Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Rwanda is eyeing a seat on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council this year but the decision will first be endorsed by Cabinet. The New Times has learnt. If Rwanda wins the seat this year, it will be the third East African country after Tanzania and Kenya to join the prestigious Council.

- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that all new and existing telecoms' subscribers should register their SIM cards by March 1, 2010. In a separate news, Nigeria’s Senate has flayed procedures being adopted by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, to register all mobile telephones in the country and directed it to immediately retract its plans. Though supportive of the registration of the SIM Cards, the Senate is, however, strongly opposed to the NCC's plan to use intermediaries to conduct the registration scheduled to commence in March.

- The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has extended the registration of mobile phone lines by six months. The initial deadline was December 31st but less than half of the estimated 15 million mobile lines in use had been registered so far. The new deadline for registering the lines is June 30, 2010, TCRA director general John Nkoma said in Dar es Salaam.

- Egypt’s fixed line incumbent Telecom Egypt (TE) has called on mobile network operator MobiNil to pay it EGP2 billion (USD364.4 million) as part of a contract dispute, according to TMC.net. The move follows an arbitration suit launched by MobiNil in September 2009 in which MobiNil requested that TE maintain old interconnection fees, despite the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) issuing a ruling lowering interconnect rates between fixed and mobile lines. Subsequently TE launched a counterclaim that argued MobiNil owed EGP2 billion relating to the dispute.

- Moible operator MTN Uganda is in court accusing the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) of imposing lower rates as interconnection fee with other telephone operators. In a case filed in form of judicial review at Kampala High Court last week, MTN wants a declaration that UCC has no legal authority to fix telephone interconnection rates between MTN and other telephone operators.

- Anonymous mobile telephone chips are now classified as "sensitive equipment" in Algeria, pursuant to a new executive decree aimed at preventing terrorists from using telephony to communicate and conduct attacks.