Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Telecom Egypt has backed away from its desire to buy out Vodafone's stake in its Egyptian mobile network, the company announced in a brief statement. Vodafone currently holds a 54.9% stake in the company, while Telecom Egypt holds 44.95%.It has been reported that Telecom Egypt could have to pay around £3 billion to buy out the Vodafone holding in the company.

- Sierra Leonean government will liberalise the country’s international mobile gateway ‘soon’, breaking the monopoly held by incumbent telecoms operator Sierratel, according to local report.

- Telecel Zimbabwe plans to launch GPRS and 3G services in either August or September, according to The Zimbabwe Standard. Telecel MD Aimable Mpore says the new infrastructure is currently being tested, and that the service will be available in all major cities at the time of launch. Telecel, Zimbabwe’s second largest cellco by subscribers, will become the country’s second mobile operator to roll out 3G, after Econet.

- Nigeria’s telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has confirmed that mobile number portability (MNP), which enables subscribers to retain their mobile numbers when they change service provider, will be introduced in the second half of the year.The introduction of MNP has become a necessity due to the high number of wireless subscribers in the country, which topped 70 million at the end of 2009.

- Zain Kenya plans to roll out a third generation (3G) network in July following an expected cut in licence fees by the regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK).

- Telecel Zimbabwe, the country's second largest mobile operator, will launch 3G technology and GPRS by September this year.

- The Cameroon Government says the country will host two new entrants in the mobile segments within the next months. The statement was made by the Minister of Post and Telecommunications in a speech he made June 1 during the ICT Day celebrations. The Minister however did not elaborate on the licensing process or the potential new investors’ identity.

- South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has released its ‘Document on Spectrum Licensing Framework Regulations and Invitation To Apply for 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz Bands’. Under the new guidelines, bidding will start at ZAR750,000 (USD98,000). ICASA requires 2.6GHz licensees to achieve population coverage of 50% within two years of being granted spectrum. Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Neotel and Telkom are all reported to be keen to get their hands on the spectrum, which is suitable for the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.