Zain and Orascom pushed out of Lebanon, at least temporarily

The government of Lebanon has resumed operational management of state-owned cellcos Alfa and touch after operating contracts held by Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) and Zain Group, respectively, expired earlier this year.

An international tender for new contracts is set to be readied within three months, covering management and operation of the cellcos

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Telecom Game of Thrones

UK telco BT has awarded Ericsson a major contract covering deployment of the telco’s core network, as the UK operator moves to replace Huawei equipment in sensitive parts of its infrastructure as directed by the UK government.

BT, which owns UK mobile operator EE, said Ericsson would deploy the operator’s dual mode 5G core on the BT Network Cloud, for existing 4G and 5G services

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MTN Group set to press on with stake reduction in Nigeria

South Africa’s MTN Group is set to push ahead with a plan to reduce its majority stake in its mobile operation in Nigeria, though uncertainty caused by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic may require the sale to be executed in smaller tranches.

In May 2019, MTN Nigeria listed shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange via “listing by introduction”, which meant listing and trading of shares was restricted to those already held by existing investors

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Saudi extends MVNO license bid deadline to August 10

Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has announced the extension of the competition to license new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

The bid process was launched on January 14, with a submission deadline May 10, which has now been extended to August 10, 2020. The Kingdom currently has two operational MVNOs – Virgin Mobile Saudi and Jawraa Lebara were licensed in 2014, operating on STC’s and Mobily’s networks respectively.

Zain sells and leases back passive infrastructure from IHS

Zain Kuwait has completed the sale and leaseback of the passive physical infrastructure of its 1,620 mobile tower portfolio for US$130 million (KD 40 million) to IHS Holding Limited (IHS). The transaction is the first sale and leaseback of telecom towers in the Middle East region by a licensed mobile operator.  

Under the terms of the transaction, Zain is selling only its passive, physical infrastructure to a new purposely created entity

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News

Omantel extends managed services deal with Ericsson

Omantel has renewed and expanded its managed services agreement with Ericsson for a further five years, with the renewed agreement being more outcome-based and customer-centric.

MTN Group CEO opts to depart after expiry of fixed contract

South Africa-headquartered MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter will step down from his role at the end of his fixed four-year contract in March 2021, having given no explanation why he would not seek to stay on beyond that date.

Nokia CEO, Rajeev Suri to step down as vendor considers its options

Nokia CEO and president, Rajeev Suri, is set to step down from his position later this year, to be replaced by Pekka Lundmark, currently CEO and president of energy company Fortum. The move comes as Nokia struggles to keep pace with the global shift to 5G.

Batelco introduces 5G roaming with du in the UAE

Following Zain Group’s regional milestone announcement in November 2019 that its operations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had successfully launched the first 5G roaming service across the MENA region, Bahrain telco Batelco has announced partnering with the UAE’s du to deliver 5G international roaming services in the UAE.

Vodacom pledges 5G launch in South Africa in 2020

South Africa’s Vodacom Group has unveiled plans to launch 5G in its home market in 2020 despite issues acquiring spectrum from the country’s regulator.

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