Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- The recently-concluded 4th Nigerian Telecom Summit has advocated the merger of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Inforamation Technology Development Agency (NITDA). In a communique issued at the end of the two-day gathering of telecom stakeholders in Abuja, the participants declared, "With Convergence already upon us regulations by NBC, NCC and possibly NITDA are increasingly overlapping. Under such a situation, regulations may have to be merged into a converged law and regulatory platform."

- Lebanese wireless holding company InvestCom has awarded Ericsson a USD31 million contract for the expansion and upgrade of its networks in Ghana and Benin as well as the construction of a new network in Guinea. In Ghana, Ericsson will supply UMTS based equipment, which will be used to complement the operator’s EDGE capable network, which operates under the Areeba brand. Meanwhile, in Benin the deal will see the existing network being extended to have a capacity for 400,000 customers. Ericsson will also supply the infrastructure and services that will underpin a new 300,000-capacity network in the Republic of Guinea.

- Telecommunications equipment and network solutions provider ZTE last week announced that it is now trialling three of the most advanced telecommunications systems in the world in Tunisia - with the potential to bring Tunisian telecommunications up to global standards. The latest trial, conducted in association with COSMSI and Tunisia Telecom, involves the first African deployment of ZTE's 3G-based GoTa digital trunking network in Tunis and Hammamet, Tunisia. The other trials currently under way are two 3G data communications systems - a CDMA2000 1x EV-DO system in Tunis and Hammamet, which enables high speed wireless internet access and business communications, and a UMTS trail system in Sousse and Monatir which enables mobile subscribers to enjoy 3G services of the same quality as in Europe.

- Incumbent Ghana Telecom has seen stunted growth recently and is struggling with a debt of over ¢203 billion to other GSM providers. The company is currently trading accusation with the national regulator, National Communications Authority, NCA, on the causes of its problems. GT owes inyerconnect debts of about ¢194 billion to Scancom, ¢9 billion to Millicom, operators of Buzz and ¢300 million monthly to Kasapa.