Congo Wireless Networks (CWN) has reportedly withdrawn its petition blocking the sale of Vodacom’s 51 percent stake in its Congo venture, Vodacom Congo. According to reports, Alieu Conteh, the chairman and founder of CWN said that he’s instructed the lawyers to withdraw the case against Vodacom. He added that Vodacom is selling and they want to assist them in any way possible.
As reported by Wireless Federation earlier, Vodacom was looking to sell its stake in the company in an attempt to end a dispute with CWN regarding the structure and funding of Vodacom Congo. As per sources, the court had ordered Alieu Conteh to step back and allow the shareholders to discuss the sale. Reports suggest that operators MTN and Unitel have shown interest in acquiring Vodacom’s stake in the event of a sale.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has selected two firms for talks to buy a majority stake in Zambia’s fixed-line phone operator Zamtel. The two firms are Angola’s Unitel and Libya’s LAP Green Networks and the talks are expected to start later this month for the purchase of 75 percent of Zamtel.
Despite monopoly rights, Zamtel which is Zambia’s only licensed fixed-line provider of voice and data communications has performed poorly and its revenue for the year to end-December was $100 million. It has also been criticized by opposition politicians and trade unions, who say Zambians should hold a bigger stake in the company.
According to Zamtel, ZDA Director General Andrew Chipwende, the company is expecting to commence concessions with the two bidders for Zamtel by the third week of April and the target is to try and conclude the process by the end of June.
www.WirelessFederation.com/news: Four international groups namely Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.of India, LAP Greencom Ltd of Libya together with LAP Green Networks, Angola’s Unitel, and Russia’s Vimpel Communications, bidding to buy 75% stake in Zambia Telecommunications Co. have been shortlisted.
According to Muhabi Lungu, acting director general of the ZDA, all the four shortlisted companies are serious and respected telecommunications players. In the next round of bidding on Monday, the shortlisted bidders will be given an opportunity to conduct further due diligence on Zamtel before submitting new offers.
25% stake has been retained by the government, which has reserved the right to sell this through an initial public offering on the Lusaka Stock Exchange.
According to Lungu, LAP Green of Libya, Unitel of Angola and Bharat Sanchar Nigam of India have submitted their offers to buy up to a 75% stake in the company.
In October the list of suitors had came down to eight from the 30 firms who had earlier shown interest. Criticizing the sale, the opposition party said that Zambia should retain a larger stake in the company. The shortlisted candidates will be announced by January11.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos are to discuss the entry of Russian mobile operators to Angola’s cell market at a meeting on Tuesday. SV Kapital, set up by a former aide to Svyazinvest’s director general, may become the first on the list. The company is set to put $100 million in the African business. Market watchers believe that MagaFon may join the St. Petersburg operator in the Angolan project.
President dos Santos is meeting Putin on Tuesday to discuss a possible entry of Russian mobile communications operators to Angola’s market, a source of Kommersant reported. Press services of the two presidents declined to comment information on Monday. Unofficial sources report that Putin may ask about issuing a second GSM license in Angola to the Russians.
SV Kapital is reported to be the major contender for the license. The company was established some six months ago by Vladimir Androsik, a St. Petersburg communications top manager. Androsik has worked at Telecominvest, Svyazinvest and its subsidiary Peterstar. The Russian set up his own business in January, keeping in close touch with Telecominvest. Cyrus-registered Eventis Telecom, co-owned by Androsik, set up the second GSM operator in Kyrgyzstan, Bimacom. MegaFon, a major asset of Telecominvest, has consulted Eventis in the Kyrgyz project.
Androsik says Angola is a very promising market with a low level of cell communications coverage and high growth rates.??? The businessman told Kommersant preliminary talks with the Angolan party had already been held but declined to name the companies or agencies. SV Kapital’s founder also said that the budget of the project would come to $100 million.
Angola has 2.3 million cell subscribers, which is 15 percent of the population. The communications market is controlled by Unitel, the sole GSM operator in the country. The number of subscribers in Angola goes up 100 percent annually.
Sources close to the project say that MegaFon might join SV Kapital in the project. MegaFon said yesterday they are not doing the Angolan project of SV Kapital so far.
Opinions have split on the future of Russian operators on Angola’s market. Oksana Pankratova from Comnews Research says SV Kapital follows the example of overseas operators which take risks and enter countries even with low living standards and unstable political situation.???
Quite on the contrary, Yuly Matevosov from Dresdner Bank’s analytical department believes that social and political problems may hamper cell business in Angola. Angola has been living in civil war for a number of years. Besides, examples of other African countries with natural resources-based economies show that stratification of the population there is enormous and a swift rise in demand on cell communications may soon end as most people will be unable to pay for it,??? he says.