Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Airtel Seychelles has set up its second international gateway at its headquarters in Providence, doubling capacity in response to increased international voice and data traffic. The new gateway operates via a different Intel (IS902) satellite than Airtel's existing antenna, and was supplied by India's Bharti Broadband, part of the telco's parent Bharti Group.

- The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE)  completed the reform process of the Nigerian telecommunications sector with the formal handing over of the Nigeria Telecommunications Plc (NITEL) and its subsidiary, Mobile Telecommunications Limited (Mtel) to the successful core investor, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria popularly known as Transcorp. The BPE boss disclosed that Transcorp having completed payment of the first tranche of $500m, representing 51 per cent shares of the company and having also met other key conditions for the take-over was being handed over the reigns of management.

- The South Africa government's announced this week that local cellular operators will now be allowed to internationally self-provision – effectively breaking Telkom's stranglehold on international connectivity. However, as cellular operators appear keen to keep international calling prices high, this move may have little impact on the market in the short-term.

- Gabon Telecom’s privatisation is still on the agenda. The tender applications are with the Finance Ministry and should have been opened by 31/10/06. It has been reported that bids came in from Morocco, South Africa and a German company in partnership with BGFI, a local bank.

- Kenya’s Safaricom is to launch an Mcommerce service and has applied for a banking licence.