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MTN Faces $213m Probe in Benin

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Benin’s telecoms regulator ARCEP has initiated a process to review the reasons why MTN has not paid outstanding invoices on frequency fees for 2016 and 2017 in that country.

On 30 March, the government of Benin issued MTN Benin frequency fees invoices for an amount equivalent to approximately $213 million (R3 billion) for the period March 2016 to December 2017, MTN explained in a SENS statement.

“Whilst the license agreement prescribes the calculation methodology for frequency fees it also provides that fees should take into account regional benchmarks, international practices and the local economy.

“MTN Benin has contested this amount on the basis that, inter alia, the amount is excessive which has been confirmed by an independent benchmark report commissioned in terms of MTN Benin’s license.

“We will continue to engage with the regulatory authorities in Benin to find an amicable solution to this matter,” says MTN.

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CTO Appoints Gisa Fuatai Purcell as Director of ICT Development

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Gisa Fuatai Purcell, a national of Samoa has been appointed as Director of ICT Development Department of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). The Director of ICT Development, who reports to the Secretary-General is responsible for overall strategic direction of the operational divisions of Capacity Development, Events and Technical Support and Consultancy.

 

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ms Purcell. In addition to her impressive personal qualities, Gisa brings to the job a wealth of relevant experience in the ICT development sector spanning about 25 years, as well as excellent experience in dealing with decision makers at the highest level. I look forward to working closely with her,” said Shola Taylor, Secretary-General, who made the announcement today following a merit based internationally advertised recruitment process.

 

Gisa is the first woman to have been appointed to this top role at the CTO. She has served as the regional advisor to CTO for the South Pacific since July 2016 and before then as the Head of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) Division on ICT development in least developed countries, small island development states, and landlocked developed countries with responsibilities for climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction and emergency telecommunication. She successfully managed many projects around the world including early warning systems using different types of technologies and supporting the development of enabling policies and regulations.

 

At the national level, Gisa was recruited by the Prime Minister of Samoa while she worked in New Zealand (2003) to help develop Samoa’s first national ICT policy in which the priority project was liberalizing the mobile market.

 

Her work resulted in Samoa being the first Pacific Island country to have launched and implemented a national ICT policy (2005) and the first Pacific Island country to have liberalized its mobile market (2006) promoting sale of mobile phones and competition among mobile companies that brought down the cost of phone calls per minute.

 

Through the ITU project, Gisa was instrumental in enabling the Government of Samoa to tackle cybercrime in the revised Crimes Act 2013.

 

Honourable Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, Minister of Communications and Information and Technology of Samoa stated, “I am proud of Samoa having one of her daughters continue raising Samoa’s flag in telecommunication and ICT development at the international level. Gisa has been instrumental to the development of ICT in Samoa, within the Pacific and at the global level through her work with the ITU. Well done Gisa, I am very proud of you” Gisa has a Master of Commerce and Administration from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

 

“I am very humbled with this appointment and I thank the CTO management and Executive Committee for their confidence in me” says Mrs Purcell, adding, “I will take on this job with humility, honesty and praise God for his blessings and guidance. I thank my husband Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell for his unwavering support, and my children for reminding me I am a woman, a mother and grandmother contributing towards the betterment of mankind”

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MTN Plans $500m IPO- SEC

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has confirmed that MTN Group had finally commenced discussions with the commission on its proposed 500 million dollars Initial Public Offering (IPO).

 

A senior management staff of SEC who pleaded anonymity told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that MTN had commenced discussion with the commission on the IPO.

 

The source told NAN that although talks were ongoing, the company was yet to formally file its application for the IPO

 

SEC would remain committed to the development of the nation’s capital market and listing of more multinationals.

 

Another source at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), who declined to be mentioned, also told NAN that the NSE had not yet received an official filing from the company, while there were reports recently that MTN Group Ltd. was perfecting plans to raise about 500 million dollars from the sale of shares in its Nigerian business in the first half of 2018.

 

Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Citigroup Inc. had been advising MTN on the disposal of as much as 30 per cent of its Nigerian unit on the NSE.

 

However, MTN had agreed to list the Nigerian unit as part of June 2016 agreement to pay one billion dollars fine for missing a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers amid a security crackdown.

 

NAN reports that MTN recently appointed a Nigerian investment firm, Chapel Hill Denham, as lead manager for the planned sale of 500 million dollars shares in its Nigerian business during the first half of this year.

 

It also appointed South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, Renaissance Capital and Vetiva Capital as joint issuers to the offer.

 

The telecoms firm also appointed seven placement agents that would help market the shares.

 

 

 

 

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NCC says National Roaming will End Rural-urban Digital Divide

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday national roaming and active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria would end rural-urban digital divide.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice-Chairman, stated this at a stakeholders’ forum on “Development of Framework for National Roaming and Active Infrastructure Sharing in Nigeria’’ held at Digital Bridge Institute, Lagos.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Spectrum Administration, Engr. Austin Nwaulunne, said national roaming had the potential of promoting seamless communication of subscribers.

According to him, subscribers will be able to roam on the network of other service providers where their own service provider is unavailable or has limited network coverage.

“The benefits of encouraging active infrastructure sharing can also not be overemphasized.

“Not only will there be noticeable reduction in network deployment costs, the industry will also witness acceleration in the take-up of broadband services and gradual elimination of the rural-urban digital divide,’’ he said.

Danbatta said NCC was committed toward ensuring the continued growth and development of the telecoms industry.

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