In Brief:Vodacom, WBS have inked a roaming agreement 

South African telecoms provider Vodacom has reached an agreement with technology firm Multisource/Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) – the parent company of ISP iBurst –to roam over its time division duplex LTE-Advanced(TD-LTE-A)network.In addition,WBS has concluded a deal with Vodacom to utilise some of the company’s infrastructure. WBS will have at least 500 sites active on Vodacom’s facilities by March 2017,with that number set to reach 5,000 by 2020. In September 2016 Multisource/WBS revealed a ‘multi-billion-rand investment’ for the deployment of a TD-LTE-A network in the next few months.The company will use carrier aggregation (CA) in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands for the network, which will be enabled to support 5G when the technology is rolled out internationally within the next five years. The new LTE-A platform will be deployed on several of WBS’s 400 sites, and will be extended to an additional 10,000 sites leased from independent tower companies and other operators. The LTE-A service is set to be marketed under a separate brand, which will be launched next year with ‘innovative products and simplified pricing plans’.

***The ongoing saga concerning the ownership of Zimbabwe mobile operator Telecel has taken a new twist with the news that 40% shareholder Empowerment Corporation (EC) may sue former 60% owner VimpelCom for failing to give it first right of refusal when it agreed to sell its interest to the Zimbabwe government. A report from Daily News cites a letter from E Corp lawyer to VimpelCom chief executive which says the deal between VimpelCom, its holding company Telecel International and the government was ‘null and void’ as it breached an existing shareholders’ agreement.

***Tigo El Salvador, the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers,plans to launch 4G LTE services inSan Salvador, Santa Ana and San Miguel in mid-December.El Mundo cites the firm’s CEO Marcelo Aleman as saying that coverage of the new network will be expanded to other areas by April 2017,with a view to reaching 80% of the population within the next four years.To achieve this,Tigo will invest USD1 billion in the deployment of LTE services across the country over the next four years.The development follows an announcement last week that Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has hired Ericsson for the deployment of an LTE network in El Salvador. Telefonica’s local mobile unit Movistar is scheduled to launch its 4G service on 1 December.

***Ericsson has announced the extension of its contract with Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET). Under the terms, Ericsson will deploy its new radio technology on the 2.6 GHz frequency band in FET's network,allowing the operator to roll out a combined LTE FDD TDD network.Adding TDD to the already installed FDD network significantly enhances the total downlink data capacity and improves subscribers'mobile broadband experience.In addition,FDD/TDD extends the app coverage of the TDD layer by up to 230 percent.This joint effort marks an additional important step in leading network performance with the shared vision to bring 5G to Taiwan.

***Azerbaijan mobile operator Bakcell has opened a new flagship shop and services centre in the city of Sumgait. The new shop is the largest operator shop across the country. Bakcell currently owns around 30 shops in the capital city and in regions.The operator plans to continue expanding its retail chain in the future.

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