A & ME SUBSCRIBER STATISTICS: Africa Major Mobile Groups 3Q 2011 Africa Mobile Groups 3Q 2010 v 3Q 2011 Source: industry sources, Blycroft estimates c. Blycroft 2012 Africa Major Mobile Groups 3Q 2011 by Mobile Subscribers (Mn) By Rank 3Q10 3Q11 • By Alpha 3Q10 3Q11 MTN 98 115.6 • Airtel 47.4 55.4 Vodafone/com 86.9 105.1 • Bintel 0.5 0.7 Orange / FT 46.2 71.7 • Cable & Wireless 0.1 0.1 Airtel 47.4 55.4 • Cellcom 0.9 1 Etisalat / Atlantique 19.5 29.9 • Comium 2.7 2.8 Orascom 26 28.5 • Econet 5 6.5 Maroc Telecom 23 25.7 • Etisalat / 19.5 29.9 Atlantique Glo 19.5 22.2 • Glo 19.5 22.2 Millicom 14.6 17.5 • LAP Green 2.7 2.6 Wataniya/Qtel 14 14.8 • Lintel 1.9 2.2 Zain 9.2 11.4 • Millicom 14.6 17.5 Portugal Telecom 8.2 9.6 • Maroc Telecom 23 25.7 Econet 5 6.5 • MTN 98 115.6 Tunisia Telecom 5.3 5 • Orange / FT 46.2 71.7 Sudatel 4.3 4.8 • Orascom 26 28.5 Comium 2.7 2.8 • Portugal Telecom 8.2 9.6 LAP Green 2.7 2.6 • Sudatel 4.3 4.8 Lintel 1.9 2.2 • Tunisia Telecom 5.3 5
Warid Telecom 1.4 1.5 • Vodafone/com 86.9 105.1 Cellcom 0.9 1 • Wataniya/Qtel 14 14.8 Bintel 0.5 0.7 • Warid Telecom 1.4 1.5 Cable & Wireless 0.1 0.1 • Zain 9.2 11.4 • • • • • • • Total Groups 437.3 534.5 • Total Groups 437.3 534.5 Total All Ops 504.4 604.5 • Total All Ops 504.4 604.5 Source: industry sources, Blycroft estimates c. Blycroft 2012Return to ContentsA & ME THOUGHTPIECE: The web in the Middle EastApart from commonalities of faith and culture, one thing that holds the disparate nations of the Middle East together is mutual interest in hightechnology.Practically the whole world recognises the crucial role that high-tech plays in global commerce, social development and wealth creation. There arefew regions that are quite as well placed as the Middle East to make meaningful investments in it. It goes without saying that many countries in thearea are established centres of commerce and resource export, as well as bordering critical trade routes.At the same time, there is a large gap between rich and poor (the per capita GDP figures being somewhat skewed by massive earnings which arenot always equably distributed), often tense diplomatic relations between neighbours and a volatile mix of foreign interests and national pride. On theperiphery, there are troubled areas such as the North African states and the western fringes of the Indian subcontinent, united always by faith,sometimes by language but seldom in terms of regional vision.The international cable network criss-crossing the Gulf is almost a microcosm of the wider issues. It is critical as a major link between East and West(including, until very recently, Africa as well). It is a vital enabler for the region’s business and its future plans. But, as with the larger socio-politicalscenario, it has been unpredictable, vulnerable and previously lacking in providing benefits to all but a handful of well-developed hubs.Back in 2008, a series of cable cuts severely affected traffic between Europe and the Middle East, with knock-on effects in Africa, India and parts ofthe Far East. Coming at a time of political tension, these cuts also sparked some suggestions that they were hardly accidental. A lesser but similarcut in early 2010 had the same effects in terms of traffic and conspiracy theories.The reality is that the Middle East was always provided with surprisingly little connectivity. There were only three cables, one of which carried some90 percent of traffic. These cables took basically the same route through the Mediterranean, Red Sea and on to the Gulf states through the Straits ofHormuz.All these locations have some of the highest maritime traffic in the world and relatively shallow and heavily fished waters. Not to mention a significantamount of military and intelligence activity, so let’s not dismiss the conspiracy theory aspects completely. Whatever the cause, these few cableswere very vulnerable – more so than their Atlantic and Pacific counterparts, which also benefit from better redundancy.As of now, the situation has improved considerably, thanks to the completion of the Tata Global Network Eurasia system. This connects to theestablished Tata Global Network Gulf network that connects Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Gulf states as far as Bahrain to Mumbai and, from there, tothe planet-circling Tata Global Network overall. This is not just a landed cable system. It extends overland and connects city to city also.There are a couple of other cable investments in progress that seek to avoid the vulnerabilities of submarine cables by taking overland routes. TheEPEG cable has a single landing in Oman but otherwise is almost exclusively land-based from Oman to the Ancotel data centre in Frankfurt. Theconsortium behind that project, slated for completion this year, includes EU private-sector companies (UK and Germany), as well as governmententities from Oman and Iran.Simultaneously, another land-based cable, the Regional Cable Network, is being put in place in a project driven by mobile operators from SaudiArabia and UAE (Etisalat) that involves five other operators, five countries and sets up a looped, redundant link from UAE to Istanbul. Includingonward links from Istanbul, this potentially serves two billion people. More importantly, it is less dependent on submarine links and avoids routingtraffic through Egypt, which has been one of the chief bottlenecks on previous Middle East networks.Significantly, it is mobile operators who are driving that project, no doubt mindful of the difficulties they experienced previously with cable breaks inthe Mediterranean and the Internet shutdown in Egypt during last year’s political events.As on the larger, socio-political stage, the RCN project sees collaboration between otherwise divergent countries: local superpowers Saudi Arabiaand UAE joining with less-affluent Oman, politically marginalised Syria and secular Turkey for the benefit of all. Russia is also involved throughRostelecom.Meanwhile, Egypt is well aware of its ambiguous status as a potential global internet hub and single failure point for connections between Europeand the Middle and Far East. There are rumours that Egypt Telecom is talking to a number of other operators about setting up its own cable fromEgypt to Southeast Asia, potentially providing competition for the new SingTel Sea-Me-We-5 cable being planned from Singapore.Gossip has it that several companies have signed up but, notably, none from India as yet.This highlights another parallel. While the progress of Middle East connectivity is driven by the mutual interests of parties who are sometimes inpublic disagreement, there is a massive amount of foreign involvement in providing the technology and funding.
Consider the broad spread of public- and private-sector interests mentioned above: UK, Germany, Russia, Turkey, India, Singapore, just to name afew. As with Africa, there is no lack of interest. There is, however, an equally complicated regional situation of rivalling neighbours, centralised andoccasionally monolithic regimes and a general culture of wariness regarding the motives and outcomes of foreign involvement – no matter hownecessary it might be.Another strand of the web – pun intended – that holds the Middle East together is that the various countries face the same challenges and markettrends.The main challenge is the transition from resource-based economies to more diversified ones that include services and, above all, financial services.The main trend is growing consumer demand for high-tech, whether as a status symbol or as a practical necessity. Recent reports from Deloitte andIDC focus in particular on these points: consumer IT access and improved financial services technology.While it is hard to predict the political outcomes throughout the region, the one certain prediction remains that the Middle East is an emerging marketwith enormous potential – once one gets beyond the fractious politics.This article has been contributed by Roy Johnson, a writer specialising in IT and business topics, who has regularly contributed to PCMagazine, as well as editing TechNet Magazine for Microsoft. Roy was formerly editor of CommsAfrica and contributing editor forIntelligence magazine.Return to ContentsAFGHANISTAN: Cost of bandwidth keeps falling says MCITThe Ministry of Communications and IT (MCIT) has announced what it describes as a ‘considerable’ reduction in the prices of Internet services.Communication services, including Internet services, have been available via Satellite since 2005 and the cost of Internet was consequentlyexpensive.The MCIT has noted that the cost of a MB was around USD 4,000, but the roll-out of the fibre optic network the price of a MB has been reduced toUSD 1,500. The network has also been connected to other neighbouring countries in 2011 leading to a further reduction in the cost of Internetservices to USD 900 for one MB. Afghan Telecom has also been able to reduce the wholesale price of Internet services to ISPs and GSM operatorsto USD 300 for one MB.At the same time the MCIT reports that the overall bandwidth has been gradually increasing from 150 MB to 2400 MB since 2010 and it isanticipated that bandwidth will be increased further.Return to Contents ICT tender announcedThe Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has received financing from the World Bank towards the cost of the ICT SectorDevelopment Project of some USD 50 million and has said that it intends to deploy part of the proceeds for Consultancy Services.The services required include the Preparation of National ICT Policy Document for Afghanistan, and will be provided to the Director General of ICT inMCIT-Kabul, under the World Bank funded MCIT Project entitled ‘Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project’.Services required include analysis of international practices, and an assessment of their suitability for adoption/implementation in Afghanistan’s ICTSector Scenario and recommendations of the most feasible approach to develop ICT Policy, Procedures, Rules and Regulations for the efficientgrowth of ICT Sector of the Country. A Draft National ICT Policy Consultative Paper is also required, including consultations with stakeholders.Full details of the tender are available here. The closing date is 16 May 2012, with the tender number of P121755.Return to ContentsAFRICA & MIDDLE EAST: IDC identifies ICT driversThe Middle East and Africa is forecast to spend some USD 91 billion in 2015 for ICT, up from USD 71 billion in 2012, with cloud computing being akey growth driver. According to Jyoti Lalchandani, VP and Regional Managing Director for Middle East, Africa and Turkey at analyst firm IDC, thefour largest regional IT markets are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), South Africa and Turkey, which account for over 60 percent oftotal IT spending.Lalchandani said the recent unrest in the region has dampened soaring growth prospects of the IT markets in the Middle East in the short term. Heidentified four trends as growth drivers in the Middle East and Africa, namely cloud computing, mobility, big data and social technologies.
An IDC survey of Chief Information Officers in the region published earlier this month found 85 percent of respondents believing that cloudcomputing remains an immature or developing technology, although 74 percent of respondents acknowledge that it has the ability to offer significantand tangible benefits. However, there are widespread concerns regarding cost and its inherent security risks.The UAE and Saudi Arabia are seen as the most vulnerable for hacker attacks and cyber crimes. However, the underdeveloped field of softwaresecurity also offers chances."No longer is security an isolated area of IT endeavour, but it has become central to decision-making processes required to confront new marketrealities, " said Thomas Vavra, research director at IDC Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. "As such, the relationship between securitypractitioners and business shareholders is strengthening. "Return to ContentsAFRICA: Afro Europe link names launch dayThe West African Cable System (WACS) has said that it will hold a launch event for its new cable on 11 May 2012. WACS is a 14,500km-longoptical fibre submarine cable that is to linking Southern and West Africa with Europe with landings in Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic ofCongo, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Portugal and the United Kingdom, witha point-of-presence in London.WACS claims to be the first cable to land in Namibia, Togo, Congo Brazzaville and the DRC, and has dramatically increased the internationalcapacity in the other countries it connects with.WACS is a 4-fibre pair, 128-wavelength system, with a design capacity of 5.12Tbps and an open access policy.Investors in the USD 650 million WACS project are Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable and Wireless Worldwide, Cabo Verde Telecom, CongoTelecom, MTN Group, Portugal Telecom, SCPT (DRC), Tata Communications / Neotel, Telecom Namibia, Telkom SA, Togo Telecom, VodacomGroup and Vodafone Spain.Return to ContentsBAHRAIN: Batelco names new CFOBatelco Group has appointed Marco Regnier as Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Regnier joins from Tunis-based TunisieTelecom, a subsidiary of Emirates International Telecommunications, where he was CFO for three years after having served as a strategic adviser tothe company for two years.Regnier has held other senior finance and advisory roles in the industry with companies such as Telesystem International Wireless (Canada, CzechRepublic, Brazil), Watanya Telecom International (Algeria) and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Dubai).Group Chief Executive Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa expressed his gratitude to out-going Kataryna Stapleton for her five years of service.Return to Contents Competition creates tough market for BatelcoBatelco Group announced last week its results for the first quarter of 2012. It reported a Group net profit of BHD 16.1 million (USD 42.7 million)against BHD 17.5 million (USD 46.4 million) for the same period in 2011, a fall of 8 percent year-on-year. EBITDA for the quarter was BHD 28.3million (USD 75.1 million); a margin of 36 percent margin, versus EBITDA of BHD 32.6 million (USD 86.5 million) for the same period in 2011.The Group’s Gross Revenues stood at BHD 78.0 million (USD 206.9 million) for the period, down 4 percent from BHD 80.8 million (USD 214.3million) in the same period in 2011. Operating profit for the quarter was BHD 19.6 million (USD 52.0 million) for the period against BHD 23.3 million(USD 61.8 million) for the same period in 2011.At the end of the first quarter, 38 percent of revenues and 34 percent of operating profit were generated from markets outside of Bahrain. As of 31March 2012, it had cash and bank balances of BHD 61.8 million (USD 163.9 million). Although 6 percent down on the same period last year, itincludes a one-off payment in January 2012 for a 3G licence for Umniah in Jordan.Group CEO, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, said: “It is…a priority to further build our subscriber base overseas. With the sale of STel whichwas announced in February 2012, the Group’s adjusted subscriber base now stands at some 6.9 million users across six markets.”In 1Q 2012 the Group reported a fall in mobile subscribers of 40 percent since 4Q 2011 and by 32 percent compared to 1Q 2011. This is attributed tothe adjustment for the exclusion of STel operational and customer data.
Normalising for the exclusion of STel, Group mobile subscriber numbers for 1Q 2012 would have shown a decline of 9 percent on 4Q 2011 and a 2percent decrease compared year-on-year due to competitive pressures in Bahrain and elsewhere across the region.Broadband customer numbers were robust, and for 1Q 2012 Group figures rose 4 percent over the previous quarter and 5 percent when comparedto the corresponding period in 2011.In Jordan it completed a JOD 50.0 million (USD 70.0 million) investment for a 3G licence for Umniah, with 3.75G due to be launched nationally in 3Q2012. Umniah currently serves 2.3 million mobile customers, a 1 percent decline compared to 4Q 2011 and growth of 3 percent year-on-year.Umniah’s broadband subscriber base grew 10 percent in the quarter and 31 percent when compared to the corresponding period in 2011. This wasattributed to growth in WiMax subscribers. In Kuwait Qualitynet reported a customer base of just over 40,000 subscribers. Source: Batelco, Blycroft estimates c. Blycroft 2012For the first quarter of 2012, Sabafon (Yemen) saw a 16 percent fall in its mobile subscriber base since 4Q 2011 and a 6 percent decrease year-on-year. The revised subscriber base resulted from operations in Sabafon returning to almost normal following the marked reduction in fighting inYemen. The subscriber base now reflects active customers and excludes SIM cards that have been inactive in the last 90 days.Atheeb (Saudi Arabia), which now delivers voice and data services to approximately 111,000 customers, reported a 2 percent fall in its subscriberbase since 4Q 2011 and a 4 percent fall year-on-year.In Bahrain it maintained a 44 percent share of the mobile market, with its mobile subscriber base remaining steady from 4Q 2011 and only seeing a1 percent fall year-on-year. The mobile broadband subscriber base saw 33 percent growth in subscriber numbers and 82 percent growth year-on-year. The fixed broadband subscribers fell by 4 and 21 percent quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, respectively. Fixed lines fell by 2 percent in thequarter and 8 percent year-on-year. Source: Batelco, Blycroft estimates c. Blycroft 2012Return to ContentsDEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Vodacom shares its concernsVodacom is being accused of using political and diplomatic pressure to resolve its dispute with an advisor who won a legal action in the local courtsresulting in Vodacom being ordered to pay a settlement of some USD 21-million.MyBroadbans reports the legal team of Moto Mabanga, the South African-based advisor, has sent a letter to the General Inspectorate of JudicialCouncil Services in Kinshasa and the UK’s DRC ambassador, stating that Vodacom is attempting to place itself above the laws of the country.The letter followed one sent by Vodacom to the Inspectorate that was copied to the South African and British ambassadors.
Mabanga’s lawyers have informed the British ambassador that he should not interfere in the matter. Mabanga’s company, Namemco Energy, andVodacom was first highlighted in August 2010 when Mabanga, who acted as a consultant in the Congo for Vodacom, was suing it for SAR 396-million in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. The amount was allegedly for work done in 2008; the case was withdrawn andsubsequently filed in Kinshasa.However Vodacom claims that the local courts have no jurisdiction in the matter, as the original agreement mandated South African laws as beingapplicable. Vodacom spokesperson, Richard Boorman, has accordingly defended the operator’s actions.Return to ContentsEGYPT: TE goes back to Zhone for EFMNetwork access provider Zhone Technologies has announced that TE Datas is deploying its Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) solution. Zhone’s MXKsystem, which was initially integrated into TE Data’s network August 2011, will be the core enabler. Salec Egypt is providing the local implementation.TE Data is Egypts largest IP-based data communications carrier; and is looking to deliver high speed Internet access for its enterprise customersover existing copper lines.Ismail Saeed, Operation Director of TE Data said: "With these advanced capabilities, we are now able to efficiently deliver the high-quality advancedservices that our customers expect, without fear of inflated costs or operational issues."Tamer Gadallah, Managing Director of TE Data said: "This technology will create a quantum leap in connecting large scale companies and economicorganizations with TE Datas network; allowing the usage of sophisticated applications without the need for high speed data transmission or opticalfibre cables that require long installation time."Zhone will be providing the necessary devices, whilst Salec will carry out the installations and maintenance. TE Data it will be responsible forproviding the actual service and technical consultancy while monitoring the service level to prevent malfunctions and minimise service disruptions.TE Data was established in 2001 by Telecom Egypt to act as its data and Internet arm. TE Data is operational in Egypt and Jordan with a productportfolio that includes broadband Internet access services, managed dedicated Internet access services, IP VPN connectivity services, globalconnectivity services, in addition to consulting and professional services.Return to ContentsGHANA: Bank relationships elevate Airtel MoneyAirtel Money has been voted the ‘Best Mobile Money Service’ at the Mobile World Ghana Telecoms Awards, with innovative features and securednature being highlighted.Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, Philip Sowah, said: “…Airtel Money is the only mobile commerce product which customers are able to link to theirbanks and are thus able to undertake banking transactions via their mobile phones”. Banks involved include Ecobank, UBA, Standard CharteredBank; Unibank , UT Bank, GT Bank and Zenith Bank.Airtel Money has also recently announced new products, including Free Life Insurance Cover for all Airtel Money Customer with Unibank; andinterest on mobile wallet deposits with UT BankSome of the largest outlets in Ghana including Melcom and Koala and Marx Mart (at A&C), Palace Hypermarket, Sneda Supermarkets, acceptpayments via Airtel Money, as well as restaurants such as Sunshine, Honeysuckle, Tante Marie, Crossroads, Nibbles, etc.Return to Contents Glo gets going - finallyGlo Mobile Ghana has said it would commercial launch its service on Sunday 29 April 2012 at a press conference. Glo issued official invites to themedia and other special guests for the launch, which comes days after the company was fined some GHS 200,000 for failure to launch on Friday, 20April 2012. It had previously been reported that Glo was planning to launch on AU Day, 25 May 2012.The Minister of Communications, Haruna Iddrisu admitted that part of the delay of Glos launch could be blames on regulatory institutions, but latterlyit appeared to be Glo that was dragging its feet. Glo has a licence requirement to cover at least 50 percent of the territory within two years of thelicence being issued, or August 2011.Glo enters a highly competitive market with four major groups - Tigo, MTN, Vodafone and Airtel - already well established. However, it has access toits own submarine cable connecting Ghana with Europe and the UK, which may be a differentiator when it comes to its mobile broadband offering.
Currently MTN is the ominant player with some 10.3 million mobile subscribers. Tigo and Vodafone are currently battling for second place, with,according to NCA data, Vodafone taking second place at the end of February. Source: NCA c. Blycroft 2012 Source: NCA c. Blycroft 2012Glo’s number reservation campaign has reportedly generated between 1.5 and 1.87 million registrations for numbers in the 0233 series. Glo’s ChiefOperating Officer George Andah said subscribers could start making calls from Monday 30 April and the network will be available in all 10 regions.Glo claims to have coverage of some 85 percent of the territory and it is providing connectivity in 1,000 cities and towns.Glo is offering free and unconditional GHC 0.20 daily for the next 100 days to every customer, and subscribers will also get a 100 percent bonus onrecharge plus another bonus on incoming calls. There will also be GHC 0.20 per minute calls for two nominated people as well as other bonuses forreceiving or making international calls.In a separate announcement, Glo said it had launched the UniWorld service which enables both pre- and post-paid subscribers in Nigeria, Benin andGhana to enjoy seamless unbroken communication as they move between the three countries.Return to Contents Minister wants to see tangible resultsHaruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communications, when addressing the Ghana Telecoms Summit, said operators have failed to co-operate oninfrastructure sharing, and had taken what he described as an ‘uncooperative’ stance on the issue. His comments referred to a directive by theMinistry of Environment, Science & Technology (MEST) which required operators to co-locate and share infrastructure.He was quoted by the Daily Guide as saying: “Network operators are not ready to co-locate and share infrastructure. If they all agree to shareinfrastructure and resources, everyone stands to benefit.” He noted that operators remained ‘suspicious of each other’ when it came to sharinginfrastructure.He highlighted a problem with existing infrastructure, which had not anticipated the need for co-location when it was installed some years ago. MESTin January 2010 banned further erection of telecommunication masts, which will be recalled created particular difficulties for Glo who were attemptingto rollout its new network at the rime. Service providers were subsequently were directed to obtain permits from the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) before erecting masts in an attempt to bring som order to the proess.Helios Tower Ghana (HTG), Eaton Towers and American Tower Company (ATC) were subsequently licensed in 2011, with a view to fostering co-location.However the Daily Guide quoted Chief Executive Officer HTC, Rein Zwolsman said that the mast co-location was not an issue as it has a serviceagreement with every operator who in turn as agreed to infrastructure sharing.Co-location is sometimes difficult to achieve as operators have challenges with co-location as an operator’s structure of service may differ from oneanother.Return to Contents Tecno targets teenagersTecno is to target the youth market with affordable handsets offering Android and Google applications in June. Tecno Ghana’s Head of Media andCommunications, the Rev. J. K. Asante told Adom Business News that Tecno smartphone would provide several applications including whatsapp.Tecno phones are currently imported from China, but assembled to specifications provided by Tecno Ghana, which currently claims to have 35 – 40percent of the mobile phone market share. It attributes its high share to the affordability of the devices. It offers handsets that can take up to four SIMcards.Tecno recently said it would establish a local assembly plant in Ghana. The devices were named as ‘Mobile Phone of the Year’ at the MobileworldGhana Telecom Awards, beating brands such as Nokia, Samsung and BlackBerry.Return to ContentsIRAN: MTN claims has only deployed standard network gearMTN could find itself the subject of sanctions by the USA for its telecoms activities in Iran and Syria, after US President Barack Obama issued anexecutive order allowing the USA authorities to impose sanctions on entities using new technologies to for ‘grave’ human rights abuses. MTN wasnot specifically named in the order but it including mobile phone tracking.MTN’s is currently fighting rival mobile operator Turkcell for USD 4.2 billion in a claim centred on the bribery of Iranian government officials amongstother claims. Paul Norman, MTN’s Chief of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs said that it had briefed international legal counsel to advise onthe scope of UN, US, European Union and other relevant sanctions so that it could remain compliant.The list of entities to have sanctions applied to them includes the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate; telco Syriatel; Ali Mamluk, the Director ofSyria’s general intelligence services; the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, the intelligence and security ministry, the law enforcement forces and DatakTelecom. It is not known whether MTN has any links to these entities.MTN owns 49 percent of MTN Irancell which currently has some 35 million subscribers. MTN noted: “Whatever equipment MTN was acquired forIrancell was for normal business reasons. This is the same software we utilise at other MTN operations. To suggest that we acquired suchequipment with the active purpose of enhancing the Iranian government’s capacity to monitor its citizens outside the law is simply outrageous.”In this regard the USA mandated the Lawful Interception Management System in the US Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act(CALEA). The facility is therefore a standard feature of mobile network architecture, and all networks are shipped with this capability. The Clintonadministration at the time responded to industry concerns of the cost of implementing the Act by providing some USD 500 million to enable vendorsto redesign their equipment to facilitate the provisions of the Act. This facility was subsequently endorsed by the European TelecommunicationsStandards Institute.Meanwhile the Turkcell legal case is reported to be based on materials supplied by Chris Kilowan, the former MTN director in Iran, who appearsto have provided Turkcell with the e-mails that formed a key part of the court filings. The Mail & Guardian newspaper reports that the MTN legal teamare readying to make a deposition to the US court on Kilowan’s role in the matter. Kilowan is thought to be key to the alleged deals but no referenceis made to him in the Turkcell’s court papers.MTN executives named in the Turkcell submission include MTN Group CEO Phuthuma Nhleko, former MTN commercial director Irene Charnley,former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and MTN’s current CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa. MTN chairman Cyril Ramaphosa, former president Thabo Mbekiand SA’s ambassador to Iran, Yusuf Saloogee, are indirectly linked in the papers.
Return to ContentsKENYA: Safaricom lobbies for status-quoActing Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) director Francis Wangusi said last week that termination rates are still set to fall in July this year.The new rate will be KES 1.44 (USD 0.017) per minute, down from the current KES 2.21 (USD 0.026), Business Daily Africa has reported. The rateswere previously reduced in June 2009 and July 2010, and were previously slated to be cut again in June 2011. However the cut was postponed for ayear following lobbying from Safaricom and Orange.Wangusi told Business Daily that the CCK had introduced the MTR (mobile termination rate) to enhance competition, but that some operators nowwant the CCK to re-assess the market and the impact of the cuts. Safaricom is claiming that the current termination rate is based on an outdatedmodel and has asked the CCK to carry out a fresh study that will reflect the cost of doing business in Kenya’s voice market in line with Uganda andTanzania. Safaricom is the largest mobile operator, with some 67 percent of the market at the end of 2011 according to the CCK, which means it willterminate a higher proportion of all calls made in Kenya than any of its competitors. Source: CCK c. Blycroft 2012The director said that the CCK had completed an internal study that had shown that the lower rates had had a positive impact on the largereconomy, and that he was now awaiting final board approval before announcing the lower the rate.Some 93 percent of an operator’s revenue is from calls within their own network and a reduced termination rate therefore has little impact on theprofitability of operators.Return to Contents Safaricom to share redundant fibre projectSafaricom and Airtel are to set-up a joint venture for the laying of a fibre optic network to reduce their dependency on third parties for wholesaleInternet whilst sharing the cost of creating the inland network. Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s Chief Executive, told the Business Daily that it hadinitiated talks with other operators including Telkom Kenya and Essar for the joint venture, but only Airtel expressed an interest. The cable will bedeployed in the current financial year.Collymore noted that Safaricom and Airtel have a long standing Tower Sharing Agreement, and it has similar deals with Telkom Kenya and Essar.KDN, Telkom Kenya and Jamii have fibre networks in major urban centres. KDN and Jamii sell bandwidth to the telecom operators while TelkomKenya is both a consumer and wholesale Internet provider. According to Communication Commission of Kenya data, the number of Internet usersrose 95.6 percent year-on-year to 17.4 million in 4Q 2011 due to an increase in mobile subscriptions.Telkom Kenya and Airtel are rolling out 3 networks, whilst Safaricom is testing a 4G network. Collymore said that the availability of its own fibre opticnetwork will not significant impact on existing contracts with Jamii Telecoms Ltd and AccessKenya, as the strategy is one of ‘in filling’, and so layingfibre in the areas that have no infrastructure and avoiding unnecessary duplication.Return to Contents
KUWAIT: Wataniya first quarter hit by previous gainsQatar Telecom (Qtel) subsidiary Wataniya last week reported a 90 percent fall in 1Q 2012 net profit, with earnings from 2011 distorted by a one-offfair value gain.It reported its subscriber base rising by 8.7 percent to 18.1 million and new subscribers at its Algeria and Tunisia units helped offset declining homerevenue. The two operations account for 85 percent of total subscribers. Source: Wataniya c. Blycroft 2012Wataniya, which is also active in Maldives, Palestine and Saudi Arabia, made a profit of KWD 28.3 million (USD 102.1 million) in the quarter endingMarch 2012. At the end of March 2011 it recorded KWD 285.1 million (USD 1.03 billion) which was boosted by a revaluation gain after Wataniyaraised its stake in Tunisiana to 75 percent from 50 percent.Quarterly revenue was KWD 180.3 million (USD 648.7 million), up from KWD 169.8 million (USD 610.9 million) a year earlier.Domestic operations showed a profit of KWD 15.5 million (USD 55.8 million) in 1Q 2012, down about 21 percent from a year earlier despite a 3.1percent rise in its subscriber base. Kuwait revenue was also down, falling 7.6 percent to KWD 57.9 million (USD 208.3 million) whilst Tunisia unitsrevenue rose 10 percent to KWD 49.1 million (USD 176.6 million).Return to ContentsMALAWI: Macra fails to defend itselfThe Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) has been ordered by the Commercial Court to pay a fine of some USD 66 million toMalawi Mobile Limited for breach of contract in a ruling delivered on 20 April, the Nyasa Times reported.Macra did not defend the case although its lawyer attended the proceedings. During the hearing 18-19 October 2011 the Macra team did not call anyof its witnesses who had previously provided sworn statements.The judge concluded that ‘failure to call material witness raises an assumption that such failure shows that the evidence would have been adverse tothe party who would have called the witness’.It is not known whether Macra will appeal against the fine.Return to Contents New CEO named for MTLFixed-line operator Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) has named Elias Imaan as its Acting Chief Executive Officer with effect from 25 April2012.MTL said in a statement that since 2008 Imaan has held positions of Head of Marketing and Chief Commercial Officer, and in the latter role was oneof the executive members responsible for strategy and policy formulation. The statement was signed by MTL’s chairman, Matthews Chikaonda.Imaan has replaced Charles Tchuka who has been appointed by President Joyce Banda as Reserve Bank of Malawi governor.
Imaan previously worked for Southern Bottlers.Return to ContentsMAURITIUS: Increasing subscriber base forces number upgradeEight-digit numbers will shortly replace the current seven-digit mobile numbers, with the final date for the changeover to be agreed at a consultativeworkshop under the auspices of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority this week.The migration will be in two stages, with fixed lines, including Toll Free Numbers and other special numbers, to be completed at a later date. TheConsultative Workshop is to be chaired by the Minister of Information Technologies and Communication Tassarajen Chedumbrum Pillay,and it willalso give consideration to the detail of the Migration Plan.With a population of some 1.3 million, ICTA reports there are some 1.275 million mobile subscribers, of which 1,171,982 are pre-paid and 102,238post-paid. Source: Millicom, Orange, Blycroft estimatesc. Blycroft 2012The ICTA noted that the current structure is not as coherent as blocks of mobile numbers are interspersed with fixed numbers. The mobile operatorshave already revised their protocols to comply with guidelines issued by the ICTA.The last change in numbering occurred in 1989, when numbers were increased from six to seven digits. At the time there were only some 50, 000subscribers and a single operator involved.Return to ContentsMOROCCO: Profitable quarter for Maroc; international buoyantMaroc Telecom Group has reported revenues for 1Q 2012 of MAD 7.5 billion (USD 876.1 million), up just 0.1 percent year-on-year and 0.2 percenthigher at constant exchange rates.Growth from its international business (+21 percent) was offset by a 4 percent fall in revenues in its domestic Moroccan market to MAD 5.9 billion(USD 689.2 million). Its subscriber base rose 12.6 percent over the same period in 2011, to 29.5 million customers at the end of March, driven by a36 percent rise in international business.In Morocco, the mobile subscriber base grew 3.2 percent year-on-year to 17.2 million, thanks to a 23 percent rise in post-paid clients to 1.08 million.Churn fell by 3.9 points from a year earlier to 18.9 percent, while ARPU was down 5 percent to MAD 80 (USD 9.35). 3G users rose 70 percent to 1.2million, and ADSL customers grew 18.5 percent to 612,000. The number of fixed lines increased 0.5 percent to 1.246 million.Quarterly EBITDA stood at MAD 4.2 billion (USD 490.6 million), up 4.6 percent from a year earlier due to a 32 percent in its international EBITDA.Morocco was stable at MAD 3.5 billion (USD 408.9 million), due to cost cuts and lower terminations rates. Group EBITDA margin was 56.1 percent,an increase of 2.4 points. Operating profit (EBITA) rose 2.2 percent to MAD 3.0 billion (USD 350.4 million), giving a margin of 40.4 percent. In thefirst quarter, cash flow improved 31.6 percent to MAD 2.7 billion (USD 315.4 million).Return to Contents
NAMIBIA: Merger file passed to CCBMihe Gaomab II, Secretary and CEO of the Namibia Competition Commission (NCC) has said that the deliberations regarding Telecom Namibia’sproposed take-over of Leo has had to consider more wide-ranging issues than just the proposed merger.The NCC has looked at issues such as market structure as well as investigated the implications for competition, such as how the market structurewill change, informante reported. Concern had been expressed at possible co-ordinated relations between Leo/Telecom and MTC, which needed tobe examined in the light of the Competition Act.He said that it had now finalised its investigations and had been forwarded to the Competition Commission Board, which was expected to make adecision before the end of April.Return to ContentsNIGER: Niger rejoins the worldwide webThe Société Nigérienne des Télécommunications last week announced the restoration of its broadband Internet services, following three months ofoutages due to power failure on a fibre optic cable in neighbouring Benin. We have restored the high-speed Internet (....) on the optical fibre, after the failure recorded since January this year in Benin from where we areserved, Amoumoune Adam, Head of Sales and Marketing was reported as saying by the Star Africa newspaper.Niger experienced interruptions of its Internet following a breakdown of connectivity to SAT-3, which Niger is connect to via neighbouring Benin.Alternative arrangements were made via satellite, although this was not able to service the level of demand.Return to ContentsNIGERIA: Motives of guided NITEL liquidation queried by SenateLast week the Senate opposed the planned ‘guided liquidation’ of Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and Mobile TelecommunicationsLimited (M-tel) when the Senate Committee on Privatisation held an interactive session with the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and theBureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).The meeting was critical of NCP and BPE for highlighting the liabilities of NITEL and M-tel without providing an evaluation of its worth or the amountsdue to it in the form of unpaid bills.The Director-General of BPE, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, said that NITEL/M-tel had debts of NGN 351 billion (USD 2.2 billion). Equipment vendorswere owed NGN 65.2 billion (USD 413.8 million), the banks are claiming NGN 81.7 billion (USD 518.5 million), government agencies NGN 171 billion(USD 1.1 billion) and other groups NGN 24.4 billion (USD 154.9 million). NITEL has been dormant for over three years.It was suggested that if the NGN 179 billion (USD 1.1 billion) owed by government agencies was deducted from the total liabilities the debt portfoliowould amount to NGN 172 billion (USD 1.1 billion). It was suggested that the guided liquidation strategy had been devised to relieve the governmentof its obligation to pay its dues.Return to Contents MTN reports base stations disconnectedMTN Nigeria said that it over 1,000 base stations were effectively disconnected from its network last week after its fibre infrastructure was damaged.MTN said in a statement that services were disrupted in the South East, particularly in Onitsha in Port Harcourt, in Kano, Abuja, Kaduna and Ibadan.MTN says there has had an unprecedented rise in criminal damage to its fibre optic network, and that it is suffering on average more than 70 fibrecuts in different locations across Nigeria every month.Around 42 percent are caused by poor road construction practices, 25 percent from wilful damage by criminal elements and 33 percent are due toother causes, but thought likely to sabotage.According to the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) Gbenga Adebayo in April said therewere just over 20,000 base stations in total serving a population of over 150 million people as of the end of 2011.
Return to Contents NCC claims control of base stationsThe MTN base station sealed by the National Environmental Services Regulatory Agency (NESREA) on the grounds that it was too close to aresidential building, being located on the EFAB Estate in Abuja, has been ‘freed’ by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), theLeadership newspaper has reported.NESREA also sealed another MTN base station in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as being an environmental hazard. The directive appears to haveoriginated from Director-General and Chief Executive Officer, NESREA, Dr. Ngeri Benebo.In Abuja the NCC enforcement team led by Head of Compliance and Monitoring Ephraim Nwokonneya unsealed the base station, saying that thefacility was compliant with the NCC standard which mandates a minimum of 5 metres from the nearest building.Director of Media at NCC, Tony Ojobo said that the NCC is the only organisation charged with regulating standards in the telecoms industry, addingthat the guidelines have been published and are on its Website. Ojobo also noted that shutting down base stations was not ideal since there wereinsufficient base stations to meet the current demand.Return to ContentsQATAR: Forex fluctuations reflected in Qtel quarterliesQatar Telecom (Qtel) has announced its results for 1Q 2012 and reported an 8 percent rise in revenue to QAR 8 billion (USD 2.2 billion). Net profitstood at QAR 711 million (USD 195.1 million), down 12.2 percent compared to 1Q 2011.The company registered a revenue and EBITDA growth of approximately 8 percent following strong operational performance. However, net profitduring the period were impacted by movement in the Indonesian currency (Rupiah) compared to last year. Excluding this impact, the operationalgrowth is in line with EBITDA growth.Qtel has also reported sustained performances from Iraq, Algeria and Tunisia. Indonesian subsidiary Indosat agreed to the sale and leaseback ofapproximately 25 percent of its tower portfolio, for a total potential consideration of USD 519 million.At the end of March 2012, the Groups consolidated customer base stood at 84.4 million (Q1 2011: 75.6 million), representing growth in customernumbers of 11.7 percent. Source: Qtel c. Blycroft 2012EBITDA for the same period increased 8 percent to QAR 3.8 billion (USD 1.04 billion), similar to 1Q 2011 at QAR 3.6 billion. EBITDA margin duringthe period was 48 percent, unchanged from 1Q 2011. Its performance showed an increase of 2.8 percent year-on-year to QAR 798 million (USD219.0 million), up from QAR 776.2 million in 1Q 2011 (USD 213.0 million).Return to ContentsSOUTH AFRICA:
Telkom, KT venture clears latest hurdleFixed and mobile operator Telkom says it is now finalising the terms of a potential strategic venture with Korean KT Corporation. In October 2011Telkom announced that it was in talks with KT to sell it a 20 percent stake.Last week Telkom issued a statement to shareholders saying that the diagnostic review had been completed and the businesses have ‘harmonisedtheir respective findings’. Telkom is now in the process of finalising the terms of the potential strategic venture, which will in due course be presentedto the two boards.Return to Contents~ & FINALLY..: In brief...Africa: Broadband booming - Mobile broadband has achieved a penetration rate of 4 percent in Africa, compared to less than 1 percent for fixed-broadband penetration according to a 2011 report published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). A number of developing countrieshave been able to leverage mobile-broadband technologies to overcome infrastructure barriers and provide high-speed Internet services topreviously unconnected areas. Mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown 45 percent annually over the last four years and today there are twice asmany mobile-broadband as fixed broadband subscriptions.Africa & the Middle East: Global rankings - The Financial Times (London) has published its annual list of the 500 largest global companies as atMarch 2012. Saudi Arabia’s STC Group popped out a release noting it was the leading telco in the Middle East, now ranked at 404, up from 452 in2011. The other Middle East telco to feature was Emirates Telecoms (Etisalat) ranked 459th; down from 397. In Africa, MTN Group was ranked271st, down from 243rd in 2011; whilst rival Vodacom was placed 426th., having not been raked in 2011. Bharti Airtel was placed at 339th., downfrom 311th. China Mobile is the lead telco, ranked 8th; whilst Vodafone Group was 36th and France Telecom 191st.Algeria: Hearing put back - On Sunday an appeal hearing into a USD 1.25 billion fine imposed on mobile operator Djezzy,a unit of Vimpelcom, waspostponed until 6 May the Reuters news agency has reported. Djezzy chief executive Tamer El Mahdy has been convicted of violating foreignexchange regulations and faces jail if the conviction is upheld.Cote d’Ivoire: Mobile money for millions - MTN and Orange, associated with the International Bank for Trade and Industry of Côte dIvoire(BICICI) respectively, claim around a million mobile banking subscribers each and a network of 1,000 outlets. Jeune Afrique reports that Orange isassessing the installation of ATMs that would allow its subscribers to withdraw or deposit money into their accounts Orange Money.Egypt: Loss recorded - Mobinil this week reported a 1Q 2012 net loss of EGP 74 million (USD 12.3 million) on higher depreciation and amortisationcosts, but aims to boost its broadband subscriber base to offset local competition. It booked a net profit of EGP23 million a year earlier.Ghana: MNP muted success - At the end of September 2011, 3 months after the launch of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), a total of 105,678mobile phone subscribers had taken advantage of it, according to Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communications. He also noted that the total MobileVoice Subscriber Base in as at February 2012 stood at 21,381,137, representing a teledensity of 88.9 percent. The MNP porting population thereforerepresents just half a percent of the total active mobile lines.Ghana: Zero tolerance please - Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communications, has told operators not to use fibre optic cable cuts as an excuse forpoor service provision. He said that they should focus on developing infrastructure to ensure service availability at all times. He called on theNational Communications Authority (NCA) to declare zero tolerance to disruption or poor services. The Minister made the call when opening the 2ndAnnual Ghana Telecom Summit 2012 in Accra last week.Kenya: Renewables on the rise - According to ITNewsAfrica, Airtel is to reduce the number of base stations powered by diesel generators by 2013.Michael Okwiri, VP and Corporate Communications Head of Airtel Africa, said it has cut the number of sites running purely on diesel. SafaricomKenya has said it has 126 other sites running on generators but plans to use green energy on 58 and connect 68 to the national power grid. Sitescontinuously powered by generator sets are to be phased out. Orange Kenya meanwhile has 14 hybrid base transmission stations using solar andwind.Madagascar: Subscriber staple - Madagascar Airtel has launched ‘Operation Vary bobaka’ which facilitates the purchase of rice by consumers, aswell as allowing them to qualify for a lower price. Users can now buy rice using Airtel Money at participating merchant partners. Airtel DG HeikoSchlittke said the service is to be extended throughout the territory.Mauritius: Ministerial support - Tassarajen Chedumbrum Pillay, Minister of Information Technologies and Communication, has thrown his supportbehind a group of 200 workers employed by Mauritius Telecom (MT) when he addressed the AGM of the Mauritius Telecom Employees Association(MTEA). On 26 March Mauritius Telecom issued a press release saying it was putting an end to the uncertainty of the staff who had previously beenunder contract. Pillay noted that Michael Barre, Vice-President of France Telecom for the East Africa region was supportive. Negotiations havegrounded on the inclusion of a default that dates back to 2008.Rwanda: More competitive MTN - MTN Rwanda has cut its data prices by half for both post- and pre-paid users. MTNs Chief Marketing Officer,Yvonne Makolo in an e-mail to the Business Times said that it is continuing its ‘aggressive’ push for market penetration especially in rural areas. Onthe 250 MB package, prices were reduced to RWF 3,000 from RWF 6,000; and the 5 GB rate has been reduced from RWF 30,000 to RWF 15,000whilst 500 MB has dropped from RWF 10,000 to RWF 5,000. The tariffs are available on MTN Internet (3.75G) and MTN Hotspot (Wi-Fi).Rwanda: QoS training - Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) has signed Finnish consultancy Omnitele to benchmark Quality of Service(QoS). Omnitele will also train RURA staff to perform the QoS measurements in mobile networks on a continuous basis to ensure operators aremeeting their licence terms and conditions related to network QoS.South Africa: Critical Cell C CEO - Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig has said that the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (RICA), whichwas implemented in July 2011 to prevent crime, is a waste of time and money. Knott-Craig said that there are already individuals who RICA multiple
SIMs, and then sell the RICAed SIMs at inflated rates. Knott-Craig added that people who commit crimes are unlikely to use a SIM which theyRICAed in their name.South Africa: Virtual fraud - Cell C says has been investigating a case of internal fraud in which virtual vouchers have been stolen and sold. Some44,000 ‘virtual vouchers’ have been stolen and some 453 data customers were affected. Apparently not all of the vouchers were activated. Cell Csays it initially suspended the affected accounts to ascertain where the bundles had been purchased, and has subsequently restored service.South Sudan: Infrastructure investment - China will provide USD 8 billion in development loans over the next two years; Bloomberg quotedBarnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s government spokesman. Some of the funding will be used for unspecified telecoms projects. SouthSudanese president Salva Kiir’s visited to Beijing 23-26 April.South Sudan: Roaming deal - Etisalat has concluded a roaming agreement in South Sudan, according to Matthew Willsher, Chief MarketingOfficer. Calls can also be made to the country from the UAE. Etisalat has roaming agreements with some 650 global networks.Tunisia: Free Wiki - Subscribers to the Orange mobile network now have free access to Wikipedia. This follows the signing in January of a deal byOrange and the Wikimedia Foundation in order to facilitate access for some 70 million Orange customers in Africa and the Middle East. MarcRennard, Orange’s Executive Director of Africa, Middle East and Asia said: “In countries where it is not easy to access knowledge, we offer all ourcustomers access to mobile Wikipedia….with no connection fee. This is the first partnership of its kind.”Uganda: Marketeer for Multichoice - Albert Nga is Multichoice Uganda’s new Marketing Manager. Before joining MultiChoice, he was with theUganda Breweries in sales and marketing, Celtel (now Airtel), Century Bottling Company (bottlers of Coca Cola in Uganda), from 2004 till 2007. Inearly 2008 he took up a foreign assignment in Mozambique, with SABCO group (Mozambique Coca Cola bottlers), returning to Century BottlingCompany in 2009.Return to Contents Country ReportBudde Country Focus Report: Ethiopia Telecoms Market Analysis - February 2011Ethiopia is the last country in Africa allowing its national telco, ETC a monopoly on all telecom services including fixed, mobile,Internet and data communications. This monopolistic control has stifled innovation and retarded expansion. The government triesto encourage foreign investment in a broad range of industries by allowing foreigners up to 100% equity ownership. However,there is no official schedule for the privatisation of the national carrier and the introduction of competition, but once thishappens, the potential to satisfy unmet demand in all service sectors is huge. A management contract with France Telecom hasled to dramatically improved performance by ETC and is seen as a first step towards privatisation.Market highlights:> ETC transforms under management contract with France Telecom;> Detailed profile of the monopoly service provider in all market sectors;> Financial results 2010/11;> Strong revenue growth despite drastic price cuts;> Forecasts for mobile and Internet markets to 2013 and 2016;> Multi-billion US$ investments planned before 2012.