TELECOMS

Telecoms News - In Brief

-   MTN Rwanda is delivering data services using Wi-MAX. MTN Uganda is testing Wi-MAX to deliver broadband wireless and there is also a test network in South Africa. MTN Cameroon will also soon be implementing it. Celtel is carrying out a GPRS trial in Uganda and also in Kenya. It has now also transferred its Kenya operation on to Ericsson infrastructure to bring it in line with its other East African operations.

-   Lesotho has passed legislation saying that all decisions by the regulator must be approved by the Government. There is also talk of extending the incumbent’s monopoly by yet another year.

- Operators in Mauritius have had some relief on international fibre prices with a 20% reduction on SAFE/SAT3 prices to $4,700 per mbps per month.

- Revenue estimated at P1.5 million was not recorded at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), the Auditor General has revealed. The report on the accounts of government released by the Auditor General for the financial year 2004/5, identified weaknesses in the billing and non-billing of leased lines that were installed by the BTC. "The finding is a significant cause for concern... the monetary value of the installations, has not yet been provided by management," reads the Auditor General's report in part. According to the Auditor General, there is a serious breakdown in internal controls and unrecorded revenue at BTC. The Auditor General also decried failure to follow laid down procedures by BTC management. The report findings also revealed problems with customer accounts in the database.

- Four telecommunications firms, Starcomms Limited, Multilinks, Intercellular and Prest Cable and Wire (Prestel) at the weekend received approval of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to commence unified licensing regime in the country. The companies are the first batch of new licencees under unified licensing arrangement where multiple services such as mobile telephony, fixed telephony, internet, broadband and long distance services can be made available by a single provider.

- The CCK has announced its intention to license the two mobile networks to operate their own international voice gateways in Kenya.  Barring delays, Safaricom and Celtel Kenya will be issued with the international voice gateway licences by mid this year.

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