The World Bank has approved US$30 million each in loans and grants to support Mauritania and Togo's efforts to strengthen telecommunications connectivity through expansion of fiber-optic broadband networks and introduction of legal and regulatory reforms to promote robust private sector competition.
The investments are expected to expand access and serve as the backbone for greater private sector investment in ICT services and drive down costs, as has been the experience in other African countries.
A Vodafone report says mobile money payroll (mPayroll) could enable secure, cost-effective wage payments to be made to millions of unbanked workers by 2020, reducing corruption, lessening the risk of payday robbery and reducing the time spent travelling and waiting to receive cash wages.
MTN's Nigerian subsidiary has restated that it is working to improve the quality of its network performance following repeated complaints from customers.
All the major mobile networks are under pressure to improve their network quality, although they also cite the difficulties of operating in parts of the country with terrorism or capricious local officials.
MTN Nigeria's Public Relations and Protocol Manager, Funso Aina, said MTN Nigeria would continue investing in the network and installing new base stations across the country.
MoneyGram and South Africa's First National Bank (FNB) have launched their first mobile money transfer service in Africa, giving FNB account holders throughout South Africa provinces an option for sending and receiving international money transfers using their mobile phones.
Transactions sent from a mobile device are available for collection within 10 minutes, subject to an agent's hours of operation and local laws and regulations.
Zain has awarded a contract to Basset, for the supply of a full Interconnect solution, covering interconnect billing, routing optimization and trading for the wholesale market. Basset has previously worked with Zain in Jordan and Africa.
Basset said that important factors in Zain Group's decision process were the identification of a platform in which all involved parts of the organization are able to work together as a team in one system; from interconnect billing and routing functions to quality management.
MTN's Nigerian subsidiary has been fined N90 million (US$567,000) by the telecoms regulator for missing quality of service levels.
Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr. Tony Ojobo said the fine was imposed following a drive text carried out in December 2012 in which MTN failed to meet the minimum standard of quality of service including the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) set out by the commission.
In related news, MTN separately said that it would upgrade about 5,500 of its sites across the country.
Kenya's Safaricom has launched a back-up service for phonebook contacts in customers handsets. The service is being provided by Gemalto.
Gemalto's LinqUs Cloud Backup combines both SIM and handset phonebook backup systems. Protection of the entire phonebook is just a single click process and restoration of contacts is equally straightforward.
Gemalto's also claims that subscribers using the service are staying on average an extra nine months with the same operator before considering churning.
Spreadtrum Communications has announced a deal to provide its low-cost mobile platforms to Orange for use in smartphones in Europe and Africa.
"Orange's goal is to make the mobile internet more accessible to all of our customers around the world," said Yves Maitre, senior vice president of Orange Group Devices. "Spreadtrum's ability to provide high-quality and low-cost chipsets will ultimately help make our smartphones even more affordable for our customers everywhere."
South Africa's Vodacom Business division has announced the launch of a number of mHealth initiatives together with its partner Mezzanineware.
Based on a centralised mobile/cloud environment, Vodacom's Mezzanine mHealth services allow health care or technology providers to improve their access to clients, assets and employees. This is done through secure, real-time data collection, information processing, management and reporting.
Originally built for the health industry, the services have been customised to work across various industry verticals.