What’s new in Africa’s telecoms industry?

What’s new in Africa’s telecoms industry?

Things move apace within Africa’s telecoms industry. The continent continues to improve its international connections through new cables, grow its smartphone base, reduce its calling and data costs, introduce new legislation and regulations, merge landline and cellular companies, introduce new mobile-based technologies and services, and more.

Here are a few of the most recent development in African telecoms…

The One Network Area Agreement

The East African Community (EAC), which in this instance includes South Sudan, has committed to reducing cross-border and roaming tariffs on mobile phone calls. Safaricom got things kicked off by cutting their Rwandan rates by 60%. MTN Rwanda subsequently also cut its roaming charges, reducing cross-border voice call tariffs by over 50%.

These steps have been taken in compliance with the One Network Area Agreement (ONAA), which aims to facilitate interregional trade and business. Rwanda’s ICT Minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana has said the move “will improve our trade ties within the region.”

Tanzania’s telecom firms to list on stock exchange

Tanzania, East Africa’s second largest economy and possibly its largest in years to come, has a booming telecoms industry, one that continues to grow in accordance with the country’s economic growth. Major players like Airtel, Zantel, Vodacom, Millicom and Tigo Tanzania all operate within the country on significant scales.

The Government has intended since 2010 that everyone in the country have the chance to benefit from this fast-growing industry, and as such all leading telecoms companies were to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE). Regulatory and legal delays pushed the date back, but the Government has now made listing a requirement and set a new deadline of 2015.

Moremi Marwa, CEO of the DSE, says the implementation “will result in more listings on the exchange, which will then increase the market depth and liquidity into our local exchange and hence generally help to grow our capital market industry.”

Econet purchases telecoms in CAR and Burundi for $65m

Last month South African company Econet Wireless Group, which has investments and operations on four continents, made substantial purchases into the Central African Republic (CAR)’s and Burundi’s telecoms sectors, to the tune of $65 million. The company bought Telecel Globe Limited, which includes Telecel CAR and U-COM in Burundi, from VimpelCom, one of the world’s largest telecoms companies.

Speaking of the decision to sell, VimpelCom’s CFO Andrew Davies says, “We have previously outlined our value agenda within which our operations are reviewed to assess their future value to the group. The decision to sell our operations in CAR and Burundi is a result of this process.”

David Okwara

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