On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- Gabon’s smallest mobile operator Telecel has announced plans to invest XAF20 billion (USD38 million) to expand coverage of its GSM network this year. Telecel remains in third place in the market in terms of subscribers, with around 75,000 at the end of 2005, well behind Celtel and Libertis. Its network rollout progress has fallen short of the national coverage required by its licence, although it was the first of Gabon's cellcos to launch a post-paid contract option.

- South Africa-based payphone operator Du Pont Telecom has entered the Ghanaian market through the purchase of 40% of mobile operator Dial Tone, reports Graphic Ghana. Dial Tone holds a community payphone licence. Du Pont Telecom will invest in a R&D facility in Ghana to develop products and software for the local market. Du Pont claims to be the largest distributor of payphones on the African continent. The company appears to operate through a franchise or licensing scheme whereby local entrepreneurs resell the service anywhere within range of a GSM signal. Du Pont has offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Benin and Tanzania, with satellite offices in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo.

- Is Verizon’s sale of its Latin American assets the sign of wider non-core disposals? If yes, keep your eyes open for who will buy MCI’s UUNet operation. Also as the multinational majors throw the furniture overboard to increase shareholder value, will Cable and Wireless dispose of its international connectivity operation in Africa?