Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Reuters, citing local newspaper reports, claims that Zain is in talks to buy a mobile telephony licence in Rwanda. The Rwandan government launched the bidding process for the country's third wireless concession in June, and the deadline for bids is said to be the end of September.

- Nigeria 's fifth GSM mobile operator, Etisalat is set to roll out its network in September. In January last year EMTS, a Nigerian company, in partnership with Mudabala Development Company of UAE, acquired from the Federal government a Unified Access Licence that includes a mobile licence and spectrum in the GSM 1800 and 900 MHz bands for $400 million. Etisalat is said to have acquired a 40 percent stake in EMTS to operate the license in Nigeria.

- According to local press reports, the government of Mali has qualified 18 companies to bid for national operator Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA); the announcement comes following conferences for potential investors in Paris and Bamako in July 2008. Following enthusiastic interest in the operator the government has decided to raise the price for SOTELMA to XOF200 billion (USD457 million), up from XOF80 billion. The report indicates that interested bidders include MTN, Vodafone, Zain, Deutsche Telekom, Tunisie Telecom, Maroc Telecom, Portugal Telecom, Saudi Telecom and Sudatel.

- Alheri Engineering, holder of a 3G concession since May 2007, has finally announced plans to initiate next generation mobile services. Local newspaper This Day reports that the company will launch a 3G network in December. The news follows claims that regulatory body the NCC was to investigate Alheri and its plans for the network.

- South African mobile content reseller, Exactmobile has denied claims that it is not paying royalties on the ringtones it sells. The National Organisation for Reproduction Rights in Music in Southern Africa (NORM) filed the allegations, although Exactmobile says that it has a legal agreement in place with the royalties body.