Brief:Ericsson Wins US$1 Billion IT Services Contract from VimpelCom 

Russia's VimpelCom has awarded a USD1 billion contract to Ericsson for the transformation of its global IT infrastructure. The contract with Ericsson is for a seven year period with an option to extend. The partnership encompasses a complete overhaul of VimpelCom's IT infrastructure across 11 countries and 12 time zones - which Ericsson says is on a scale that is the largest and most ambitious in the industry's history.

***UAE based Etisalat has announced that it is selling its Sudanese landline operator, Canar to the local Bank of Khartoum. Etisalat had previously agreed to sell Canar to Zain, but the Bank of Khartoum owned a blocking 3.7 percent stake in the landline operator and exercised its option to prevent the sale.The bank also exercised an option to buy the Etisalat's 92.3 percent stake, and is paying USD95.2 million, Etisalat's deal with Bank of Khartoum remains subject to certain conditions, including the approval of Sudanese authorities.

***Orange may have sold out of Kenya but its brand will remain in the market for the next year and a half.The French operator announced the closure of the sale of its 70% stake in Telkom Kenya, which operates under the Orange brand.Orange brokered the deal with private equity firm Helios Investment Partners, but the transaction saw a 10% stake pass to the Kenyan government, leaving it with 40% and Helios with 60%.The new owners will keep the Orange brand for at least 18 months, concentrating instead on turning the mobile operator into a more effective competitor in the market.Orange is Kenya's third largest mobile network operator and has a lot of ground to make up before it could be considered a threat to market leader Safaricom.

***Iran’s dominant fixed line operator, Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), has signed a EUR1 billion (USD1.13 billion) finance agreement with an unnamed overseas vendor for the expansion and upgrade of its networks. The deal follows the lifting of international trade sanctions against Iran earlier this year after the country promised to restrict its nuclear testing programme. Alongside the new financing deal, TCI recently signed cooperation agreements with foreign telcos KT Corp of South Korea and Kazakhtelecom of Kazakhstan, as well as Italian equipment supplier Italtel. TCI and its subsidiaries hold a virtual monopoly in Iran’s fixed telephony sector and it is also the largest broadband internet provider, while sister company MCI is the country’s leading cellco by subscribers.

***Kenya’s Communications Authority (CA) has announced that it has reviewed the procedures and guidelines for mobile number portability (MNP), following a consultation with industry stakeholders and the general public. Consumers will no longer have to pay porting fees if they wish to transfer their number to a different mobile service provider. The CA has also shortened the porting process to no more than four hours, in a move aimed at encouraging take-up by simplifying the procedure, which was first introduced in Kenya on 1 April 2011. Under the previous guidelines, any subscriber wishing to port their number to a different network was required to pay a one-off fee of KES199.80 (USD1.9), while the maximum execution and porting period was 48 hours between Monday and Friday excluding public holidays.