Telecoms News - In Brief


- Information from the Uganda Communication Commission indicates that of the 31million Ugandans, only 10 million are connected. Of these about 4 million have more than one sim card; reducing the number to about 6million.

- The Director-General of the NCA, Paarock VanPercy said that “95% of sim cards has been registered.”

- The third placed bidder for the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), Brymedia Consortium may be invited by the Federal Government to renew its bid to acquire 75 per cent equity in the telecommunications company next week if the second bidder, Omen International fails to revalidate its bid by Friday.

- The Malian government is set to award a third mobile concession by the end of this year, according to Reuters citing state radio. ‘We want to maximise two things: the interests of the consumer, and secondly receipts for the public treasury,’ said Modibo Ibrahim Toure, minister of new technologies. The licence is likely to be priced in the region of USD90 million, and the winner will enter a market currently standing at 7.6 million subscribers. France Telecom-owned Orange claimed 65.7% of subscribers at the end of March 2011, with state-owned Malitel accounting for the remainder.

- Econet Wireless Zimbabwe claims that its mobile internet service now has 1.8 million subscribers, while it has confirmed that its total subscriber base exceeds five million, despite a recent significant dip in numbers due to the country’s pre-paid registration scheme. A company representative announced the figures to an ICT conference last week. Meanwhile, Econet has signed an agreement to exclusively sell Apple products in Zimbabwe, according to a report by Bulawayo24.

- France Telecom-Orange says that its mobile money service, Orange Money, was launched earlier this week in Botswana. To launch the new service Orange partnered with Standard Chartered Bank's, following the signature of a strategic partnership between Orange and the bank. The France Telecom-Orange group first launched Orange Money in Côte d'Ivoire in December 2008, and later expanded to Senegal, Madagascar, Mali, Niger and Kenya. Overall, Orange Money has now attracted over 2 million customers.

- The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has given Uganda Telecom (UTL) thirty days to pay at least UGX20 billion (USD8.2 million) to MTN Uganda. The figure is the accumulation of three years’ worth of unpaid interconnection fees to MTN. In March MTN threatened to terminate its interconnection agreement with UTL, preventing UTL customers from making calls to MTN customers and vice versa. The watchdog has threatened punitive measures against UTL should it fail to comply. Rival cellco Airtel Uganda has raised similar complaints against UTL, claiming UGX8 billion in unpaid interconnection fees, but no decision has yet been reached.

- In Ghana, Haruna Iddrissu, Minister of Communications said on that GH¢32,200,000.00 was collected in the first quarter of 2011 as Communications Service Tax as against the GH¢128,005,000 netted in 2010 and the GH¢ 87,400,000 in 2009. The tax is levied on all communications service usage charged by communications service providers with Class 1 licences as provided in the National Communications Regulations 2003