www.WirelessFederation.com/news: In the latest global rankings, Bharti Airtel which was ranked eighth in last year’s ranking will overtake Norway’s Telenor Group, Deutsche Telekom and China Unicom to become the world’s fifth largest mobile operator group with just under 170 million global connections. The rankings are based on fourth-quarter 2009 connections data and are calculated on a performance basis to demonstrate the impact of the enlarged Airtel Group.
The latest acquisition and deals made by Bharti Airtel across the world has played a major role in improving the ranking of the company in the world rankings. Incidentally, Indian telecommunications company Bharti Airtel and the Bahrain-based Zain group has signed definitive agreements for Bharti to buy most of Zain’s operations in Africa at an enterprise value of $10.7 billion.
Not only Zain’s acquisition, but its home market in India, launch of Airtel in Sri Lanka in 2009 and acquisition of Warid Telecom in Bangladesh in January 2010 has brought it total to 18 markets, a global footprint surpassed only by the large European operator groups and its new African rival, MTN.
Bharti is also in talks with Tanzania’s government over its stake in Zain Tanzania. If materialized, the talk will make Bharti the second-largest African operator group behind MTN, which remains ranked at number twelve by global connections. According to Finance and Economy Minister Mustafa Mkulo, Tanzania’s government has a 40 percent stake in Zain Tanzania, and the government is keen to know the futureâ€ of the unit when Bharti becomes the new majority shareholder.
However, everything is not green for Bharti as it has to face numerous hurdles before starting its operations in Africa in a full vigor. The Republic of Congo recently announced that it retains the right to block the transfer of Zain’s license to Bharti with the government of the country claiming that it was not consulted and this was a violation of the country’s laws.
But Zain trust in the company does not seem to be taking a back seat as it has expressed its desire to sell all but two of its African mobile assets to Airtel excluding wholly-owned Zain Sudan (a market leader in the country) and its 15.5 percent equity stake in Wana (ONA) in Morocco.
All this must seem to be working wonders for the Indian telco but will lessen the impact of Zain which will be reduced to just six markets and sees the Kuwaiti-based firm drop to number 46 in rankings on a pro forma basis.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Launch of mobile service Mobi Cash has been announced by the major wireless and fixed line telecom operator in Morocco, Maroc Telecom, in partnership with Comviva which provides mobile solutions beyond VAS.
Comviva’s mobiquit mCommerce solution will be used by the Moroccan operator enabling mobile operators and financial institutions to offer secured and cost-effective mobile banking, mobile wallet and mobile payment services.
According to Sabri Amireh, Vice President, MENA Region, Comviva, the company is focusing strongly on delivering mCommerce solutions for the rapidly growing markets, as demand for transformational mobile financial services is significant.
As per a research, mobile phone will be used by over 100 million users globally for international money transfers by 2013. The mobile international transfers are expected to exceed an average of one transaction per month. Western Europe, North America and Africa and Middle East (MEA) will account for more than 75% of the global international mobile money transfer gross transaction value by 2013.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Zain and Bharti Airtel have announced the signing of the definitive agreements for the sale of 100% of Zain Africa for an enterprise value of US$10.7 billion. Zain’s African business in Morocco and Sudan is not included in the deal.
US$9 billion has been identified as the equity value of the transaction to be fully satisfied in cash. Out of this amount, US$8.3 billion will be paid upon closing and US$0.7 billion will be paid one year from closing. US$1.7 billion will be assumed by Bharti as consolidated debt obligations. Zain intends to distribute a large proportion of the upfront net proceeds to shareholders in the form of dividends.
According to Mr Asaad Al Banwan, Chairman, Zain Group, the transaction crystallizes the significant value the company has created for its shareholders over the last 5 years and according to Mr. Nabeel Bin Salamah, CEO, Zain Group, the transaction allows Zain to focus on its highly cash generative operations in the Middle East and to substantially improve its balance sheet.
UBS Investment Bank acted as lead financial advisor and BNP Paribas acted as co-advisor to Zain in relation to this transaction. With the closing of the deal, Bharti Airtel subscriber base will increase to around 179 million in 18 countries.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: The much talked about $10.7 bn deal between Kuwait’s Zain telecom and India’s top mobile firm Bharti Airtel, which has been making the rounds of the telecom world is expected to be signed on Tuesday at the headquarters of Zain Africa.
African market was penetrated by Zain in 2005 by the acquisition of the operations of the Dutch Celtel firm for around $3.5 billion. Last week, both the companies stated that they have finalized agreement for the sale of Zain’s operations in 15 African nations. Zain’s operation in Sudan or its investment in Morocco is not included in the sale of the African assets.
$8.3 billion, raised mainly from international banks, will be paid by Bharti on signature of the deal, while the remaining $700 million will be paid a year later. Through the deal, 42 million clients in 15 African countries from Burkina Faso to
Zambia would be gained by Bharti while Zain clients will shrink to 30 million from 72 million.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: 1% year-on-year fall in 2009 net income has been posted by Moroccan full-service telco Maroc Telecom MAD9.43 billion (USD1.15 billion) on consolidated revenues that climbed by 2.8% to MAD30.34 billion. Group EBITDA for the year rose by 2.9% to MAD18.15 billion.
Net revenues of MAD25.76 billion in 2009 have been generated from the operations in Morocco 0.1% versus 2008. Due to the impact of promotional initiatives deployed to stimulate the market and maintain its leading position, the EBITDA went down 1.5% to MAD16.16 billion, and earnings from operations went down 3.5% year-on-year to MAD13.08 billion.
Maroc Telecom’s domestic mobile subscriber reached 15.27 million at end-December 2009 growing by 5.6% in twelve months.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: A new GSM mobile service, Inwi has been launched by Moroccan operator Wana. The third mobile operator in Morocco will cover three-quarters of the population. The GSM license was awarded to Wana in early 2009.
Prepaid offering with per-second billing as well as four postpaid plans with free on-net calls are included in the service along with a range of corporate offers.
A wide range of handsets from Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola are also an exclusive offer to the customers. The company will compete against incumbent Maroc Telecom and Meditel on the GSM market.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Six countries across the Middle East and North Africa are currently in the eyes of UAE-based telecoms operator Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat). Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Oman, Syria and Morocco have been targeted by the company as markets with low penetration levels in which the UAE firm could acquire either a license or a telecoms operator.
According to the telco’s chairman, Mohammad Hassan Omran, Etisalat is in an excellent position financially and operationally to capitalize on these opportunities.
The company has also said it is targeting majority stakes in its subsidiaries and associates for greater operational and financial synergy.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: A letter of intent (LoI) will be signed between Bharti Airtel and Zain for the proposed USD 10.7-billion deal for the African assets of the Kuwait-based firm by the end of this week.
USD 9 billion for the assets would be paid by Bharti and the rest would be towards the debt of the Kuwaiti firm.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: The 31% stake in Zain’s Morocco’s telecoms venture Wana, will be kept by the company which it bought for $324 million last March. The purchase was made less than a month after Wana won the concession to operate the North African country’s third wireless phone network.
According to Wana’s Managing Director Frederic Debord, Inwi’s mobile network capacity is ready to receive two million clients from the first day of the beginning of its operation and noted that there is a huge potential growth in the mobile phone market in Morocco where more than 80 percent of the population owns a mobile phone.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Five billion dollars is expected to be made by Kuwait’s Zain telecom from selling its operations in Africa to India’s Bhrati Airtel for 10.7 billion dollars. As per the agreement, Bharti is to pay 10 billion dollars when the deal is completed and the remaining 700 million dollars after one year of signing the agreement.