Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- As power disruptions in the country intensify, Safaricom has joined forces with ZTE to launch a solar-charged mobile phone in the Kenyan market. Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited-ZTE-is a global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions. The solar-charged phone- Simu ya Solar- is made from recycled material, will retail at Sh2,999 and will be locked into the Safaricom network.

- MTN Congo and Sicap have launched a new service, marketed under the Sicap product name of Pay4Me. The Sicap solution allows MTN subscribers to bear the cost of a call from loved ones who are momentarily out of credit. Essentially a collect call service, Pay4Me opens up the opportunity for all MTN subscribers to call other MTN numbers, even when out of credit. The subscriber simply dials a short code before their correspondent’s number in order to send a collect call request. The correspondent receives notification and presses 1 to accept the charges.

- Zain mobile money transfers will be accessible in all the Western Union outlets across Uganda. This follows the signing of a deal between the two firms. "This partnership will enhance the ZAP service to be more accessible to Zain customers because of the Western Union footprint across the country," said Yesse Oenga, Zain’s managing director.

- Managing Director of Starcomms Plc, Maher Quiben has challenged the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC to reduce interconnection rates between the CDMA operators and their GSM counterparts, to encourage more industry improvements.

- Ghana’s telecoms regulator the National Communications Authority (NCA) has published its report on the development of the mobile market as at 31 March 2009, noting that on average, the nation’s mobile service providers recorded average revenue per user (ARPU) of USD5 a month. The per-customer spend includes both voice and data usage, and the sums derived from interconnection fees on incoming calls, the NCA said.

- MTN Uganda announced that it had registered over 100,000 customers on its mobile money transfer service, MTN Mobile Money in less than its projected timeframe of 6 months. The money transfer service that was launched only six months ago has seen transactions of over UGX.16 billion go through the system to date and to ensure easy access to the service, MTN has signed up 800 outlets as agents countrywide with the numbers increasing daily.

- ZTE Corporation is rolling out a state-of-the-art all-IP mobile phone and data network for a newcomer to Madagascar, mobile operator Madamobil. The network rollout is currently in its final stages, with ZTE supplying the core equipment and the base stations for the first phase of the network construction. Madamobil expects to launch services by August 2009 in Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, and to expand into other cities in Madagascar. Madamobil, which will offer services under the "Life" brand, is the only mobile broadband network operation in Madagascar operating on CDMA 2000 1X/EVDO.