African MarketWatch May 2013

New licenses, acquisitions and upgrades in brief

  • BURKINA FASO: The long running saga of the battle between Etisalat (through subsidiary Atlantique Telecom) and Planor Afrique for control of Telecel Faso threatens to flair up again, with Agence Ecofin reporting that Etisalat has requested French courts to review their previous decisions in the matter
  • COTE D’IVOIRE: Agence Ecofin reports that ICT Minister Bruno Kone has warned the country’s six operators about their QoS. MTN have sold and Orange have outsourced tower management to IHS in Cote d’Ivoire, but the deals are believed to have been too recent to have much effect on QoS as yet
  • DRC: Airtel and Tigo have introduced 3.5G HSPA+
  • EGYPT: Mobinil has appointed Ericsson to modernise its network including microwave backhaul and OSS/BSS systems. Mobinil are rumoured to be considering the sale of some or all of their towers
  • EGYPT: Telecom Egypt are believed to have received a draft MVNO licence from the NTRA, aiming for a mid-2013 launch. Increasing costs meant the operator posted a 32% drop in EBITDA in Q1 of 2013
  • KENYA: Safaricom reported a 31% improvement in EBITDA to Kshs 49.2bn in the year ending 31 March 2013, with net profit of Kshs 25.5bn on revenue of Kshs 124.3bn, up 16%. Opex was 23% of total revenue, down from 24% in FY12. Kshs 24.9bn was deployed in capex, down from 25.3bn in FY12. Safaricom reported a total of 2,905 base stations, of which 1,604 were 3G enabled, up from 2,690 / 1,439 in FY12. At December 2012, Safaricom had 64.5% subscriber market share
  • MOROCCO: Moroccan regulator ANRT will launch tenders for 4G licences by the end of 2013. “We will launch the tenders to award 4G licences by the end of the year, and the opening of the service is expected in 2014,” Azdine El Mountassir Billah, the head of ANRT said, quoted in state news agency MAP
  • MOZAMBIQUE: Viettel owned Movitel raced to 2m subscribers and already has coverage in all 128 regions of Mozambique. Investment is S expected to rise from US $117m in 2012 to US $300m in 2013. Meanwhile, in an interview with Vietnam Investment review, Deputy DG Duong Van Tinh listed Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Swaziland among the operator’s next target markets
  • NIGERIA: The planned liquidation of state-owned fixed line operator NITEL and it’s mobile subsidiary M-Tel continue to drag on, with local publication Vanguard reporting that 3of 35 bidders had been approved. NITEL is believed to have debts of over US$2bn
  • RWANDA: The Rwandan regulator RUWA announced that the subscriber base had passed 6m in March 2013. MTN leads with 3.45m subscribers, Tigo has 1.81m and Airtel has 0.78m, having launched in April 2012 aided by the acquisition of towers from liquidated former LAP Green Network subsidiary Rwandatel
  • SENEGAL: Tigo will launch 3.5G HSPA+ in Senegal, another country in which Orange / Sonatel are believed to be considering a tower deal
  • SOUTH AFRICA: Vodacom Group EBITDA improved 10.9% to ZAR25.25bn for the FY ending 31 March 2013, with net profit of ZAR13.22bn on revenues of ZAR69.92bn. Capex over FY12-13 was ZAR9.46bn, a 9.2% increase on the previous financial year. Vodacom Group has just over 30m active subscribers in South Africa, with 7.7m in DRC, 3m in Mozambique, 9.5m in Tanzania and 1.1m in Lesotho
  • SOUTH AFRICA: Engineering News report that Neotel will launch LTE is South Africa later in 2013 having deployed 50 LTE enabled base stations in the Gauteng region
  • TANZANIA: Tigo Tanzania has launched a 3G/3.5G service, while Smile announced their LTE service now covers ‘most parts’ of Dar es Salaam
  • UGANDA: MTN Uganda launched LTE in Kampala having upgraded 20 base stations. MTN plans to invest US $70m in infrastructure development in 2013. MTN Uganda sold 1,000 towers to ATC in 2011
  • UGANDA: Reuters quotes MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire suggesting further consolidation may be imminent in the East African country, hinting that MTN were considering potential takeovers: “Uganda is a market for at best two companies … The anarchy in the market has to stop,” said Mbire. The UCC recently approved the purchase of Warid Uganda by Airtel
  • ZIMBABWE: Munesu Munodawafa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, told local publication The Standard that they were considering mandating infrastructure sharing. “What is happening now is a result of the current licences that the various operators have. The licences that were issued some 15 or so years ago did not anticipate certain developments in the telecoms industry that are taking place now,” Munodawafa said. “In future, we should have a policy which encourages sharing of networks and we believe that it would be cheaper in the long run for us to have shared services and base stations”
  • ZIMBABWE: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe reported a 16% drop in profits in the FY ending February 2013. Sales were up 14%, but the financing costs hit the bottom line
  • Leave a Reply