Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- All political parties have agreed the issue of South Africa's high interconnection rates will be examined by Parliament's Communications Committee in September. Leader of the Independent Democrats Patricia de Lille proposed the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, the legislative's oversight body for the ICT sector, should investigate the issue as it is hampering the use of mobile phones, especially for the poor.

- Zimbabwe’s troubled incumbent TelOne is limiting calls to the Econet platform as it emerged last week that the parastatal owed the mobile operator in excess of US$17 million in interconnect charges. For the past month Tel One subscribers have been unable to make calls to the Econet platform while managing to get through to both NetOne and Telecel subscribers.

- Zain Kenya announced an increase in investment in data business. According to a statement, managing director Rene Meza said the move was aimed at growing data usage especially among prepaid customers.

- The government of Rwanda will sell off its 10 per cent stake in Rwanda MTN - a deal that could be the biggest by the Government this year. "We are looking for a adviser to help us facilitate the transaction. The adviser will be outsourced in an open tender," Finance Minister, Musoni said.

- Tanzanian incumbent TTCL has announced it will buy new equipment in a bid to improve its services. According to the company's new chief executive officer, Said Amir Said, the company would seek loans from two Chinese banks and a local bank to finance its operations.

- Officials of Gabon Telecom and its mobile unit Libertis have announced that all fixed line, mobile and Internet connections have now been restored following the suspension of strike action by the communications trade union Synatel. However, union leaders stressed that the strike could resume following the conclusion of negotiations with management due to end on 30 August. Synatel said that an agreement on wage levels had been reached, but the core objections of the union to the recent takeover of Gabon Telecom by Morocco's Maroc Telecom had not changed.

- The post-paid clients of Rwandan mobile operator Rwandatel will be able to access roaming services with over 500 telecoms operators worldwide, writes local daily The New Times citing the cellco’s officials. The announcement follows an agreement between Rwandatel and Belgian telecoms company Belgacom International Carrier Services (Belgacom ICS), under which Rwandatel’s post-paid subscribers will be able to access voice and SMS services on any roaming network affiliated to Belgacom.