Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

*South Africa-based telcoms group MTN has announced that its consolidated subscriber base increased to 134.47 million as at 30 September 2010, up 4% from the 129.21 million reported at the end of June. A company statement credited the increase to ‘high quality networks, attractive value propositions and efficient distribution’. The South and East African region, which contributes 22% of the group’s customers, increased its subscriber base by 4.9% to 30.08 million for the quarter - mainly driven by growth in its domestic market. In South Africa, the customer base rose 3.9% to 17.77 million, helped by the addition of 616,000 pre-paid users and its MTN Zone offer, which allows MTN subscribers access to a discounted call rate if they are in an area experiencing a low volume of MTN traffic. ARPU in South Africa remained stable at ZAR152 (USD21.6).

The West and Central African region, which contributes 46% of the group’s subscribers increased its customer base by 3.4% in the three month period to 61.38 million. Nigeria – MTN’s largest single market and that which contributes 60% of the region’s subscriber base - grew its base 5.1% to 36.84 million. MTN credits the increase to ‘superior network quality and a successful distribution framework’. Elsewhere in the region, Ghana’s customer base declined from 8.72 million to 8.46 million due to the introduction of mandatory SIM registration on 1 July 2010.

*According to the quarterly report of Moroccan regulator the ANRT, the country added 2.6 million net new mobile subscriptions in the third quarter of 2010 to take its total to 30.5 million at the end of September, and boosting the cellular penetration rate to above 96%. The watchdog reported that market leader Maroc Telecom's mobile customer base grew by 5.3% to reach 16.7 million at the end of the third quarter, up from 15.9 million three months earlier, whilst Medi Telecom (Meditel) increased its customer base by 2.7% in the same period, from 10.4 million to 10.7 million, and Wana (Inwi) almost doubled its total number of mobile subscribers to 3.1 million from 1.6 million at the start of the quarter. Morocco’s number of 3G mobile broadband internet subscribers grew by 14.4% quarter-on-quarter in 3Q10 to 1.16 million (up 105% year-on-year), of which 42.7% had signed up to Wana, 36.3% were with Maroc Telecom and 30.0% belonged to Meditel.

* Econet near-trebled its subscribers to 4.59 million at the end of August, from 1.65 million a year earlier.

*Kigali — Tigo Rwanda has introduced a new promotion dubbed, 'We did it Again' for Tigo subscribers calling other Tigo subscribers as a response to market demand. The company's officials at the Muhima based company said, with the new promotion Tigo to Tigo calls would cost subscribers only Rwf5 for every minute. It also means the '100 percent Bonus, Kabisa' promotion came to an end paving way for the new one launched early this week.

*Kigali, Rwanda — Customers of MTN Rwanda travelling to some selected countries with their lines on are now paying to receive calls. The company said the cost of roaming has unbearably become too high to foot alone.The company announced the decision to scrap free roaming service on October 20 in a text message sent to some of its customers. The message did not indicate the amount a customer will pay per call received.

*Known as Vertex Mobile, this company launched in Windhoek on Monday is involved in the selling of airtime. The company says its clients will buy airtime and receive it at no extra cost. This, V-Mobile says, eliminates the need for its clients to buy airtime through the airtime vendors. V-Mobile observes that the airtime it provides is available at all times as long as the client has a mobile phone and a bank account.

*Windhoek – MTC, the leading mobile operator in Namibia has announced the imminent launch of the Netman Home and Netman Home Plus products. The new products, which come complete with a cordless phone and a wireless router, offer customers the convenience of accessing Internet from home wirelessly. Netman Home is a product that connects several computers in your home to internet wirelessly and it gives the user the luxury of cordless voice call functionality and SMS at the same time.  Netman Home works on almost every operating system such as Linux, Mac and Microsoft and supports data technologies like GPRS, EDGE and HSDPA among others The product is currently only available on contract with a monthly subscription of N$499-00. On top of the cordless phone and the wireless router, customers buying Netman Home Plus will get a Notebook (laptop) and 7.2 3G device for only N$899-00. As a limited special offer, customers who sign up before 31 January 2011 will have the connection fee waived. Customers signing up for Netman Home will enjoy free On-Net calls (MTC-MTC) between 19h00 and 07h00 every day and 5 gigabytes free per month. The cost of On-Net short text messages (SMS) is 5 cents and 40 cents to other networks. Both the On-Net minutes and the 5 gigabytes cannot be rolled over to the next month.  Once these free benefits are depleted in a particular month, customers will be charged 50 cents per megabyte and 99 cents for chargeable calls. The product will be available at all MTC’s MobileHomes as from Thursday, 4 November 2010, Ekandjo assured.