Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Telkom South Africa has formally announced the launch of the country’s fourth mobile operator in the form of 8ta (Heita). Confirming earlier rumours, Telkom stated that the network went live on Thursday 14 October. Telkom Group’s acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg described the launch as a watershed event, commenting: ‘We are able to mobilise the reliability of fixed-line and the agility of mobile to provide products that South African people really want’.

- Rwanda has been elected to The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council, during the ongoing ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.

- Ghana’s telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has named PortingXS and its local partner CIS Ghana as the preferred bidder to supply the central equipment and services needed to implement Mobile Number Portability (MNP) in the country. PortingXS, which is headed by Porting Access of the Netherlands, was one of nine firms to submit bids for the equipment.

- As competition among commercial banks continues to grow, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Rwanda is set to rollout its Mobile Banking technology months after the service was initiated by BANQUE Populaire du Rwanda (BPR).

- Zimbabwe's teledensity rate, reflecting the use of telecommunication services in the country has risen to around 54 percent showing a significant improvement from 37 percent recorded earlier in the year. According to Potraz statistics as at August 31, Zimbabwe has 6,848,000 telephone subscribers, out of an estimated 13 million national population, across both fixed and mobile telecommunication service providers.The figure can be broken down as follows: Econet subscribers 4,100,000; Telecel subscribers 1,270,000; Net One subscribers 1,100,000 and TelOne subscribers 378,000. However, ICT as measured by Internet users currently stands at a mere 11,3 percent. The estimated total number of Internet users in the country is 1,410,000.

- Telephone operators in Cameroon have up to December 31, 2010 for their clients to be identified. The process of identification began in June last year under the auspices of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. So far, over five million subscribers of telephone have been identified.

- In the wake of increasing competition in the Ghanaian telecom industry, Kasapa Telecom, is changing its brand name to Expresso by the end of October 2010.

- Maroc Telecom has signed its fourth and final agreement with Moroccan regulator the ANRT under the country’s universal service scheme, PACT (programme of general access to telecommunications), with the latest phase to cover 1,573 villages as part of a project to serve 7,338 rural communities including many in remote areas, under a total investment of around MAD2.8 billion (USD345 million). The incumbent telco’s statement said that 5,765 communities will have received its telecoms services in three phases between 2008 and late-July 2011, and by 31 December 2011 the entire population living in 7,338 areas will have access to mobile telephony and emergency services numbers.

- The Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) has published draft radio frequency spectrum regulations and is calling on interested parties to comment on the document before it is finalised. The closing date for written submission is 19 November. The authority intends to hold public hearings regarding the regulations on 1 and 2 December. The draft regulations seek to, among others, establish a framework through which ICASA may allocate and assign radio frequency spectrum under the South African Table of Frequency Allocations.