Telecoms News - In Brief


-The New Generation consortium has missed the deadline given it to pay for the Nigerian incumbent Nitel and its mobile subsidiary.

- The Tanzania Regulatory Communications Authority (TRCA) has lowered mobile voice interconnection ceiling charges from USD0.0749 to USD0.0732, effective from January 2011, reports Tanzania Daily News. Although only a relatively minor reduction, it is hoped that the lowering of wholesale charges will translate to further decreases to retail off-net mobile call charges. The cost-based interconnection rates are set to glide to USD0.0716 in January 2012. The implementation started in January 2008 when the rate was USD0.0783.

- Nigeria’s Second National Operator, Globacom, is putting final touches to the much-anticipated rollout of its mobile business in Ghana.

- Telecom Namibia has announced that it is set to launch an innovative text message service, which for the first time in Namibia will deliver a range of key classified business information using SMS platforms across a multiple of mobile networks in Namibia. The service offers classified directory information searches for business and service types.

- MTN Ghana has launched the Mobile Money Bill Payment service to facilitate payment of electricity and DStv bills for subscribers of the MTN Mobile Money. Introduced in July 2009 MTN Mobile Money has 1.8 million subscribers in Ghana.

- Telecommunication services will soon be available in most parts of  Tanzania including those regarded to be remote and unprofitable. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology, Dr Florence Turuka, said the move would be possible following of the establishment of the Universal Communication Access Fund (UCAF) in collaboration with telecom firms.

- Cellular network operator Telecel Zimbabwe has launched a mobile banking service enabling customers to use their handsets to make money transactions at partner banks, supermarkets or post offices. Users will be able to set up virtual bank accounts to withdraw, deposit, transfer and send money, make online purchases and make balance enquiries.

- In Kenya, unregistered SIM cards will be deactivated in January when the Cabinet is expected to approve legislation that backs the process, according to Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo.

- In Ethiopia, the Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (FEAC) charged 15 individuals with running illegal international phone calling businesses, on December 21, 2010, after investigating them for the past three months.

- Investment in The Gambia's telecommunication sector has decelerated in 2009, as indicated by the latest report of the sector's regulatory body. The latest annual report of The Gambia Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) states that total annual investment in the telecommunication sector was equivalent to D699.3 million in 2009 compared to the 2008 figures of D874 million.