Africa News (Oct 2014)

Cameroon: CamTel awarded fourth license in Cameroon, Viettel finally launches

State-owned fixed line incumbent CamTel has been awarded the fourth mobile license in Cameroon, joining recently launched Viettel, whose request for an extension of their period of exclusivity offering 3G has been turned down, as well as established market leaders MTN and Orange. IHS owns, or manages with license to lease, the majority of the telecom towers in Cameroon.

Chad: Airtel brings 3G to Chad

India’s Economic Times report that Airtel has launched the first 3G network in Chad. Airtel have also recently sold their towers in Chad, with Helios Towers Africa widely believed to be the counterparty.

DRC: Vodacom extends into Kasai-Occidental and Kasai-Oriental

Vodacom is deploying 61 new antennas in remote areas of Kasai-Occidental (Western Kasai) and Kasai-Oriental (Eastern Kasai).

Egypt: Orange to close MobiNil tower sale before end of 2014 – sources

TowerXchange understand that Orange’s drawn out process to sell an estimated 3,500 MobiNil towers in Egypt may finally be drawing toward a conclusion.  Sources suggest that Naguib Sawwiris’ Accelero Capital and Eaton Towers have both been shortlisted to acquire the assets.

Nigeria: Airtel Nigeria tower sale imminent

The sale of Airtel’s towers in Nigeria could be closed in Q4 2014, with American Tower and Helios Towers Nigeria both believed to be involved in final rounds of discussion, and IHS potentially interested in adding assets to those acquired from Etisalat and MTN Nigeria earlier this year.

Nigeria: InfraCos to be licensed in Nigeria

Seeking to stimulate fibre deployment, the NCC has sought bidders for InfraCo licenses, a key component of the country’s National Broadband Plan.

Senegal: Orange Senegal pilots 4G; towers remain on the block as part of MLL opportunity

Orange Senegal has extended their 4G pilot from Dakar to Saly, bringing the total number of 4G sites to 40. Tigo and Expresso are believed to be starting their own 4G trials imminently.

Meanwhile, Orange continues to be in negotiation with several towercos about making their towers in Senegal, Mali, Guinea B and C available on a Manage with License to Lease basis.

Sontatel’s operating licenses are due to expire in October 2017.

South Africa: Vodacom not planning to sell South African towers, but speculation continues that Telkom might

Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman told BizTechAfrica that the company had no plans to sell towers: “One of the key reasons for doing this type of deal is to facilitate a fast rollout of network coverage, especially if you’re balance sheet constrained. We already have extensive coverage in South Africa, and balance sheets are generally pretty healthy, so the basic drivers aren’t there. On top of that, we already have extensive site sharing between the operators.”

Meanwhile, Telkom are believed to be considering options for the sale or outsourcing the management of their tower portfolio.

South Africa: Cell C hints at nationwide LTE launch, Telkom launches LTE-A

Already serving Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria with LTE, Cell C would like to roll out a national LTE network, using the spectrum that becomes available when broadcasters switch from analogue to digital.

Meanwhile, Telkom South Africa will introduce LTE Advanced extending its coverage to a total of 50 suburbs in Greater Johannesburg, Western Cape, Tshwane and KwaZulu-Natal by Spring 2015.

 Tanzania: Zantel sale rumors denied, 3G extended, future of towers remains uncertain

Bloomberg quoted unsourced rumors that Etisalat may be seeking to dispose of it’s 65% stake in Zantel, with Vodacom and Millicom believed to be interested. However, within days Etisalat Chairman Essa Al Haddad stated “last week Etisalat increased its shares from 65% to 85% in Zantel.” Meanwhile, Zantel has launched it’s 3G network in mainland Tanzania. Zantel’s Zanzibar-centric tower portfolio is the last substantial portfolio of operator-captive towers in Tanzania. Helios Towers Tanzania previously acquired Millicom and Vodacom’s tower assets, and are believed to have added Airtel’s tower assets in a recent transaction.

Zambia: Airtel Zambia accelerates 3G rollout, tower transaction imminent

Almost a third of Airtel Zambi’s estimated 1,000 base stations in Zambia are now 3G enabled. Zambia remains one of the last remaining Airtel countries where the towers have not yet been sold – IHS are the most likely counterparts following on from their acquisition of MTN Zambia’s towers.

Zambia: Zamtel join MTN in launching 4G

Zamtel plan to extend their LTE network beyond Kitwe, according to ITWedbAfrica, following MTN who launched LTE in January 2014

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