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Nigeria Regulator Grants MTN, 9mobile Approval For National Roaming Service

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has granted approval for two mobile network operators (MNOs) to carry out trial on National Roaming Service for a period of three months, beginning from Aug. 1, 2020 and ending on Oct. 31.

Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Director, Public Affairs, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Adinde named the two telecoms operators as Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) Nigeria and the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Service Limited (EMTS), trading as 9Mobile in Nigeria.

He said that with the approval the EMTS and MTN were expected to configure their networks to begin test and simulation for customer experience.

“The trial approval covers a few Local Government Areas (LGAs), designated as the National Roaming geographic area, in Ondo State,” he said.

Adinde said that Roaming Service will enable a mobile subscriber to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services when travelling outside a particular network geographical area by utilising the network coverage of other operators.

He quoted NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, saying that “the primary objective of the National Roaming Service trial was to encourage network resource sharing among operators.

“This will lead to operational expenditure (OPEX) optimisation and capital expenditure (CAPEX) efficiencies leading to freeing up of resources to expand mobile network coverage to unserved and underserved communities across the country.

“This will lead to improved Quality of Service (QoS) delivery to subscribers.

“The successful implementation of the trial will enable EMTS subscribers to access MTN network service within the National Roaming trial geographical area without the need for an MTN Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card, ” he said.

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Rwanda Cancels Plan to Increase RwandAir Fleet

The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.

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Rwanda has announced that it is putting on hold the acquisition of new airplanes for its national carrier RwandAir, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.


The additional planes were to enable RwandAir serve the increasingly opened skies through the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).


Due to the global pandemic, RwandAir was forced to suspend operations following the lockdown in March, and only resumed operations in August when the country started a gradual re-opening of the economy.


The airline has gradually re-opened routes, though passenger occupancy remains low as some parts of the world remain in a lockdown while in other countries, travel remain restricted.


The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.


RwandAir currently has 12 airplanes including two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGen, four Boeing 737-800NG, two Bombardier Q-400 NextGen, one Airbus A330 – 300, and one Airbus A330 – 200.


Before the pandemic hit, the airline had planned to lease two Airbus A330neo and two Boeing 737 Max 8.

Read also: Rwanda, Qatar sign aviation pact


Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete says “Even the planes we have are not being used to the maximum due to the Covid-19. We have to wait until the passengers are free to keep travelling in a safer environment, so that we can now expand as we cannot expand in this environment.”


He spoke during a press briefing on Friday after signing a bilateral air services agreement (BASA) with the Republic of Korea, bringing the total to 101 BASAs within and outside Africa. Out of these, 52 have been ratified, 17 signed, and 32 initiated.


According to the airline’s earlier plans, the A330neos were to be deployed on long-haul routes to Guangzhou, China, and New York, as well as boost capacity to Dubai, Lagos, and Johannesburg.


RwandAir recently secured clearance to serve New York on code-share and wet-lease basis; an arrangement where one airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline or other type of business acting as a broker of air travel (the lessee), which pays by hours operated.


The 737 Max 8s were scheduled to serve Tel Aviv in Israel, and other regional flights such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.


Despite the halting of airplane acquisitions, the government says infrastructure investment to support the aviation sector will continue.
Qatar is set to acquire 60 per cent stake in RwandAir and is expected to complete construction of Bugesera Airport.


According to Gatete, negotiations with Qatar have advanced, and inking the deal between the two parties should take place anytime soon, under which the construction work should take off.

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NC Interview | African Startups Ecosystems

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Startups in Africa have become a phenomenon. The COVID-19 Lockdown encouraged many businesses to move online with the new normal of doing business virtually.

In the second quarter of 2020, African startups have raised more than $500 million according to Maxime Bayen of GreenTec Capital.

News Central had an exclusive chat with an investor and startup founder, Gulbet Kiros.

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Business Edge | Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

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Today on Business Edge, Tolulope Adeleru Balogun discusses the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with Andrew Mold, Chief, Regional Integration and AfCFTA, Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

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