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MTN Group to Re-Apply for Ethiopian Telcom Licence

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MTN

Africa’s largest telco, MTN has expressed its commitment to re-apply for a telecom licence at Africa’s second-most populous country, Ethiopia, after a failed attempt by the telco giant and its consortium.

The move follows the announcement of a consortium led by Vodafone and Kenya-based telco, Safaricom as the preferred bidder after a competitive process involving MTN, Africa’s leading telco and other bidders.

In a statement concluding the lengthy process of opening up the country’s telecoms market, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) and The Ministry of Finance confirmed Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium had been successful in its bid.

As part of its bid the consortium pledged to spend $8 billion on the operation over the next ten years.

Meanwhile, Africa’s largest telecoms firm, MTN, has said that it was considering having another goal at becoming a mobile operator in Ethiopia after losing to Kenya’s Safaricom, the group said in a recent statement

MTN’s Chief Executive, Ralph Mupita told shareholders during the company’s 26th annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually recently that MTN would apply its mind should the Ethiopian government reissue the license.

“There are views that the Ethiopian authorities will reissue the license with mobile money, and if they do that in a relatively short period of time, we will apply our minds on the issue, we have not made a firm decision on that,”Mupita said.

Mupita noted that while MTN was saddened at not being named winning bidder, the group remained comfortable with its bid.

“We took an approach that the opportunity, as strategic as it was, needed to meet our capital allocation framework and the hurdles that we saw given the license conditions. We were particularly focused on the lack of mobile money in the license regime, and there were some issues around how the telcos constructs would be accommodated within Ethiopia.

“We certainly priced for those things and near-term risks that we saw, and we felt that the financial bid there was appropriate,” Mupita said.

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Telecommunications

NCC To Restructure International Termination Rate

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Nigerian Communications Commission

The Nigerian Communications Commission intends to restructure and roll out a new international termination rate.

The commission made this known in a statement on Thursday after it said it had finalised the process for determining the cost-based price of Mobile International Termination Rate.

This move would ensure healthy competition on traffic handling for voice services between local and international operators in Nigeria.

Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, noted that the cost-based study became imperative, as there was a need to find the optimum price for the termination of international voice services that will be beneficial to all relevant industry stakeholders.

Danbatta said, “overriding need for regulatory options and intervention in relation to the international termination rate in the voice market segment is predicated on some intractable challenges, most common with economies with severe macroeconomic volatility such as ours.”

ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria as contrasted with MTR, which is the rate local operators pay to another local operator to terminate calls within the country.

He further explained how Nigeria’s ITR’s rate was below that of most countries with which it made and received calls. And this made Nigerian operators perpetual net players.

“The obvious implication of this is seen in the attendant undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continue to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lopsidedness,” Danbatta added.

The vice-chairman further stated that regulating the ITR was imperative for developing countries, such as Nigeria, with volatile currencies in order to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.

In 2013, the NCC issued a Determination stating that mobile Termination Rates (MTR) are the same irrespective of where the call originated. Although, operators at that time thought it meant that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR, consequently ignoring the international cost portion.

The Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, NCC, Yetunde Akinloye, noted that the process was intended to complement and consolidate the initial work done by the Commission which had also culminated in an MTR Determination published in June 2018.

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Glo Lunches ALWAYS ON To Retain Subscribers’ Lines For A Year

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globacom - Investors King

Globacom, one of the leading telecom operators in Nigeria, has introduced a remedy that solves the problem associated with the disconnection of network users from the Glo network after 90 days as a result of inactivity.

This was disclosed yesterday by the national phone operator when it unveiled its new prepaid tariff, tagged: ALWAYS ON, which allows subscribers to retain their phone numbers for one full year even if they do not use the lines during the period.

In a statement released in Lagos yesterday, Globacom said its subscribers no longer need to worry about their lines getting suspended or disconnected even if they have not made or received calls, used data, or sent or received SMS in one year.

According to the brand, with a token payment of just N500, “the customer will enjoy the assurance of 365 days of continuous service, even if the customer does not make or receive calls, text or browse”.

“ALWAYS ON is available to all existing and new prepaid Glo subscribers and is especially beneficial to customers who travel out of the country for long periods of time without access to the network or customers whose handsets get stolen or whose SIMs get damaged but do not have immediate means of replacement. They can now be rest assured that their lines will not be disconnected due to inactivity,” Globacom explained.

To enjoy the innovative offering, subscribers are required to simply dial *777# and select ALWAYS ON from the menu. “Upon confirmation, a one-time fee of N500 will be deducted from the customer’s main account after which he or she will be subscribed to the plan and given 365 days of uninterrupted access to the network,” the company added.

The customer can make and receive calls at any time during the 365 days as long as he or she has sufficient airtime balance in the account. There is no need to visit any Gloworld or to contact customer care for the line to be reactivated.

ALWAYS ON customers can still purchase any Glo products and services they wish and they can also subscribe to any other GLO tariff plan at any time via *777# or via Glo Café.

Towards the expiration of the ALWAYS ON subscription, Globacom explained, the subscriber will receive SMS and email reminders (where applicable) for him or her to re-subscribe to the ALWAYS ON plan.

“With this new and exciting value proposition, we have again established ourselves as the brand that gives customers the most value for money,” Globacom concluded.

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Orange Middle East and Africa, AXA Assurance Maroc Sign an Agreement to Acquire a Majority Stake in DabaDoc

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Orange - Investors King

Orange Middle East and Africa and AXA CIMA entities led by AXA Assurance Maroc announce that an agreement has been signed on the joint acquisition of a majority stake in DabaDoc, alongside the company’s founders.

DabaDoc, founded by Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni and Driss Drissi-Kaitouni in 2014, is a platform that digitalizes access to healthcare in Africa. DabaDoc has developed solutions that are used by thousands of healthcare professionals in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Orange and AXA’s investment and network will accelerate DabaDoc’s growth and extend DabaDoc’s services to other regions, in particular Sub-Saharan Africa. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Orange Middle East and Africa is thereby confirming its ambition to be the leading multi-services digital operator in the region. Through its partnership with DabaDoc and relying on AXA’s globally recognized expertise in healthcare, Orange is positioned as a key player in e-health.

Following its first investment in DabaDoc in 2018, AXA Assurance Maroc is once again consolidating its partnership with the company to accelerate the digitalization and integration of its customers’ healthcare journey, facilitating its policyholders’ interactions with healthcare professionals, notably via DabaDoc’s appointment booking and remote consultation infrastructure and network.

In cementing this tri-party partnership, DabaDoc will benefit from the broad experience of AXA, one of the global leaders in health insurance, and Orange’s technological expertise and payment solutions to enable digital solutions to be developed that rapidly scale and benefit patients and the entire African healthcare ecosystem.

Zineb Drissi-Kaitouni, co-founder and CEO of DabaDoc, said: “DabaDoc, a leading health-tech platform in Africa, is supporting the digital transformation of healthcare professions. Orange’s investment in DabaDoc and AXA’s renewed investment will strengthen DabaDoc’s growth ambitions through Orange and AXA’s presence in Africa and the Middle East. The pandemic has strengthened our belief that the digitalization of healthcare services is essential and inevitable.”

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, said: “We are delighted to commit to this ambitious partnership with AXA and DabaDoc to serve the healthcare needs of everyone in Africa and the Middle East through digital technology. At Orange, we are convinced that the digital transformation is a source of progress and that e-health has huge potential. As a responsible operator on the continent, we want to contribute to this major social challenge, especially during a pandemic. The deployment of this type of solution in the countries where we are present will greatly facilitate populations’ access to healthcare services, which is essential to the continent’s development.”

Meryem Chami, CEO of AXA Assurance Maroc and AXA CIMA, said: “AXA is a global leader in health insurance and related services. This is one of the Group’s strategic priorities as part of the Driving Progress 2023 plan. This ambition is even stronger as we are facing an unprecedented health crisis. Through this partnership, we therefore aim to enable patients to access a better healthcare journey in Morocco and to support DabaDoc through its development in the CIMA countries as well.”

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