Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- According to local newspaper Guinée News, the Ministre of Poste and Telecommunications in Guinea has issued a fourth mobile phone licence to Cellcom, an Israeli company. The newspaper disagrees with Jean Claude Sultan, the minister in charge that this is the fifth licence and not the fourth issued so far. According to the minister there are four licenced GSM companies, Sotelgui, Intercel, Areeba and Cellcom. With regards to Spacetel, their activities are just tolerated and Spacetel has no licence, said the minister. The newspaper Guinée News reminded that Spacetel was granted a temporary licence 1997 and that the licence has been cancelled since the introduction of new regulations in the telecommunication sector.

- Zimbabwe's largest mobile operator Econet Wireless is planning to launch 3G services in the first quarter of next year, according to its chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni, who reported on Friday that the company had ordered UMTS equipment for an initial 50,000 lines from Swedish manufacturer Ericsson. Mr Mboweni said that the W-CDMA lines are in addition to 300,000 GSM connections that Econet will start releasing to customers from next month under a USD20 million expansion programme to increase network capacity from 500,000 to 800,000 by the end of the year. He added that 3G services will be launched initially in the capital Harare, and subsequent rollouts will be restricted to major urban centres due to the high cost of rollout.

- The Nigerian Minister of Communications, Dr. Femi Anibaba, disclosed that Nokia and Motorola, will soon establish plants for the manufacturing and assembling of mobile phone handsets and other accessories in Nigeria. The plants are to be established under a special partnership arrangement between the Nigerian government and the foreign investors. A Chinese firm, ZTE, has already established a handset terminal manufacturing plant in Abuja with an initial capacity to manufacture one thousand handsets per day.

- The extent of fraud, theft and improper behaviour within the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is beginning to emerge, with police investigating the theft of R100,000 and the auditor-general highlighting a blatant flouting of tender processes. Icasa CEO Jackie Manche is facing a disciplinary hearing, while the authority’s former information technology manager has been found guilty of 11 charges.