Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- A year after it won a licence, Nigerian mobile operator Globacom has launched its GSM services in the Republic of Benin. The mobile operator is rolling out simultaneously across the West African country, covering its major cities including Cotonou, Porto Novo, Abomey and Parakou. At that time when the licence was granted, Globacom assured the Benin Government that it would be rolling out services in 60 days and help end the chaos created by the shutdown of the existing mobile networks following a disagreement about retroactive licence fees.

- Celtel Malawi, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti Zain Group, says it plans to invest USD90 million in its financial year 2008/09 to improve its network and extend coverage to all parts of the country. The operator also hopes to use part of the monies set aside to enable it to reduce the cost of its handsets. The decision to cut mobile phone costs is a result of the government’s recent initiative to implement new tax measures, it said. In the 2008/2009 national budget presentation, the government announced it was scrapping a 25% customs duty and excise on imported handsets, but introducing in its place a 10% domestic excise tax on airtime.

- Nigeria’s National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees (NUPTE) has called on the Federal Government to take over the management of Nitel on the basis that Transcorp has shown itself incapable of managing the company.