Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- Cell C last week announced its roaming partnership with Zain which will benefit both Zain and Cell C subscribers. The ‘One Network’ borderless mobile phone platform enables pre-paid and post-paid Zain customers to be treated as Cell C customers when they roam on the South African Cell C network. The partnership between Zain and Cell C means that Zain customers will pay relatively low rates (compared to traditional roaming rates) on the Cell C network.

- The most popular mobile handset in Kenya is the Nokia 5130, a report shows. The report tracks market penetration of Opera Mini, a mobile client. It includes information such as the fact that Opera Mini users doubled between November 2008 and November 2009. Nokia 3110c was the second most popular handset followed by Nokia 2600c.The only Samsung model that is used by most Kenyans in the top ten list was the Samsung SGH-E250, coming in fourth.

- Good news for South African consumers is that the cost of in-flight broadband in South Africa will be competitive in terms of international standards.The pricing will remain in the bracket of between R0.50 and R0.80 per MB for G-Connect (WirelessG’s prepaid Internet service) account holders. The service will be fully converged with the standard G-Connect 3G, Wi-Fi and ADSL on a single account.

- MTN Uganda's MobileMoney has registered 890,000 users in its first year of operation. This is 16% of the operator's total subscriber base, and it expects this to grow to more than two million by year-end.

- The cost of mobile phone banking and the internet (e-banking) in Uganda is set to drop after Bank of Africa, unveiled a low-cost electronic banking services in the market.The bank has raised stakes for other banks offering mobile and internet banking by lowering the fees paid by individuals to execute transactions on their accounts via mobile phone Short Message Services (SMS). Instead of charging Shs500 per mobile phone transaction like other players in the market, the bank is charging a flat rate of Sh2,500 for 15 SMS and Shs10,000 for 40 SMS. With an increase in the use of mobile phones and internet in Uganda, commercial banks are now enabling clients access their account balances, make cash transfers between bank accounts, and execute payments by way of SMS and websites.

- According to Bloomberg, Millicom International Cellular SA, a company with mobile-phone customers across Africa, plans to counter Bharti Airtel Ltd.’s Africa entry with services such as money transfers, banking and insurance. “I don’t think Bharti is proven outside of India, so let’s see what they bring,” Chief Executive Officer Mikael Grahne said in an interview in Stockholm. “We just need to accelerate and come out with new things.” Millicom was interested in some of Zain’s Africa assets that Bharti agreed to acquire for $10.7 billion in March, he said.