In Brief: MTN’s Visafone unit trials new LTE network 

Visafone Communications, a subsidiary of mobile market leader MTN Nigeria, has begun trialling a 4G LTE service for smartphone users, with a view to strengthening its position in the West African nation’s mobile data sector. The test network operates in the 800MHz frequency band. MTN Nigeria will also roll out a 2600MHz 4G service using the frequencies it was awarded by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in June. ‘We are pleased to set the pace once again as we break new boundaries with this test run, which will be available for now for our Visafone customers, who are provisioned on the 800MHz band,’ commented MTN Nigeria’s General Manager of Consumer Marketing, adding: ‘When we roll out fully, especially with our 2600MHz spectrum, the launch will help to enhance customer experience for our over 60 million subscribers, while ensuring greater coverage, access, affordability and ultimately a smart lifestyle for everyone.’

***Tigo Rwanda has announced the commissioning of a wholesale IP Transit service for local 4G wholesale operator KT Rwanda Networks. The deal will allow international broadband traffic from KT Rwanda Networks to transit via the Tigo Rwanda fibre-optic network to the point of presence (PoP) owned by parent company Millicom International Cellular (MIC) in London, UK. Under the terms of the ten-year partnership, Tigo will provide KT Rwanda Networks with STM-4 Bandwidth over a secured network with a bit rate of 622Mbps.

***Russian mobile operator MTS is exiting the Uzbekistan market and has sold its 50.01 percent stake in the mobile operator Universal Mobile Systems (UMS) to the government. The State Unitary Enterprise Centre of Radio Communication, Radio Broadcasting and Television of the Ministry of Development of ICT acquired the shares for an undisclosed sum. The state already held the other 50 percent of UMS. MTS said the dale is "due to a variety of business reasons and other circumstances", but did not provide further details. The company expects to record a write-off of the related assets of RUB 3 billion in Q3.

***According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, smartphone shipments grew 19 percent annually to reach 31 million units in India during the second quarter of 2016. Android was the star performer and maintained first position with a record 97 percent smartphone OS marketshare in India.

***Globe Telecom announced that data traffic on its mobile network increased by 35% in the first half of this year, driven in part by declining prices.
The Philippines mobile operator said its network carried 151 petabytes of traffic in the six months to the end of June, up from 11 petabytes in the same period a year earlier.
The operator said the statistics reflect growing smartphone usage in the country, as well as a decline in mobile data prices.