Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- In Nigeria, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered an immediate probe into the controversies surrounding the recent sale of the Nigerian Telecommunication Company, Nitel, to New Generation telecom at the cost of $2.5 billion.

- Of the four companies left in the running to acquire a stake in Zambian fixed line incumbent Zamtel only three have submitted final binding bids, with Indian state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) dropping out of the process after conducting due diligence. According to Reuters, the withdrawal of BSNL leaves Libya’s LAP Green Networks, Unitel of Angola and Russian telecoms investment firm Altimo chasing the up to 75% stake that the Zambian government plans to offer in the operator.

- In Zimbabwe, mobile phone operator NetOne has increased its subscriber capacity to five million. The prepaid (easy call extra) platform's carrying capacity had been upgraded to accommodate 3 million subscribers from 1 million subscribers while the short message service capacity was ramped up to 154 SMS per second from 84 SMS per second to enhance message processing efficiency. NetOne, presently the smallest of the country's three mobile network operators, could regain top spot in the industry riding on the financial strength of prospective investor, MTN of South Africa, seeking a stake in the firm.

- Rwanda's mobile money transfer services are set for further expansion following Rwandatel's intention to offer the service to their clientele. It follows in the footsteps of rival MTN Rwanda which was the first telecoms provider to offer the services. MTN announced last week that it had assisted its clients transfer Rwf 60 million ever since it launched the services in January this year.

- Egypt’s National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has once again extended the bidding deadline for two geographically-restricted triple-play concessions, Reuters reports. Having announced in December last year that the last date for bids had been pushed back from January 2010 to March, the regulator has now revealed that bids will now not be due until 15 April, after interested bidders once again claimed that they needed more time to formulate offers.