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Gabon: Heiko Schlittke the new Dg Airtel, presents its ambitions for the company

Heiko Schlittke, the new general manager of the mobile operator Airtel Gabon, appointed July 27, 2015, presented to the media his ambitions for the future. During a press dinner, he announced the axes that will ensure the company Telecom “growth of its market share and improving its competitiveness.”

In the voice segment, improved service quality and expansion of network coverage will be done through sustained investment to allow more access to Gabonese telecommunications. In terms of data, high-potential market, Heiko Schlittke, which recognized that 3G launched in Gabon has not had the expected results because the “frequency was not broad enough”explained that “these problems are now being rectified.” Once the issues surrounding 3G resolved, the company will introduce 4G. “The date will be specified soon … very soon”said the CEO of Airtel Gabon.

The company also places great hopes in the Mobile Banking including Airtel Money service is the tool. With 3G and 4G network stability, the boss Airtel is certain that the mobile payment even know the company’s growth driven by the online business that the two technologies will help to develop.

Source: EcoFin

Gabon: Negotiations between general management and Gabon Telecom employees returned

September 18, 2015, senior management and employees of Gabon Telecom telecommunications incumbent met to launch the establishment of the company Convention review process. According Koumaa Abderrahim, General Director of Gabon Telecom, quoted Gabon Review, the review of the settlement agreement will “adapt to the new context, with the opening telecommunications to competition and evolution rapid technologies, including 4G and optics that are developing (…) This agreement will also allow a revision of the remuneration system with a single pay scale for all staff. ”

Franck Ondo Metogo, the adviser to the Labour Minister for Social Dialogue, witnessed the resumption of negotiations, “the revision of a settlement agreement often means that the partners want to get the maximum interest each, while to look for the middle ground and compromise. ” Brice Darius Mbele, the Secretary-General of the National Telecommunications Union (SYNATEL) receiving the draft convention of the hands of Dg Gabon Telecom, he expressed a desire to see the union of the new convention facility meet the “personal and the employer so that this problem is definitively resolved and that finally, within our company, reigns an ideal working environment for the welfare of the company “.

This new breakthrough in the negotiations between management and employees Gabon Telecom comes after the distribution of 5% of the profit claimed by the agents to set the part of the dispute concerning the payment of the charge accumulated bonus. She puts on hold the strike announced by the SYNATEL. However, dissatisfaction with the dismissal of Martin Essone Ebounou the Sg of SYNATEL, is not yet evacuated.

Source: EcoFin

Gabon does not intend to block VoIP calls Viber, Skype or WhatsApp

Concerned about the reduction in revenue of voice segment by the entry of the digital economy actors in this field with VoIP, mobile operators in some African countries have already blocked or have been accused of block VoIP calls on Viber, Skype or WhatsApp. This before returning to reason. This is for example the case in Senegal, where March 3, 2015, following a consumer complaint, the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Post (ARTP) summoned the National Society of the telecommunications Senegal Sonatel to provide it in 48 hours of referral, an explanation of the causes of blocking access to Voice over IP service Viber. Beyond the reasons for the blocking, especially telecom regulator had asked the incumbent, a subsidiary of French telecom group Orange, to address the problem without delay.

In Gabon, mobile operators will not lend themselves to this IP call suspension of play. At least if one believes the regulator of that country. In an interview with Beaugas-Orain Djoyum for website The new Gabon , Lin Mombo, the President of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP), said that the Gabonese President in person, Ali Bongo Ondimba, requested that VoIP calls are blocked in any way. ” The President of the Republic His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba is not for blocking calls Viber, Skype or WhatsApp. It also remains in the democracy of everything IT. It is up to the operators to find an arrangement, a common ground with Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and others. This is so that everyone can benefit from the delivery and portability of the voice in the world , “says Lin Mombo.

Before Senegal, Morocco Telecom had already been charged in 2012 and in August 2014 block calls via Skype and Viber. Similarly, Comores Telecom had blocked VoIP calls in September 2013 and had also suffered the wrath of hackers who hacked and released the internal documents of the company in retaliation for the suspension.

The president of Arcep who was recently appointed by the ITU and by his peers ambassador of good regulatory practices in the world gives his opinion on this issue and returns in this interview on its new missions.

Source: EcoFin

Gabon: The telecom regulator announced an audit of 4G offered by Gabon Telecom

In a statement issued on 2 June 2015, the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Post (ARCEP) announced that it will conduct in the coming days to a quality assessment of the service offered by 4G Gabon Telecom. The service launched in October 2014 by the incumbent telecommunications is currently marketed exclusively in the country.

The audit of the quality of service 4G Gabon Telecom will be only the result of quality control operation of telecommunications services offered by telecom operators in Gabon. Arcep has published the results of the first part of its investigation, that relating to 2G and 3G services and conducted from January 29 to February 27, 2015, reveals that Airtel Gabon is the best ” radio coverage “to Gabon Telecom Moov and Azur.

The telecom regulator also highlights a slight improvement in the quality of services in all telecom operators. This improvement is due to a series of investments made by each company. Gabon Telecom and Airtel have upgraded their networks to be able to get 3G and 4G license, Moov has upgraded its facilities and services to obtain ISO 9001 certification, Azur has launched the development of its service through a partnership with Monaco Telecom.

Source: EcoFin

Gabon: With 1.8 million inhabitants, Gabon has nearly three million subscribers to mobile telephony

In a folder on ICT and telecommunications in Gabon published by the website The New Gabon , we learn that at the end of 2014, the four mobile operators in the country totaled 2,932 731 subscribers. The site that is based on the electronic communications regulatory Authority data and mail (Arcep) also notes that 76% of Gabonese have access to the Internet. Let 1,106,552 subscribers to an Internet connection over a population of 1.8 million.

The market shares of the main operators in the country are also presented. ” Of the four operators in the country, is Libertis, the mobile arm of Gabon Telecom (Morocco Telecom subsidiary), which leads with 40% market share. Either with 1,182,681 subscribers. It is followed narrowly by the Indian Airtel with 39% market share and 1,128,078 clients. Moov (which will merge soon with Gabon Telecom) and Azur come in last place with 14% and 7% of the market (see table). It should be noted that Gabon Télécom is a public company that was privatized in February 2007. It had before privatization Libertis, mobile arm of the incumbent. The company is now 51% owned by Morocco Telecom (which at the time had paid € 61 million for the acquisition of these shares at the expense of Econet, MTN, Deutsche Telekom and Comium
which were also in competition) and 49% by the Gabonese government , “wrote The New Gabon .

The folder Gabon New ICT and Telecommunications is also interested in various developments that the country’s ICT and Telecommunications. And the site of the present Gabon outset as the locomotive of NTIC in Central Africa, almost always giving in the sub-region in terms of new technologies.

Source: EcoFin

Gabon Telecom lowered its telecom prices again

Gabon Telecom telecommunications incumbent unveiled a decline in telecom prices. At a press conference held on 12 January 2015 Lhoussaine Oussalah (photo), the Director General of Gabon Telecom, said in the voice segment, minute calls between fixed-line and mobile fall of 215 FCFA 120 FCFA national. Is a 48% discount. Internationally, going from 286 FCFA to 120 FCFA. An 58% reduction. Calls between fixed remain free.

In the mobile Internet segment, Gabon Telecom also announced a next lower tariffs for unlimited 4G package that costs 90 000 FCFA per month. Lhoussaine Oussalah explains that this reduction will be a response to consumer dissatisfaction who consider it too high price for more than half of the company’s subscribers. Gabon Telecom also provides that an effort to bring down the price level of fees on the Internet fiber access for businesses and individuals, will continue by 1 February 2015.

For Lhoussaine Oussalah, the objective of this generalized decline in service Gabon Telecom is to encourage not only the penetration of fixed within the company but also generate a rapid appropriation of broadband by Gabonese. Lin Mombo, president of electronics communications regulatory authority ARCEP and positions) stressed the need for Gabon Telecom resize its network so that the volume of traffic that will generate cost reductions do not saturate.

Source: Ecofin

Gabon, Congo, CAR Azur Telecom seeks investment in Gabon, Congo, CAR

Jean Bruno Obambi, CEO of Azur Telecom, is in the process of securing international financing for the company’s operating units in the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. According to Jeune Afrique, discussions are underway with a number of international financial institutions, with the talks being overseen by Monaco Telecom officials (see below). Discussions are said to be at an advanced stage with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, with other rumoured backers said to include the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO, also known as the Netherlands Development Finance Company), a bilateral private-sector development bank based in the Hague. Jeune Afrique reports that Azur owner BinTel may be willing to sell a 20% stake in its business for around EUR20 million (USD23.7 million).
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in June 2014 Monaco Telecom signed a strategic partnership agreement with Azur Telecom’s parent company, Middle Eastern group BinTel. Under the initial phase of the partnership, Monaco Telecom will assist in the revision of BinTel’s business plan and also help to raise funds for the company, while the second stage will involve cooperating in areas including marketing, network infrastructure and roaming for a period of three years.
Lebanon-based BinTel was founded by Mu’taz Sawwaf in 2006, as a telecoms offshoot of the Saudi BinLadin Group. Registered in Dubai in 2007, and initially headquartered in Bahrain, the company was set up with a view to acquiring and operating GSM providers across Africa. In 2007 it acquired NationLink in the Central African Republic, and in October 2009 BinTel successfully launched as the fourth mobile operator in Gabon under the brand name Azur. In December 2009 the company was awarded the fourth mobile licence in the Republic of Congo; Equateur Telecom Congo (Azur) went on to launch commercial services in September 2010.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon: Gift of the Gab: govt approves Gabon Telecom, Moov merger

The Gabonese government has approved long-rumoured plans to merge Gabon Telecom and Moov Gabon – the two local subsidiaries of Maroc Telecom and its controlling shareholder Etisalat – Jeune Afrique reports, paving the way for the creation of a new, enlarged operator.
In November 2013 French media group Vivendi signed a definitive agreement to sell its controlling 53% stake in Gabon Telecom’s parent Maroc Telecom to UAE-based Etisalat, which already owned Gabon Telecom’s cellular market rival Moov Gabon. In May 2014 Etisalat completed the Maroc Telecom takeover, before agreeing to sell its Atlantique Telecom subsidiaries (including Moov Gabon) to Maroc Telecom as part of an operational overhaul. TeleGeography notes that, with 35.7% (Gabon Telecom) and 18.6% (Moov) of the market, respectively, the combined entity will leapfrog market leader Airtel Gabon (37.3%) in the subscriber stakes.
In addition, Jeune Afrique reports that the Gabonese authorities are keen to fill the void by licensing a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), with communications minister Pastor Ngoua Neme reportedly endorsing the plans. As such, France’s Orange Group has already been approached ‘discreetly’ with a view to gauging its interest in a virtual operator concession.
With a wireless population penetration rate of more than 190%, Gabon is unlikely to see much interest in a tender for the vacant licence, potentially making the introduction of an MVNO a more viable option.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon: IG Telecom and O3b team up in Gabon

Gabonese internet service provider (ISP) IG Telecom signed a partnership with satellite broadband capacity provider O3b Networks on 10 December 2014 to improve its coverage and quality of services across Gabon, including some areas of the country where connectivity was previously patchy or non-existent, targeting wholesale customers including mobile network operators as well as companies in various sectors. As reported by Agence Ecofin, via the new deal IG Telecom will take advantage of O3b’s medium earth orbit satellites which reduce latency in data transmission. Bercky Lufwa Mayedo Ngoua, commercial director of IG Telecom, said that via the O3b connectivity the company will offer a range of solutions to various operators to connect their network, anytime, anywhere, quickly and reliably, while transmitting and receiving data at a lower cost and receiving a higher speed and better quality.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon Cybercity wins foreign investors

Cybercity, a multi-billion ICT project located in the Mandji Island near the oil-rich city of Port-Gentil in Gabon, is reported to be becoming one of Central Africa’s top targets for foreign investors. The government of Ali Bongo said Cybercity will, upon completion, become the region’s ICT hub and a major regional and continental digital communication centre that will attract several African and overseas companies. These companies, it emphasises, will do business as if they were doing it somewhere in the developed world. This prediction seems to be true because Moroccan delegates from 15 ICT companies who visited Gabon on 20-24 October 2014 said they were impressed by Cybercity, and were therefore ready to help Gabon make its dream come true. A delegation of US investors who also visited Gabon this year were also said to have been seduced by Cybercity. The delegation was led by Computers Frontiers President Barbara Keating. Cybercity will comprise eight digital centres, namely Gabon Internet City (GIC), Gabon Hosting Zone (GHZ), Gabon Outsourcing Zone (GOZ), Gabon Media City (GMC), Gabon Studio City (GSC), Gabon Tech Zone (GTZ), Gabon Knowledge Village (GKV) and Gabon Green Power (G2PE). The construction is set to begin towards the end of 2015, the government said. Decrypting his Digital Gabon vision, Bongo urged investing companies to come in numbers, saying that whoever invests in the project and settles here will be exempted for paying tax for 10 years. Director General for Taxation Joel Ogouma said companies that settle in Cybercity will have their tax on profit reduced by 10% from the 11th year, and will be free to repatriate their funds, among others. The government, which is hoping that technology giants such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, HP and Dell will eventually come on board, says the ICTs were a critical element in Gabon’s strategy to emerge and diversify its economy. Technologist analyst John Osei-Seidu said the project could not have been planned without the landing of fibre optic in the country. “The landing of fibre optic is of a critical importance in these countries because it constitutes a foundation for all future major ICT projects on the continent,” he said.

Source: Biztech Africa

Gabon, World Bank sign US$58 million-fibre optic agreement

The oil-rich, Central African nation of Gabon and the World Bank have signed a US$58 million agreement that will clear the way for the construction of a major fibre optic infrastructure to link the country’s five provinces via broadband and cross over to the Republic of Congo.

The agreement, described as ‘historic and vital’ by many observers in the capital Libreville, will see the 1140 km-fibre optic African Coast Europe (ACE) be extended to link the cities of Franceville and Libreville, and run along the Transgabonnais railway network.

Besides, the network will interconnect Koulamoutou, Lastourville, Franceville, Bongoville, Lékoni,Moanda, Bakoumba and Lékoko, and cross the border to link with the Congo-Brazzaville fibre optic network.

“This is an historic agreement. Upon completion, the network could have a length of over 3 000 km,” college student Arsène Moundounga said in Libreville.

“Our country is changing for the best. I’m 100% sure that things will never be the same again and Gabon will be the best place where everybody will want to live and work in Africa,” he bragged.

Oil-rich and economically stable Gabon, ruled with iron-fist for more than five decades by the same family (the late Omar Bongo and currently by his son Ali Bongo), has always attracted thousands of African and European migrants who see it as some sort of an African Eldorado.

And building a telecommunication infrastructure of such magnitude will be the first step towards diversifying its economy, which has for decades relied too much on oil and gas.

As expected, a Chinese-owned company got the nod to build the network. The winner is ChinaCommunication Service International (CCSI), www.chinaccsi.com, a subsidiary of China Telecom Group, has a period of between three and four years to build the infrastructure.

CCSI has 18 representations in Africa. Its GM Ping Lai Lu said his company had the capacity and the experience to make this project a success and provide quality service for the development of Gabon’s ICT networks.

Source: BizTech Africa

Gabon: Airtel partners with UNESCO for IT youth training

Bharti Airtel with launch a new training programme targeting to impart new technological skills to thousands of youth in Gabon in partnership with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The three-year initiative – dubbed ‘’Train My Generation: Gabon 5,000’’ – is the first of its kind that UNESCO has partnered with a private organisation in Sub-Saharan Africa. It aims at offering a scientific and entrepreneurial training to 5,000 of people (aged 18- 35 years) and high-school teachers in Gabon – through information and communication technology (ICT).

Initially, cyber centres equipped with laptops and servers will be created in schools in Libreville, Port Gentil, Oyem, Franceville, Bitam and Lambaréné.

During the signing ceremony, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, welcomed the company’s Airtel’s gesture and highlighted the importance of private firms emulating the example in forging more partnerships to empower young people in the region.

“The African private sector is extremely dynamic and I am very proud today to sign the first UNESCO partnership with a company based in Africa,” said Bokova.

Hervé Olivier Njapoum, the CEO of Airtel Gabon, on his part reiterated Airtel’s commitment in the development of African youth, stating that the company recognises them as a critical part of the continent’s growth agenda, if well trained.

“Through this partnership, Airtel is keen to help build knowledge, taking advantage of the expertise of one of the most important bodies of the United Nations: UNESCO. In promoting technology-based innovation and knowledge through programmes, this investment is expected to enhance the Digital Gabon Plan – which aims at countrywide digital infrastructure by 2016 – and reinforce the government’s development agenda of a wide range of e-services, potentially unlocking of SMEs growth.”

The Gabonese Ambassador, Gisele Marie-Hortense Ossakedjombo Ngoua Memiaghe, welcomed the partnership, citing studies that “have shown a causal link between telecommunications development and economic development.”

The 5,000 young people targeted in the programme will receive basic training in ICT during the first phase of the project, which will also provide online training to one hundred science teachers in secondary school. Teachers will use their skills to provide online assistance to 15,000 high school students preparing for their final year examination. But in view of the access to the platform used to support this educational facility, the academic support should reach a far greater number of students.

Small groups of students will learn how to develop mobile applications, manage cyber cafes and implement cooperative service centres throughout the project Train My Generation: Gabon 5000.

Source: IT News Africa

Gabon: New life in Gabon as country hits broadband highway

The Central African nation of Gabon is about to start speeding into the highway of broadband in a bid to deliver its people from slow, expensive and inconsistent internet.

Three big companies are due to sign a critical agreement this week to mark the construction of a large broadband infrastructure aimed at interlinking the country’s cities and villages.

This comes at the time when the country prepares to be connected to the Central Africa’s high-speed optic backbone as the year 2015 draws near.

The infrastructure will help generate a series of digital connections that will see Libreville being linked to the country’s second-largest city Franceville, with a point of interconnection with Congo-Brazzaville – all of this representing a 1 100 km-infrastructure of optic fibre.

“It will mark the start of a new life for all of us and it will change many things in almost every sector of our country,” college student Alfred Monkou said in the capital Libreville.

President Ali Bongo said in Kigali last year that changing the lives of Gabon citizens required that the government made ICT an urgent priority.

Technology analyst John Osei-Seidu told Biztechafrica that despite its vast natural resources, Gabon ICT penetration was still insignificant as the state has not invested enough in this sector.

Rural communities are the most marginalised in terms of ICT penetration, Osei-Seidu said, adding that the country still has a long way to go before being counted among the region’s largest ICT hubs.

“Every government nowadays talks about making its country a digital hub of the region and the continent, but that sounds very much like a talk show because actions speak louder than words,” he said.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) said that internet density is in Africa is just above 80 persons per thousand (less than one in ten), while the figure for fixed telephones are even lower.

Official statistics show that Gabon has currently close to 500 000 internet users.

The African Health Observatory says Gabon has so far done well in terms of mobile telephonie and internet. However, it said the country needs to work hard in the following areas:

Improving national coverage nationwide, particularly in rural areas
Improving the quality of service
Improving internet speed ​​
Prices still very high compared to the regional average
Building a national fibre optic backbone

Source: BizTech Africa

Airtel partners with BGFIBank for mobile money transfers in four countries

Bharti Airtel has partnered with Central African financial group BGFIBank Group to expand mobile money access to the bank’s customers, the telecoms group has announced. As such, the partnership will see the telco’s existing Airtel Money service become accessible to BGFIBank customers in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Madagascar. Going forward, BGFIBank account holders will be able to transfer money between their bank account and their Airtel Money account, check their BGFI account balance and order cheque books via their mobile phone. Chidi Okpala, director of Airtel Money, commented: ‘This is a significant milestone for Airtel Africa as we seek to broaden our pan-African footprint for Airtel Money to serve customers better.’
BGFIBank Group, which is headquartered in Gabon, counts subsidiaries in eight countries, namely: Gabon, Benin, Republic of Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Cote d’Ivoire and France.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon: Moov subscribers diagnosed with the Flooz

Atlantique Telecom has reportedly introduced the ‘Flooz’-branded electronic money transfer service for its Gabonese unit, Moov. According to online journal GabonLibre.com, the service was unveiled by director general Abdoulaye Cisse on Friday. Regional financial institution Orabank will act as the cellco’s partner, ensuring the security of all money transfers.
The Flooz service, previously launched over the networks of Moov’s sister companies in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Togo, provides mobile functions including payment for goods and services, money transfers, deposits and withdrawals to/from virtual bank accounts, other account management functions and mobile phone credit top-ups.
According to GabonLibre, the banking rate within the west African country currently stands at just 7%; by contrast, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the mobile penetration rate in Gabon stood at an incredible 199.1% at end-March 2014, with multiple SIM card ownership extremely common.

Source: TeleGeography

Maroc Telecom sees marginal improvement in its domestic operations in 1H14

Maroc Telecom, the country’s leading telco in terms of subscribers, has published its financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2014, reporting a marginal 0.7% annual increase in revenues, from MAD14.468 billion (USD1.746 billion) to MAD14.564 billion. The improvement was chiefly attributed to 10.9% annual growth among the company’s international operations, which partly offset a 2.4% sales decrease in its domestic market during the same period. Meanwhile, Maroc Telecom’s EBITDA decreased by 4.4% in the period under review, to MAD8.034 billion; the slump was attributed to a 7% decline in the Moroccan unit’s EBITDA, although this was partly compensated by a 4.1% increase in EBITDA from the company’s international operations. Maroc Telecom’s net income in the period under review reached MAD3.073 billion, a 12.7% decrease on the MAD3.521 billion income reported in 1H13.

In operational terms, Maroc Telecom reported annualised growth of 9.2% for its consolidated customer base, with the total number of customers passing the 38 million-mark at end-June 2014. In Morocco, wireless customers increased by 0.6% year-on-year to reach 18.163 million, up from 18.049 million in 1H13; the telco’s wireline customer base grew by 9.0% to 1.444 million users, while broadband customers increased by 22.3% y-o-y to 923,000. In Mauritania, wireless numbers decreased by 6.1% to 1.877 million users, due to intense competition in the market, while broadband subscriptions increased by 3.4% to 8,000. In Burkina Faso, the Office Nationale des Telecommunications (Onatel, incl. Telmob) saw its mobile subscribers increase by 27% y-o-y to reach 5.394 million by 30 June, although its broadband customer base declined by 34.2% to around 18,000. Further, Gabon Telecom reported a 16.6% increase in its number of its mobile users, to 1.083 million, while Mali-based operator Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) increased its mobile subscriber numbers 21.8% to 9.164 million in 1H14, with more than one and a half million net additions in the period under review.

Going forward, the group will expand the scope of its international operations with six new markets, following the signing of a USD650 million agreement with its new major shareholder Etisalat in May this year. The deal involves the acquisition of the UAE telco’s subsidiaries in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Niger, the Central African Republic and Togo; the deal also includes Prestige Telecom, which provides IT services for Etisalat’s subsidiaries in those countries. The agreement is subject to approval from the relevant authorities and Maroc Telecom anticipates that it should be closed by Q3 2014. Further, the operator expects that the accelerated international diversification will result in 40% increase in group revenues.

Abdeslam Ahizoune, chairman of the management board, stated: ‘Maroc Telecom Group confirms the return to revenue growth, with the rise in traffic driven by our operating performances and by the quality of our offers. Our customers communicate more and more inspired by our innovations and secured with the quality of our networks. Despite a challenging regulatory environment, the group continues its proactive policy of modernising networks through the deployment of ultra high speed fixed line and mobile services. The agreement concluded with Etisalat to acquire its activities in six countries with high-potential markets allows Maroc Telecom Group to pass a new milestone in its development in sub-Saharan Africa.’

Source: TeleGeography

Airtel trains youth in Chad, Gabon

Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today reiterated its commitment to further support human capital in African economies across the region through the investment of ICT development and other initiatives. HE President Ali Bongo Ondimba opened the first New York Forum AFRICA, by calling on the international economic community and all African stakeholders to increase participation in Africa’s current growth and to discover the potential of a continent that has a wealth of talent and opportunity. He was supported in this regard by HE President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in the presence of hundreds of Africa’s policy makers.
Speaking during this year’s New York Forum Africa, Mr. Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa said “Africa is a continent with a young population, and this population is a powerful tool for development. Yet, the youth can only actively participate in positively transforming the continent if it is well prepared. That is why relevant training for the youth and an enabling ICT infrastructure is vital for the emergence of Africa as a dynamic economic centre.”

Mr. de Faria took an active part in the third edition of the New York Forum Africa held in Libreville, centered on the theme of transforming the African continent through local processing of its vast natural resources. The Forum had a special focus on African youth, as a catalyst for the development of Africa.

“Airtel recognizes the significant potential of the youth to drive the economies where we operate. That is why we are investing in rolling out ICT training programmes in countries such as Chad where over 6,000 will benefit. We are also in the process of training another 5,000 young adults in Gabon – and we will continue doing this across Africa,” said Mr. de Faria.

A research survey of Africa’s Generation Y was also unveiled by The New York Forum Institute. As well as being presented to heads of state and participants at the forum, the survey findings will be distributed by The New York Forum Institute to the top 10 companies and universities across Africa. In addition, the findings will also be presented to the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014.

Mr. de Faria said the challenge now remains for players in telecoms, including governments, to find a sustainable, unified vision to support learning by creating platforms such as tech hubs, centres of excellence and driving connectivity through technologies such as 3G / 4G, wireless broadband to boost innovation.

“Advancing telecommunications has a significant role in developing knowledge economies in Africa and education is the foundation of economic growth. We realize that knowledge is inseparable from the development of human capital and by investing in high-speed and smart infrastructure networks, we are bringing our young adults closer to economic independence,” said Mr. de Faria.

Airtel also took the opportunity to showcase 4G technology for participants at the forum venue.

Source: IT News Africa

Gabon: Bouygues favourite for Gabon fibre contract

Axione, part of France’s Bouygues Group, is the favourite to win an international tender for the management of a fibre-optic network in Gabon, the results of which will be announced next month, Jeune Afrique writes. The Gabonese government is expected to award a 15-year contract for managing the national fibre transmission network connecting capital Libreville and regional centres in June, under a construction budget of around EUR100 million (USD137 million) to be partly funded by the World Bank. Axione, a sister company of Bouygues Telecom, is up against competition in the tender from KT Networks of South Korea, Spanish firm Fenosa and Ukrainian broadband network operator Datagroup, while African fibre connectivity provider Liquid Telecom withdrew its bid on 7 May.

Source: TeleGeography

Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco: Maroc Telecom 1Q14 revenues up 0.4% to USD887m

Maroc Telecom, a subsidiary of French media group Vivendi, has published its financial results for the first quarter of 2014, reporting a marginal 0.4% annual increase in revenues, from MAD7.180 billion (USD874.18 million) to MAD7.206 billion. The improvement was attributed to 12.3% annual growth among the company’s international operations, which partly offset a 3.4% sales decrease in its domestic market during the same period. Maroc Telecom’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) meanwhile decreased by 6.8% in the period under review, to MAD3.942 billion; the slump was attributed to an 11% decline in EBITDA in Morocco.
In operational terms, Maroc Telecom reported annualised growth of 16.5% for its consolidated customer base, with the total number of customers passing the 39 million mark at end-March 2014. In Morocco, wireless customers increased by 2.6% year-on-year to 18.327 million, up from 17.871 million in 1Q13; the telco’s wireline customer base grew by 9.2% to 1.418 million users, while broadband customers increased by 22.7% y-o-y to 888,000. In Mauritania, wireless numbers decreased by 8.1% to 1.863 million users, due to intense competition in the market, while broadband subscriptions increased by 10.0% to 7,500. In Burkina Faso, the Office Nationale des Telecommunications (Onatel, incl. Telmob) saw its wireless subscribers increase by 23.8% y-o-y to pass the five million user milestone by 31 March, although its broadband customer base declined by 22.1% to around 24,000. Further, Gabon Telecom reported a 26.0% increase in the number of its mobile users to 1.039 million, while Mali-based operator Societe des Telecommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) increased its mobile subscriber numbers 58.1% to 10.283 million in 1Q14, with more than four million net additions in the period under review.
Abdeslam Ahizoune, chairman of Maroc Telecom’s management board, stated: ‘As a result of the constant adaptation of our strategy to the latest innovations in technology and services, Maroc Telecom Group has once again proven its capacity to understand and control new information technologies. In addition, the group practices strict cost control that retains high margins and leaves investment capacity undiminished. In order to pave the way for high-speed broadband, Maroc Telecom has pursued significant renovation of its mobile, fixed line, and internet networks.’

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon; Congo: Work set to start on Gabon-Congo fibre link

Work is set to begin on the Gabon-Congo fibre-optic interconnection, with successful tender bids to made known by June this year and the project delivery date scheduled for January 2016.

The Gabonese government says the future of Central Africa is now intimately linked to a very high-speed Internet service. Designed and co-financed by the World Bank and the governments, this vast “Central African Backbone” project will enable an interconnection between the Congo and Gabon. This open network will be managed by a public-private partnership.

The Gabon-Congo border fibre-optic network will stretch from Pointe-Noire to Mbinda (on the Congo-Gabon frontier). It will follow the Congo-ocean railway line (CFCO) and will have six links, for Pointe-Noire, Dolisie, Monto Mbelo, Makabana, Mossendjo and Mbinda. In 2016 all these populations will thus have low-cost access to a quality Internet connection.

Source: Biztech Africa

Gabon: Airtel Gabon offers commercial HSPA+ services

Indian-backed cellco Airtel Gabon has launched the West African country’s first commercial UMTS-based 3G mobile data services, over a W-CDMA/HSPA+ network, using the ‘3.75G’ marketing banner. According to Airtel Gabon’s website, three categories of high speed mobile internet/data packages are offered over the new 3G network: ‘Internet Packages’, ‘CPT Internet’ and device-specific ‘BlackBerry’ tariffs.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Airtel Gabon (formerly Zain Gabon, and originally Celtel Gabon), launched commercial mobile internet services over a 2.5G GPRS/EDGE data platform in December 2006, and subsequently developed its internet/data service range for handsets (including BlackBerry-specific 2.5G services) and USB modems for PCs/laptops, while also focusing on mobile financial services under the ‘Airtel Money’ banner. In October 2011 Airtel Gabon was awarded its 3G UMTS concession, while its access to internet bandwidth was improved in December that year when it signed an agreement allowing access to the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE international high speed cable with incumbent fixed line telco Gabon Telecom; the launch of a second undersea cable connected to Gabon, the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) system, in December 2012, improved bandwidth resources further.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon Telecom (Libertis) gets 3G/4G licence via strategic agreements with Morocco

The Gabonese Minister of the digital economy, post and communication, Pastor Ngoua, and the CEO of Maroc Telecom, Abdeslam Ahizoune, on Friday signed an agreement to award a 3G/4G mobile network operating licence to Gabon Telecom, a subsidiary of the Moroccan group, which operates 2G mobile services via its Libertis division. Local news source Gabonactu.com reports that Libertis will establish a high speed mobile broadband network before the end of this year. Incumbent fixed line operator Gabon Telecom, 51%-controlled by Maroc Telecom (with the Gabonese government holding the remainder), covers more than 90% of Gabonese territory with mobile services, and has grown from 240,000 cellular subscribers in its privatisation year of 2007 to over a million customers at the end of 2013. Maroc Telecom has exceeded a promise to invest at least XAF100 billion (USD210 million) over five years under a privatisation agreement in 2007.

The 3G/4G licence is the second post-2G concession to be awarded in Gabon, following Indian-backed group Airtel’s 3G win in October 2011, TeleGeography notes. As reported by Einnews.com, Gabon Telecom/Libertis obtained its 3G/4G permit as one of 24 strategic agreements signed by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI and Gabonese president Ali Bongo Ondimba on Friday in Libreville. The partnership agreements cover various sectors such as agriculture, health, housing, vocational training, finance and banking, new technologies, transport and tourism, aimed at strengthening the framework for cooperation between the two countries.

Maroc Telecom is in the process of being taken over by UAE-based group Etisalat, which already owns various African cellcos, including Libertis’ rival Moov Gabon.

Source: TeleGeography

Gabon: Gabon Telecom (Libertis) announces 3G, 4G rollouts this year

Lhoussaine Oussalah, the director general of Gabon Telecom announced at a press conference on 23 January that the company’s mobile division Libertis will roll out 3G and 4G mobile services in around six months’ time, according to a report by Agence Ecofin. The Maroc Telecom-owned operator, which currently provides 2.5G mobile services, is in the design stage for the planned 3G/4G deployment, looking to implement mobile data speeds of up to 150Mbps over LTE technology.

Source: TeleGeography