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Issue no 833 24th June 2016

top story

  • Africa’s international bandwidth markets are experiencing another growth bump with the roll-out of LTE moving ahead apace. Whereas the minimum unit to buy was an E1, it’s now an STM1. Russell Southwood spoke to Chris Wood, CEO of WIOCC about how he sees the market.

    WIOCC’s Chris Wood told me that he was building out metronets in Johannesburg:”We’re buying (dark fibre) from DFA and we’ll launch 39 POPs aroubd that. This is exactly what we want to be doing. We’re not making money from it but driving traffic on to our core assets.”

    The amount of capacity used by his consortium’s members and its customers has doubled in volume in the last 12 months and he thinks that this kind of growth will continue over the next 5 years.

    “This growth is driven in the final instance by local access networks. The higher the broadband speeds, the more people will use them. The big content players have all come to the continent to build their business here: Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Google. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all want to bring Africa into the mainstream of their networks.”

    “4G plays into that. 5G is coming. Most end-users are accessing content on mobile devices and the price of handsets has come down. High capacity demand (also) comes with Fibre-To-The-Home”.

    “The difference is dramatic. In Kenya you’ve got four players doing this: Wananchi, Fon, Jamii and Liquid Telecom. Most housing estates of a certain level – professionals – are fibre connected. I have 27 mbps coming into my house and can stream TV, both locally and internationally.” The impact of 4G and FTTH is that operators are now buying STM16s and not STM4s or STM1s.

    The above might sound very uplifting but what about a smaller and more challenging market like Somalia?:”We went live there in February 2014. Volumes have been doubling every 6 months. We’ve just sold an STM16 and there’s about 10 Gbps in service in Mogadishu and that will probably double between now and the end of the year. There are metronets around Mogadishu and all the mobile networks are 3G. People are getting online at an affordable level.”

    One impact of the rise in volumes sold has been a pattern of falling prices. The most dramatic illustration of this is at wholesale level (STM16-STM64), prices in South Africa have fallen to US$5 per mbps. Sadly some of us are old enough to remember when such bandwidth used to cost thousands of dollars per mbps. It is a sign of Africa’s online growth that prices are falling and volumes growing. It’s not easy for cable operators but great news for Africa’s Internet users. Obviously prices remain higher in harder to reach countries like DRC, particularly its eastern half. I met a colleague from Goma this week who told me that mobile operators there had actually put up retail mobile internet access prices. As Sci-Fi writer William Gibson says:”The future’s already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.”

    But the dramatic fall in prices – particularly in South Africa – makes Wood skeptical of the new international fibre projects recently announced:”With these low South Africa rates, you’re already below build costs. EASSy will add 2 Tbps next week for a few million dollars. (The fibre projects) from Africa One and Liquid Telecom don’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a $200 million system that needs to recover it’s money over a 3-4 year period. I can’t see that being possible in Africa over that time.”

    “You can buy an IRU on any system at very competitive rates. If they get built, cable prices will go down faster and it’s more than the market can soak up.”

    In addition to these two new cables, the Angola Cables project from Angola to Brazil (with a Miami link) was confirmed at ITW, the long awaited phase two extension of ACE to South Africa is happening and there will be an upgrade on WACS.

    He’s also clear that there should be a solution to the spate of international cable outages there have been:”We all need to buy from every system. Big operators can easily swop capacity.”

    And the saddest story? Eritrea:”It’s a sad case. We have tried over the years to get them to join WIOCC. It’s the only country without international fibre. Other routes also made offers and they were not taken up. They need to take advantage of them as no-one will build to their door otherwise.”

    Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act’s web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has an e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, media, social media, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 65 issues and these can be viewed on this  link:

    Essential reading for those in mobile VAS to anyone just interested in what African and relevant international content they can now get online. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to info@balancingact-africa.com with Digital Content Africa in the title line. Look at the full list of past issues  here:

    Videos interviews to watch:
    Chika Nwobi, L5 Labs on the lessons of seed investing in Nigerian start-ups

    Jennifer Chizua on launching Startpreneurs, Abuja's first start-up accelerator

    Kemo Toure on his start-up jobs platform Wutiko.com aimed at Francophone Africa and the diaspora

    Benedict Olumhense on the barriers to success in the Nigerian games sector

    CcHub's Bosun Tijani on its new edtech incubator and research centre re:learn

    Tech Cabal's Bankole Oluwafemi on making Lagos a Playable City - The Mirror that talks back to you

    Corbyn Munnik on start-up Sliide, an African mobile Flipboard with free data, launched in Nigeria

    Papa Cire Kane, Byfilling on start-up digital agency Byfilling and the online landscape in Senegal

    Babacar Birane, Concree on wanting to be Africa's first virtual incubator & its successful start-ups

    Jussi Hinkkanen on raising funds to expand Fuzu, an African careers development platform

    Digitata's Andrew McHenry on its USSD mobile games, played by millions in South Africa

    Anne Amuzu and Selorm Worthmore on start-up NandiMobile's Ghanaian directory product

Money Transfer

  • Pan African banking group, Ecobank has unveiled a plan that aims to boost financial inclusion for those currently unbanked across Africa.
    The plan mainly targets people in rural areas and emerging small to medium enterprises.
    Speaking on the sidelines of the launch in Lome last Friday, Ecobank group CEO Mr Ade Ayeyemi said a large percentage of Africans have remained on the periphery, without access to banking facilities yet active in the economy. Read the full story here

  • LIMOGES, France, June 21, 2016/ -- Aleda (www.ALEDA.fr), a French company specialising in paperless payment solutions and money transfers, has established itself as a key player in the sector with the recent launch of Orange Money. The Orange Money mobile payment solution launched in France on the 15th of June thanks to the expertise of both Orange and Aleda, the first distributer to deploy this service in France. It will enable Orange users to transfer funds via their mobile phone to family and friends in the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal as well as mainland France.

    What Aleda brings to the Orange Money project
    As Orange's long-standing wholesale partner for the distribution of pre-paid telephone offers, Aleda provides added value in more than one area of this project:
    - Its comprehensive network of outlets, firmly established at the heart of communities, proved to be vitally useful in launching the Orange Money service. Aleda provided approximately 4,000 independent close-to-the-customer points of sale for paperless transactions such as mobile top-ups, electronic money codes or money transfer.

    - As the leading telephone services wholesaler in France authorised by operators to sell pre-paid packages on its website, Aleda has great expertise in the digital world. As Pascal Roudier, chief executive of the Aleda Group, explains: “The technological innovations developed by our teams have been an accelerating factor in implementing Orange Money in France.    Our Sepia app for tablets and smartphones allows users to be identified, while our dedicated apps enable the required level of transaction management."

    A commercial network set to expand
    The network was launched via a pilot run in July 2015, when the first Orange Money store fitted with technical solutions developed and managed by Aleda opened in Avenue de St Ouen in Paris. Aleda has gone on to launch this service in over forty outlets across France.  But as Daniel Frent, Associate Director for the Group, explains, the size of Aleda's own network means "this is only the beginning. Our network of independent outlets will make this new service increasingly accessible to those who want to top up their Orange Money account in France."    
    Source: Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Aleda SAS.

  • Telecoms operator Safaricom has rejected the taxman’s quest to gain unfettered access to its customers’ mobile money records, throwing a big hurdle at the Treasury-backed plan meant to smoke out tax cheats.
    Safaricom said it will not give the Kenya Revenue Authority(KRA) customer data unless laws touching on confidentiality are changed to allow the mining of such information.
    The KRA is seeking to gain unrestricted access to taxpayers’ bank and mobile money accounts as part of the efforts to catch tax cheats and improve revenue collection as its targets continue to rise.

    “As you are aware, the Constitution of Kenya restricts access to confidential customer information,” Stephen Chege, Safaricom’s corporate affairs director, told the Business Daily in an email response.

    “Other laws such as the National Payment Systems Act and the regulations thereunder — which govern M-Pesa — also restrict access to such information unless by a court order.”
    Treasury secretary Henry Rotich has, through the Finance Bill 2016, amended a section of the Tax Procedures Act (TPA), laying the ground for KRA’s wish to be granted.
    The taxman needed the law change to spare it the burden of having to seek court orders every time it wants to access an individual’s account but tax experts and lawyers have warned of fierce legal opposition to the invasion of people’s privacy.

    The proposed law says “a person shall, upon being required to do so by the commissioner, furnish the commissioner with returns showing such information, in such form and manner and within such time as the commissioner may prescribe”.

    Companies and individuals tend to bank money they cannot spend, an indication of the surpluses in a person’s financial or business operations for which they are required to pay tax.
    Most payments are also made through bank accounts, offering the taxman an opportunity to demand his share.

    Currently, the taxman has to seek courts to gain access to an individual’s bank accounts, a long process that the KRA wanted removed to aid tax collection efforts.
    KRA commissioner-general John Njiraini told the Business Daily in April that he expected some amendments to the law giving him direct access to bank accounts “for information about businesses and individuals on an ongoing basis”.

    Denounced the existence
    Mr Njiraini said at the time that a partnership was underway with Safaricom and Equity Bank to reduce tax evasion, but the mobile operator has now denounced the existence of such a deal.
    Access to Safaricom’s M-Pesa transactions would give the taxman a treasure trove of financial information for use in tracking tax evaders. Safaricom had 16.6 million active customers in March with monthly person-to-business transaction of Sh24.1 billion.
    Mobile money users transacted a total of Sh2.8 trillion last year, Sh504 billion more than the national budget.

    Mr Chege said Safaricom does not have any information sharing arrangement with the KRA but fully supports the taxman’s effort to grow tax revenues. “Our support is hinged on adherence to the laws of the land,” he said.

    Francis Kamau, a tax director at consultancy firm Ernst & Young, said the amendment, if indeed intended to give the KRA unfettered access, is likely to run into legal hurdles.
    He said that although banks presently provide the KRA with information on their customers’ transactions, such disclosures are only possible under the provisions of the Income Tax Act and the Banking Act.

    The two pieces of legislation give the taxman access to customers’ financial records held by banks but requires the KRA to obtain a court order (if the lender declines to oblige) or send a representative to look at the accounts without making any copies of the records.
    “For the KRA to by-pass court orders, the Cabinet Secretary has to amend several laws. The new clause, as drafted, will definitely be challenged if the KRA relies on it to access information,” said Mr Kamau.

    Robert Waruiru, an associate director with KPMG, said that lawyers too will fall back on their attorney-client privileges if asked to furnish the KRA with information, including financial and investments records.

    Expatriates could also repel the taxman’s information-seeking efforts by relying on their home country’s data protection laws, some of which apply extra-terrestrially, Mr Waruiru said.
    “What I see happening in case KRA attempts to implement this clause is that persons requested to give confidential information will throw the law back at them,” he said.
    Allowing the KRA to access bank accounts could also make it unnecessary to levy taxes such as withholding value added tax (WHVAT) by major suppliers to big businesses, the government and related entities.

    With the bank details, suppliers to a business and the government would be easily traced by following the money trail and  enabling the taxman to have an inside view of the entities that should be paying tax and how much they should pay.

    But there are also high chances that it would encourage cash-based transactions and defeat the ongoing transformation of Kenya into a cashless economy.
    Another danger is that such a law could promote parallel banking with the intention of hiding the proceeds of both legal and illegal incomes.

    Nuru Mugambi, the director of communications and public affairs at the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), said the KRA’s efforts have to be in line with the Banking Act.
    “We are waiting to see the proposed amendments to the Banking Act to see how the Finance Bill will affect us before we can comment,” Ms Mugambi told theBusiness Daily in a telephone interview.
    Source: Business Daily

  • JUST after the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) switched off all fake phones, Vodacom has said airtime and money at M-PESA account of their customers whose handsets will be affected, will be safe.
    Vodacom Tanzania Managing Executive, Corporate Affairs Ms Rosalynn Mworia said that, customers’ SIM cards will remain valid and functional hence one’s airtime and money saved through M-Pesa or M-Pawa accounts will also stay intact and safe despite the switch off of handsets. Read the full story here:
    Source: Tanzania Daily News

telecoms

  • Dial a random phone number in Nigeria and you’re more likely to hear music than a standard repetitive ring.

    That’s because ring-back tones are the hottest consumer trend in Nigeria, where they sell for $0.25 per month, CNN reported.

    A ring-back tone is a musical selection, picked by the owner of a mobile phone, that plays when their number is dialed. When the call is answered, the music stops and the talking starts.
    The tones were popular in the U.S. years ago, and they have since caught on in markets around the world including China.

    Ring-back tones are more than a trend, said Audu Maikori, founder of music production house Chocolate City. They providing a vital new funding source to an industry devastated by digital piracy. Sales are growing fast, and the tones now make up roughly 10 percent of his company’s revenue.

    Telecoms are also benefiting. MTN, the largest telecom in Africa, now sells up to $80 million a year in ring-back tones, CNN reported.

    “Everybody wants to be cool, and music is cool … it’s an aspirational thing,” said Herman Singh, executive for digital at MTN, in a CNN interview. “What we’ve found as music comes out that’s cool and vibey, people just attach that to their own personal brand.”
    But MTN could be fined 16 billion naira ($56.6 million US) for failing to pay royalties on ring-back tones in a music copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the Copyright Society of Nigeria, ITPulse reported. Read the full story here:
    Source: Afkinsider

  • Senegal’s industry watchdog, the Regulation Authority of Post and Telecoms (Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes, ARTP), has confirmed that it has renewed the operating licences of state-owned fixed and mobile operator Sonatel, for a total consideration of XOF100 billion (USD171 million), including the ‘extension of its scope’ to offer 4G.ARTP said that under Article 23 of Law No. 2011-01 of 24 February 2011 on Telecommunications Code, it is renewing the operating concessions of the telco for fixed, 2G and 3G services for a period of 17 years – starting 8 August 2017 – while also licensing mobile arm Orange to offer 4G LTE for a similar period, from the date of the award. According to the regulator, Sonatel will pay XOF32 billion for the 4G licence which comprises 10MHz of spectrum at 1800MHz and 10MHz in the 800MHz band. The operator is obliged to begin marketing 4G within two months of the frequency assignment date – i.e. August. Sonatel (Orange) is required to provide coverage of 70% in five years (up from a 65% stipulation previously) and 85% to 90% in ten years. The ARTP also notes that it has removed rights to use the 700MHz band and trimmed the duration of the operating licence from the original 20-year term it had proposed.
    Source: Telegeography 23 June 2016

  • The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, emerged as the sole approved bidder in the recently concluded 2600MHz spectrum allocation process. The regulator has provisionally awarded 2×30MHz blocks of frequencies in the 2600MHz range to the South Africa-based firm, which has 21 days from the date of provisional award (13 June 2016) to pay the USD96 million fee for the ten-year nationwide licence. If it fails to do so, MTN will lose the licence and also forfeit the intention-to-bid deposit.

internet

  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has issued a notice to revoke hundreds of licences held by dormant IT firms citing their non-payment of regulatory fees and failure to file returns.
    Among the Internet service providers (ISPs) set to lose their licences are the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK), Jambo Telkom Limited and Mitsuminet.
    Business process outsourcing (BPOs) firms facing licence revocation include KenCall, Skyweb-Evans, Jambo Call and Information Centre and Ken-Tech Data Limited.
    The list also includes hundreds of telecommunication contractors and technical personnel.
    The names are contained in the Friday Kenya Gazette Notice. The CA has asked the public to file any objections to the revocations within four weeks from June 6.
    Read the full story in Business Daily here

  • The idea of a "virtual doctor" project might sound rather futuristic.
    But the inspiration for this scheme to improve health services in Zambia began in very low-tech and unhappy circumstances.

    Huw Jones, working in Zambia as a safari guide, was driving a Land Rover along a road in a remote part of the country.

    He saw a trail of blood in the road, and his first reaction was that it might have come from an animal killed by a lion.

    But he came across a couple on a bike - the man riding and the woman carried on the handlebars.
    She was pregnant and bleeding heavily and they had been cycling for hours with the aim of reaching the nearest hospital, almost 60 miles away.

    The woman was in a great deal of pain and her husband seemed to be in a state of shock, says Mr Jones. "In the heat and that terrain, they were desperate," he says.
    Mr Jones stopped to pick them up and drive them.

    But the woman was already weak and died in the back of the Land Rover before they could reach anyone who could give them medical help.

    It was an awful example of the lack of medical provision for rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa - and, he says, he has come across too many deaths that could have been avoided with better care.
    Read the full story here
    Source: BBC Worldwide

  • Africa Internet Group (AIG), a subsidiary of Rocket Internet, is renaming its companies in the African market to become part of one huge Jumia brand.
    This means all startups under AIG are undergoing some form of rebranding or the other. Basically, their names are going to be changed to Jumia-something. Jovago will become Jumia Travel, Lamudi will be Jumia House, HelloFood is morphing into Jumia Food, Carmudi will be Jumia Cars, Vendito will become Jumia Deals, and Everjobs will be known as Jumia Jobs.

    So far, there are no reports of a change in staff or management in these companies; they are just undergoing a name change. Everything will continue to run as is. With this move, Jumia will become a much larger network in Africa comprising of services ranging from travel booking to food delivery.

    According to reports, this move is to help boost AIG’s marketing strategy. Over the past six months, Rocket Internet’s share price has dropped by more than 25% and they have had problems winning investors’ confidence.

    Rocket internet’s founder and CEO, Oliver Samwer said, “Jumia in Africa is billing out its market share in a difficult macro environment and we are very optimistic for this business in a very long life.”
    Read the full story here:
    Source: Techcabal

  • The Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), managers of the country’s Internet real estate, wants Nigerians to adopt the .ng domain in a major ”Made-in-Nigeria” brand push.
    Mr. Mohammed Sikiru Shehu, Dean NIRA Academy, says that the national .ng domain name manager is developing “a holistic strategy” to encourage the uptake of the Internet resource by Nigerians.
    “We need  to think out of the box and become content developers in the Nigerian internet domain names, to promote the Nigerian identity in the cyberspace” Shehu, Dean of NIRA Academy said to journalists that attended the NIRA Media Training on Domain Name System (DNS), held at the Lagos headquarters of the association.
    He challenged Nigerians to take advantage of the business opportunities in the DNS industry which he believes will create millions of job opportunity for Nigerians. Read the full story here:
    Source: Technology Times

  • Pan-African telecom enabler and network provider, SEACOM, has added the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) in Marseille and France Internet Exchange (FranceIX) in Paris to the growing list of European Internet exchange points at which it peers. In addition, SEACOM has added new Internet exchange points in Kampala (UIXP), Nairobi (KIXP) and Durban (NAPAfrica) to its list of peering agreements in Africa.

    These new peering agreements will further enhance the performance and reduce the latency SEACOM clients will experience when they connect to Web services in Europe and across Africa. SEACOM’s IP transit network now offers African service providers and network operators direct connectivity to a range of small, medium and large partner networks in Europe.

    The company has PoPs in Europe’s five busiest centres for Internet traffic – Stockholm, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt and Marseille. Marseille is one of the key landing points in Europe for most of the marine cables coming in from Asia, Middle East and Africa. Since the bulk of Africa's international traffic goes into and comes out of Europe, SEACOM is now positioned to provide a better experience for the continent’s growing population of broadband users.

    Says Mark Tinka, Head of Engineering at SEACOM: “We continue to invest in enhancing the Internet experience for our customers, whether they are connecting with services and content in Africa or the rest of the world. The fact that we control the infrastructure, from our global and African IP transit networks to remote peering points in Europe means that we can guarantee quality to our customers. The latest investments in Europe further strengthen our ability to deliver high levels of service availability and quality at an affordable cost.”
    Source: Press Release

computing

  • Telco to invest over US$5-million into into infrastructure in the Senegalese town of Diamniadio.
    Tigo has announced the construction of a datacenter in Senegal as part of its growth and investment strategy, focused on telecommunications, internet access and mobile services across the west african country.

    The company intends to invest three billion CFA francs (approximately US$5,192 040) to establish the new data center and use it to provide digital services and last generation technologies, including online services, financial services, Video-on-Demand, as well as high speed dedicated internet access. Read the full story here:
    Source: ITWeb Africa 20 June 2016

Digital Content

  • Econet Media, the entertainment company, and subsidiary of the Econet Group has entered into a content partnership with T.D. Jakes Enterprises International, the company that’s led by United States pastor, author, and filmmaker Bishop TD Jakes.
    Under the new partnership Econet Media, through its platforms which include the internet TV service Kwesé TV, will distribute content from TD Jakes which includes his sermons, content from his ministry, as well as films and TV shows, across Africa.
    It won’t be just distribution, though. Unlike the other content partnerships that Econet Media has been signing for Kwesé TV(which have mostly been for sports content), the deal with TD Jakes also encompasses content creation from the fledgling media company.
    According to the statement released by TD Jakes and Econet Media, the two entities will collaborate in developing,
        ..family-oriented independent films and content that aligns with the Bishop’s motivational outreach to live a purposeful life. Exploring personal stories and struggles with leadership, love, marriage, parenting and relationships, the content will be initially showcased in Africa on Kwesé channels as well as on digital and mobile platforms.
    TD Jakes has been involved in a number of films as an actor and a producer and some of his books like Woman Thou Art Loosed have been adapated for screenplay. He will likely lead whatever content creation pursuits that his company and Econet are entering into.
    Source: Techzim 22 June 2016

  • A Kenyan blogger Cyprian Nyakundi is being sued by Kenya's National Bank for writing a series of posts about alleged corruption at the bank, which the country's main financial institution deemed defamatory. His court case began this month.
    In March this year, the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) asked the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya and the Cabinet Secretary for ICT to intervene in cases of online defamation of banks. Read the full story here:
    Source: Global Voices Online

  • Off-grid communities such as those in sub-Saharan Africa can pay thousands of times as much as the rest of us for their energy. Designer Jim Reeves has developed a simple, low-cost gear-train and generator that uses a descending weight to power a perpetual light source. Children can do their homework and study, families and friends can eat together and interact after dark adding new dimensions and possibilities to their lives. Watch the video here
    Source: The Guardian

  • The I Sea app claimed to help people call lifeboats to refugees by locating their vessels, but actually showed static images of the sea

    The I Sea app, which also won a Bronze medal at the Cannes Lions conference on Monday night, presented itself as a tool to help report refugees lost at sea, using real-time satellite footage to identify boats in trouble and highlighting their location to the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (Moas), which would provide help.

    In fact, the app did nothing of the sort. Rather than presenting real-time satellite footage – a difficult and expensive task – it instead simply shows a portion of a static, unchanging image. And while it claims to show the weather in the southern Mediterranean, that too isn’t that accurate: it’s for Western Libya.
    Read the full story here:
    Source: The Guardian

  • Algeria has temporarily blocked access to social media across the country in an attempt to fight cheating in secondary school exams.

    Almost half of students are being forced to retake the baccalaureat exam, starting on Sunday, after the initial session was marred by online leaking.
    Many students were able to access questions on Facebook and other social media ahead of the exam in early June.

    Algeria has struggled with baccalaureate leaks in recent years.
    The decision to block social media was taken to protect students de la publication of "bogus questions on those networks", officials told Algeria's APS news agency.
    Source: APS

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

  • Telkom has walked away from buying Broadband Infraco after the companies could not agree on price, TechCentral reported. Read the full story here:

  • Orange has announced that, together with its subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire, it has completed the acquisition of 100% of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso. Since the signature of an agreement with Bharti Airtel International (Netherlands) BV (“Airtel”) in January 2016, Orange has obtained all the official approbations necessary to complete this transaction.

    Airtel is the 2nd largest mobile operator in Burkina Faso, with close to 4.6 million customers (on the basis of active customers within a 30-day period). On the mobile financial services market, Airtel is the uncontested leader and is already interoperable with Orange Money in neighbouring countries allowing international transfers to be made. Airtel is also positioned as the country’s leading Internet provider thanks to its extensive 3.75G network, which has been rolled out in over 100 towns.

    With 18 million inhabitants and a relatively high mobile penetration rate for the region (80% of the population), Burkina Faso becomes the 20th country in Africa and the Middle East to join the Orange group.

    Orange’s investments in the coming years will enable customers in Burkina Faso to take advantage of the Orange group’s expertise and momentum in terms of innovation and development of the digital ecosystem, thus responding to a strong expectation from customers in Burkina Faso.
    This acquisition in one of the countries with the strongest growth rates in the Economic Community of West African States (5.8% annual growth of GDP) strengthens Orange’s presence in Africa by confirming is proactive strategy in the African market.

    Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange group and Chairman & CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa), stated: “We are pleased to announce that the acquisition of the mobile operator Airtel in Burkina Faso has been finalised. This new acquisition will further strengthen the Group’s positions on the African continent.”
    Source: Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Orange.

  • AngolaAngolaBrazilBrazilCape VerdeCape VerdeNamibiaNamibiaSao Tome and PrincipeSao Tome and Principe

    Brazilian telecoms group Oi has issued a statement confirming that Samba Luxco S.a.r.l. (Samba), Oi’s investment partner in developing markets holding company Africatel B.V. (Africatel), has agreed to reduce its Africatel stake from 25% to 14%, thereby increasing Oi’s Africatel ownership to 86%. In exchange, Africatel will transfer to Samba its approximately 34% stake in Namibia’s market leading cellco Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (MTC). Aside from Namibia, Netherlands-registered Africatel owns stakes in telecoms operators in Angola (Unitel), Cape Verde (CVT, CV Movel) and Sao Tome & Principe (CST). The transactions are subject to necessary regulatory and antitrust approvals being obtained.

    The deal with Samba – an affiliate of Helios Investors – brings to an end an arbitration proceeding commenced by Samba in November 2014 (alleging breaches of the Africatel shareholders’ agreement in relation to the transfer of Africatel’s ownership from Portugal Telecom to Oi). The deal with Samba was agreed via Oi’s wholly owned subsidiaries PT Participacoes SGPS SA and Africatel GmbH & Co KG.

    In a separate announcement, Oi has revealed that Brazil’s Bridge Administradora De Recursos – through an investment fund under its management – has become the holder of 4.75% of the voting capital and 10.90% of preferred shares in Oi, equivalent to 5.92% of the company’s share capital. Meanwhile, Oi said in another investor release that it is currently negotiating with an ad hoc group of entities holding beneficial interests in notes issued by the group, with a view to facilitating discussions concerning Oi’s capital structure and potential alternatives for a proposed restructuring.

  • Mauritius-based tower management firm IHS Towers has completed its acquisition of 1,211 tower sites from Helios Towers Nigeria (HTN). Under the agreement, IHS acquired the entire issued share capital of HTN, taking full operational control of the underlying business. HTN’s towers will be integrated into the IHS network and connected to IHS’s network operating centre. The company will also work to roll out its renewable energy solutions and diesel reduction initiatives whilst maintaining ‘unparalleled’ uptime. IHS notes that there are ‘meaningful synergies’ that will be derived from the transaction, given a considerable portion of its portfolio is located in Nigeria.

More

  • South Africa - Vodacom recruit a dilemma for MTN

    MTN is caught in a bind after poaching a top executive from rival Vodacom.
    New vice-president for the South and East Africa region, Godfrey Motsa may not be able to start his job in July, as Vodacom wants a court order preventing him from joining MTN before the end of 2016 to be enforced.
    In 2015, Vodacom took Motsa to court after he resigned as its chief officer for the consumer business unit to join MTN. In February, the court ruled that Motsa was bound by his contract to serve a six-month notice period, which expires at the end of June, and also a further six-month restraint of trade agreement, which prevents him from joining any company similar to Vodacom. Read the full story from BDLive here:

    Isaac Mophatlane named CEO of Telkom Business Connexion

    Telkom and Business Connexion (BCX) have revealed the official appointment of Isaac Mophatlane as the Chief Executive Officer of the newly integrated Telkom Business Connexion. Mr. Mophatlane will be responsible for both Business Connexion and Telkom Business.

  • FTTH Council Africa: Future of Smart
    East Africa Workshop | Nairobi, Kenya
    28 - 30 June 2016
    Kenya's telecommunications market has undergone considerable changes in recent years with increased competition and improved connectivity. Reduced cost of connectivity has made online services much more affordable to a greater proportion of the population.
    In January 2016 Nairobi was listed by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of its Smart21 intelligent communities globally and the only African city to be featured in this exclusive group.
    African countries are being evaluated for investor friendliness and expansion based on the pace of digital transformation in society and the extent to which this makes a meaningful difference to people. The FTTH Council Africa hopes to contribute to the continent’s readiness by hosting a three day East Africa Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya from 28 to 30 June 2016.

    EVENT PROGRAM
    28 & 29 June - Introduction to FTTx Training
    The first two days of this three day event will see the first ever presentation of a newly developed training course: Introduction to FTTx. This introduction course features 14 hours of classroom lectures with an experienced FTTx facilitator. Attendees will gain a broad base of knowledge and familiarity with FTTx architecture, network design, deployment technology, and some operational skills.
                                      
    Venue: Radisson Blu Upper Hill Nairobi
    Rates: US$200 (FTTH Council Member Delegates) or US$225 (Non-Members)
    Register here: 

    30 June - Industry Conference
    Conferencing and key note addresses from government and industry leaders.

    Venue: Radisson Blu Upper Hill Nairobi
    Rates: Free of charge
    Register here: 
    For more information, please visit here:

    AfriSecure
    AfriSecure Conference & Exhibition, taking place 11 - 12 October 2016 at Vodacom World in Johannesburg.
    For more information visit here:

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