MTN, Ericsson to optimize network in Afghanistan

Updated 30 May 2012

MTN, Ericsson to optimize network in Afghanistan

MTN has signed a managed services agreement with Ericsson to operate and optimize MTN’s mobile network as well as its charging systems and value-added services such as mobile applications.
This deal is part of a groundbreaking agreement that covers end-to-end managed services.
Under this groundbreaking managed services agreement, Ericsson will deploy its end-to-end solutions and systems to help MTN in Afghanistan achieve better network efficiency, simplify operations and ensure better quality network through 24/7 network monitoring.
The agreement is in line with MTN growth strategy and its continuous focus to enhance customer experience through improved network capacity.
“Afghanistan’s telecommunications market and our customer base is growing rapidly. In order to reinforce our focus on our customers’ fast-evolving needs, we have chosen Ericsson, leveraging on the company’s global experience and competence in managing such complex projects,” said Hassan Jaber, CEO MTN in Afghanistan.
“Ericsson will ensure that our network and IT operations are managed effectively, we will focus on tailoring our services to better cater to our customers’ needs.”
Ericsson signed more than 70 managed services contracts in 2011. In all current managed services contracts today, Ericsson manages networks that together serve more than 900 million subscribers worldwide. More than 20,000 employees have been transferred to Ericsson from operators around the world.
“Afghanistan has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the country’s communications market over past few years. Not only are we seeing significant investments and job creation, with over 100,000 telecoms jobs generated in 2011 alone, but we are also seeing demand for advanced services as customers’ needs evolve,” said Anders Lindblad, president Region Middle East at Ericsson.
“This Managed Services agreement is a clear sign of the Afghan telecom market’s maturity and we are confident that MTN Afghanistan will begin to see immediate benefits, as a result of this partnership.”


Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

Updated 23 February 2020

Oman’s sultan says government will work to reduce debt

DUBAI: Oman's Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said said on Sunday the government would work to reduce public debt and restructure public institutions and companies to bolster the economy.
Haitham, in his second public speech since assuming power in January, said the government would create a national framework to tackle unemployment while addressing strained public finances.
"We will direct our financial resources in the best way that will guarantee reducing debt and increasing revenues," he said in the televised speech.
"We will also direct all government departments to adopt efficient governance that leads to a balanced, diversified and sustainable economy."
Rated junk by all three major credit rating agencies, Oman's debt to GDP ratio spiked to nearly 60% last year from around 15% in 2015, and could reach 70% by 2022, according to S&P Global Ratings.
The small oil producing country has relied heavily on debt to offset a widening deficit caused by lower crude prices. Also, the late Sultan Qaboos, who ruled Oman for nearly 50 years, held back on austerity measures.
The country has delayed introducing a 5% value added tax from 2019 to 2021, and economic diversification has been slow, with oil and gas accounting for over 70% of government revenues.
Last week, rating agency Fitch said Oman was budgeting for a higher deficit of 8.7% for 2020 despite its expectation of further asset-sale proceeds and some spending cuts.
"We are willing to take the necessary measures to restructure the state's administrative system and its legislation," Haitham said in his first speech since the mourning period for Qaboos ended, without elaborating.
He said there would be a full review of government companies to improve their business performance and competence.
Oman observers have said that if Haitham moves to decentralise power it would signal willingness to improve decision making. Like Qaboos, he holds the positions of finance minister and central bank chairman as well as premier, defence and foreign minister.