TELECOMS

Telecoms News - In Brief

-Kigali — MTN Rwandacell has expressed concerns over delays by Rwandatel to pay an outstanding debt accrued from interconnection fees. Both, MTN and Rwandatel are leading telecommunication companies in Rwanda and share an interconnection agreement. Under the telecommunication services provision regulations in Rwanda, companies are required to assess and pay each other whatever interconnection fees are due at the end of every month but according to MTN, Rwandatel has for long violated this agreement. Cutting off the interconnectivity link means that Rwandatel's approximately 280,000 subscribers will not be able to make a call on the MTN network which is comprised of at least 1.4 million subscribers and vice versa.
Currently the interconnection fees are about Rwf40 for every call made from Rwandatel to MTN.

-Kenyan telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya has announced the results of the recent Quality of Service (QoS) assessment that it conducted on the country's four mobile phone operators. Newly rebranded Airtel Kenya (formerly Zain) achieved pole position in the assessment, passing seven of the eight key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure quality. Essar Telecom Kenya’s Yu brand ranked second, achieving compliance in four categories. However, the QoS assessment established that neither Safaricom nor Telkom Kenya are offering a 'satisfactory service'. Safaricom - the market leader by subscribers and revenues - criticised the findings, blaming any network issues on the CCK for not providing sufficient spectrum to cater for its subscriber base.

- Diamond Trust Bank is set to launch what it claims is the most complete mobile banking product in Tanzania early next year and it will include new features which are not currently available in the mobile banking sector. The product which will be named Touch 24/7, will also include other features of mobile banking such as balance inquiry and statement of account and will also allow the user to get reminders and useful information about their personal accounts, helping them to be seamlessly in control of their money in the bank. The bank will introduce internet banking option as part of the cash management product named I-Bank (Intelligent Banking).

- A Harare woman is suing Econet Wireless for US$50 000 for reportedly releasing her call records to her estranged husband. She says this has damaged her reputation, dignity and strained her relationship. However, Econet Wireless has denied being liable for the claim.

- Nairobi — Airtel Kenya hit the ground running with a new number range, as demand for starter packs picked up. A week after the launch of the Airtel Brand in Kenya, the mobile service provider has released an extra 2.5 million lines covering five-number prefixes. The new Airtel brand comes with a promise to meet the emerging needs of customers with innovative, affordable and relevant solutions to empower consumers. Airtel Kenya has now unveiled new mobile number prefixes in the range of 0739, 0786, 0787, 0788 and 0789.

- Nairobi — Safaricom is upgrading its mobile cash transfer service M-pesa this weekend.The cash transfer system has expanded to facilitate airtime top-up, bill payments for now more than 400 organisations, salary disbursements and more recently the M-Kesho partnership with Equity Bank. The company said accounts would remain secure during the period. This new M-pesa platform will allow for faster transaction turnaround and ensure system stability as it will be able to handle more transactions."The upgrade comes a month after the operator reviewed the maximum amount of money customers transact daily upwards to Sh50,000, up from the previous Sh35,000 ceiling and lowering the minimum amount that can be sent to below Sh100.

-Africa investor (Ai), a leading international investment research and communications group, today announced that Sukuma Afrika has officially called for entries for the 2011 Sukuma Afrika Young Entrepreneur’s Competition in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).For more information on the competition, go to:www.sukumaafrika.org/campaign_competition.htm.

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