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MTN SA plans to build a third-generation (3G) mobile network to offer wireless broadband to consumers in outlying areas. It will build the 3G network at 900MHz. TechCentral has learnt that MTN expects significant growth in demand for broadband services outside SA’s cities over the next few years and so is keen to boost its 3G coverage in these areas.
Telecommunications group MTN faces tougher times in the 20 territories in which it operates outside SA as regulators across Africa and the Middle East begin to flex their muscles. Outgoing group president and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko says operators across the region are facing tougher regulations.
MTN SA appears to have put the worst of its troubles, including its damaging billing-system problems, behind it and has gained market share in the past six months on the back of a jump in prepaid subscribers. Data revenues have leapt higher as demand for broadband Internet access continues to grow and the group has revised its full-year SA subscriber expectations sharply upwards on the back of a strong first-half performance.
The board of Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, MTN, should be in a position to announce the name of the group’s new CEO “within the next month or two”. That’s the word from outgoing CEO Phuthuma Nhleko, who was speaking during question time at the presentation of the group’s interim financial results in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Cell C can continue using its controversial new branding, which includes a design that resembles the copyright symbol. There’s even a “reasonable possibility” it will be successful in registering “Cell ©” as a trademark, despite the fact that various applications it made in December 2009 have been “provisionally declined” by the Registrar of Trademarks. These are the views of Don MacRobert, one of the country’s leading intellectual property and trademarks lawyers, who says the cellular operator can continue using the branding despite the registrar’s decision, which was handed down on 2 August, just two days before Cell C unveiled its new branding.
Phuthuma Nhleko, group president and CEO of JSE-listed emerging markets telecommunications group MTN, has not completely given up on the idea of concluding another big acquisition. “Though we realise there are far fewer opportunities out there, we cannot afford to be inactive because the terrain is changing all the time,” Nhleko told analysts at the group’s interim results presentation in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The strong rand has taken its toll on MTN, Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN. In the six months to 30 June, the group’s revenue has fallen 2,2% to R56bn. However, revenue would have been 12%, or R8,2bn, higher than reported if the rand had not been as strong.
Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT), which is in the process of acquiring Dimension Data in a R24bn all-cash deal, should be pleased with the SA-based technology group’s latest financial results. In the three months to 30 June 2010, Didata has lifted sales by a robust 22% over the same period in 2009, boosted by a good performance from its systems integration division.
SA’s three biggest cities are all pushing ahead with ambitious fibre-optic network projects, promising businesses and even residential customers cheaper and faster broadband. The municipalities of Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town are all pushing ahead with plans to build thousands of kilometres of fibre infrastructure as they try to drive down communication costs in their cities.
A plan by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to cut wholesale call termination rates may be delayed until next year, parties close to the process say. The rates, which were supposed to be cut last month as a first step on a two-year glide path down, are the fees the operators charge each other to carry calls onto their networks.