Telecoms News - In Brief


- According to the African Press Agency Maroc Telecom looks likely to win the bidding for a 51% stake in state-owned Malian telco Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA). Maroc Telecom is reported to have offered EUR250 million (USD332 million) for the stake, beating out bids from other operators including Portugal Telecom, Telecel Globe (part of Egypt’s Orascom Telecom) and Sudan’s Sudatel.

- Vivacell has announced that it launched a commercial GSM 900/1800 network in Southern Sudan. Vivacell is one of four GSM operators licensed to operate in Southern Sudan but is the first to be headquartered in Southern Sudan. At launch, four states are covered including the capital city Juba. During the first half of 2009, Vivacell aims to extend its coverage footprint to all of the 10 States.

- The government of Tunisia plans to announce the winner of fixed line and mobile service licences in June 2009 in a bid to end the monopoly of state-controlled Tunisie Telecom (TT) and to attract foreign investment into the fast-growing domestic telecoms market, the Associated Press reports.

- In Ghana, mobile telecommunication giant, MTN, has been allotted an additional network code-054 to its existing 024 code by the industry regulator, National Communications Authority.

- Algeria Telecom, Algeria's national incumbent, and Iristel Inc., a provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, announced an exclusive alliance to offer Algeria Connect, a new VoIP service that provides virtual Algerian phone numbers to Iristel subscribers worldwide. With Algeria Connect, phone calls from Algeria can be made to subscribers regardless of where they are located in the world, using an Algerian phone number and at the cost of a local call.

- Cameroon’s Finance Minister, Essimi Menye, has announced that the call for tender for the privatisation of Camtel, the national incumbent has been unsuccessful. Two proposals (Essar and Reliance) had been submitted in response to the call but they didn’t match the Government’s expectations. The Minister further said that the Government will work out a new strategy for Camtel based on a public-private partnership to support the incumbent’s technical and financial development.