IN BRIEF:

Telecoms

- Following the loss of its appeal at the administrative court (Conseil d’Etat) Sonatel, the national incumbent in Senegal will have to pay a fine of 3.2 billion CFA francs (US$6.4 million). L’Agence nationale de régulation des télécommunications et des postes, the regulator, fined the operator in July following repeated disruptions across its telecommunication network.

- Uncertainty hangs over the impending layoff of 4,000 employees at Telkom Kenya with the management and external human resources consultants reading from different scripts. PriceWaterhouseCoopers who had been engaged to advise on the firm's third lap of retrenchment maintains that the lay offs have to be staggered over a period of between nine and 12 months. Telkom's target of having 3,100 workers on its November payroll is not practical unless the firm turns to complete automation of its systems as well as go big into outsourcing

- Uganda’s Government plans to ban individuals from exporting copper following massive theft of copper wires belonging to Uganda Telecom.

- In another extraordinary meeting of the ministries of the Benin Republic dated of July 16th it has been announced that the restructuring and privatisation of Benin Telecom will go ahead and should be concluded by June 30th 2008. Libercom, its mobile arm will also be put up for privatisation.

- The Botswana Telecommunications Workers' Unions are divided over the retrenchment package that has been offered by the corporation. While the Botswana Telecommunications Union has rejected the offer, the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Manual Workers' Union has already signed a retrenchment packages agreement with the corporation.

- In Congo DRC, the National Days of the Telecommunications sector has taken a bad turn as the GSM operators decided to leave the conference following a statement by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications implying that their tax contribution was marginal. GSM operators confirmed that they contributed to 30% of the total tax income of Congo. They also complained that they were no proper consultation on the agenda of these National Days initiated by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.

- The total mobile customer base in Kenya now stands at 10.3m, a gain of over 1m in the quarter, and 3.3m year-on-year. Penetration now stands at 28.9%, up from 20.2% in Q2 2006.Safaricom remains the dominant operator in this duopoly and it had its best quarter for over a year, recording almost 950k new connections in Q2 2007. Year on year, it has gained over 3m customers. Kencell is lagging well behind with only 277k new subscribers since Q2 2006,