Cellular News

Airtel Plans $80 Million Worth of Upgrades in Zambia

Bharti Airtel's Zambian subsidiary expects to invest around USD80 million over the next 12 months expanding its network coverage and deploying LTE upgrades.

Airtel's managing director Charity Lumpa told the Zambia Daily Mail that while in the past the firm had experienced significant challenges in terms of network coverage, it has done a lot of research into the problems and secured the investment funding to fix them.

"Our focus in terms of rollout is to enhance quality and coverage," Ms Lumpa said at a media briefing in Lusaka.

Source: Cellular News

Zimbabwe Sets Revenue Target for LTE Spectrum Auction

Zimbabwe's government is looking to auction off 4G licenses later this year, with the aim of raising at least USD173 million from the mobile networks.

It has set the target to be raised as the cost of the digital migration programme which will see the spectrum released by the television broadcasters. That project is due to be completed by next June.

The government's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said that raising the USD173 million cost of the digital migration was "not difficult" if the government auctioned off the spectrum to the mobile networks.

Source: Cellular News

Kenyan Regulator Investigates Use of Ultra-Thin SIM Cards

Kenya's telecoms regulator has said that it will seek outside expert advice on the use of embedded SIM cards following a complaint by Safaricom.

The complaint was sparked by proposals from the Equity Bank to use an ultra-thin SIM card that can sit on top of existing SIM cards to provide direct access to its own mobile money services.

Equity Bank was also recently granted a MVNO license and has signed a wholesale agreement with Airtel. However the thin-SIM would enable it to offer mobile banking services to customers on other mobile networks as well.

Source: Cellular News

Airtel Complains About Higher Mobile Money Charges by Rival Network

Kenya's Airtel has confirmed that the country's Competition Authority is investigating a complaint about the pricing of mobile money services.

Airtel had sent a complaint to the anti-trust regulator after reportedly noticing that the country's largest mobile network operator, Safaricom charges more for money transfers to Airtel customers than it does for transfers to its own customers.

Although off-net costs tend to be higher for mobile networks in telecoms services, it is not clear if the same would apply to mobile money services.

Source: Cellular News

Huawei to Deploy ELTE Urban Railway Communications System in Ethiopia

Huawei says that it has been selected as the sole provider of Ethiopia's light rail communication system in the capital city, Addis Ababa. The integrated telecommunications system will be Africa's first comprehensive commercial eLTE communications infrastructure for urban railways.

Source: Cellular News

Togo to Award a 3rd Mobile Operator License Shortly

The government of Togo has authorised plans to award a third mobile operator license for the country. It is currently carrying out a feasibility study into how to carry out the process.

The Ministry partnered with the Banque Ouest Africaine de développement (BOAD), and although it is yet to publish a detailed schedule, the process should lead to a tender.

Currently the country has the two mobile networks -- the state owned Togo Cellulaire, and Moov which is majority owned by Etisalat.

Source: Cellular News

Altobridge Files for Bankruptcy - 130 Jobs at Risk

An Irish telecoms provider, Altobridge that specialized in rural network infrastructure has filed for bankruptcy.

A short statement on the company's website confirmed the development. The news could put around 130 jobs worldwide at risk, including 45 at its Irish headquarters.

In 2011 the company had a turnover of $16.1 million and raised US$19.8 million in investment from both Intel and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation.

Source: Cellular News

Regulator NCA gets tough - Vodafone Banned from Signing Up New Customers in Ghana

Vodafone's Ghana subsidiary has been barred from signing up new customers until the end of July following a serious network outage.

Vodafone suffered the network outage from around 10am on the 2nd June, which lasted through to midday on the 3rd June.

Source: Cellular News

Airtel Kenya Welcomes MVNO Licensing

Airtel Kenya has welcomed the regulator's recent decision to license three MVNOs, saying that it welcomes the competition in the market.

Three companies, Zioncell, Tangaza Pesa and Fincell (a subsidiary of Equity Bank) have all been granted licenses to act as virtual operators.

Airtel has reason to be happy though -- as all three companies have signed agreements to use its network infrastructure rather than that offered by rivals.

Source: Cellular News

Etisalat Drops Offer to Buyout Minority Shareholders in Maroc Telecom

UAE based Etisalat has cancelled its offer to buy out the minority shareholders in Maroc Telecom after securing a special waiver from the local stock exchange.

Etisalat recently bought a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom, and under the Casablanca stock exchange rules was required to launch an offer to buy the remaining shares.

Just 17% of the shares are listed on the stock exchange, with the other 30% owned by the government, and it was expected that the stock exchange would offer an exemption from the mandatory offer as it would have reduced liquidity in the stock market.

Source: Cellular News
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