Nhleko steps back as MTN Group chairman

Phuthuma Nhleko, the MTN Group CEO who led the company on an acquisition trail that turned it into an emerging markets powerhouse, has stepped down from its board of directors. Nhleko, who has served as MTN’s chairman since 2015 after relinquishing the CEO role in 2011, resigned this week as non-executive chairman.

Nhleko briefly returned to executive leadership of the group following the exit of former CEO Sifiso Dabengwa, to deal with the fallout from a US$5.2 billion regulatory fine in Nigeria

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Service operators search for revenue boost to match geographic expansion of 5G

Ericsson expects the global number of 5G subscriptions to top 2.6 billion within the next six years, according to its November 2019 edition of the Ericson Mobility Report.

Operators such as Zain Group are hard at work trying to drive 5G economies of scale, having recently announced that its flagship operation in Kuwait had introduced commercial 5G roaming with its counterpart in Saudi Arabia

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Securing “The World’s Greatest Show”

I was recently visiting London and came away surprised by just how far the awareness-raising campaign for Expo 2020 has broken through internationally. Billboards and prime-time television commercial spots communicated the virtues of the upcoming “world’s greatest show,” which at fewer than 50 weeks away, is fast becoming a reality.  

EY forecasts Expo will boost the UAE’s economy by AED 122.6 billion (US$ 33.4 billion) and support 905,200 job-years between 2013 and 2031

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Changing cyber security landscape in the ME points to maturity

The cyber security industry in the Middle East is showing signs of maturing, should the recent in-region developments be an indicator of the evolution and transformation of the way business is being conducted and by whom in this part of the world. In the latest indication of a changing landscape, media reports in the UAE point to Faisal Al Bannai, Founder and Managing Director of UAE-based cyber security firm DarkMatter Group, planning on divesting his entire stake in the company by the end of the year.

In September, Etisalat announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire full ownership of Help AG’s businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The telco said the acquisition is part of its plans to diversify operations

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Democratisation…of technology…under threat

The decision by the US to add Huawei and some of its affiliates to a trade blacklist back in May, which had additional Huawei-linked companies added to the list this week, is a concerning development in the rise of powerful forces grappling to deal with the effects of the democratisation of technology through digitisation.

The rise of geopolitics as a method of framing the course of technological advancement and influence is a worrying trend, and has the power to diminish the digital dazzle created by the Web over the last three decades

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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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