News in Brief 11 December 2019


Africa & Middle East: 5-year plan - Orange has unveiled its 'Engage 2025' programme, the successor to the Essentials 2020 plan launched in 2015. The group highlighted that its business model will be guided by social and environmental responsibility. It also announced plans to create TowerCos in most of its European countries, dedicated to the management of its mobile towers. These entities, fully controlled by Orange, could then be consolidated into a European TowerCo unit, in which the group would retain majority control. In the Africa & Middle East region, group revenues are expected to progress at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 5 percent in the 2020-2023 period. As recently announced, the group plans to launch Orange Bank Africa to strengthen is financial offering. This new initiative aims to reach nearly 10 million customers by 2023 with net banking income of about EUR 100 million.

Africa & Middle East: Data security - Dimension Data has launched its fifth business in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, Dimension Data Security. It will work closely with customers to firstly, help them define their appetite for risk, and then what it will take to keep that risk at an acceptable level. It said the new business will have a wide range of cyber security capabilities and services available, as well as supporting clients in their digital transformation initiatives.

Egypt: Expo test - Etisalat Misr has tested 5G during Cairo ICT 2019 (1-4 December), reaching a speed of 1.4 Gbps. It said the successful trial represents an important milestone for Etisalat, as it exemplifies Etisalat's and Ericsson's commitment to develop and test new use cases and applications that can benefit both consumers and enterprises.

Kenya: Disease alerts - Safaricom has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Korea Telecom (KT) to launch a disease surveillance and awareness project. Safiri Smart is part of Korea Telecom's Global Epidemic Prevention Project and aims to help the ministry prevent infectious diseases such as Ebola from entering Kenya. Users of the platform who travel to areas with ongoing epidemics will receive information as soon as they land in the affected country. Safaricom subscribers who opt in to the service will get information about any epidemics that have broken out at their travel destination, including prevention measures and symptoms. Safaricom subscribers can access Safiri Smart by dialling *265# from their mobile phones. The service is already available as a mobile application in Ghana and Laos.

State of Digital - Angola: February 2018

Kenya: M-Pesa investments - Mobile network operator Safaricom has started enabling subscribers to invest as little as KES 100 (USD 0.96) in unit trusts via M-Pesa, Tech-ish reported. The service is called Mali and is available to any M-Pesa subscribers who have been active for the last three months. Subscribers should dial *230#. The interest rate is 10 percent per annum. Mali has been piloted for some time and is expected to go shortly. Users will be able to access their investments plus interest. They will be able to top up or instantly transfer some or all of their funds to their M-Pesa account. If the amount they want to withdraw is more than the M-Pesa limit, they will have they option to roll over days. Both deposits and withdrawals are free.

Maldives: Base falls - The mobile base fell to 863,700 subscribers in September 2019 from 866,102 subscribers in August. Mobile teledensity reached 233.64 percent in September, according to figures from the Communications Authority of Maldives. Of the total mobile subscribes, 158,896 were post-paid subscribers, and 704,804 were pre-paid users. The number of fixed lines (including payphones) declined to 16,974 in September from 17,271 in August, while fixed-line teledensity standing at 4.59 percent September this year. Mobile broadband subscriber base fell to 263,326 users in September from 267,410 in August, while the fixed broadband user base reached 89,124 at 30 September 2019.

another fine mess for african telecoms

Nigeria: Data revamp - Mobile network operator 9mobile has introduced new data plans and revamped its existing ones. Acting Marketing Director Layi Onafowokan said that subscriptions can dial star 200*3*1# to access the daily, three-day, weekly and monthly plans. Subscribers can now access new data plans such as 1 GB plus free access to social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, valid for a day for NGN 300 (USD 0.83) or 2 GB plus free social media access for three days for NGN 500 (USD 1.38). Users interested in weekly plans could get 7 GB plus free access to social media for seven days for NGN 1,500 (USD 4.12), or 15 GB for NGN 5,000 (USD 13.75) valid for 30 days.

Nigeria: Direct devices - Zzapo Mobile is due to launch what it claims is the most affordable smartphone in Nigeria. Two devices are to be offered: one with 4GB ram and 64 GB of Internal memory and the other with 6GB ram and 128 GB worth of internal memory. During the promotion period only the 4GB version will be available in Black. The 4GB will retail for NGN 45,000 (USD 124), and the 6GB for NGN 60,000 (USD 165). In the 5-day promotion starting 2 December the price of the 4GB model will be NGN 7,999 (USD 22). Prices are low because the device will come direct from the factory to the customer. Bluetooth Ear buds, Power bank, Mobile Covers, a Magnetic USB Cable C Port and a mobile holder will also be offered.

South Africa: Digital infrastructure do - Digital Infra Africa, sponsored by Capacity Media and BroadGroup, will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, 1 - 3 April 2020. The event will "identify trends in consolidation and diversification, while facilitating regional and international partnerships for the fibre optic, data centre, cloud, content, satellite, tower and satellite industries of mobile." This is claimed to be the first ever event dedicated to Africa's digital infrastructure.

Tanzania: LTE expansion - Third-ranked Airtel Tanzania has expanded its recently-launched LTE network to Morogoro Region, IPP Media reported. Activated in November, Airtel's 4G service is already available in Dodoma, Dar es Salaam and Coast Region. Rivals Vodacom Tanzania, Millicom Tanzania (Tigo), Smile Communications and Tanzania Telecommunication Corporation (TTCL) have all previously launched 4G.

Uganda: SIMs to be sold - Africell has started to sell SIM cards rather than distribute them without charge, The Monitor has reported. For more than a year, Africell has been giving out free SIMs via street vendors. People have mainly been purchasing Africell SIMs to benefit from its fairly priced data packages, The Monitor said. The Uganda Communications Commission's Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, said the regulator does not have any problem with Africell stopping the issue of free SIM cards because this is a business model that it has decided to take on.

Middle East:

Israel: Offering closed - Cellcom Israel has raised ILS 300 million (USD 86.4 million) in the institutional stage of an equity offering, Globes has reported. Demand totalled ILS 905 million (USD 260.6 million), of which ILS 300 million (USD 86.4 million) was filled after the offering closed on 3 December with orders at this price receiving 38.35 percent of the amounts ordered. Discount Investment, which holds 44 percent of the shares in Cellcom and 47 percent of the voting rights, chose to participate in the offering, and bought shares in proportion to its holding. The offering was led by Epsilon Underwriting and Issuing, which is controlled by Discount Investment.

Qatar: Better access - Ooredoo Qatar and Wheel The World have partnered to open up tourist attractions in Qatar to all. Wheel The World promotes tourism for those with disabilities, raising awareness of the challenges they face when choosing travel options and working to make experiences possible. Ooredoo will now create unique experiences in Qatar for visitors with additional needs, leveraging its 5G network and technology. Using Google Assistant API, the telecom it will offer a booking portal and a pre-trip virtual assistant.

United Arab Emirates: 5G coverage - The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has said that 80 percent of the country's populated areas and main cities are now covered by 5G networks. Services were launched by Etisalat and Du in mid-2019. Separately, Etisalat claims to have attained a download throughput of 3.1Gbps in trials of Standalone (SA) 5G technology. The test used 200MHz of spectrum. In October Etisalat completed what it claimed was the first SA 5G call in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.