Telecoms News - In Brief


-The management of Vodafone Ghana, which owns 70 percent of Ghana Telecom has offered mouth-watering disengagement packages to its workers. The package consists of three month salary for every year of service. As at now Ghana Telecom has about 4,088 staff on its payroll and is seeking to rationalise staff numbers to ensure profitability.

- The GSMA mobile phone industry association has announced an agreement among 17 mobile phone operators and major handset makers to standardise chargers by 2012. The move means no matter what brand of phone you buy, the chargers should be interchangeable, making it possible to charge a phone from any available charger even if you leave your own at home.

- Reuters reports that the government of Niger is to renationalise the 51% stakes in fixed line operator Sonitel and cellco SahelCom from a Sino-Libyan consortium which the government says has not met its obligations. ‘The privatisation of Sonitel and its subsidiary SahelCom is a failure. Therefore, at zero hours on 19 February, Dataport will no longer be a shareholder in Sonitel or SahelCom,’ Mohamed Ben Omar, communications minister and government spokesman, told state television. Dataport, which includes Libyan group LAAICO and Chinese vendor ZTE Corp, acquired the stakes in December 2001 for XOF17.5 billion (USD34.5 million). Ben Omar said Dataport had failed to meet its obligation, including not meeting a target of 45,000 fixed line subscribers.

- The Algerian government has cancelled the privatisation of national fixed line operator Algerie Telecom. The sale, which has been mooted for several years, had attracted the interest of overseas investors such as Qatar Telecom and France Telecom.‘ Algerie Telecom will not be privatised and its capital will not be opened to private investors,’ said the telco’s chairman Foamed Benhamadi at the weekend. He claims that opening up the company to outside investment is no longer necessary and a plan is now under way to pump EUR100 million into the development of fibre-optic networks over the next five years.