In Brief:Orange, SFR miss 2G coverage obligation deadline 

Orange and SFR are in hot water with French telco regulator Arcep after missing certain 2G coverage targets.In July 2015, as part of Arcep's 'town centre not-spots' programme, Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR were issued notices requiring them to provide 2G coverage to 17, eight and 53 town centres respectively by 1 January 2016.While Bouygues Telecom fulfilled its coverage obligation by the deadline, Orange and SFR fell short, leaving five and 47 town centres respectively without coverage.

•***TRAI issues net neutrality consultation papers
•Elisa claims 880Mbps in G.fast tests
•German carrier Htp increases sales by 7%
•Telkom signs connectivity deal with satellite operator SES
•Orange joins LoRa Alliance
•Charter becomes second-biggest US cable group after three-way merger
•Inmarsat appoints Pip McCrostie as non-exec director
•Arctic Fibre project starts phase one of Europe-Japan link

***Ericsson and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning for Rwanda have signed an agreement for the launch of a national interoperability switch based on the Ericsson M Commerce Interconnect solution. The solution will enable financial and payments services providers in the country to connect to one common platform for real-time payment transactions. Further, the inclusion of informal sectors such as savings cooperatives and micro finance players in the ecosystem allow previously excluded citizens to participate in mainstream financial services, thereby increasing financial inclusion.

***MTN South Africa plans to spend ZAR12 billon in 2016 to ramp up its network to improve and expand coverage. The company also plans to open its network to other companies, but did not name which ones.MTN SA acting chief technology officer said the "biggest pain is repetitive drop calls". The company wants to halve its dropped calls and ensure network availability around the clock. It had initially planned to spend ZAR 8 billion, but revised that upwards to cater for demand for data.MTN also unveiled plans to bolster growth in subscribers, boost revenue and eliminate network outages that have left customers without voice and data coverage in some areas.

***Finland-based Cinia Group has launched commercial operations over its newly build C-Lion submarine cable, which links Finland and Germany across the Baltic Sea. The 1,200km fibre-optic system has landing stations in Rostock in the north German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Finland’s capital Helsinki and consists of eight optical fibre pairs, with a total capacity of 144Tbps. The new system offers a low-latency route between Europe and Asia via the so-called northern Silk Road route, connecting Europe to China via Finland and Russia.