Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Gateway Communications, which describes itself as a supplier of pan-African telecoms services, has provided Mauritian mobile operator Emtel with a connectivity solution for the islands of Agalega and Rodrigues in the Republic of Mauritius. Under the contract, Gateway will supply its satellite-based cellular backhaul solution – CellDirect – to provide residents on the island with access to reliable and effective mobile communications. CellDirect is used to directly connect otherwise remote base transceiver stations (BTS) and is considered a sensible and low-cost solution when addressing lower traffic density areas. Both islands are self-sustaining but frequently experience weak links and service outages brought about by inclement weather.

- Gateway Communications has been bought by Hong Kong operator, PCCW.

- Bangalore, India-based OnMobile, which describes itself as a leading supplier of ‘white-label’ data and value added services (VAS) for mobile, landline and media providers, has been censured by the government of Tanzania for operating in the country without a trading licence. The government has reportedly clipped its trading wings after it was revealed that OnMobile had struck up partnership deals with Vodacom and Airtel before even receiving the requisite licence.

- The MD of Vodacom, Rene Meza, has questioned the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) that why mobile frequency fees be charged in US dollars, arguing it is responsible for the rising cost of doing business there. The official went on to say that the east African country’s telecoms industry faces enough obstacles already to redress issues of poor infrastructure, a patchy electricity supply and a lacked of a skilled workforce, but that it also remains one of the most heavily taxed in the region. The TCRA has refuted Meza’s argument however, saying that they are neither imposing nor charging for frequencies in US dollars as claimed.

- Virgin Mobile South Africa is following through with its plans to revise its distribution strategy by closing 30 of its 38 stores in South Africa.The groups would merge their regional telecom operations to create a combined entity called Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA).