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In Brief:No bidders qualified for South Africa Connect tender 

South Africa’s State IT Agency (SITA) has revealed that it pulled the plug on the government’s ZAR1.5 billion (USD104.5 million) tender for the rollout of a rural broadband network under the South Africa Connect project as none of the bidders qualified. The agency said in a press release to TechCentral that six companies – Broadband Infraco, EOH Mthombo, MTN, Neotel, Tradepage and Galela Telecommunications (a joint venture) and Vodacom – had placed bids for the contract, adding that ‘at the conclusion of the technical evaluation process, which was also subjected to probity by the independent auditor, none of the six companies that responded to the bid had met all six technical mandatory requirements to enable them to proceed to the next phase of pricing evaluation.’

***Bharti Airtel, India’s largest cellco by subscribers, has confirmed that it has completed its INR35 billion (USD512.8 million) acquisition of 4G-compatible frequencies from rival Aircel. The two operators had agreed the sale in April this year, with Airtel set to acquire the smaller provider’s 20MHz blocks of 2300MHz spectrum in eight circles in the run-up to Aircel’s planned merger with Reliance Communications (RCOM). The transfer of the spectrum rights in the first six circles – Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam and North East – was concluded in July 2016, followed by Odisha in August. In a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Airtel confirmed that, having received all necessary approvals and satisfied all conditions, it has now completed the acquisition of the final 20MHz of 2300MHz band spectrum, covering Andhra Pradesh.

***The European Commission is expected to approve Microsoft's $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn after the software giant altered concessions designed to ease competition concerns.Microsoft will allow LinkedIn's rivals to access its software, and will give hardware makers the option of installing rival professional social networks.According to sources Microsoft tweaked its concessions following feedback submitted to the Commission by rivals. Further details were not provided, but it seems to have been enough to win over the authorities.

***The sales and marketing director at Dauphin Telecom, has revealed that the operator is aiming to commercially deploy 4G LTE services in the French overseas territory of Saint-Martin in the first quarter of 2017. The company said that the network will offer theoretical download speeds of 40Mbps, with plans to cover 80% of the territory with LTE services in late 2017.As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes, Arcep) awarded 4G licences to four operators in Saint-Martin and Saint Barthelemy: Dauphin Telecom (900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz) and Orange Caraibe, Free Mobile and Digicel (800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz).

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