Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Zamtel has completed connections to two submarine cables, to WACS and SAT-3, with both links made via Telecom Namibia. The Zamtel fibre network runs from Solwezi, Ndola, Lusaka, Livingstone and Sesheke into Namibia, before eventually travelling onwards to the western seaboard international undersea cables. The company could now potentially deliver 600Mbps of internet capacity to Zambian customers

- Qatar-backed cellco Tunisiana has announced the launch of its 3G network, becoming the last of the nation’s trio of providers to offer the service. The cellco expects to have completed work expanding the network to 71% of the population by the end of the year and reach 87% in early 2013. The HSPA+ network operates in the 900MHz and 2100MHz frequency bands. Tunisiana’s offerings start at TND2 (USD1.22) for 500MB of data, with handsets available from TND99. Tunisiana received its 3G concession in early May 2012, after a bid in late April was deemed to be too low by the Tunisian ICT ministry.

- SuperCell, a mobile operator active in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) eastern cities of Goma, Bukavu and Uvira, has reportedly taken legal action against watchdog Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecommunications (ARPTC) and rival operator Congo Chine Telecom (CCT), local website www.7sur7.cd reports. SuperCell, which launched in July 2002, has accused the regulator of distributing frequencies that belong to it, to CCT’s parent company, France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange) in October 2011; that month saw the French giant complete the 100% acquisition of the cellco for USD196, whilst simultaneously paying USD71 million for improved licence terms and additional spectrum.

- Set’Mobile, under Telecom Eto’o, announced late last year, has now activated its SIM cards. The new company repackages services hosted on the Orange Cameroon network. It announced this week that its SIM cards can now be activated.

- Mobile operator Vodacom Tanzania has announced plans to expand its rural coverage, matching a trend from rivals such as Zantel which has also targeted improved coverage of more remote parts of Tanzania to boost uptake. Mobile penetration in urban areas is currently at over 80%, by comparison rural coverage languishes at a much lower 25%. To redress the imbalance and drive rural growth, Meza’s firm is looking to up its infrastructure investment in the provinces, including around TZS120 billion (USD77 million) in 2012.