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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STC buys into Egypt with acquisition of Vodafone stake

Vodafone Group has agreed a deal to sell its 55 per cent stake in Vodafone Egypt to Saudi operator STC for US$2.4 billion, as part of plans to reduce debt and refocus on core markets.

STC is yet to complete due diligence on the acquisition, which will also require regulatory approval

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Bad to worse for Travelex as it faces aggressive ransomware attack

The cyber hacking saga at Travelex continues as media reports now suggest the international foreign currency dealer has fallen prey to a ransomware attack with a group called Sodinokibi claiming responsibility for the incident and demanding a US$6 million payment to restore systems.

It is not clear whether Travelex is considering paying any amount of ransom in order to gain back control of its data and systems. Security experts typically advise that victims not pay ransoms to threat actors

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Travelex hit by New Year’s Eve cyber attack

Travelex, the international foreign currency seller suffered a software virus attack on New Year’s Eve and has been forced to take down its website as a result of the incident. The company has resorted to carrying out transactions manually, providing foreign exchange services over the counter in its branches.

Significant fines can be levied by regulators in Europe on companies viewed as not having sufficient cyber security postures in place in line with the General Data Protection Regulation

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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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News

Batelco provides nationwide 5G coverage in Bahrain

Batelco has successfully activated 5G coverage across Bahrain, which is available in all four governorates, covering 95% of the nation’s population. The telco’s launch of the network makes Batelco the first operator to provide national 5G coverage in Bahrain.

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.

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