Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS) claims it will challenge the country’s four main GSM operators over mounting dissatisfaction with the poor service received by subscribers. President of the association, Deolu Ogunbanjo, says that complaints relating to network performance are increasing as a result of wireless operators apparently signing up too many customers for the existing capacity of their networks. Mr Ogunbanjo added that he felt the companies concerned - MTN, Globacom, Nitel and V-Mobile – were concentrating on their own financial gains and not on building enough capacity to provide an adequate service.

- Nigeria’s regulator the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the number of telephone lines in the country has reached an all time high of ten million, up from just 400,000 deployed by Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) in 1999. As a result, overall teledensity in the country is estimated to have risen to 6.5%.

- Egyptian cellco MobiNil announced last week that it has signed up over four million subscribers to its GSM service. The company, which has now built nearly 2,000 base stations in the country, increased its customer base by around 500,000 since the end of September 2004.

- South Africa’s electricity utilities have expressed an interest in using their networks to offer telecoms services to rural communities. The electricity network reaches around 98% of the South African population, far higher than Telkom’s PSTN, and in some cases has spare capacity of up to 80%, which could be used to carry broadband voice and data traffic. City Power, one of the country’s largest electricity companies, is reported to have already held discussions with the SNO to discuss sharing its capacity.

- Kenyan companies are set to get a major communications boost as the country prepares for the launch of a new instant messaging solution (IM). The solution dubbed Jabber/XXMP is an open and extensive real time IM platform that offers similar functionality to Legacy IM systems.

- Madagascar's Orange has reached the 169,000 subscriber mark.