Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Kenya’s robust telecoms market is set to come under new competition rules, setting the stage for a big shift in the way operators tackle their rivals and relate with consumers on the pricing front. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) is on Friday expected to gazette regulations aimed at curbing dominant practices and anti-competitive behaviour in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) industry.

- Much of northern and central Mozambique has been deprived of telephone and Internet communications since Sunday night, due a breakdown in the fibre-optic cable owned by the public telecommunications company, TDM. A statement from TDM explained further that the breakdown has been located at a point on the cable about 110 kilometres north of the town of Vilankulo, in Inhambane province. At this point, the cable is on the sea-bed, at a depth of over 30 metres. The seriousness of the fault, and the fact that the cable is underwater, has obliged TDM to seek assistance from outside the country. Repairing the fault is expected to take not less than four weeks.

- Telecel Zimbabwe has filed a High Court application challenging the Attorney General's refusal to grant a certificate after declining to prosecute Mrs Jane Mutasa and three other co-accused persons in a US$ 1.7 million fraud case. The mobile phone operator requires the certificate of refusal to prosecute by the AG so as to be able to institute a private prosecution of the four.

- Rwanda’s telecoms regulator, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), has announced it will license a fourth national mobile operator ‘soon’, in order to boost wireless penetration. RURA’s director general, Diogene Mudenge, told East African Business Week that the state of the market will determine when the fourth concession will be put up for auction: ‘The date of licensing will depend on the market trends, which will be closely monitored to ensure that the existing operators have consolidated their networks.’

- Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communications, Dora Akunyili, is due back to oversee the nation’s influential telecoms regulator and other telecoms sector portfolios in a major government review that changes the status quo in the Ministry.

- Ghana’s telecoms industry regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) and fixed line operator Vodafone Ghana (formerly Ghana Telecom) will from 1 May introduce new number codes in each of the nation’s ten administrative regions. The switchover will mean that going forward, all Ghana telephone numbers – be they fixed or mobile – will share the same ten-digit format.

- In Mauritius, the ICT Indicators Web Portal and Newsletter was launched by the Honourable Asraf Dullul, Minister of Information and Communication Technology during a workshop held on the 15th April 2010 at Clos St Louis, Domaines Les Pailles. The objective of the workshop was to take stock of the achievements of the ICT Industry and the challenges facing the ICT Industry for the years ahead. Visit the website at: www.ncb.intnet.mu

- Leading Kenyan mobile phone operator Safaricom plans to move to an Internet protocol (IP) network in the next two years to help lower costs and reduce outages, its chief executive said. Joseph said in March it was Safaricom's aim to have 25 percent of revenue coming from data services within two years as the number of mobile Internet users and subscribers to its money transfer service, M-Pesa, continued to rise.

- The Indian government is carrying out a project in Sao Tome and Principe to make the archipelago a part of the pan-African telecommunications network, the director of the Institute for Innovation and Knowledge (INIC). The cost of the project was not revealed, but the Sao Tome authorities have said that the telemedicine aspect of this project is the most important as it will link the main hospital on the island of Sao Tome with more than 10 Indian hospitals.