Telecoms News – In Brief


*South African telco Telkom has announced that it is looking to restart talks with US-based AT&T about its long-mooted African partnership, which has so far brought very little new business to South Africa. In April 2009 Telkom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AT&T that would allow the US firm's African clients to use Telkom's internet network when expanding or conducting business on the continent. In time, Telkom's network was due to be linked to AT&T's global network, boosting its business prospects further. It is thought that progress has been stunted by issues related to pricing and after-sales support.Acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg told Reuters: ‘I am going to re-ignite discussions with AT&T. The partnership has not progressed to an extent we would like to date.’ Hedberg also confirmed that Telkom’s ZAR6 billion (USD800 million) plan to enter South Africa's mobile phone market by the end of 2010 is still on course, adding: ‘We are working very hard and remain committed to launch our mobile before year-end’.

* In efforts to unify its trading name across Africa, management of Bharti Airtel has began another rebranding spree that would see a four time name changed Zain called Bharti Airtel as from October 15, 2010.

* JSE-listed Blue Label Telecoms has partnered with international security software provider Symantec to pilot its mobile phone security suite in SA.Blue Label to act as distributor of the product in SA. Earlier this month, the first SMS Trojan Horse was identified on Android. The Symantec software can prevent e-mail and SMS spam and is designed to protect against malicious attacks that use automated diallers to contact premium numbers. Users will be able to download a preconfigured version of the software and pay a monthly fee to use it. The current price is set at R14.95/month and Blue Label will take a percentage of the margin.

* Nigeria — Three telecommunication base stations have been sealed in Ilorin, Kwara State by the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) over non-compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and audit report by the Federal Ministry of Environment. The telecommunication companies affected are MTN, Zain, starcomms. A mast base located on Police Road, GRA, Ilorin, belonging to MTN, another on Kontagora Road, opposite Taqwa College, belonging to Zain and that of Starcomms behind Tanke LEA Primary School, Tanke area of the state, were all sealed by the agency.

* South Africa: MTN says that it will launch the new iPhone 4 in September