TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

- Mobile operators in Zimbabwe have reduced telecommunication tariffs by a minimum of 15 percent with effect from July 1. Prices of sim cards have also gone down by about 40 percent. Econet, the country's largest mobile operator by subscriber base, has reduced the price for sim cards from US$25 last month to US$15. Telecel and NetOne are selling sim cards for US$20.

­The South African cellular market reached a milestone of 50-milion connections at the end of 2008 - but only 68% of these represented individual users, reports a study carried out by World Wide Worx, backed by First National Bank (FNB), and Research In Motion (RIM).

­ A Kenyan mobile network operator has secured an investment of US$93.75 million from the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF). The funding will be used by Essar Telecom Kenya Holdings Ltd (ETKHL) for further investment to expand the East African operations of Essar.

- Mobile calls using local networks will be drastically cheaper from the beginning of July after the Namibian Communications Commission (NCC) slashed interconnection charges by up to 43 per cent with the introduction of a standard charge structure. Interconnection charges for all mobile calls, whether mobile-to-mobile (MTR), mobile-to-fixed line, fixed line-to-mobile (FTR) or international-to-mobile through Telecom Namibia are 60 cents plus an international settlement rate per minute or part thereof.

- In an effort to better understand the mindset of the African youth, United States President Barack Obama has asked young people across the continent to engage with him on MXit, the vastly popular mobile social network and instant messenger.

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