Telecoms News - In Brief


- The ANRT, the Moroccan regulator has published a call for tender regarding the award of third generation licences. Applications can be made from May 2nd on payment of 40,000 dirhams. The regulator has not disclosed any further information on these new licences.

- Two thirds of the "Tunisie Telecom" partial privatisation receipts will be devoted to the reimbursement, prior to maturity, of external public debt, Tunis-Afrique Press news agency learnt, on Monday, from an official source. The remainder will finance large-scale infrastructure projects. Emirian company "Tecom-Dig" acquired, last March, a 35% share of Tunisie Telecom that cost it 3.052 billion dinars.

- Trial of a new R300m centre set up by the cellular operators in South Africa have shown that it is quick and easy for users to switch from one network to another without losing their original number. How successful it will be when the system goes live -- and an unknown quantity of users applies to switch networks -- is another question, says MTN SA's MD, Maanda Manyatshe. The number portability service is being imposed by government to remove a barrier that has discouraged people from switching networks even if they are unhappy with their operators.

- Twenty-seven firms including Transcorp and Globacom have expressed interest in acquiring 51 percent government equity in Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) together with its mobile arm, Mtel. The remaining firms are Telkom of S/Africa, Newtel International, Celtel International B.V., Global Infrastructure Nigeria (managers of Ajaokuta and Delta Steel), Minaj Holdings Ltd, Telecom/Orange, Acacia Telecom, Global Fleet Consortium, Oil and Gas Consult Int. Ltd, Hasna & Husna GT.LLC, E10 Telecommunications and Investcom. Others are Link Global Logistics, Panther Consortium, Optic Network Management Company Ltd, Pureglow Ltd and Oakdale Financial Group Inc. The list also included Eutelia 8PA of Italy, Telesto LLC, IPNX Nigeria Limited, Technical Systems Engineering Ltd and Harthill Ltd.

- Médi Télécom (Meditel), Moroccos’s second largest cellco, has launched fixed line services over a hybrid WiMAX, fixed-wireless and fibre-optic network. Last week it unveiled a range of call packages aimed at businesses, public sector organisations and consumers. Enterprise packages include NeOfix, which offers unlimited broadband access over Meditel's own network along with a full range of value-added services. For residential users Meditel is offering the Tilifoun Dialdar pre-paid service. The company won Morocco's second fixed line local, long-distance and international licence in July 2005.