Mobile operator groups serving the Middle East and Africa have agreed to cooperate on network infrastructure sharing initiatives in an effort to provide mobile broadband access to unserved rural communities in the region. The operators also intend to drive down the cost of mobile services for consumers across the regions.
African operator group MTN has sold all of its 1,269 mobile network towers in Rwanda and Zambia to independent mobile infrastructure provider IHS Holding for an undisclosed amount. IHS subsidiaries will own and manage 550 towers in Rwanda and 719 towers in Zambia.
South African mobile service reseller Nashua Mobile, which trades in subscriptions for the country’s main operators, is to close operations and sell its 750,000 users to Vodacom and MTN. The company is also looking to offload its Cell C customer base to a third party.
African operator group MTN has signed a five-year managed services deal with Swedish kit vendor Ericsson relating to its Nigerian business. Ericsson will take full responsibility for MTN Nigeria’s network management, optimisation and field maintenance in Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Asaba, which represents 75 per cent of the Nigerian network.
MTN Zambia became the first carrier in the country to launch LTE on Friday, as the company introduced the service in Lusaka, Kitwe, Ndola and Livingstone. Phase two of the rollout, which is already underway, will expand LTE coverage within these same towns and cover new territories as well.
Turkish operator Turkcell is seeking damages from African operator group MTN for alleged illegal acts relating to its GSM licence in Iran. The Turkish firm said it has filed a lawsuit against MTN before the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
South Africa-based telco MTN Group has chosen UAE-based telco Etisalat’s SmartHub offering to extend its data network capabilities. MTN, which operates across a number of African, European and Middle Eastern countries, will use Etisalat’s SmartHub facility at Fujairah CLS to deliver content, IPX, IX and high-speed data services for its customers in the UAE and across the region
African operator group MTN has announced that it will upgrade and expand its 3G network in Nigeria. The operator has signed a contract with microwave network solutions provider Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBNL).
Pre-fabricated datacentre specialist Flexenclosure said Friday it has received an order from African carrier MTN Côte d’Ivoire to deliver a 336 square meter customised datacentre in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast.
Support for the alternative open source mobile OS developed by Linux shop Ubuntu increased this week as pan-African carrier MTN Group signed up to the cause.
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.
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.
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.