Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- MTN Nigeria is confident of launching the country’s first 3G mobile service, possibly as early as the first half of next year. The cellco’s South African parent, MTN Group, launched 3G services in its domestic market last week and says that Nigeria is next on its list. MTN remains the only Nigerian operator not yet offering 2.5G services and has much work to do if it is to steal a march on its rivals. Whilst Globacom (Glo Mobile), NITEL GSM (M-Tel) and Vee Networks (V-Mobile) have all launched GPRS commercially, MTN is still trialling the technology.

- The Rwandan government is planning to replace the Rwanda Information Technology Authority (RITA) with a new ICT body, the ‘National Information Communication Technology’ (NICT) to oversee its broad programme of ICT reforms from 2006 to 2010. RITA was set up in 2001, but, according to the state ICT advisor, only achieved around a quarter of its objectives, mainly due to a lack of human resources.

- Kenyan Information and Communication Minister, Raphael Tuju has announced plans to stop GSM handset manufacturers from dumping second hand mobile phones in the Kenyan market. Equipment suppliers have been importing refurbished handsets to Kenya, as a cheaper option to introducing brand new phones.

- Zimbabwean incumbent TelOne has completed its systems and operations audit for the Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme (PLARP) funds and has since submitted its turnaround strategy document to its parent ministry.

- Telecommunications company Alcatel is expecting to win more business from its South African operations since appointing Dimension Data (Didata) and Himax as its official partners. The new partners have begun selling Alcatel equipment and services since a deal expired that made Bytes Technology its exclusive local partner. The move ends an anomaly that has seen Didata reselling Alcatel equipment through its subsidiaries around the world, but not in SA. According to the company, Alcatel was also talking to other potential dealers in SA and was especially interested in finding black empowered companies to promote its products.