Telecoms News - In Brief

Telecoms

- The Kenyan Government has announced that it will sell off 70% of Kenya Telkom and we hear that it will announce licences for four competitors to Jambonet.

- João Beirão of Angola’s National Telecommunications Institute said that the country’s mobile users had gone from 20,000 to 150,000 in three years. However he said that there was still a relationship between quality and price. He believed the potential market may well be over 200,000 users. He said:"With the licensing of more than four fixed line operators, we are still exploring the potential for new markets. At the moment it costs US$3000 to install a fixed line in Luanda and more in the provinces."The new operators are likely to explore wireless connections.

- According to a report in The Namibian, Detecon International will invite companies to bid for a second mobile provider license this week. Detecon, a German consultancy, was appointed in 2002 to oversee the selection of a second mobile service provider.Mobile Telecommunications Commission (MTC), which is currently the sole provider, has faced criticism of the deterioration of its service. The Namibian Communications Commission (NCC) has been encouraged to open the mobile market with the hope that competition will result in improved service.

- Nigerian Communications Minister, Bello Mohammed disappointed mobile users by not announcing a direct cut in rates but simply holding the current rate at N50 per minute for two years and let inflation do the rest.

- Econet Wireless Nigeria has announced plans to expand its network with an investment of N11 billion.The fund which will be expended on building the second phase of the networks national microwave transmission backbone, was sourced through the All First Bank of Baltimore, USA and guaranteed by U.S. Exim bank. On completion, the project is expected to extend Econet networks coverage to most parts of the country.

- The Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation has reduced its tariff for international calls effective March 26, 2003. Previously the corporation charged an average of 17.5 birr for direct international calls, now it charges only 10.00 birr, a reduction of 43 percent.

- At least 16,000 telephone lines, representing over a third of all working phone lines in Malawi, have been put out of use by persistent electricity problems. The telecommunication breakdown is the latest in a series of social woes resulting from flooding of the main hydro-electric power plant on the Shire, Malawi’s biggest and longest river, three weeks ago.