Ethiopia issues new telecoms license application deadline

ETHIOPIA – The government of Ethiopia has once again extended the deadline for telecom companies to bid for new operating licences. In a communication through social media, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said it had taken the eleventh-hour decision in response to requests from bidders, pushing the deadline from 5 April to 26 April, 2021 10am local time. ECA said on Twitter: “Due to requests by bidders to have more time to finalize their offer in light of Covid-19 market environment, ECA determined their question to be appropriate and the…

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Retail giant Shoprite launches mobile network operator, K’nect Mobile

SOUTH AFRICA – Africa’s largest supermarket retailer Shoprite, has launched its own prepaid mobile network operator called K’nect Mobile, which is set to be implemented in April 2021. The move follows Pick n Pay’s launching of PnP Mobile via MTN’s network infrastructure in 2020, offering customers prepaid and SIM-based access to data and airtime. K’nect Mobile has partnered with digital enabler FREI One Digital and will use Cell C’s mobile infrastructure to offer airtime and data bundles at competitive rates to other networks. “Customers can connect to the prepaid cellular…

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Airtel Africa secures US$200m from The Rise Fund to develop network and infrastructure

AFRICA – TPG-owned The Rise Fund will invest US$200 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce (AMC) BV, the mobile money business of Airtel’s Africa unit. The transaction is part of Airtel’s strategic asset monetization plan. The investment in AMC BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Africa unit, will value the company at US$2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. Proceeds from the stake sale will be used to slash Airtel’s debt, and invest in developing network and infrastructure across 14 countries in the region. As part of the transaction, The…

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Helios to buy Airtel Africa towers in four markets

AFRICA – London Stock Exchange-listed Helios Towers has reached agreements to buy and deploy over 2,500 high sites from and for Airtel Africa Group in deals that potentially give it access to four “attractive new markets”. Helios is acquiring Airtel’s passive infrastructure in Madagascar and Malawi and has signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding for the “potential acquisition of its passive infrastructure assets in Chad and Gabon”, all subject to regulatory approvals. In a statement on March 23, 2021, Helios said the transactions comprise four separate agreements: one for each market,…

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Somtel Telecommunication launches initial public offering, eyes growth

SOMALILAND – Somtel Telecommunication, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Dahabshiil Group, has begun its initial public offering (IPO), with interested parties able to acquire a minimum of 20 shares for US$100 apiece as it seeks for a greater ability to grow and expand in the Horn of Africa, as well as create more jobs. Somtel, is a leading telecom and internet and digital services provider in the Horn of Africa, has a long track record of providing high quality and reliable telecommunication services by investing in superior communication infrastructure and harnessing…

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PE firm TPG buys stake in Airtel’s mobile money unit for US$191m

AFRICA – Airtel Africa is set to sell an undisclosed minority stake in its Pan-African mobile money business to private equity firm TPG for US$191 million, underlining the huge value of mobile financial service platforms in Africa. The multinational telco announced the transaction through the London Stock Exchange where it is listed. The record-breaking deal values Airtel Money, available in Share sale to private equity comes amid struggle to cut M-Pesa dominance in the Kenyan market and 14 African countries including Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda, at US$2.65 billion. TPG is investing…

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MTN appoints Chika Ekeji as strategy and transformation executive

SOUTH AFRICA – Mobile telecommunications operator MTN Group has appointed Nigerian-American national, Chika Ekeji, as executive responsible for strategy and transformation to lead the mobile network operator’s growth strategy. Ekeji, who joins MTN from management consultancy McKinsey & Company in Nigeria, begins his new role with the company next week. At McKinsey & Company, Ekeji led the West Africa Digital Practice and served telco, financial services, and public sector clients across Africa. “We are very pleased that Chika is joining us as we work to accelerate our strategic repositioning,” says…

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Kenyan High Court clears Telkom Kenya and Airtel merger deal

KENYA – Telecommunication companies Telkom Kenya and Airtel have been given the nod to revive their planned merger after Kenyan High Court quashed a letter by the country’s anti-graft agency, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) questioning the sale of the former’s properties during the privatization period. In a ruling, High Court judge Jairus Ngaa said that the purported move by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to recover property already sold or stop those on sale was illegal. The decision clears the way for the merger which Telkom said had…

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Ericsson appoints Sena Erten as VP and Head of People for MEA

AFRICA – Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company Ericsson, has announced the appointment of Sena Erten as Vice-President and Head of People at Ericsson Middle East and Africa and a member of the market area leadership team.   In her new role, Sena will work to realize the company’s people vision in the market area, inspire, and guide the business towards a world-class employee experience that is people centred, adopting the latest digital technologies, and leading the way in driving its company culture. In a fast-transforming industry, Sena will drive Ericsson’s…

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MTN sells its stake in BICS to Belgium’s Proximus for US$121m

SOUTH AFRICA – MTN Group, South African multinational mobile telecom company, has disclosed that it will sell its 20% shareholding in telecommunications provider Belgacom International Carrier Services South Africa (BICS) to Belgian state-controlled telecoms firm Proximus for US$121.41 million. MTN is in the middle of a US$1.68 billion divestment plan aimed at reducing debt, simplifying its portfolio, and improving returns over the next three to five years. Proximus is the majority owner of BICS, whose equipment handles global calls, text, and internet traffic across the world. Another minority owner, Swisscom…

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