Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

* Telecel Zimbabwe this week switched all its customers to per-second billing permanently.As a result the mobile service provider transferred the promotions that it had for the per-minute billing system to per-second billing.Telecel also slashed the cost of international SMS text messages from 22 cents to nine cents and the cost of a local SMS from nine cents to seven cents.Telecel said international calls to 23 major international destinations now cost only 24 cents per minute (0,4 cents per second). The international destinations include the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Canada, Australia, China, India, Dubai and Zambia.Other destinations are Malawi, Kenya, Egypt, Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

* Nokia has a new rival in music downloads. Vodacom is making a big play in the content space with news that it’s introduced a R39/month unlimited music download offer.

*Zantel on Wednesday inaugurated its Highlife state of the art customer's lounge, which will cater for all its highlife customers in Dar es Salaam and its surrounding areas.

* In the one month since its launch, Telkom’s new mobile service 8ta has signed up 186 033 new customers

* The President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade has rescinded a government Decree passed in May this year that proposed a higher tax levy on incoming international calls to the country. The decision to veto plans to raise call taxes should hopefully bring the curtain down on a seven-month dispute between the national regulator, Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP), and France Telecom-controlled national operator Sonatel. Local newspaper Le Soleil reports the regulatory agency’s director general, Ndongo Diaw, as saying that the tax increases – which were due to enter into effect from August – would have raised CFA5 billion (USD10.4 million) a month for the authorities. However, unions objected to an August decision to monitor incoming calls passed through the PTO, claiming it would hurt Sonatel’s business and put jobs at risk. In September the monitoring, designed to allow the state to calculate the nature of the taxes it could collect, was temporarily suspended. Wade has now withdrawn the decree on monitoring incoming international calls altogether.

* The number of active GSM subscribers in Nigeria has been estimated to exceed 85 million by the end of December 2010.