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Oct 21, 2014

Djibouti Internet start-up aims to boost broadband speeds across east Africa

DUBAI (Reuters) – Internet access in east Africa is still relatively slow and costly but a Djibouti-based technology start-up company has ambitions to help change that.

Djibouti Data Center (DDC), set up by a group of local and international investors 18 months ago, is the first data center and Internet exchange in east Africa connected to eight fiber optic cables that are part of the main Internet route from Europe to Asia.

Oct 14, 2014

Iraq wants $307 million for 3G telco spectrum despite turmoil: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq wants its mobile operators to each pay $307 million for spectrum for third-generation (3G) services despite large parts of the country falling under rebel control, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The country’s three operators – Zain Iraq, a unit of Kuwait’s Zain, Ooredoo subsidiary Asiacell and Orange affiliate Korek – have been waiting for several years to begin 3G services.

Oct 13, 2014

Pakistan’s Warid Telecom to invest $470 mln in network -CFO

DUBAI, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s Warid Telecom will
invest $470 million over five years to bolster its network,
following a failed attempt by its owners to sell the mobile
operator this year, the firm’s chief financial officer told
Reuters on Monday.

Warid Telecom, wholly owned by privately-held Abu Dhabi
Group (ADG), has seen its mobile subscriber base slump from 17.9
million in 2008-9 to 13.1 million in May 2014, according to data
from Pakistan’s telecom regulator.

Oct 2, 2014

Emirates president says Ebola hits Asian demand for Africa flights

DUBAI (Reuters) – The president of Emirates airlines [EMIRA.UL] said on Thursday that demand for flights to Africa from Asia has fallen due to concerns over the Ebola virus.

West Africa is struggling with the worst Ebola outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976, with 3,338 people known to have died, predominantly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal, according to latest figures.

Oct 1, 2014

Budget airline AirAsia considers flying into Dubai -Group CEO

DUBAI, Oct 1 (Reuters) – AirAsia Bhd, Asia’s
largest budget airline by passengers, is in talks with the Dubai
authorities to start flying into the emirate, group Chief
Executive Tony Fernandes said.

The Malaysian airline has expanded this year — launching a
budget airline in Japan, starting operations in India, and
revving up growth in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines –
but has so far stayed out of the Gulf states.

Oct 1, 2014

Rwanda may offer 7-yr tax holidays, slash corporate tax-official

DUBAI, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Rwanda expects to have a new
investment code at the start of 2015 that could offer incentives
such as seven-year tax holidays for bigger investors and sharply
lower corporate taxes, a senior official said on Tuesday.

The new code is part of a broader strategy to wean Rwanda’s
economy off foreign aid and bolster ebbing growth.

Sep 30, 2014

Virgin Mobile launches services in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Virgin Mobile Middle East and
Africa (VMMEA), part-owned by British entrepreneur Richard
Branson’s Virgin Group, launched telecoms services in Saudi
Arabia on Tuesday, beginning the biggest shake-up in the
kingdom’s telecoms sector in six years.

VMMEA is launching two brands after benefiting from the
national telecoms regulator’s decision to order the country’s
three mobile operators to each host a mobile virtual network
operator (MVNO) in an effort to stimulate competition.

Sep 29, 2014

Saudi Telecom’s Bahrain unit bets on data to boost revenue

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Viva Bahrain, the country’s No.2
telecom operator by income, expects data to account for at least
half of revenue within two years – from a quarter now – as it
seeks to counter a decline in conventional calls and texts, its
chief executive told Reuters.

Viva – owned by Saudi Telecom Co (STC), the Gulf’s
biggest telecoms company by market value – launched in Bahrain
in 2010. It became a third player in the small island’s already
saturated market, but managed to win customers by undercutting
rivals, analysts said.

Sep 28, 2014

Soccer-Al Hilal’s Reghecampf wary of Gyan threat in ACL semi

DUBAI, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Asamoah Gyan could ruin Al Hilal’s hopes of making the Asian Champions League (ACL) final, fears coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, despite the Saudi club’s 3-0 lead going into Tuesday’s semi-final second-leg.

Gyan, who last week dismissed “wild and ludicrous” media reports he was involved in an alleged ritual killing of a disappeared rapper friend, is Al Ain’s talisman, netting 12 goals in 11 ACL games for the Emirati club this season.

Sep 23, 2014

Network investment paying off for Omani telco Nawras, says CEO

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Omani telecom operator Nawras
is poised to reap the rewards of heavy investment in
its network, its chief executive told Reuters, forecasting that
data services will account for more than half its consumer
revenue within two years.

Conventional call and text revenues have slumped globally as
more users switch to Internet-based calls and instant messaging
applications such as Skype and Whatsapp, prompting Nawras to
invest in improving the speed, capacity and coverage of its
fixed and mobile networks to meet higher demand for data.