Somalia's Hormuud Telecom settles dispute with government  

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January 19, 2024
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6 min read
Hormuud Telecom

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Selamat siang,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Somalia's Hormuud Telecom settles dispute with government
  • Amazon Prime to lay off staff in Africa
  • MTN-Glo dispute put on hold for 21 days
  • Telecom Egypt gets first 5G licence in Egypt

Somalia's Hormuud Telcom settles dispute with government

Hormuud Telecom

On January 14, 2024, a government raid led by Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) targeted Somalia's telco, Hormuud Telecom, and its sister company, Salam Somali Bank.

The dispute stemmed from the government's request for subscriber information, which included personal and bank account information.

What happened? Hormuud accused NISA of forcibly entering its offices and pressuring the company to provide sensitive financial customer data, particularly in the mobile electronic service EVCplus and other bank accounts.

Hormuud and Salam Somali Bank became embroiled in a conflict with the government after refusing to comply, leading to the arrest of three employees in separate locations.

What did the security agency say? NISA, citing connections with terrorists, asserted that Hormuud hindered its investigation, leading to the closure of the company's main headquarters in the Bakara market and condemnation from Somali MPs and politicians.

The attack by NISA occurs amid ongoing security threats against Hormuud, with unknown groups targeting and attacking the company's employees and facilities in Mogadishu since 2023.

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What next? The telecom operator described the government's actions as "intimidation and suppressive action," emphasising how NISA's tactics violated Somali law.

A resolution: However, the conflict was resolved following negotiations on January 17. In response, the Somali government reaffirmed its commitment to protecting citizens and property within the scope of the law. However, NISA has previously targeted Hormuud, closing offices and arresting employees in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Amazon Prime to lay off staff in Africa 

Amazon Prime Video
Photo by Thibault Penin on Unsplash

Amazon Prime Video is scaling back its presence in sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, with a reduction in workforce and a halt in local content production.

Why? The decision, as stated by Barry Furlong, Vice President of Prime's EMEA division, is aimed at directing efforts toward the European market for long-term success.

This move follows increased competition in the African streaming market, with Amazon Prime Video facing challenges from rivals like Netflix and Showmax.

While approved programmes will continue to air, Amazon Prime will no longer accept local content in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Market dynamics: Showmax has emerged as a strong player, surpassing Netflix's market share.

In 2023, Netflix's market share fell to 35%, while Showmax captured 40% of the video streaming market.

The MultiChoice on-demand video platform's strategic focus on the African market includes a substantial $1 billion investment in content production and acquisition during the fiscal year ending in 2023. 

  MTN-Glo dispute put on hold for 21 days 

Glo

Remember this? Glo users may soon be unable to call MTN lines

A quick recap: On January 8, 2024, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave Globacom a 10-day notice to settle its interconnect debt with MTN or its users' disconnection from MTN services.

The update: Two days ago, the telecom regulator revealed that MTN Nigeria and Globacom had agreed to resolve their interconnect debt dispute.

The NCC stated that MTN will no longer disconnect Glo, as the regulatory authority has temporarily suspended the disconnection for an additional 21 days, which began on January 17, 2024.

This extension aims to provide both parties with more time to reach a lasting resolution to the interconnect debt issue.

If the initial notice had taken effect on January 18, Glo users would have been unable to make calls to MTN, but they would have been able to receive calls from MTN subscribers.

The 21-day extension allows MTN and Glo subscribers to continue making and receiving calls without interruption.

What else? The watchdog stressed the significance of timely settlement of interconnect debts by all telecom operating companies, emphasising Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and other licensees' regulatory obligations to follow the terms and conditions of their licences and interconnection agreements.

Telecom Egypt gets first 5G licence in Egypt

Telecom Egypt

Telecom Egypt becomes the country's first mobile operator to secure a 5G licence.

Egypt's National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) granted a 15-year 5G licence to state-owned telecom giant Telecom Egypt for $150 million.

In contrast to its 4G network, licenced in 2016, the 5G licence does not guarantee automatic renewal after its expiration and comes without additional benefits.

Telecom Egypt, a government-owned telco, reported a 48% net profit in the first nine months of 2023. The company is now ready to launch high-capacity, high-speed networks in line with the global advancement of mobile communication technology, having obtained the 5G licence.

According to Amr Talaat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, the 5G network will support connectivity, allowing for greater device control and contributing to Egypt's digital transformation efforts. Notably, Telecom Egypt committed EGP 50 billion to these initiatives in 2022.

However, the timing of Egypt's 5G rollout raises concerns, particularly in comparison to other African countries. Countries like Nigeria and Kenya have seen telecom players like MTN, Airtel, and Safaricom secure their 5G licences a few years ago. The delay in Egypt's 5G deployment could be due to regulatory concerns or specific industry dynamics.

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Have a fun weekend!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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