Nytex

In Brief: Orange adds Burkina Faso to MEA footprint 

Orange added 4.6 million customers to its Middle East and Africa (MEA) business with the completion of the acquisition of Airtel in Burkina Faso.The France-based mobile group agreed to buy the operator from parent company Bharti Airtel in January as part of a deal that also included Airtel Sierra Leone.Analysts put the value of the whole deal at around €652 million.Having received all the required regulatory approvals, Orange has closed the deal, acquiring 100% of Airtel Burkina Faso via its Orange Côte d’Ivoire subsidiary.Burkina Faso represents a new market for Orange, which is keen to build up its presence in the Middle East and Africa region.

***The Israeli government gave the green light to plans by two of the country's major mobile operators to invest in a company that is rolling out fibre network infrastructure. The Ministry of Communications approved an application by Cellcom and Partner Communications to invest in Israel Broadband Company(IBC),which is part-owned by state firm the Israel Electric Corporation(IEC),along with various private sector partners.It is rolling out a high-speed fibre broadband network alongside IEC's infrastructure.The Ministry welcomed investment from the mobile operators,since it would help accelerate the deployment of advanced infrastructure in the country, and would help open up the Israeli fixed-line market,which is currently dominated by incumbent operator Bezeq.

***MTN’s Ghanaian unit has commercially launched 4G LTE technology in each of the ten regional capitals and some large towns. Local news site Biz Finance cited the cellco’s acting Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)as saying: ‘The coverage and extension of the 4G LTE service is continuing and we hope to reach all parts of the country.’ TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate previously reported that the cellco, which is the country’s largest in terms of subscribers, was the winner of one lot of 2×10MHz spectrum in the 4G LTE-suitable 800MHz mobile band in December 2015.

***Huawei is considering developing its own mobile operating system, writes The Information based on three unnamed sources. Huawei uses Android with its own skin, but reportedly is working on a 'plan B' in the event Google decides to take more control over Android and how it's deployed. According to The Information, Huawei has hired former Nokia developers to work on the project. It's also taken on Abigail Brody, a front-end developer from Apple to redesign the Huawei EMUI user interface on its smartphones.

***The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, emerged as the sole approved bidder in the recently concluded 2600MHz spectrum allocation process. The regulator has provisionally awarded 2×30MHz blocks of frequencies in the 2600MHz range to the South Africa-based firm, which has 21 days from the date of provisional award (13 June 2016) to pay the USD96 million fee for the ten-year nationwide licence. If it fails to do so, MTN will lose the licence and also forfeit the intention-to-bid deposit.