflict pains on subscribers'.

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South Africa: Dwell time deal - Cell-C's free Black streaming data promotion has been extended to February 2019, and is available on any of its pre- and post-paid plans including MediaPlay, according to MyBroadband. The promotion was due to end on 10 November 2018, having been launched in May. It will now be extended through the holiday period, when families and children have dwell time.

South Africa: Dynamic discounts - Mahala Calls are to be reintroduced as part of the MTN Zone offering. Users can opt in by dialing star 175 star 0 hash and make a daily recharge of ZAR 10 (USD 0.70) or more to receive free minutes of up to one hour to make on-net calls. They can use the free minutes during the Mahala call hour in their current location. MTN Zone is a pre-paid, per-second billing price plan that offers of up to 100 percent discounts on calls and SMS.

Sudan: Global 4G offering - Zain Sudan and Telenor have signed a connectivity agreement enabling Zain Sudan to provide LTE roaming services, Capacity Media has reported. Zain Sudan can now offer global 4G coverage to both visitors and subscribers. Zain Sudan COO Osama Kahin said it has a long-standing and important relationship with Telenor.

Middle East:

Bahrain: Cloud award - VIVA has been awarded the 'Diamond Partner' medal level by Avaya as the first cloud-based Unified Communication services provider in Bahrain under the 'VIVA One' branding. The event featured a live demonstration of VIVA One's features and capability across different devices such as laptops, smart phones, tablets and the latest Avaya IP phones. VIVA CEO Ulaiyan Al Wetaid said: "We want to continue on this roadmap to success by making it even easier for start-up and established businesses within diverse market of the Kingdom to adopt digital transformation in their daily business operations".

Kuwait: Cloud collaboration - Ooredoo Kuwait and SAP are to provide a partner-managed cloud for SAP software. Ooredoo will offer a subscription-based offering of SAP products in its private hosted cloud, enabling customers to access SAP software without the need for up-front infrastructure costs associated with on-premise software deployments.

Qatar: Hala top-ups - Ooredoo Qatar's subscribers can now set-up Recurring Hala Top-Ups from their Ooredoo Money Wallet, ensuring that their Hala line is always active. The feature is available for customers setting up their own recurring top-up as well as Ooredoo Money users wishing to pay for a different Hala user's recharge. The Ooredoo Money app is available via the Apple App Store and Google Play store in English, Arabic, Hindi, Malayalam, Bengali, Tagalog and Nepali.

Qatar: Revised packs - Ooredoo TV is to offer two new variety packages for its Arabic and Asian audiences. These were once available on Ooredoo TV essentials and as an add-on package, but have now been collated into two new variety packs for Ooredoo TV subscribers, at QAR 35 (USD 9.53) per month each. The Arabia Variety Pack includes five channels: ART Aflam 1, ART Aflam 2, ART Hekayat 1, ART Hekayat 2 and ART Cinema, whilst the Asia Plus Variety Pack will include 12 channels consisting of Foodfood, B4U Aflam, B4U Plus, Sangeet Bangla, Super Star TV, 9X Music, Music India, 9X Jalwa and more. There are no upfront charges, no equipment costs and no ongoing contracts.

Syria: Vendor vacillations - The Syria Report has noted a serious challenge to the country's telecommunications sector as China's Huawei is reported to be considering withdrawing from Syria. The publication observes the apparent unwillingness of Chinese companies to take the Syria risk.

United Arab Emirates: Contactless contracted - Etisalat and Tappy Technologies are to offer payment and access-enabled wearables as demand for contactless payments grow. Etisalat said it was one of the first regional players to introduce mobile payments.

United Arab Emirates: eSIM development - Du has contracted with German-based Giesecke+Devrient Mobile Security to launch its AirOn eSIM management service. eSIMs will be commercially available shortly for consumers' watches, smartphones and M2M devices.

United Arab Emirates: Foreign easement? - The restrictions on the voting rights of Etisalat's foreign shareholders have been lifted in a bid to augment FDIs inflows, the Emirates News Agency reported. In 2015 the Cabinet issued a resolution amending Federal Law No 1 of 1991 allowing foreigners to own up to 20 percent of Etisalat's shares. However, the resolution did not give the incestors any voting rights. The board has now authorised the management to take the necessary steps to effect these changes, the company said, but the move remains subject to the General Assembly's approval.

United Arab Emirates: Steaming partnership - Mobile operator Du has announced a partnership with Netflix to offer its streaming video service to Du and Virgin Mobile customers with TV and mobile devices. From October users will have access to Netflix on their second screens and can pay for the service through their mobile bills.