TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

- The Nigerian mobile market’s bullish growth showed no signs of abating in Q4 08. Quarterly net additions of 7.15m took the total number of customers over 60m, with a year-end figure of 62.99m, while the annual gain stood at 22.59m. By comparison, Q4 07 saw an increase of 3.39m and the 2007 boost was 11.92m. Meanwhile, the latest figures from Nigerian regulator the NCC show that at the end of January the total had risen to 64.16m.

- Calling rates across Kenya’s networks could stabilise at Sh9 a minute as the mobile phone industry moves to implement a fresh round of interconnection agreements. The agreements - a set of minimum rates reached by mobile companies -will see pricing in the industry fall by 15 per cent as the last review of calling rates between firms is finalised.

- Following an emergency meeting convened by the national telecommunication commission (NATCOM), GSM operators in Sierra Leone have finally agreed to the commission's request to reverse the latest increase in top-up card prices to their initial cost.

­The Kenyan market saw some major developments in the second half of 2008: in Q3, fixed operator Telkom Kenya launched a mobile network, and in the last quarter of the year, Econet Wireless finally managed to get up and running, more than five years after it was first awarded a licence. At the end of 2008, there were 15.90m mobile customers in Kenya. Annual net additions stood at 4.55m, up from 4.08m a year earlier, but proportionate growth fell from 56.0% to 40.1%. Fourth-quarter net additions increased from 0.65m in Q4 07 to 1.37 in Q4 08.

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