South African operator group MTN has announced that it will sell 931 mobile network towers from its Ivory Coast operations to infrastructure provider IHS for $141m, as well as 827 towers from MTN Cameroon for $143m.
The roll out of LTE in Africa continues apace as MTN announces that it will be launching a network in Uganda in 2013. The subsidiary of the South African network has announced plans to upgrade its network to offer speeds of up to 100Mbps and said it would be investing $70m in network infrastructure during 2013, following on from the $80m it said it spent in 2012.
The arrival of LTE brings with it promises of simplified network architecture, lower cost per MB, higher throughput and lower latency. But deploying LTE services in Africa is not without major challenges, as MTN South Africa’s CTO Kanagaratnam Lambotharan outlined on the first day of the AfricaCom 2012 event in Cape Town.
Despite a difficult operating environment and various restrictions on the operators’ ability to develop their infrastructure, Iran has one of the highest SIM penetrations in the Middle East, reaching 98.27 per cent at end-1Q11. The country’s high penetration is partly due to its multiple-SIM uptake, but is also due to the demand for mobile telephony services in a majority-youth market.
MTN, the South African network operator, has announced that it has activated an LTE pilot program in Gauteng. The network consists of over 100 LTE sites and the operator said that these will all be activated in stages over the next few months.
MTN South Africa is rolling out a pilot LTE network in Gauteng, the company’s MD, Karel Pienaar, has told South African tech site TechCentral.
The Guinean government has seized all assets of MTN subsidiary Areeba. Under the terms of a decree signed by state president Alpha Conde and released to Reuters, the government has requisitioned personnel, equipment, infrastructure and facilities in a row over the payment of €15m in fees. The payment relates to MTN’s acquisition of local operator Areeba in 2007.
South African incumbent operator Telkom is to offer ‘free’ mobile YouTube streaming to Blackberry devices in an effort to “Shake up the market.” The fixed-line player’s move into the mobile space took place last year, when it launched its 8ta division. Since then, the unit has pursued an aggressive pricing plan in a market previously known for high tariffs, not least for mobile data packages.
A high capacity submarine cable system linking southern Africa with Europe landed at its final destination in Cape Town this morning. The West African Cable System (WACS), a 14,000km, 5.1Tbps system was brought ashore at Yzerfontein in the Western Cape and will both complement and compete with the 340Gbps Sat-3 system that went into service in the region in 2002.
South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) has reintroduced a controversial requirement that companies applying for spectrum must be 30 per cent owned by historically disadvantaged shareholders (HDI). With the country’s second spectrum auction planned for an as-yet unspecified time this year, players such as MTN and Vodacom could find themselves excluded from bidding for access in the 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz bands which form a key component in both telcos next-generation, LTE network strategies.
Zimbabwe’s state-owned, oldest mobile operator, NetOne, has entered into talks with South Africa’s MTN regarding the sale of a 49 per cent stake in the company. Despite its incumbent status, NetOne is Zimbabwe’s smallest operator, trailing larger telcos Econet Wireless and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom with its subscriber base of just over 1.5 million.
South Africa’s third cellular operator, Cell C, has had its application for additional spectrum in the 2100MHz band approved. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) approved the application in January but the carrier only went public with the news yesterday.
The Algerian government has hired consultants to assess the value of mobile operator Djezzy ahead of its plans to nationalise the lucrative telco.
South African mobile operator MTN has tapped local health care provider Sanlam Health, part of Sanlam Group, to launch mhealth applications by the end of the first quarter. The services to be rolled out will include community and clinical health data, delivery of healthcare information to practitioners, researchers and patients as well as real-time monitoring of patient vital signs and provisioning of care.
During the AfricaCom 2010 event in Cape Town in November, telecoms.com caught up with Pieter Verkade, executive for mobile money at MTN Group and the operator’s new partners: Jerry Ejikeme, CEO Sochitel; and David Shackleton, COO for Ezetop, to talk about their deal to sell MTN airtime in 21 countries worldwide.