African MarketWatch

New licenses, acquisitions and upgrades in brief

ALGERIA: Having been openly discussed since 2011, it seems that licensing of 3G may finally be imminent. Moussa Benhamadi, Minister of Posts, IT and Communications, told Agence Ecofin: “The administrative record, which allows us to embark on the introduction of 3G and 3G+ is completed. In the meantime, ATM Mobilis, Nedjma and Djezzy have been encouraged to prepare their 2G networks for the transition to 3G”

BURUNDI: It seems that the government of Burundi is again interested in selling a majority stake in national public operator Office National des Telecommunications (Onatel), with a view to modernising the network

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: BiztechAfrica quotes Patrick Benon, CEO saying “Orange is now the first operator to operate a 3G + network in Central African Republic, and it reinforces our position as an innovative operator”

EGYPT: Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Misr have both appointed Ericsson to manage and operate their base stations in Egypt, according to Daily News Egypt

GHANA: Ghana’s operators must first focus on developing 3G before implementing LTE, according to Albert Enninful, Acting Deputy Director General of the NCA. Meanwhile, MTN Ghana have announced their intention to deploy more base stations, bringing their total number of 3G sites to 994

GUINEA: A press statement from Orange Guinea CEO Alassane Diene announced plans to invest US$56mn in network upgrades and extensions over the next three years

MAURITANIA: Mauritania’s third telecoms operator Chinguitel may be up for sale. Chinguitel is a subsidiary of Sudanese telco Sudatel which is also rumoured to be considering the sale of its licensed operators in Ghana, Guinea, Senegal and South Sudan

MOROCCO: Who will acquire Maroc Telecom? With the preliminary bid deadline of 22 April looming as we went to print, MTN were rumoured to be late entrants into the auction (Editor: MTN’s bid never materialised), joining Qatar Telecom, Etisalat and possibly STC

NIGERIA: According to the Daily Trust, MTN will invest US$1.5bn rolling out 5,000 2G and a further 4,000 3G base stations in Nigeria in 2013. At the recent Reuters Africa Investment Summit, Etisalat Nigeria Commercial Officer Wael Ammar revealed that the operator was raising US$500mn in debt finance, with a view to expanding their network and services. Etisalat is believed to have 3,000 cell sites in Nigeria.

RWANDA: TMT Finance reports that MTN has appointed Citi to advise on the sale of towers in Rwanda, with talks under way with American Tower

RWANDA: Korea Times reports that KT Corp has signed an MoU with the Rwanda Development Board to establish a joint venture to develop, install and operate a nationwide LTE network, providing wholesale LTE services to MNOs and MVNOs

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE: Unitel emerged as the sole applicant to meet the technical and financial requirements of the tender, and so were awarded the islands’ second fixed and mobile license, according to Panapress

SENEGAL: President Macky Sall has asked his government to “take practical steps” toward the launch of a fourth MNO license, according to Agence Ecofin

SOUTH AFRICA: Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig was quoted on stating that the network now has around 4,000 cell sites nationally, having added 1,223 new 3G sites in 2012. Cell C has 100 active LTE sites, targeting to increase to 1,000 by the end of 2013

ZAMBIA: The Lusaka Times reports Zamtel CEO Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe as saying the operator will deploy 400 2G and 3G base stations in less connected areas, with LTE expected in Livingstone by late May 2013

ZIMBABWE: Aquiva Wireless plans to invest US$80mn over the next three years to deploy LTE nationwide, according to Chief Executive Brian Maphosa, quoted in The Herald. Meanwhile Telecel Zimbabwe say they will expand their network of 437 BTSs by 120 by July 2013

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