In Brief:

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

* Econet has become the first Zimbabwean mobile operator to provide prepaid roaming services. ECONET, the country's mobile giant has sealed roaming agreements with four regional mobile operators for its prepaid package Buddie, to extend the service to non-subscribers using pre-paid lines.The international roaming service allows Econet prepaid customers to use their lines in neighbouring countries, a service which had been previously available for contract customers only.

* Following an appeal by mobile network operator Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil) against a September 2008 regulatory decision to lower interconnection rates, a Cairo court has overturned the original ruling, The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) had originally said that the fee which Telecom Egypt (TE) paid to connect fixed line calls to mobile phones must be lowered, after the fixed line incumbent complained that the rates at the time were making it less competitive.

However, the latest ruling by the Administrative Court at the State Council has effectively nullified the lower fee, prompting the NTRA to say that it would not take any action until it had studied the details of the court’s decision in more detail.MobiNil drop its interconnection rates to below EGP0.15 (USD0.03) for termination on MobiNil’s network, and EGP0.10 to terminate on the fixed line network. MobiNil for its part claimed that it was willing to accept reductions in the interconnection rates, but only as part of a package including measures in the leased line sector, which the cellco argued was priced higher than its international counterparts.

* Zain Africa has expanded its borderless platform to South Africa in a partnership with Cell C, one of operators in the country. In South Africa, customers would be able to make calls, send text messages and access the Internet at local rates of the visited country and to receive incoming calls at a minimal charge.There is no need for customers to pre-register, no roaming deposits, and no complicated dialling formats.

* Intelsat will be providing global transmission services of the World Cup in South Africa. Intelsat will use its terrestrial platform, IntelsatONESM, to complement the distribution capabilities of its fleet.

Nine Intelsat satellites will provide more than 900MHz of capacity specifically for Occasional Use Services to transmit the World Cup matches. The satellites include: Intelsat 907, located at 332.5°E; Intelsat 11, located at 317°E; Intelsat 12, located at 45ºE; Intelsat 10 located at 68.5°E; Intelsat 702 located at 66°E; Intelsat 904 located at 60°E; and the Intelsat 10-02 located at 1°W. In addition, Intelsat relocated its Intelsat 709 and Intelsat 705 satellites to 55°E and 330.5ºE, respectively, specifically to meet the capacity demand for broadcast services of the event.
*With the World Cup in mind, du is offering those travelling to watch the games in South Africa a 50 per cent cut in roaming rates for the UAE on calls, SMS and mobile internet.

*NetOne Zimbabwe expects to reach 2 million subscriber base at the end of this year.

* MTN has announced the availability of “Find and Follow SA” for BlackBerry smartphones, a new application that lets MTN BlackBerry subscribers find local information and stay in touch with the latest football news and events across South Africa. This local search application makes it simple for MTN subscribers who use a BlackBerry smartphone to stay on top of the latest scores, news, and schedules, as well as make informed choices about the hotel, restaurants, transport and other services during the months of June and July.