TELECOMS

TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

- In a bid to ensure that people are serviced in their own languages, government has launched the Telephone Interpretation Service for South Africa (TISSA). The telephone interpreting system is available in seven provinces; Northern Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Western Cape and plans are afoot to introduce it in the remaining two.

- Zimbabwe mobile phone operator NetOne has increased tariffs on local calls by more than 170 percent, while regional and international calls have gone up by 71 percent. The company last reviewed its local tariffs in October last year, but this is the second time in less than a month that regional and international tariffs have gone up since the beginning of the year. Local calls from Easycall prepaid NetOne to NetOne will now cost $12 297 during the peak period, from the $4 500 previously charged and $10 452 during off peak while NetOne to other networks, which include Telecel, Econet and TelOne, will now cost an average of $11 074 during peak period and $9 390 off peak.

- South Africa's MTN says that it is on track to deliver commercial High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) or 3G Evolved services to customers this year. MTN achieved its first HSDPA call to corporate customers on 29 November 2005, offering users additional speed, bandwidth and applications. MTN has identified pilot sites to roll-out HSDPA or 3G Evolved Services and has kicked off the acquisition and infrastructure process. Currently in excess of 30% of MTN's sites offer EDGE and over 800 000 handsets are in circulation. MTN's 3G network currently offers data speeds of up to 384 kbps.

- Onetouch has hit the Ghanaian mobile market with a new service called the ONEtouch i-share unit transfer. The service is a "person to person" unit transfer service. It allows Onetouch pre-paid customers to transfer unit from their phone to other Onetouch prepaid customers directly.

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