TELECOMS

Telecoms News - In Brief

- Kuwait-based mobile operator Zain aims to enter the Malian telecoms market and could also seal agreements in two more African nations before the end of the year, its CEO has told magazine Arabian Business. "We are looking at Mali, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Rwanda and Mozambique,” Saad Al-Barrak said. “Mali is the closest to a deal, which we hope to seal before the end of the year, and then the others are on the same level. We are actively engaged in discussions and exploration.

- Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) acting director general Mr Charles Sibanda told Herald Business that preliminary tests for 3G by all mobile service providers were "successfully" carried out. "We are now focusing on the legal aspect of the 3G service and this has taken much time than we had expected," said Mr Sibanda, adding that for the time being they were working on changing the existing framework.

- The Kenyan Parliament has taken the first tentative step to enact legislation to outlaw the abuse of the mobile phone whereby all mobile phone users will have to register their numbers using their identity cards or passports. This will put an end to the current situation where one can acquire a SIM card from a street seller without getting as much as a receipt.

- In Morocco, the National Company of Radio and TV Broadcasting (French acronym SNRT) has rolled out a new mobile TV service that allows mobile phone users to watch five Moroccan TV channels Al Oula, 2M, Arryadia, Arrabiâ and Assadissa. Using the digital video broadcast-handheld (DVB-H) system, this service is available the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, while eight other cities will be covered by the end of 2008.

- The Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has started advertising for a fourth mobile phone operator, even though a licence for the third cellco has still not been allocated. The country currently has two operational cellcos, Celtel Malawi and Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM), and advertised for a third in March 2007.

- For the past two months, Erongo's rural areas in Namibia have been without telephone services due to widespread copper theft, and it is uncertain how long this will continue.

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