Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- United Arab Emirates incumbent telco Etisalat is considering the purchase of a mobile licence in Sudan to complement its existing fixed line operations there, its chairman has said. ‘There is initial thought to consider the extending of our licence in Sudan to include mobile,’ Mohammad Hassan Omran told regional newspaper Gulf News on Sunday. Etisalat is the largest shareholder in Canar Telecom (Canartel), which launched Sudan’s second fixed line network in January 2006. The operator currently provides voice, data and broadband internet based on next-generation network (NGN) and CDMA technologies. Etisalat has the option of extending its licence to cover mobile services without the requirement to participate in an open bidding process, said Omran. The operator’s current NGN in Sudan leases capacity to other telecom operators such as Zain (formerly MTC Group) and MTN.

- Telkom Kenya is being offered a nationwide wireless licence to complement its fixed line concession. Earlier this year the firm launched a CDMA-based fixed wireless service which it said was to extend the reach of its wireline network, but the country’s two mobile operators – Safaricom and Celtel – complained that the new network was actually competing against their GSM systems and that Telkom should therefore pay a cellular licence fee. Telkom will pay KES3.9 billion (USD57 million) for the concession, equalling the fees paid by Safaricom and Celtel. A 51% stake in Telkom is being sold by the Kenyan government and the new strategic investor will be required to pay for the cellular licence on top of the KES5.6 billion price for the majority stake.

- Comium Gambia Limited, has filed a civil suit at Banjul Magistrates' Court against Pa Ebou Sanneh, the APRC Banjul Youth Divisional Mobiliser. Comium is claiming back the sum of two hundred thousand dalasis (D200, 000) which it paid to Sanneh as rent for a property for which he had no legal ownership as he was a mere licensee.

- Ms Mawuena Adzo Dumor, Corporate Service Executive of MTN Ghana, last Tuesday blamed the poor reception being experienced by the company's subscribers on the inadequacy of infrastructure it inherited. "This is the first time MTN has had to acquire already existing infrastructure from another brand and build on. In all the 20 other countries we operate in, we took off on a green field - from scratch so we had little or no network challenges," she said.