Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Millicom International Cellular (MIC) has announced that it was won the race for Rwanda’s third national mobile licence, seeing off the challenge from three other bidders. The Luxembourg-incorporated company said in a press release that it will hold 87.5% of a newly created joint venture company with local outfit Marathon Corporation. The cost of the concession is USD60 million and is for 15 years.

- France Telecom (FT) has announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of the West African state of Togo, opening up the way for exclusive negotiations with regards to ‘a new global operator licence’ under the Orange brand. Togo has six million inhabitants and a mobile penetration rate of around 25%.

- Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has warned the telecoms operators laying their optic fibre transmission infrastructure to remember that they would in future share such infrastructures with new entrants in the business, adding that the commission would come heavily against operators who do not adhere to the infrastructure sharing option.

- Operational since its 2005 licensing, Lacom, the second provider of fixed lines telephony in Algeria and a subsidiary of Egypt's Orascom, was forced to close its business. In 2005 Lacom acquired the necessary licence to become the second operator or ground-lines telephony in the North African country, after the state-owned company Algerie Telecom, for 65 million euros. Following its initial success due to innovative offers, especially with Internet services, in 2006 the company began to fall into decline, with its 650 employees dropping to 160 in 2007, according to El Watan. "They supported the national operator to the point of killing us," said Orascom director Naguib Sawiris at the end of last year. "Since we began, Algerie Telecom has lowered its prices to below that of the market, wiping out any gains. We complained but it proved all to be in vain."

- Zamtel has lifted suspensions slapped on 68 workers who were suspected to have masterminded the recent three-week strike.

- Telecom operators in Nigeria are warming up for an increase in telecommunication tariff across networks, a situation that is likely to cause a hike in cost of telecom services in the country. Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) reported that he has received several complaints from operating companies on the practice by some state governments, local government and other government agencies in the imposition of indiscriminate levies and charges on telecommunication operators and their operations within their localities.

- In partnership with General Post & Telecommunications Company, the incumbent in Libya, Thuraya has begun installing ThurayaIP terminals for user segments such government agencies, oil and gas companies, media, and international organizations operating in the country.

- Following the acquisition of a mobile licence earlier this year, Glo Mobile Ghana has signed a service agreement with communications company Acision to offer value-added services straight from the launch of the network scheduled for 2009.

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