News in Brief 18 September 2019

** ANNOUNCEMENT **: Date of Next Issue - 'Africa & Middle East Telecom-Week' will be taking a short break and will return to your in-box on Wednesday 9 October 2019.The editorial in-box will be checked from time-to-time during the period and enquiries can be addressed to as normal.


Cameroon: Accounts approved - In a press release dated 9 September 2019, Agence Regulation des Telecommunications' (ART) Board of Directors has adopted the Agency's accounts for the 2018 financial year, Digital Business Africa reported. The statement said: "the Board has approved the accounts and financial statements of ART for the year ended 31 December 2018, as presented by the General Management, which generate a positive budgetary balance." In recent months it has fined MTN, Orange and Nexttel some XAF 1.5 billion (USD 2.5 million). It has also suspended 73,000 unregistered SIM cards, an operation that is expected to accelerate in the next few months.

Cote d'Ivoire: Director in post - The new director of the Ministry of the Digital Economy and Post Office, Dr. Guibessongui N'Datien Severin took up his new post on 13 September after the handover from his predecessor, Dr Djomand Henri. Severin has a PhD in Telecoms Law, is an expert-legal adviser of the African Telecommunication Union (UAT) and the Telecommunication & Information Technologies Commission of ECOWAS. Previous posts since 2009 have included Legal Advisor and Assistant Director of the Minister of ICT and then the Minister of Post & ICT.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ministerial appointments - All members of the government of Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba took office on 9 September after the handover ceremonies and inauguration of the coalition government by the deputies of the Nation. Of note, the new Minister of State, Minister of Communication and Media, is David Jolino Diwanpovesa Makelele ma-Muzingi and the Minister of Post, Telecommunications and New Information and Communication Technologies is Augustin Kibassa Maliba. The latter is tasked with the restructuring of the Regulatory Authority of the Post and Telecommunications of Congo (ARPTC) which in turn is challenged with monitoring the quality of services provided by new technologies, and the allocation of spectrum.

Egypt: Training twosome - On 10 September 2019 the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat and Swedish Ambassador to Egypt Jan Thesleff attended the signing of a cooperation deal between Telecom Egypt (TE) and Ericsson, Agence Ecofin reported. The signatories were TE's CEO Adel Hamed and head of Ericsson in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Mathias Johansson. A common training centre and innovation lab will be created that will be used to implement technology and create a work environment conducive to technological innovation for young people in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Ericsson is to provide the software and hardware, while TE will provide the communication tools.

Ethiopia: In-flight Internet - On-board Wi-Fi Internet has been introduced by Ethiopian Airlines on its A350 fleet using the latest broadband satellite technology (Ka-band). The planes have a newly fitted Ka-band satellite broadband connection, and the airline plans to eventually roll-out the new Wi-Fi service to its other aircraft operating long-haul routes. Passengers can access the in-flight connectivity service by purchasing vouchers at Ethiopian Airlines sales outlets including Addis Ababa International Airport customer service desk, boarding gate and cabin crews on-board the fights. Online sales through credit/debit card and ShebaMiles miles are also additional options for passengers to enjoy the service.

Ghana: Staff severances - Vodafone Ghana has reportedly sacked 100 staff in a restructuring exercise starting October, the Graphic reported. External Affairs Director of Vodafone Ghana, Gayheart Mensah, said that the company was restructuring how it operates in order to remain fit for purpose, agile and nimble. The affected staff and management have agreed severance packages although some workers are not happy about their packages.

State of Digital - Angola: February 2018

Kenya: Cyber-threat centre commissioned - A Cyber Threat Intelligence Centre has been set-up by Internet Solutions Kenya at a cost of some KES 20 million (USD 190,400). It will assist companies monitor, analyse and respond to evolving cyber threats and help companies operating in Kenya and in Africa to develop a risk-based, proactive cyber resiliency strategy. The company is also looking to invest an additional KES 30 million (USD 286,000) over the next 12 months to expand the facilities and hire more cyber security engineers. Operating on 24/7 daily basis, the centre will provide a real-time cyber security service tailored to each company, based on Internet Solution's cross-industry expertise.

Madagascar: Mobile Internet - The number of Internet subscribers has risen markedly in the last five years, due to the arrival of mobile Internet. Nearly 3 million Internet subscribers are listed in Madagascar in 2018, according to data from the Regulatory Authority for Communication Technologies (ARTEC), which is 29 times greater than in 2012. Mobile accounts for 99 percent of Internet users which ARTEC said was down to the 'popularization of smartphones on the market whose prices were even more expensive before but tend to be more accessible'. The regulator recorded only 27,092 fixed Internet users in 2018, which is virtually unchanged over the previous five years.

Nigeria: Fibre footprint - MTN Nigeria's national fibre backbone now totals some 25,800 kilometres, according to an investor presentation in May 2019. This compares with 24,658 in April 2018, 12,490 in March 2016, 10,432 in March 2013, 9,738 in December 2012, and 9,077 in December 2011. MTN added that it also leases 3,000km of aerial fibre from Phase 3 Telecom, and over 150km from Multilinks (MLTC).

another fine mess for african telecoms

Nigeria: Top porter - Mobile network operator 9mobile gained the most subscribers through number porting in 2Q 2019, according to the latest report from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Some 19,400 subscribers joined its network through porting, while 4,900 departed. MTN gained 7,560 subscribers and lost 3,062; Glo gained 1,884 and lost 9,301, and Airtel gained 1,355 and lost 2,870. MTN remained market leader at the end of June, with 65.1 million subscribers, followed by Glo with 46.6 million and Airtel with 45.9 million. 9mobile was in fourth place with just under 16 million, down from 16.8 million at the end of 1Q 2019.

Senegal: Public sector package -Tigo Senegal has launched a new service dedicated to state agents, Agence Ecofin reported. The service is an unlimited call bundle that allows subscribers to call each other free-of-charge. They are also offered a data volume to browse the Internet and free access to the Tigo Cash service. The new service leverages the public spending reduction plan initiated by the government. The operator says it sees an opportunity not only to increase its subscriber base but also recruit officials who want to maintain the facilities they enjoyed as civil servants.

South Africa: Cisco chief - Garsen Naidu has been named as Cisco's country manager for South Africa. Naidu has been at Cisco for eight years and previously held the post of Head of Partner and Systems Engineering organisations for Sub-Saharan Africa. Naidu holds an MBA from GIBS and a BSc in Engineering, Electrical and Information Systems, and a Diploma in Electrical Engineering.

South Africa: iPhone 11 cometh - iStore said the iPhone 11 range will be available from 27 September. The local retailer will offer the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. iPhone 11 contract deals from Vodacom, Telkom, and MTN will also be available from the iStore, along with a trade-in special. Old iPhone can be traded in with savings of up to ZAR 330 per month (USD 22.46) on a new or upgraded Vodacom contract. Additionally, the iStore will offer a free extended warranty and screen replacement valued at ZAR 1,999 (USD 136) to users who upgrade to a new iPhone.

Tanzania: Land bills - The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Settlement Development (MLHHSD) has partnered with Airtel Tanzania to enable Airtel's subscribers pay their land bills using Airtel Money. The move is aimed at promoting and deepening financial inclusion by easing payment processes and avoid the need to travel to the Ministry or a bank to make payment.

Togo: Billing upgrade - Mobile network operator Togocel migrated its subscribers from its ICC pre-paid billing platform to its new SUREPAY platform overnight on 7 September 2019. Following the migration, the operator noted that users would see changes in the display and codes to access USSD balances, Internet packages, calling plans and bonus account.

Benin, Togo: Fibre asset realisation - The Communaute Electrique du Benin (Electricity Community of Benin, CEB) commissioned a strategic study into the use of fibre on its power lines between Benin and Togo in line with the requirements of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to deregulate and open the market for energy production and transmission to competition, The study confirmed that the CEB has nearly 2,000 km of fibre connecting the two countries capable of modernization to maximize revenues from these telecommunications assets and accelerate the provision of high-speed transport infrastructure in the two countries. The Minister of Digitalization and Digitalization, Aurelie Adam Soule Zoumarou said the study was important as it focuses on historical infrastructure and which has remained in a configuration and a state of use that is not optimal. The construction and rehabilitation of the high-voltage lines includes the installation of Fibre Optic Guard Cable (CGFO).

Tunisia: xDSL SLA compliance - On 9 September 2019 the President of the Instance Nationale des Telecommunications de Tunisie (INT) formally wrote to Tunisie Telecom (TT) directing it to implement the Service Level Agreement (SLAs) relating to the xDSL wholesale resale offer. This is in accordance with the provisions of the Decision dated 1 August 2018 approving the wholesale resale offer for the residential xDSL Internet (and as amended by the Decision dated 16 January 2019) and to inform INT of the measures that TT has taken to comply with the decision within 15 days.

Middle East:

Israel: New iPhone - iStore will offer the new iPhone 11 in Israel on 26 September, and said that prices will be similar to the new models launched in September 2018. Prices for the iPhone 11 will begin at ILS 3,500 (USD 986) with the PRO model going from ILS 4,700 (USD 1,324). The iPhone 11 has a 6.1 inch screen and is offered in purple, white, green, yellow, black and red, with two cameras and an improved quality battery.

Kuwait: 5G plan - Viva Kuwait is offering a Viva Postpaid plan with 5G service for KWD 35 (USD 115), available from its official Website, Viva stores and the Viva App. The offer allows post-paid subscribers to obtain fast Internet service and receive a free router upon subscribing, 500 GB of Iinternet capacity, and different choices of device. Viva said it is the only company with more than 1,100 5G sites covered in Kuwait and the Middle East.

Qatar: Further fibre - Vodafone Qatar has completed its GigaNet fibre network roll-out in Ezdan Oasis, one of the largest residential projects in Al Wukair, The Peninsula reported. Some 8,500 residential units in more than 300 buildings can now receive Vodafone's GigaHome high speed Internet, with guaranteed Wi-Fi in every room, plus TV and on-demand entertainment. Vodafone has also started its fibre roll-out in the 12,000 residential unit Ezdan Village in Al Wukair.

Turkey: Dividend approval - Turkcell's controlling shareholders are to approve the dividend proposal at the AGM on 12 September 2019. Telia, with Cukurova Turkcell Holding, said they would vote in favour of the plan to distribute TRY 1.01 billion (USD 172.7 million) in dividends at the end of October. Turkcell Holding holds 51 percent of Turkcell. Telia is the largest shareholder in Turkcell with 24.0 percent indirect shareholding through its minority interest in Turkcell Holding. Telia said it expects its share of the dividend to total TRY 243 million (USD 41.5 million).

United Arab Emirates: CEO confirmed - Mobile network operator Du has named Johan Dennelind as its new Chief Executive, replacing Osman Sultan after almost fourteen years at the helm of the company. Dennelind joins from Telia, where he is currently group Chief Executive. Dennelind will take charge of the telecom operator in early 2020. The new CEO has held roles for Telia in the Nordics, Brazil and Sri Lanka, among others, after which he was appointed as the deputy CEO of Telenor in his native Sweden. He later took roles as CFO and CEO of Digi in Malaysia, which was also part of the Telenor Group. He also oversaw Vodafone and Vodacom's seven businesses in continental Africa.