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Benin: Benin Telecom offers a new start through its new name: be.Télécoms

The incumbent telecommunications operator, long known as the Benin Telecom has done has driven 14 October 2015. The name under which the state enterprise has accumulated numerous complaints and dissatisfaction of consumers for poor quality of service has been abandoned in favor of a completely new. Benin Telecom has become be.Télécoms. A new start that the general management of the company wants full of promise.

According to the explanations of Medea Dégbé Caesar, General Manager of be.Télécoms, the new name is intended primarily to win back customers who over time have consciously or unconsciously associated with the former name of the company to a poor quality of service . “We invite the public to availment of this company, part of our national heritage, and consumption of our products, to continue this long tradition we intend to preserve” a-t- he said.

Specializing in the marketing of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, Internet and others, Benin Telecom is at a turning point for its future. The state can not continue indefinitely to bear alone the burden of this company plans to open its capital to investors, local and foreign. But anyone supposed wishes to inject money in a bad reputation society. Improve the image of the incumbent to consumers through a new beginning, it was the change of name for a start, thus appears as a strategy to make us forget the past and its defects boast its potential.

Source: EcoFin

Benin: Commercial ACE services officially launched in Benin

High speed connectivity services on the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) international submarine fibre-optic cable were officially put into service in the Republic of Benin at a ceremony last week hosted by the Ministry of Communications & ICT (MCICT), more than six months after the Cotonou landing station’s connection to the ACE network on 1 April 2015, Agence Ecofin reports. Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi was present at the launch event for ACE, which adds capacity and redundancy to the country’s existing international submarine connection on the SAT3/WASC system, in service since 2002. The project to connect Benin to ACE was conducted under the Regional Communications Infrastructure Programme for West Africa (WARCIP), and reportedly cost USD35 million, funded by the International Development Agency (IDA) of the World Bank, the Beninese government and the local Benin ACE GIE consortium which is licensed to operate and manage access to the new submarine bandwidth. Benin ACE GIE consists of local mobile/fixed telecoms operators/ISPs, namely: MTN Benin, Moov Benin, Benin Telecoms/Libercom, Isocel, Espace Informatique Benin (EIT), Omnium des Telecommunications et de l’Internet (OTI) and Univercell. State-backed Benin Telecoms is also a direct member of the ACE cable consortium, led by France’s Orange Group.

Source: TeleGeography

Benin: MTN Benin agrees Managed Rural Coverage deal with Ericsson

Swedish technology giant Ericsson has signed a five-year Managed Rural Coverage agreement with cellco MTN Benin, to bring mobile coverage to parts of central and northern Benin where there was none previously. The vendor’s press release says that its new Managed Rural Coverage business model represents a cost-competitive solution whereby Ericsson enables operators to provide mobile coverage for a set period according to service level agreements and defined key performance indicators.
Under the terms of this contract, access will be provided via low-power consumption Ericsson radio base stations running on solar energy to avoid the high costs and emissions associated with diesel generators. Furthermore, transmission will be provided via satellite to avoid the high costs and civil works associated with building a microwave backhaul network in remote villages, supporting a viable business model to provide mobile coverage to parts of Benin where many people live on less than USD2 per day.

Source: TeleGeography

Benin: ARCEP is preparing the introduction of portability in the domestic telecom market

The Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority and the Post (ARCEP) in Benin is preparing for late September for the introduction of mobile number portability in the country. It is on this day that the telecom regulator has officially launched the study on the revolution of the national telecom sector, with representatives of telecom operators.

Through the study entrusted to OpenIT firm, Benin expects, based on current regulations and a benchmark done in countries with economies similar to his, a report on the impact of portability numbers on the Benin environment, possible barriers that prevent its implementation and solutions to break them. The study should also define the costs of implementation, including the regulator and the operators, the costs of porting and routing and impact of portability in traffic control and dialing charges.

Benin’s telecoms market is played by five operators are Bell Benin Communications, Etisalat Benin, Glo Mobile, Libercom and Spacetel Benin. In 2014, according to statistics from Arcep, they share a market of 9,627,447 subscribers.

Source EcoFin

Benin: Orange connects Benin to ACE submarine cable

Orange together with the other members of the ACE consortium, have announced the launch of the ACE cable in Cotonou, Benin and Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

The connection of these two stations is part of the second phase of deployment of the ACE submarine cable, which now serves 18 countries: France, Portugal, the Canary Islands (Spain), Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Two landlocked countries, Mali and Niger, are connected via a terrestrial extension.

The ACE cable, which expands broadband internet access in Africa and provides additional capacity to existing national networks, will cover 17,000 kilometres and will be extended to South Africa by the end of the second phase. Branches are planned in order to connect Cameroon, as this country has just signed the agreement that formalizes its entry into the ACE consortium, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and Namibia.

Since the first phase was launched in December 2012, seven of the connected countries – Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Sierra Leone – have had a direct connection to a submarine cable for the first time, enabling them to access the international broadband network in an optimal manner.

To carry out this ambitious project, Orange, together with its subsidiaries Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Orange Cameroon, Orange Mali, Orange Niger and Sonatel, combined forces with other major partners to form an international consortium.

Greater security for network traffic
Beyond the connectivity between Africa and Europe, thanks to interconnections with other submarine cables, ACE constitutes another route to the Americas and Asia for Africa. Moreover, ACE is an alternative for network traffic between Europe and Asia going through Africa. The cable also diversifies transmission arteries between Portugal and France.

ACE relies on what is currently the most advanced technology used for submarine cables: wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). With WDM, cable capacity can be increased without additional submarine work. Overall capacity will be boosted to 12.8 Tbps using 100-Gbps technology, which supports high-capacity networks.

An essential part of the Group’s broadband network in Africa
The cable’s construction amounts to a total investment of around USD 700 million for the consortium, with around USD 250 million financed by the Group and its subsidiaries. This major investment furthers two of Orange’s strategic objectives: to provide widespread access to the internet in the more than twenty African countries where the Group is present and to continue to improve the quality of its network service.

Through the development of its submarine networks, Orange is contributing to the development of a high-quality worldwide network to help service the ever-increasing volumes of data being exchanged.

Source: IT News AFRICA

Benin: Spacetel, Glo and Etisalat ordered to pay telecom services to subscribers overcharged

Spacetel mobile operators, Etisalat and Glo were warned by electronic communications regulatory authority and postal (Arcep) on 19 May. The telecom regulator has ordered the three telecom companies to reimburse consumers for telecommunications services they have overcharged them.

In its statement, ARCEP indicates that reasons for malfunction in their billing system, Spacetel, Glo and Etisalat will pay the total sum of 176 174 846 FCFA to their aggrieved consumers. In addition to the reimbursement of overcharged services to subscribers, sanctioned telecom operators will also meet several other conditions to avoid aggravating their sanction by the telecom regulator.

Spacetel, Glo and Etisalat will submit to ARCEP, the list of subscribers affected by the reimbursement, the amount of reimbursement to be made in favor of each subscriber and the practical arrangements for reimbursement. They will also convey to the telecoms regulator, 72 hours later after paying subscribers, the list of all those who have benefited from the payment and the amount received by each. The operators, in addition to repair any defects on all their equipment involved in the invoicing of services to subscribers, will finally connect to ARCEP tariff plans in force in their network.

Source: EcoFin

Benin Telecoms launched 4G and brought the country into the era of very high speed

The incumbent telecommunications Benin Telecom SA officially launched 4G deployment jobs in the country. After Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, it will be the fourth country in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to adopt this telecom technology. With 4G, Benin Telecoms hopes to improve the business environment and contribute to socio-economic development through ICT, as Free Morning .

The country goes into high gear after experiencing 3G for three years through the mobile operators MTN and Moov Etisalat. Jalil Assouma the genral manager of Benin Telecoms SA explained that with the power of 4G, ” a farmer in the remotest corners can now, with good internet connectivity 4G, put its products on the internet that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. An entrepreneur or a student can now start a business online and offer its services to customers from his home. For our young artists or music lover, now they can download a movie than an hour in less than a minute or music in less than 1s . ”

The launch of 4G deployment jobs by Benin Telecoms SA was also an opportunity for the company inaugurated its Point of Presence (Pop) and its single window from which subscribers can enjoy all the services Telecom company. The President of the Republic of Benin, Yayi Boni, took part in the ceremony.

Source: EcoFin

Benin: China Gives Benin U.S.$69 Million Loan

China has given Benin a preferential loan of 40 billion CFA Francs (over 69 million U.S. dollars) to fund telecommunication infrastructure projects, diplomatic sources said Monday in Cotonou.

The agreement was signed on the same day in Cotonou between Benin’s Foreign Minister and African Integration Prof. Nassirou Arifari Bako and China’s ambassador to Benin Diao Mingsheng.

“I understand the importance Benin’s government places on construction of telecommunications infrastructures. And we hope the completion of this broadband project will enable Beninese population who are not yet connected to get access to the Internet, ” the Chinese diplomat said, adding that his wish is to see the project completed as soon as possible.

“The Internet promotes social and economic development, and the signing of this agreement is just meant to reinforce our cooperation relations,” he added.

Benin’s foreign minister said the signing of the agreement was another strong signal of China’s willingness to continue supporting Benin’s development process.

“This act comes at a time when Benin, just like other sub- regional countries, is migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting and it is an addition to numerous accomplishments in the fruitful and exemplary cooperation between Benin and China,” Arifari Bako concluded.

Source: allAfrica

Benin gets USD69m Chinese funding for broadband programme

China’s government has issued the Republic of Benin with XOF40 billion (USD69.2 million) in a preferential-rate loan to fund a telecommunication infrastructure project following an agreement yesterday, the Xinhua news agency reported. The funding agreement for the project aiming to raise broadband availability was signed by China’s Ambassador to Benin, Diao Mingsheng, and Benin’s Minister of Foreign Affairs & African Integration Nassirou Arifari Bako. ‘We have come to realise that the government of Benin attaches great importance to the construction of telecommunication infrastructure and we wish that this project would allow those not connected to the Internet access to broadband,’ said the ambassador. For his part, Mr Bako said China had once more demonstrated through this agreement its will to resolutely assist Benin’s development efforts.

Source: TeleGeography

Benin: Benin’s ACE connection to be completed in March

The World Bank has given an update on the expected timetable for the Republic of Benin to be connected to the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) high speed international submarine cable, which is currently in its second-phase rollout of connectivity to additional countries on Africa’s Atlantic coast. The Bank stated that a technical team from Alcatel-Lucent – the consortium cable’s main technology partner – deployed equipment in the transmission room of the Cotonou (Benin) cable landing station in late-December 2014, while the cable laying ship is scheduled to reach Cotonou on 24 February 2015, and Benin will be connected to ACE on 3 March 2015, quoting Alcatel-Lucent projections. In parallel, the architecture of the system allowing the switching and routing of international traffic between ACE and Benin’s sole existing submarine cable link (to the SAT-3/WASC system), is currently being designed by an international consultant financed by the project, the World Bank’s report disclosed. Moreover, building works to house a new Beninese internet exchange point (IXP) ‘should be completed in January 2015,’ although noting that ‘the crossing of the site by the power line feeding the landing station is nevertheless a major obstacle that could delay the works. The Bank and project teams are monitoring this issue and working with the utility company to avoid any further delays.’
Benin’s involvement in the ACE consortium (led by France’s Orange) is being managed via a local special purpose vehicle (SPV) named Benin ACE GIE, a joint venture which includes local mobile operators and internet service providers (ISPs). The World Bank’s latest report says that the operating team at BENIN ACE GIE now has three appointed permanent staff and eight cable landing station technicians. It adds that the draft licence for operating access to the ACE cable via BENIN ACE GIE is currently under review within the various legal departments of the SPV members, as questions have been raised about legal status: the current legal framework for the SPV remains ‘vague’, and this status may be ‘difficult to reconcile with the conditions for open and non-discriminatory access [to ACE cable bandwidth], as capacity allocation to new entrants could pose problems.’ The report continued that once the cable is operational, the legal issues will be further examined to identify the ‘most adequate legal status for the SPV’. Referencing the relatively recent launch of ACE connectivity in another western African country, Guinea, the World Bank added that: ‘In order to build on the Guinean experience, the project team will travel to Conakry in the second quarter of 2015 to meet and exchange with their Guinean counterparts.’
The latest timetable was given in a report dated 25 December 2014 as part of an assessment of World Bank-supported project ‘WARCIP 1-C’ which aims to help increase the geographical reach of broadband networks and to reduce the costs of communications services in Benin.

Source: TeleGeography

Ivory Coast, Benin: MTN launches mobile money cross-border remittance service

Telecoms company MTN today launched mobile money cross-border remittance service between Ivory Coast and Benin. It said the service will further enable cheaper and easy movement of money in the West Africa region.

“The launch of this new corridor is an important part of our mobile financial services strategy. The new service will take advantage of the extensive distribution network of MTN Mobile Money in both countries, and reduce the cost of sending and receiving money for our customers,” said Pieter Verkade, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer.

MTN said the Ivory Coast-Benin mobile money cross-border corridor follows the successful introduction of a similar service in April this year between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

“The ability to transfer money easily and cheaply between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast is already revolutionising the lives of many of our customers. As with the Burkina service, the Benin corridor will not only connect families, but also facilitate trade and business partnerships on a regional scale,” said Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO of MTN Ivory Coast.

The company said the introduction of cross-border remittance forms part of its strategy to increase financial inclusion through the use of mobile technologies, and to reduce the cost of transferring money between countries.

Source: HumanIPO

Benin: Orange continues Libercom negotiations

French telecoms group Orange has resumed its on-off private negotiations with the Beninese authorities on the planned privatisation of state-run cellco Libercom, according to Agence Ecofin, which writes that Orange CEO Stephane Richard has met with officials from Benin at the African country’s embassy in Paris to continue the discussions. According to the report, ‘given the recent meetings in Paris with members of the Technical Commission of denationalisation’ Orange remains ‘likely to be declared the successful bidder’ in Benin’s current tender for 80% of Libercom, which was announced by the republic’s government in February this year, although CommsUpdate reported in March that Etisalat was also interested in Libercom (while the UAE-based group is currently in the process of transferring ownership of its existing local unit Moov Benin to Maroc Telecom, which has not indicated if it shares the same ambition).

Source: TeleGeography

Benin: Globacom unveils anonymous E-Top Up service in Benin Republic

Globacom subscribers situated in the Benin Republic are now able to recharge their airtime without the use of recharge cards. This is due to the company introducing an E-top up service.

Femi Ogunlus, Head of Glomobile Benin, stated that, “Subscribers wishing to use the electronic airtime recharge option should dial *152#. A secret code is then subsequently sent to the subscriber’s phone.”

By utilising this code, subscribers can top up their credit without revealing their personal telephone number to a vendor. According to Ogunlus, “Citizens are extremely security conscious and hold the privacy of their personal identity, phone number, or any other personal details of high importance.”

Source: IT News Africa

Benin’s internet cafés become headquarters for cybercrime

Internet cafés in the West African nation of Benin appear to be fast becoming ‘command centres’ for online scammers who operate there freely without anyone, including cops and owners, lifting a finger, a Biztechafrica investigation has recently found.

As early as 7am, young men swarm these ICT centres and start their ‘dirty business’, which includes sending 419 scam emails to unsuspecting people and sending Facebook friend requests using fake accounts, among others.

One internet café owner in the commercial capital Cotonou denies collaborating with these scammers. She said: “Why would people say that we are collaborating with them? Frankly, I don’t know what these people do with their time, but one thing is for sure they buy a lot of time and are among our trusted customers. I’m not a cop so I can’t arrest them.”

One young scammer, identified only as Victor (24), told Biztechafrica: “We like this place because the owner does not interfere with our work even though she knows who we are. A man has got what he has got to do to make a living,” he said in broken English.

Benin’s proximity with Nigeria – about two hours drive between Cotonou and Lagos if the traffic is smooth – makes it a top target for cybercrime, as many believe that Nigeria is Africa’s cradle for online scam. Many Benin online scammers, like Victor, are thought to have been trained in Nigeria.

ICT teacher Fidele Adjovi said: “Online scam is no longer the specialty of Nigerians, it has long been exported to other African countries by the people who learnt the ropes in Nigeria or from Nigerians living abroad.”

Cops used to patrol some of these internet cafés, but they are no longer coming, one internet user, Paul Ahoussou, told Biztechafrica.

Benin Police were not available for comment, but one cop who was not authorised to speak to the media said he and his colleague were still conducting undercover patrols at internet cafés. “These guys have done a lot of damage here in Benin. But one day is one day, we’ll catch them red-handed.”

Online scammers have developed sophisticated methods over the past years, including sending ‘spies’ to stroll at internet cafés in the hope of memorising people’s email addresses and Facebook usernames.

“This method helps us a lot in the sense that we send as many emails and FB requests as posible, and who knows some may check them right away, and perhaps come on board,” an online scammer told Biztechafrica in the capital city Porto Novo.

Source: Biztech Africa

Benin: Etisalat ‘interested’ in Libercom

UAE-based telecoms group Etisalat is ‘interested’ in purchasing a stake in Beninese state-backed mobile operator Libercom, according to ‘a source familiar with the matter’ quoted by Agence Ecofin. The unnamed source added that Etisalat could be ready to make a bid for Libercom sometime in the second quarter of this year – after the completion of the group’s pending takeover of Morocco’s Maroc Telecom. In a statement issued on 20 February 2014, the Republic of Benin’s government announced its decision to privatise an 80% stake in Libercom, the wholly-owned mobile subsidiary of state-owned incumbent fixed line operator Benin Telecoms. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Etisalat is already the owner of Benin’s second largest cellco by subscribers, Moov Benin, which launched commercial 3G UMTS services at the end of January 2014 (the second in the republic to do so after market Leader MTN). GlobalComms adds that France’s Orange Group was previously thought to be the most likely purchaser of Libercom – having held stop-start negotiations over a possible takeover of Benin Telecoms.

Source: TeleGeography

Benin determined to sell 80% of Libercom to international investor

In a statement issued on 20 February 2014, the Republic of Benin’s government announced its decision to privatise an 80% stake in Libercom, the wholly-owned mobile subsidiary of state-owned incumbent fixed line operator Benin Telecoms. As reported by Agence Ecofin, the announcement stated that ‘the procedure for opening the capital of Libercom SA, initiated by the government, aims to identify and select a private investor or an international telecom operator, [whether in] a consortium or not, to enter the capital [with a] stake [of] 80% in order to ensure the development of [the cellco’s] potential through investments that allow for a more efficient use of technical resources available through [its] technology-neutral licence.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Benin Telecoms and Libercom have struggled financially since a build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement with US-based Titan Africa designed to run for the period 2000-2009 was scrapped early after Titan was found guilty of bribery and corruption by a US court. Despite the precarious financial state of its parent, Libercom agreed to pay the increased licence fee demanded by the incoming Yayi administration in 2007, but it remains a long way adrift in fifth place in the country’s cellular market. GlobalComms adds that Benin’s president Boni Yayi ordered the relevant authorities to initiate the privatisation of the struggling GSM operator in November 2012, with France’s Orange Group thought to be the likely purchaser – having previously been in stop-start negotiations over a possible takeover of Benin Telecoms – but no developments followed.

Source: TeleGeography

Benin: Moov Benin launches 3G for smartphone, tablet, modem users

Moov Benin, part of the UAE-owned Etisalat group, has launched commercial 3G mobile broadband data services in the west African republic’s capital Cotonou, based on a ‘3.75G’ W-CDMA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+ network. Moov made 3G internet/data packages available for its customers with compatible handsets/devices on 30 January 2014. It is offering seven 3G data tariffs (all inclusive of an additional SMS messaging quota), including an entry-level XOF500 (USD1.05) 50MB plan with seven-day duration; XOF1,500 for 200MB (30-day duration); XOF3,000 for 400MB; XOF10,000 for 2GB; ranging up to XOF30,000 for a 10GB monthly package. Users reported initial peak speeds of up to 27Mbps (albeit on a brand new network with little user traffic) and welcomed prices initially lower than certain tariffs offered by rival MTN Benin. Over the first two weeks of February Moov Benin released further details of compatible devices, including smartphones – indicating at least four compatible models available including handsets from Alcatel and Samsung costing from XOF40,000 – plus a tablet (from Alcatel, costing XOF100,000 with a month’s data), and a Moov-branded USB modem (XOF25,000 with a month’s data package). However, the operator has not yet released network coverage details. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that following MTN Benin’s 3G (technology neutral) licence award in March 2012, it took Moov Benin until June 2013 to receive a similar ‘universal’ mobile licence, clearing the path for launching 3G, and in the future 4G services. The 20-year licence award followed a tender finished the previous month, and carried the same USD100 million price tag as MTN was charged. GlobalComms also shows that Moov Benin was the country’s mobile internet leader in terms of users at mid-2013, with 376,000 customers using 2.5G GPRS/EDGE services, or nearly 54% of the segment, up from 167,000 users a year earlier.

Source: TeleGeography