Telecoms News – In Brief

Telecoms

- The National Agency of the Communications (ANAC) of Cape Verde has announced that it plans to launch a public tender for three 3G licences and a single 2G (GSM) concession. The national licences include 2x15MHz of paired spectrum in the 1920MHz-1980MHz and 2110MHz-2170MHz band and 5MHz of unpaired spectrum in the 1900MHz-1920MHz range. The deadline for submission of proposals is set for 7 December 2010.

- Mozambique's Transport and Communications Minister, Paulo Zucula, has announced that the country's third mobile phone company should be announced between late October and early November, and is expected to begin operating in 2011.

- A roaming service agreement was signed between the Angolan mobile phone company Unitel and its Brazilian counterpart Vivo. With this agreement, the customers of the mentioned companies will be able to use roaming services, including internet access, when they are in countries that are included in the partnership signed by Unitel and Vivo.

- Mozambican telecoms regulator Instituto Nacional das Comunicacoes (INCM) has proposed compulsory SIM card registration for the country’s mobile phone subscribers. According to a report in Mediafax, the INCM sent a draft bill to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers requesting that it becomes obligatory for mobile phone operators to register anyone who purchases a pre-paid SIM card. The calls for SIM card registration come in the wake of widespread riots in Maputo and Matola this month, which were reportedly co-ordinated by text message.

- The Brazilian digital broadcasting forum has extended an olive branch to local counterparts as debate continues about the broadcasting digital technology suitable for South Africa. The forum is made up of Brazilian broadcasters and decoder manufacturers, as well as government representatives. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), with South Africa as the key driver, is migrating from the analogue platform to digital.

-  In Eritrea, the inhabitants of Hamelmalo sub-zone stressed the need for facilitating the process of installing mobile phone service in the area. They still need to travel to Keren town to get access to phone service, and that the sudden halting of the process of putting in place telephone tower in the sub-zone should begin as early as possible.

- MTN Nigeria says the closure of telecoms cell sites across the country by the National Environmental Standards Regulations Enforcement Agency (NASREA) is illegal because the agency failed to obtain court order before its action. NASREA had in August shut telecoms cell sites in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna for alleged non-compliance with environmental laws.

- In Kenya, Safaricom has rolled out a programme to upgrade its equipment countrywide in a move aimed at increasing efficiency in its data and voice segments in the wake of the price wars that have been going on in the recent past. The company is planning to spend Sh23 billion in the next one year to improve its equipment and tap into the other products which the firm hopes to ride on in order to sustain its profit base.

- Reuters reports that the Tunisian government has awarded a 3G licence to state controlled telco Tunisie Telecom (TT) for TND116 million (USD 80 million), putting it in competition with France Telecom's local unit, Orange Tunisia, which launched a joint 2G/3G network in May this year. The country was home to 11.42 million wireless subscribers at the end of June. TT and Tunisiana, the local arm of Orascom Telecom, each control 48.7% of the market, while Orange had a 2.6% market share with 297,000 customers after two months of operation.

- Six MTN Nigeria employees have been killed by four gunmen as they were carrying out maintenance work on a base station in the South-East of the country. According to an MTN spokesperson, the four gunmen approached the base station, which was being maintained by a team including an Ericsson contractor and wanted to steal the vehicles used by the staff.