Posts tagged ‘Africa’
Ghana’s Minister-Nominee for Communications Haruna Iddrisu said yesterday he would forge ahead quickly with plans to usher in mobile number portability (MNP) to improve consumer choice and drive down prices. Iddrisu reportedly made the promise when he was being vetted by the Parliamentary Appointments Committee for the position of Minister of Communications. ‘It is time for the regulation regime to make it possible for mobile phone users to be able to migrate from one network to the other with the whole of the phone numbers, including the network code and I think that it is about time the National Communications Authority (NCA) brought MNP on,’ he said.
In a separate story, Ghana Telecom (GT) says its mobile arm GT-OneTouch will install SIM phones in 250 rural communities across the country by July 2009. GT says its new majority shareholder Vodafone has spent the last six months investing heavily in its networks, services and staff to improve telecoms services in the country.
Zimbabwean GSM operator Econet Wireless is aiming to increase its network capacity beyond its previously announced target of 1.2 million subscriber lines by the end of this year, reports IT News Africa. Econet’s corporate communications manager, Rangarirai Mberi, said that the company is working closely with its technical partners including Ericsson and ZTE to complete the current phase of expansion, whilst ‘work is already under way for further expansion to drive capacity beyond this level.’
As part of a delayed budget announcement, Zimbabwe’s acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa has included a cut in Value Added Tax (VAT) on mobile phone airtime, reports AllAfrica.com. ‘I propose to standardise the rate by reducing it to 15% [from 22.5%] with effect from 1 February 2009, in line with the prevailing general level of VAT on other products,’ he said last week. Since the country’s three mobile operators – Econet, NetOne and Telecel – were given the nod by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to bill their services in foreign currency, call tariffs have increased to as much as USD0.33 per minute, which the operators blamed on excessive VAT rates.
According to the Ugandan ICT minister, the number of wireless subscribers rose to 8.2 million at the end of 2008. While addressing a delegation of member countries of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Ham Mulira added that mobile penetration stood at around 25%.
At the end of September 2008 MTN retained a position of strength in the Ugandan wireless arena, with a market share of 42% (3.23 million subscribers), though this was down from 57.6% 18 months earlier. Zain was next largest, with 1.86 million customers, while UTL had an estimated 1.65 million. Newcomer Warid claimed a laudable million customers at the end of September 2008, or 13% of the market, just eight months after launch.
Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) Ghana, the country’s leading GSM service provider, on Wednesday introduced 3.5G technology onto the Ghanaian market.
The technology represents the next generation of mobile communication systems that supports the effective delivery of a range of data-orientated services and brings with it a new suite of exciting multimedia services such as video streaming, games, music videos, sports and news.
It is based on High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), which is a new protocol for mobile telephone data transmission. Mr Mazen Mroue, Acting Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, who launched the new technology, said it also provided more efficient systems for the transmission of existing services such as voice, text and data and supported far greater speeds than what was available now. “I am extremely delighted to announce the roll out of the 3.5G technology which puts MTN on the road to providing leading services to our valued customers,” he said.
He said Accra and Kumasi had been selected for initial coverage under the 3.5G technology, adding that the service would be extended to the rest of the country gradually. Mr. Mroue said the 3.5G services would be rolled out in phases, adding that at this phase of the launch, it involved mobile broadband and video calling that would enable fast data speed and allow users to see and talk to people they called in real time.
He said the introduction of the new technology would complement initiatives aimed at improving the overall network quality.
Ghana’s Minister designate for Communications, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu has intimated that his ministry could review the sale of a 70% stake in national PTO Ghana Telecom (GT) to the UK’s Vodafone Group. MyJoyOnline cites an interview between The Ghanaian Chronicle and Iddrisu in which the minister designate said he was hopeful the government would support the idea. Mr. Iddrisu would have to contact the Presidency for approval before his Ministry could implement such a scheme. Clarifying his intentions, Iddrisu said the purpose of the review was not to cancel the Sale and Purchase Agreement that Vodafone made, but rather to ascertain whether the contract was a genuine one. ‘I am not saying that we are going to take the deal from them but we are going to make sure that Ghanaians get value for their money,’ he stated. Whilst in opposition, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would not endorse the multi-million Vodafone deal in Parliament, on the grounds that though they were not strictly anti- the sale, the ‘secrecy’ under which government was undertaking the sale process raised suspicion that perhaps some procedures did not conform to the Public Procurement Act.
South Africa’s Vodacom Group has reported a 13.7% year-on-year increase in revenues for the nine months to the end of December 2008. Sales climbed to ZAR40.5 billion (USD4.1 billion) on the back of a 14.3% rise in group subscriber numbers to 37.8 million. In its home market customer numbers were up 4.8% during the final three months of 2008 to 26.5 million, while Vodacom’s international operations in Tanzania, DR Congo, Mozambique and Lesotho saw customer numbers jump 8% quarter-on-quarter to 11.3 million. Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys commented: ‘Expanding our African footprint beyond South Africa is one of the pillars of Vodacom’s growth strategy. I’m pleased to say that this quarter we reached an important milestone, with 30% of our total customer base now coming from our operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Mozambique.’