IN BRIEF:

Telecoms

- Telkom Kenya plans major debt and project swaps to rid it of liabilities amounting to Sh68.8 billion as part of restructuring before privatisation. The parastatal says it has finalised plans to lay off a further 4,421 employees as part of the process before the end of this year. At the same time the Government has announced that it will issue a fourth mobile phone licence as it sweetens the sale of a majority stake in Telkom Kenya to strategic investors.

- According to Ted Sauti-Phiri, MD of Celtel Sierra-Leone, the company spends Le 330 million (US$110,000) on fuel alone every month to run its 110 cell sites constructed across the country. On average the company spends between US$320,000 and US$350,000 to erect each of the already existing number of cell sites.

- Celtel International had announced that it would move its regional office from Netherlands to Nairobi.

- According to Camtel in recent months thieves have stolen about 10,000 metres of telephone cables evaluated at FCFA50 million (US$105,000), cutting off about 800 out of some 5000 subscribers of land lines. Areas in the Douala III Municipality such as Nyala, PK 10, and Logbada were hard hit by the telephone cable theft.

- Over the past few months, Egypt's Mobinil has carried out tests to identify weak roaming areas and to improve roaming retainability and efficiency on its network in preparation for this summer's tourist season. Using roaming KPIs, it identified Loss of Roamers and potential subscribers' retention weaknesses mainly in touristy and coastal areas (Sharm, Urgada, Luxor, etc.).

- Ethiopia will have1.2 million mobile phones available for sale to the hundreds of thousands of tourists and Ethiopians living abroad who are expected to visit the country to celebrate the Ethiopian millennium, which falls on 12 September. According to Ethiopia Telecommunication Corporation (ETC), the handsets will afford tourists access to various special services including audio and video data. Ethiopia’s own citizens are still unable to use SMS.

- Mobile operator, MTC Namibia, recently reported losses in excess of N$520 000 (US$74,700) from the theft of its solar panels in the coastal area of Namibia. These losses were incurred during the week of 23rd of July 2007.

- In Cote d’Ivoire, Charles Koffi Diby, President of the Board of the Fonds National des telecommunications (FNT), CI’s equivalent of a Universal Service Agency has announced that the 8 billions CFA francs (US$16 million) fund will be used to finance rural telecommunication project in the country.