Telecoms in Africa – October 2012

October 30th, 2012, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

Compiled by Matthew White, Iona Press Services 

Broadband linked to millennium development goals

Africa must invest in broadband development in order to meet the millennium development goals, according to ICT experts at the International Telecommunications Union conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ITU secretary-general Dr. Hamadoun Toure highlighted the benefits of broadband deployment, and encouraged African leaders to invest in development and penetration as “the future of every nation is broadband.” The executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said African countries also need to pay more attention to convergence of technologies, and to develop business models that will further drive broadband penetration.

Africa set to miss 2015 digital migration deadline

Africa is ill-prepared to meet the 2015 digital migration deadline, according to Koenie Schutte, ceo of LS Telecom. Speaking at the MultChoice Digital Dialogue Conference in Johannesburg, he said the transition to digital terrestrial television has typically taken six to ten years, and yet most African countries have not even started with trials, which ideally take two to three years. A number of countries are still debating which technology to adopt. Schutte blamed the slow process on misplaced regulations, lack of content and a low level of consumer awareness.

Tanzania sets aside US$30-million for rural telecoms project

The government of Tanzania has set aside 48-billion shillings (about US$30-million) for low-cost telecoms connections to benefit some 1,6-million people in rural and under-served areas across the country. Universal Communication Access Fund CEO Engineer Peter Ulanga said tenders have been floated for a qualified company to supply the technologies in an initial contract of about US$10-million. The rest of the money will be spent on tenders to be floated between January and May 2013.

ZTE and Huawei win major Ethiopian contract

Ethiopian Communication & Information Technology Minister, Debretsion Gebremichael had announced the signing of a two-year contract with Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. for the financing of a project aimed at doubling the number of mobile-phone users to 40-million by mid-2015. ZTE, China’s second-largest maker of phone equipment, said in May that it was bidding with Huawei for a $1,3-billion government telecoms contract. ZTE.

Mobile phone growth sets new records

The Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that mobile subscriptions have reached and surpassed the projected target of 105-million telecoms subscribers. MTN says its share of that has reached 45,6-million, and grew by 5,75% in the third quarter of 2012. Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel, part of the world’s fourth largest mobile operator, has celebrated a milestone achievement in reaching 60-million customers throughout the continent. Airtel, which has operations in 17 African countries, says it added 10-million customers in less than twelve months. The company has rolled out its 3,75 G network to 14 countries. Reaching speeds of up to 21 Mbps, Airtel’s 3,75 G network is claimed to be one of the fastest available globally. In Rwanda, mobile phone users now number more than 5-million, according to the country’s Utilities Regulatory Agency, which has targeted a figure of 6-million by the end of this year.

MTN, Warid hit by Ugandan cyber fraud

While Ugandan companies are struggling to deal with cyber crime that has cost them billions of shillings, according to The Observer. As Warid Telecom, Standard Chartered and Stanbic banks, among others, count their losses, police have confirmed an alarming increase in cyber crime. MTN alone is reported to have lost 450-million shillings (about US$175-million to fraud after some staff connived to steal the money. The newspaper says, however, that other companies have opted to suffer in silence where staff are implicated for fear of negative publicity.

Safaricom is top tax payer in Kenya

Mobile phone service provider Safaricom is the top tax payer in Kenya for the second year running. East Africa Breweries came in second, while the Teacher’s Service Commission was the third. Formed in 1997, Safaricom is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telkom Kenya, which in turn is 51% owned by France Telecom.

State monopoly shares blame for Morocco’s digital divide

Despite efforts to bridge Morocco’s digital divide, discrepancies in access to information and communications technologies remain, according to a first-of-its-kind study released by the Open Society Foundations in association the Institute of Graduate Management Studies. “Internet access is still restricted to urban areas and educated categories in cities,” says the report. “Most households are not equipped to access content provided by digital media, while the state is still the only monopoly in terms of media ownership, controlling radio and television and their online platforms. It also exercises significant influence on political party newspapers and has a legal and economic arsenal to control and manage the competition.”

Zambia looking to welcome fourth mobile operator

The Zambian government supports allowing a fourth mobile operator into the country in order to boost telecoms growth. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply & Communications Christopher Yaluma urged all mobile operators to expand deeper into rural and remote areas of the country, so that all citizens can access the mobile services.

Zimbabwe: Potraz to build 54 base stations

The Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe plans to install 54 mobile phone base stations in under-served and remote areas across the country over the next two years. Potraz deputy director-general Alfred Marisa said the first phase of the project has eight terminal sites and three repeater sites. The second phase is targeting a total of 43 sites. The target is to reach all under-served areas in Zimbabwe, with remote rural areas being given priority.


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