Telecoms News - In Brief


- Lebanese based Comium Mobile says that it has been granted a GSM license in the Ivory Coast. The Ivorian telecoms and mobile GSM markets are set to witness exponential growth into the future. Comium, as one of four license holders in the Ivorian market, is planning the commercial launch of the new network in the 2nd quarter of 2007. With a population estimated at over 17 million, mobile subscribers in the Ivory Coast reached 2.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2005 yielding a penetration rate of about 13.5%. The market witnessed an average 30% annual growth last year.

- The launch of the South African second fixed-line operator, which was scheduled to take place by the middle of this year, would now only take place at the end of the year. Corporate customers would be first in line to get the services of the new entrant while domestic customers would be connected in the first quarter of next year.

- MTN has been defeated in its bid for a licence to operate in Egypt by Arabian operator Etisalat in a heavyweight consortium with the Egyptian Postal Authority, the National Bank of Egypt and the Commercial International Bank. Egypt's third cellphone licence went for about $2,9bn, and Etisalat outbid nine other consortiums that had passed a first round approving of their technical abilities.

- UK cellphone giant Vodafone has dismissed as "complete speculation" newspaper reports that the group is poised to make an offer for Telkom. A report in a weekend newspaper said Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin and Telkom CEO Papi Molotsane were in talks that could lead to Vodafone buying Telkom. Vodafone and Telkom jointly own SA's largest cellphone company, Vodacom.