ARCT Burundi withdraws licences from HiTS and Comium

19 Sep 2012

According to an unconfirmed report from Agence Ecofin, the national telecoms regulator of Burundi, the Agence de Regulation et de Controle des Telecommunications (ARCT), has revoked the operating licences of HiTS Telecom (Burundi) and Comium Data (C-Data). In a press conference on 13 September, the director general of the ARCT Salvator Nizigiyimana announced that the licences had been withdrawn for non-compliance with the obligations contained in the concession contracts signed by the companies with the ARCT. Nizigiyimana also used the opportunity to warn other Burundian telcos that they are not immune to sanctions for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of their own licence awards.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, HiTS Telecom (Burundi) is owned by Saudi-owned HiTs Telecom through a Ugandan holding company. In January 2008 the government of Burundi awarded the operator a GSM mobile licence to House of Integrated Technical Systems (HiTs) Telecom, which was established in Uganda in 2007 but was acquired by Orange in October 2008, following which it launched services in February 2009 under the Orange brand. The Burundi operation now appears to be defunct.

Comium (C-Data) is part of the Comium Group which has live operations in Lebanon, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Additionally, the group has plans to deploy advanced internet and data communications networks in Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia – and until now, Burundi. C-Data was also issued with a wireless data services licence in 2008, but it appears that it too has been annulled.

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