Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- Incumbent operator Telecom Namibia has signed a three-year maintenance and support contract with DiData SA. The agreement, valued at approximately R14m, will see DiData providing maintenance and support to the Telecom Namibia network management centre. With more than 136 000 customers, Telecom Namibia operates the largest digital telecommunications network in Namibia.

- Kenyan regulator CCK has decided that the licensing of firms to offer communication services through a bidding process should be abolished. Applicants who meet the minimum standards set by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) will be licensed and market forces

will determine the saturation point. Bidding will only be allowed in areas which can only absorb a limited number of competitors, said CCK assistant director Christopher Kemei yesterday. He said there was no longer any need to subject applicants including those seeking to provide mobile phone services to the bidding process. In the long term, CCK intends to adopt a "unified and absolute technology neutral licensing framework."

- The Nigerian regulator NCC has announced its intention to allow other operators other than incumbent NITEL and the Second National Operator, Globacom, to carry third party international traffic. In a notice published on its web site, the NCC has given notice that other operators who have an international gateway licence (apart from the two national carriers) would be allowed to carry commercial traffic.

- Chinese equipment vendor ZTE Communications has announced plans to use Kenya as a launch pad to expand its operations into the entire east African region, including the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Seychelles and Somalia. The company has already signed deals worth around USD10 million in Kenya; in 2002 it installed telecoms equipment in the cities of Thika, Gatundu and Ruiru, and two years later donated transmission equipment to Telkom Kenya.

- ZAMTEL lost an estimated K5 billion through acts of vandalism last year. ZAMTEL director of commercial services, Sandie Kandolo said cables worth K74 million were used to replace the vandalised ones and that a K5.8 billion loss was incurred through traffic losses. He said most cases occurred on the Copperbelt, especially in Kitwe and Chingola where big primary cables were repeatedly cut.