Telecoms News - In Brief


- Following repeated calls to tackle the international call failures that have blighted the country during 2008, incumbent Zambia Telecommunication (Zamtel) has confirmed that it has installed a new next generation international exchange, The operator has reportedly spent US$3 million on the new infrastructure, which is capable of handling up to one million calls at any one time, and it is expected that this will relieve the recent problems.

- Old Mutual Kenya has signed a partnership deal with a mobile money transfer service provider as its move to penetrate the mass market gets into top gear. The partnership with Safaricom's M-Pesa service will enable investors to top-up their unit trust investment monthly contributions thus creating an ease of access and convenience. Old Mutual's Toboa is an investment plan targeting Kenyans who are ready to invest a minimum of Sh7,500 per month. Clients will be registered M-Pesa users.

- Kenya’s Communication Workers Union is calling on members to reject proposals requesting voluntary redundancies at state-backed fixed line and mobile operator Orange Kenya. A report from Dow Jones cites a story in local newspaper Business Daily which says that the union’s secretary general, Benson Okwaro, is urging staff to oppose the plans for more layoffs. The telco, which is part-owned by France Telecom, is thought to be looking at reducing its workforce by several hundred staff via a voluntary redundancy programme, though exact figures have not been released.