Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- One of Nigeria's largest CDMA operator's Visafone said it has extended its network coverage to Maiduguri, capital of Bornu State. Among the services and products the residents of Maiduguri are expected to get from Visafone, included Visa Internet, for fast and reliable access to the internet; VisaChill, a product which enables subscribers to make free mid_night calls; Visa Profit, designed for increased business returns; and Visa Call Hunting, a re_definition in customer care designed for both small and large organisations.

- Ghana's number one telecommunications service provider, MTN has introduced a new Electronic Self service platform dubbed "E-self Care" onto the Ghanaian telecommunications market. E-self care offered MTN's Pay Monthly customers (Corporate and Individuals) and Pay As You Go customers the convenience of managing their accounts online without necessarily resorting to MTN service centers or calling 111 for help.

- Zain Kenya has unveiled an international airtime top-up service that will enable people living abroad to purchase its airtime for friends and family living in countries where the firm has a presence. Operating from Europe, USA and Canada, the service is now live "in Kenya" with further roll-outs to Uganda and Tanzania and other countries planned over the coming months.

- Starcomms has announced that it has received recognition for meeting the requirements of the CDG (CDMA development group's) OMH (open market handsets) initiative. This makes the networks the 1st 1900 mhz CDMA operator in Africa and 6th CDMA operator in the world to do so. Starcomms in cooperation with QUALCOMM has completed the applicable network testing to declare its network OMH-compliant.

- Moroccan fixed-wireless, 3G mobile and broadband operator Wana has launched commercial 2G mobile services over its new GSM network on schedule, under its new Inwi brand. As reported last week in CommsUpdate, the GSM network has an initial capacity of two million subscriber connections, whilst at launch the company announced that it had 75% population coverage. Alongside the GSM launch, Wana is offering 3G mobile broadband services, based on its existing national CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network, but now also rebranded under the Inwi banner, with double-play mobile voice and internet bundles including USB wireless modems offered to pre- and post-paid consumers and business users.

- In Nigeria, Globacom has introduced a new Value Added Service (VAS) tagged GloConnect which allows subscribers on the Glo Mobile network to connect directly with the popular social networking site, Facebook. The service gives Glo subscribers a seamless connection to their Facebook accounts via Short Message Service (SMS) and Multi-Media Service (MMS).

- Zain has announced the fourth season of the hugely popular Zain Africa Challenge, the first ever televised international academic quiz show featuring Africa’s top university students and which will be watched by more than 200 million people across Africa. 100 teams from the leading universities in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia competed in preliminary national tournaments to qualify for the right to represent their countries and share in the US$1 million worth of prize money. The top 32 teams advanced to the International Championship Festival, held in Uganda where they faced tough competition in the playoff games to emerge in the final rounds of the competition, which will be aired locally on terrestrial television stations in the eight competing countries.