Telecoms News - In Brief


- In Nigeria, Globacom and Microfone Telecoms, a subsidiary of the Nigerian Capital Development Fund (NCDF), have initiated a partnership that will see 50,000 lines supplied to rural areas across Nigeria. It is expected that the project will subsequently add more lines to the initial 50,000 in the course of the scheme.

- The Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Ventures (CTO-V). has endorsed what it called a low-cost borderless mobile data roaming service for member countries. CTO-V is a commercial subsidiary of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation initiated to develop, expand and enhance its existing operations to facilitate transactional business opportunities in member countries and beyond.

- Taxpayers are set to benefit from the newly established call centre at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) that was set up to respond to queries and complaints related to domestic taxes and customs issues.

- South Africa’s  Communications Minister Roy Padayachie signed a statement of cooperation with his Kingdom of Lesotho counterpart, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Mr Mothejoa Metsing. The statement will serve as a vehicle to explore discussions and potential partnerships on mutually beneficial programmes for the two countries. It is envisaged that this will culminate in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Ministries. The talks were believed to have centred on the lowering of telecoms costs between the two countries; current prices are believed to be disproportionately high, despite that fact that the distance between Johannesburg and Lesotho is shorter than that between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

- Mauritian newspaper L’Express reports that local mobile operators Emtel and Mauritius Telecom’s Orange unit have signed an agreement to share base station towers in a bid to minimise the negative visual impact of infrastructure developments on the island. It is understood the contract, which is also open to the nation’s third operator Cellplus, will help drive speedier service rollouts whilst simultaneously driving down the cellcos’ overall infrastructure costs. Emtel and Orange collectively own around 275 base stations across the island with approximately 40 new masts being installed each year.

- President Abdoulaye Wade has apparently repeated his threat to renationalise Senegal’s national PTO Sonatel by buying out France Telecom’s 42.30% stake in the company. The government of Senegal currently owns 27.15% of the telco with the remaining 30.55% in the hands of employees and private individuals. However, local newspaper Le Soleil writes that in a statement during a meeting on regulation of incoming international calls, Wade also said the government intended to resume its original plan of using US-based Global Voice to monitor incoming calls and to apply a tax that would generate XOF60 billion (USD133.6 million) a year in revenue for various projects.

- In South Africa MTN wants to share spectrum in the so-called “digital dividend” band with television broadcasters so it can begin rolling out a wireless broadband network across the country using next-generation long-term evolution (LTE) technology. “I would deploy LTE across the country right now if I had more spectrum,” says MTN SA MD Karel Pienaar.

- South Africa's Vodacom has confirmed that it is deregistering approximately one million inactive SIM cards as part of the requirements of the country's RICA Act, which required all SIM cards to be registered by their users.

- Mozambique’s third mobile operator, Movitel, is due to start operating in January 2012, Vietnam’s ambassador to Mozambique, Dang Giang, said. Viettel Telecom, the partner of Mozambique’s SPI is based in Vietnam.