Telecoms News - In Brief


- A combined mobile connectivity solution by Gateway Communications and Altobridge has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Mobile Technology for Emerging Markets’ category at this year’s GSMA Global Mobile Awards. The collaboration sees Gateway Communications’ CellDirect, a bandwidth efficient VSAT solution, being combined with Altobridge lite-site; a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) solution that optimises satellite backhaul and enables solar power. Benefits include reduced total cost of ownership for any mobile network operator (MNO) deploying services to remote communities and enterprises, minimum satellite bandwidth usage and cost, macro quality voice and data services and shorter ROI periods.

- The users of the Angolan mobile phone company Unitel, who reside in France, may check e-mails, access Internet, through their mobiles and computer, as result of a roaming data agreement signed with Orange.

- LAP Green Limited, which in June 2010 had a USD257 million bid accepted for a 75% stake in Zambia’s fixed line incumbent Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel), aims to enable some 6,000 households in Lusaka to receive broadband services next week. According to the Lusaka Times, the telco expects to complete the first phase of its Next Generation Network (NGN) rollout in the city next week, with some 96 sites having been installed so far, while the whole network will be finished by the end of February; over the course of the next 30 months 450 sites will be installed nationwide. It estimates that it has spent around USD23 million on the upgrades so far.

- Vodacom has committed to launch an LTE network in 2011 while MTN is trialing the technology. The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently published its latest LTE report, revealing that 180 operators in 70 countries are currently investing in LTE.

- The Somali government plans to start regulating the country’s thriving telecommunications sector to boost growth and encourage investment, Bloomberg reports, citing Somalia’s Information, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Abdulkareem Jama. The government has drafted rules for managing cellular frequencies, phone numbers and interconnection agreements, according to Jama, who also revealed that the country’s Finance Ministry is finalising details of a tax to be introduced to the industry. ‘Rates are cheap and service is available everywhere,’ he noted. ‘This is a success story. The intention of the government is to encourage this investment and do everything possible to allow this to grow faster.’ Without giving a timeline, Jama said that both proposals will need to undergo examination by lawmakers before going into force.

- Claims of a match between Red Bull and Cell C, to create a second mobile virtual network operator in South Africa, have industry players questioning the wisdom of such a move. This morning, a media report claimed Red Bull Mobile would piggyback off Cell C's infrastructure backbone. ITWeb was unable to confirm the move.