[Nigeria] NCC: Visafone’s Spectrum Not Sold

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it did not approve the sale of the spectrum of former CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) carrier, Visafone, to MTN, adding that it was also been careful not to further promote the latter’s dominant operatorship in the country.

The NCC explained that only the 100 per cent shares of the telco has received its approval for acquisition.

The Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Commission, Prof Garba Umar Dambatta who spoke during a world press conference at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja to mark the one-year anniversary of the unveiling of the unveiling 8 Point Agenda, said the document has recorded a tremendous success as it has been pursued with dogged determination.

He said during the period under review, the NCC made N47billion from the sale of and efficient use of spectrum.

He said broadband penetration which was at the heart of the agenda, has improved tremendously too, moving from between and eight and 10 per cent to 20.95 per cent while internet penetration too has hit 47.44 per cent which is second to only to South Africa.

The Commission has encouraged the reforming of the various frequencies to improve their efficiency. Through this process, some service providers who were hitherto providing services on the 1800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum band have been allowed to reform and deploy services on the 4GLTE band. Through this, the Commission has been able to revive some of the companies whose services have been hampered by the characteristics of the frequencies.

“Through efficient monitoring and value-driven usage of spectrum for provision of different types of service, revenue generation for the Federal Government through frequency allocation and renewal fees have improved the previous years. More than N47billion was realized in spectrum usage and licensing within the period under review,” he said.

Dambatta who attributed the feat to the eight-point agenda he outlined for the Commission on his assumption of office in August last year, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu for their support for the NCC and its new leadership.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari, ComTech Minister, Adebayo Shittu and other stakeholders in the industry for their unflinching support, Dambatta said the eight-point agenda which was built upon a tripod- availability of service, accessibility of service and affordability, has started yielding results as the telecom sector now contributes more than 10 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.

Dambatta said the sector had not only witnessed all round improvement and growth, specific areas of challenge such as infrastructure development, broadband penetration, improved services from service providers and development of regulatory frameworks were addressed headlong.

He said: "We have been able to articulate a regulatory framework that will enable strategic and systematic licensing and deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country. A broadband implementation monitoring committee has been established within the commission to give proper assessment on regular basis of broadband infrastructure deployment.

We have initiated process for licensing of more broadband services on the 5.4GHz spectrum band. We have opened the process for the allocation of frequencies in the 70/80 GHz band (e-band). Approval has been given for the deployment of 4G Long Term Evolution Technology by NATCOM Development and Investment Limited."

He said the final resolution of MTN SIM card infraction fine amicable settlement was made possible by the approach adopted by the Commission and the support of other stakeholders in the industry, stating that the take away from the experience was that it would no longer be business as usual for all industry players.
Source: Biztechafrica

DTI wants Tesla to invest in SA

Trade & industry minister Rob Davies has encouraged US automotive and energy storage company Tesla to explore the possibility of setting up shop in South Africa.
The company expressed interest in investing in South Africa during a business breakfast session in Washington, DC, where Davies was addressing investors on Sunday.
The minister is in the US to attend the 15th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Forum.

Tesla Motors designs, manufactures and sells electric car components and batteries. The founder of the company is South African-born Elon Musk.
Davies said South Africa’s automotive programme already has an additional incentive that applies to electric vehicles. He said government understands that electric vehicles are where things are going, including hybrids and fuel cells.

He highlighted that government is still on track with the Independent Power Producers Programme (IPP) on renewable energy. He emphasised that investors had informed him that South Africa’s IPP programme is one of the best power purchasing programmes in the world.

The business breakfast preceded the one day Agoa Forum on Monday. The forum is an annual forum that takes place on an alternating basis between sub-Saharan Africa and the US.
The theme for this year’s Forum is “Maximising US-Africa Trade and Investment: Agoa and Beyond”. The forum will focus on the implementation of Agoa utilisation strategies, as well as, the US-sub-Saharan Africa trade and investment relationship beyond Agoa.

Agoa is a unilateral US trade preference programme that provides duty-free, quota-free treatment for over 6 400 tariff lines into the US market.

US President Barack Obama signed into law the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 that contained the Agoa Extension and Enhancement Act, which extended Agoa for 10 years until 2025, with South Africa included.

[South Africa] WBS to Roll out National LTE-A Network

Wireless Business Solutions (WBS), the company that owns iBurst, has finally set out its plans to build a national LTE-Advanced wireless broadband network following the acquisition of the business by a company backed by former top bankers Paul Harris and Michael Jordaan.

WBS, which was acquired by Multisource in 2015, will invest billions of rand in the new data network, Harris said in a statement on Monday.

The network will use WBS’s existing spectrum assignments in the 1,8GHz and 2,6GHz bands. “It will be enabled to use 5G when the technology is rolled out internationally inside the next five years and will place South Africa among the leaders in the field,” the company said in the statement.

It said a “limited number” of LTE-A sites are already in operation and existing iBurst customers will be converted to the new network, with national roll-out commencing in the next few months.

“The network will provide superfast broadband to consumers and businesses alike. It will be superior to copper/ADSL offerings and an attractive alternative to fibre to the home,” the company said.

“Speed and performance will be comparable to fibre with the advantages that it can be deployed without the cost of digging up suburban streets and time delay in eventually reaching all residential areas,” it added.

It said it has the advantage of not having to invest in legacy networks such as 2G and 3G and will jump straight to 4.5G technology. The new network will be deployed on some of WBS’s own 400 high sites as well as sites leased from tower companies and other telecommunications providers.

Multisource shareholders and directors include former MTN chief technology officer Phumlani Moholi, former Leaf Wireless boss Brandon Leigh, Design Indaba founding CEO, Ravi Naidoo, and Multisource CEO, Duncan Simpson-Craib, along with Harris and Jordaan. The company has 30% black shareholding, which will be maintained after a planned capital raising.

In the statement, Harris said South Africa needs investment in productive capacity in order to tackle its economic challenges. “Nothing can be gained by sitting on the sidelines. WBS’s investment is a manifestation of its confidence in South Africa and its desire to contribute.”

Source: Techcentral

[South Africa] Vodacom near Winning R5Bn Government Deal

Vodacom is near clinching an estimated R5billion contract with the South African government as the national treasury seeks to cut costs. The tender is to supply as many as 1.3million government employees, for four years, starting on 15th September, sources close to the government has said.    

If 400 000 government employees take up the service, the contract will be worth as much as R5bn over the duration of the deal, one of the people said.

“Vodacom is honored by the national treasury’s decision to appoint us as a partner to government to deliver on the all-important task of enabling government to connect and communicate efficiently,” CEO Shameel Joosub said in e-mailed comments on Wednesday, without providing detail of the contract.

“Our substantial investment in infrastructure and innovative capability will now be at the disposal of the state.”

The decision is intended to save the national treasury money and have a reliable telecommunications supplier, according to one of the people. Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said in his budget speech in February that the reduction of government costs is a priority. The state could save R25billionn/year through “belt tightening”, he said, including R500million from changing cellphone policies.

For Vodacom, the deal will help increase its number of customers who pay for voice and data on a monthly basis, rather than on so-called pay-as-you go deals. The Johannesburg-based company had 35,1m South Africa subscribers at the end of June, of which 30,1m were lower spending, pre-paying customers.

Vodacom is 65% owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone Group. The shares gained 1.2% by the close in Johannesburg on Wednesday, valuing the wireless carrier at R232billion.

Source: Techcentral