Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- The Namibian government approved the awarding of Namibia's second cellular phone licence to Powercom (Pty) Limited. Powercom is a joint venture between power utility NamPower and Telenor from Norway. Both NamPower and the country's sole existing cellphone company, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), are wholly owned by Government, and it means the two parastatals would be in direct competition. The two companies that were in the run for the licence were Powercom and ZTE of China.

- The Nigerian government has short-listed seven candidates to compete in a negotiated sale of telecommunications firm Nitel after two failed auctions. Prospective investors include Trans-national Corporation/BT, Globacom, Afro Telecommunications Limited/Korean Telecomm, MTC/Celtel International, Investcom, Telkom SA and Etisalat.

- As of May 31, 2006, the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC) will cease to exist. According to the Chairman of the Board of Directors, N. Oswald Tweh, government has decided to close down the Corporation due to its inability to generate the needed revenues. The President of the LTC's Workers Union, Isaac Zotoe, said that government has vowed to turn the LTC into a GSM company and by doing so, it has decided to terminate the services of the entire workforce.

- Calls into Sierra Leone have been disrupted since Sierratel workers have gone on strike two weeks ago and thus despite the help of workers from GMK, a firm that Sierratel has contracted to help restart the IDD (International Direct Dialing) installations. The strike is crippling telecommunications in the entire country as some mobile companies like Africell  have interconnectivity with Sierratel.

- Southern Sudan’s capital Juba looks set to get a mobile service provider shortly. Early reports in from there show it possible to scan a network called UG50. More follows when we know more…