Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- The Malawi Telecom privatisation process continues to dither its way forward. Apparently the (recently elected) current President is against it but there are considerable external pressures to continue...Malawi Telecom is currently upgrading its billing system...The third mobile operator licence is on hold as the successful application came from a local group that involved the former President.

- The competition framework announcement race looks like turning into a rush. Uganda will announce its new competition framework in July 2005 and will have no restrictions on technologies like VoIP. Local sources think that it is unlikely to increase large-scale investment in the country but will probably lead to small companies opening up new opportunities. Nigeria’s competition framework is also on its way.

- CDMA seems to be becoming flavour of the moment. The South African SNO is currently conducting trials and Uganda’s UTL has launched services based on it. As part of its service bundle, it is offering unlimited, “always-on” internet access for USD60 per month.

- Vodacom last week announced that it has become a member of the global Vodafone partner network. In terms of the agreement, Vodacom will market Vodafone's global services in SA.Vodacom will market the 3G Vodafone Mobile Connect Card, which Vodafone says is a high-speed laptop data card, in SA. It is expecting to make the card available before December. Vodacom will also be launching Vodafone live! in SA early next year, by February or March, says Vodacom Group CEO, Alan Knott-Craig. Vodafone live! will be the cornerstone of Vodacom’s consumer 3G offering. To this end, Vodacom has so far rolled out 470 3G base stations covering most of the major metropolitan areas.

- Econet Wireless Kenya, Kenya's third mobile phone provider, has signed a USD75 million contract with Swedish telecoms company, Ericsson, to roll out its network in the east African country, According to Standard Business. Meanwhile regulator CCK has been sued by failed bidder KTG over the month-long extension granted for Econet and its partners to come up wit its full licence fee.