Telecoms News - In Brief


*Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL), which has enjoyed sole operation as a fixed telephone service provider, is now in for stiff competition with the second fixed telephone operator, Access Communication, rolling out its operations. In order to outdo its competitor, MTL impressed at the just ended technology fair in Blantyre that was organised by the Malawi Confederation of Chamber of Commerce (MCCCI).
On the other hand, Access, which performed dismally, decided to take its case right to the market introducing a service called the 'Diamond Club'. While MTL says it is targeting both the corporate world and low earning segments, Access's initiative targets the elite members of society who will have access to services in three folds and that they will have personalised services.

* Dar es Salaam — BHARTI Airtel, an Indian telecommunications company that has acquired African operations of Zain, has said voice business continue to be its primary cashcow although data business is growing very fast.He said that the company is now turning its focus to rural areas where the market is big, thanks to a deal by the mobile phone operators who have agreed to share infrastructure such as communication towers to cut down costs.He added Zain will soon introduce a low cost handset that is ideal for rural customers which will sell for 20,000/-.The company has invested 150 million US dollars (over 220bn/-) to improve its service.

* Aptilo Networks, has been picked by DiscoveryTel Ghana (DTG) to help deploy its 4G network – a first for the African country. DTG’s 4G network will provide high speed wireless broadband access to residential and business users in the capital Accra and other large cities, it said in a press release. The Aptilo solution was provided by Intracom Telecom, the firm contracted to build the turnkey mobile network. As part of the plan, Intracom will utilise Aptilo’s Service Management Platform, a pre-integrated, ready-to-deploy wireless broadband policy and service control solution for 4G networks.

*Starcomms Plc., Nigeria's innovative and customer- focused telecommunications company reaffirmed its supremacy as the premier telecom network in the country at the weekend as it won two awards in the corporate category at this year's African Telecommunications Hall of Fame Awards.

* Telecom Italia Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia, and Djibouti Telecom have signed up their first customers to their recently activated top-tier IP POP in Djibouti City. The announcement comes just a few weeks after the pair confirmed the activation of the new IP POP. Telecom Italia Sparkle and Djibouti Telecom say they have now sold over 1GB total IP connectivity to major telco operators in East Africa and to a key international submarine cable consortium. ‘We are witnessing a high demand for IP connectivity in the region which is sustained by existing and upcoming international submarine cable systems with landing in Djibouti such as SMW3, EASSy, Seacom, EIG and bilateral infrastructure, and we intend to continue to develop further IP services in East and South Africa,’ said M Abdourahman Mohamed Hassan, Director General of Djibouti Telecom.

* Kampala — THE excitement about low call rates introduced by phone companies may be short lived if the principles of the recently passed Interception of Communications Act, 2007 are implemented.The phone companies may need to expand the value chain if they are to mitigate the dropped revenues from voice calls and text messaging and accommodate the increased investment costs provided by the new law.The capital investment in machinery and human resources; a cost that in business is passed on to the consumer.This would send the cost of accessing phone services such as voice calls over the current rates in order for the company to meet the cost of such a system.In order to stay afloat in the cutthroat telecommunications business, companies will need to look to other means to mitigate these increased costs.The companies will have to either revise rates upwards or expand along the value chain. The undesirable thing to do would be to send the call rates back to where they were before.

* Kampala — THE telecom company Zain Uganda, has beaten rivals to sign an agreement with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to use President Yoweri Museveni's hit that has taken the country by storm as a polyphonic ringtone.