IN BRIEF:

Telecoms

- Following numerous public complaints regarding poor quality of communication services experienced at certain locations and times within Ghana, the National Communications Authority (NCA) has intensified its monitoring and evaluation and set out clear compliance guidelines for the sector. Deadlines have been issued to all operators to remedy all quality of service impediments by the close of July this year, failure of which the NCA will apply in full all the requisite sanctions.

- In its continuous effort to clean up the telecommunication sector, Benin’s new Minister of ICT, Désiré Adadja has reaffirmed that the change of name/ownership of mobile operators Moov and Areeba has been suspended until both companies have provided the relevant documentation for their licence. Nevertheless, Areeba has carried on advertising the change to MTN all over the country.

- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced a tender for existing Nigerian telecoms licensees to bid for a 3.75MHz allocation in the 800MHz spectrum band covering 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The spectrum is being offered by the NCC on a technology neutral basis. The reserve price for the frequencies has been set at NGN400 million (USD3.2 million) and the concession will be valid for a period of five years in the first instance. Based on the number of companies that have already indicated interest for spectrum in the 800MHz band, the NCC has decided to hold an auction. The deadline for the submission of bid applications and an ‘intention to bid’ deposit of NGN40 million is 9 July 2007. The auction itself is slated for 17 July.

- According to Gabonnews, senior civil servants have met to analyse Gabon Telecom’s and its mobile subsidiary Libertis latest financial accounts prior to its privatisation. Since the privatisation of the company in February 2007 and the purchase of a 51% stake in the company by Maroc Telecom, Gabon Telecom has come under the fire of local media which have questioned the privatisation process and revealed mismanagement cases by the previous management team of the company.

- Mali’s fixed line operator, Sotelma has reported the vandalism of one its switches. The area of Koulouba which includes the presidential building has been cut off of voice and data services for several hours.