African MarketWatch

New licenses, acquisitions and upgrades in brief


Angolan market leaders Unitel have launched an LTE service, and have budgeted a $1.35bn network investment between 2013-15. Rival network Movicel launched LTE in April 2012


Vietnamese operator Viettel has been awarded the coveted third license in Cameroon, beating Airtel, Monaco Telecom and Korea Telecom. Viettel’s website states “Viettel Cameroon has committed to cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory when it goes operational; and will use 2G and 3G technologies. The domestic experts consider this event as a “big hit for national telecommunications”, bringing a high quality service and cheaper price to Cameroon.”


SMS Mobility has a JV with Camtel to launch a new voice and data MVNO


Evatis, mobile brand of Djibouti Telecom, launched a 3.5G service at the end of December 2012


Africell has raced to over one million subscribers within two months of launch, leveraging substantial co-locations existing sites operated by Helios Towers Africa


Agence Ecofin reports that Airtel DRC is about to launch 3.5G HSPA+. Tigo, Vodacom and Africell also acquired 3G licences


France Telecom has rebranded their 2011 acquisition CCT under the Orange brand


According to Ahram Online, landline operator Telecom Egypt has sent a release to the stock exchange expressing an interest in acquiring an MVNO license. Telecom Egypt owns 45% of Vodafone Egypt, who compete with Etisalat Egypt and Mobinil for the Egyptian mobile market


According to Addis Fortune, Huawei and ZTE are bidding US$1.5bn for vendor financed network expansion projects in Ethiopia, where Ethio Telecom has divided Ethiopia into eleven infrastructure zones and plans to allow only one vendor within each of eleven newly created ‘telecom circles’. The state telco are also finalising negotiations with equipment vendors to introduce LTE in Addis Ababa, with 3.5G HSPA+ in all big cities by 2015


Essar Telecom Kenya’s country manager Madhur Tanejar is quoted in Agence Ecofin saying they plan to participate in the open access LTE consortium and rollout 4G. Meanwhile local website The Star also quotes Taneja announcing receipt of a US$146.5m capital injection from Essar Group to ease debts and pave the way for a further US$97.7m capex injection in March


The Libya Herald quotes Malik Shaban of ZTE describing Libya Telecom & Technology’s strategy to rollout 588 new WiMAX towers to supplement the ISP’s existing 346 towers


Agence Ecofin report that Alpha Telecom Mali has secured the country’s third mobile licence. Alpha Telecom are believed to have outbid Airtel and Viettel to secure the licence


Tunisie Telecom may be close to selling its majority stake in Mauritanian telco Mattel, according to Jeune Afrique. France Telecom are believed to be interested


Etisalat, KT Corp and Qtel have confirmed their intention to bid for Vivendi’s 53% stake in Maroc Telecom


Having completed it’s acquisition of Powercom (Leo) late last year, Telecom Namibia has awarded a US$46m contract to ZTE to replace Leo’s 2G sites and transfer then dismantle Telecom Namibia’s own CDMA base stations to a new 3G and LTE network


Airtel Nigeria has completed LTE trials in Lagos


Etisalat Nigeria will rollout a further 1,000 base stations with Alcatel-Lucent in 2013


The NCC has given interim approval for the rollout of Capcom, formed from the merger of CDMA operators Starcomms, Multilinks and MTS Wireless


Sao Tome and Principe’s regulator Autoridade Geral de Regulacao has invited investors to tender for the country’s second fixed and mobile telecoms license.  National PTO Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicacoes is currently the sole operator


Speculation continues that 8ta’s prized 8.3GHz spectrum might make them an acquisition target by rival operator Cell C, or a means of Airtel securing an entry into South Africa, who continue to be linked with a move for either 8ta or Cell C


MTN Uganda will deploy LTE in the coming months. MTN currently has 1,100 base stations in Uganda, where they have a joint venture with American Tower


Sure Telecom tested their first GSM call in December and expects to launch in the first half of 2013, bringing the total number of operators in Uganda to a dizzying seven


Vodacom Tanzania recently conducted a successful LTE trial in Dar Es Salaam using NSN’s Single RAN technology


Vodacom were one of more than five operators bidding for the 4th license in Zambia


In local publication TechZim, Telecel Zimbabwe revealed it had 2,582,000 active mobile subscribers, up 70% year-on-year, and that Telecel had deployed 157 base stations in 2012, with plans to add more in 2013 as well as extending 3G coverage

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