On The Money - In Brief

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

- The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) has revealed plans to invest ETB5.4 billion (USD644 billion) in the expansion of its telecoms infrastructure in the Ethiopian fiscal year, which began on 8 July. As part of the expansion plan, the telco will roll out 250,000 new fixed lines, and 1.5 million mobile lines.

- Kuwaiti telecoms group Wataniya has reported second quarter results for its wireless subsidiaries in Iraq and Algeria. The group posted profits of USD685,000 in Iraq, on revenues of USD45.5 million. Meanwhile, Wataniya Telecom Algeria (Nedjma) had 694,000 subscribers at the end of the period, up from 474,000 three months earlier, and recorded a group net loss of USD9.25 million on a turnover of USD36.3 million. Nedjma launched GSM services in August 2004 and is 71% owned by Wataniya.

- Moroccan cellco Médi Télécom (Méditel), which won the country’s second national fixed line licence on 11 July, was awarded its new concession on Monday along with an extension of its mobile licence until 2024. Méditel, backed by Portugal Telecom and Spain’s Telefónica, plans to invest over MAD5 billion (USD550 million) in three years to broaden its portfolio, including the launch of a new project to offer internet access via WiMax technology.

- The pan-African mobile group MTN has concluded its acquisition of Zambian wireless operator Telecel. MTN’s expansion into Zambia means it now has a footprint in nine countries, including South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Cameroon. Telecel Zambia currently has more than 150,000 subscribers, giving it a 21% share of the local market where it has a presence in seven of the country’s nine provinces. MTN says it plans to replace the Telecel brand with its own within three months and that it expects its new subsidiary to be the largest cellco in Zambia by the end of 2006. The market is currently dominated by Celtel.