Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

Subscribers with Airtel Africa in Tanzania will soon be able to make online purchases from MasterCard merchants around the world, thanks to an initiative by the mobile communication firm in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank and MasterCard Worldwide. The three firms have partnered to provide a virtual card that operates off a wallet residing on a mobile phone.

According to figures published by Ghana’s telecoms regulator, the National Communications Authority (NCA), fixed and mobile penetration in the country reached 75.4% at the end of last year, up from around 71% at the start of 2010. The watchdog’s figures show that the primary driver of growth is mobile usage: the cellular penetration rate stood at 74.2% at the same date, with more than 17.436 million registered SIM cards. Mobile growth in the second half of last year came despite a compulsory SIM registration scheme, which entered into effect on 1 July, and which was expected to dampen growth for the year, compared with 2009. The scheme is also expected to have pruned out a number of inactive and/or unregistered mobile users.

Airtel Zambia, the recently acquired unit of India’s Bharti Airtel, is planning to invest up to USD150 million on the development of new infrastructure with a view to bolstering its customers, according to Bloomberg, which cites the former’s managing director, Fayaz King.

Green Network Sierra Leone has gone live. Green Network Chief Executive Officer, Elmabruk S. Elgembari, said they were committed in partnering with the government to bring world-class telecommunications services to Sierra Leoneans. The operator currently has approximately 86 sites in the city and 42 in the provinces.

Subscribers that are hoping to port their GSM numbers from one network to another and still retain their original numbers, under the Number Portability platform, may have to wait for more time before enjoying such service. The Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) say number portability across all networks must wait until Nigeria completes her SIM registration and obtains a national database of users.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)  could soon crack down on mobile phone operators following numerous complaints from the public about the quality of services, vis-à-vis costs, they are being given. POTRAZ is currently carrying out its own evaluation of the services on offer. Complaints by mobile technology users have become commonplace, with people decrying crossed lines, dropped calls, slow Internet connectivity, the cost of services and network unavailability.

In Tanzania, Sasatel has launched a new promotion. The company will offer a new price of TS39,900/- (US$26( for the internet modem to new individual customers while business firms will have to pay a new price of TS179,000/- for the wireless Internet router. Sasatel was licensed to provide wireless telecommunication services in June 2008 and it officially launched its CDMA technology for commercial operation in June 2009.

Zimbabwe's Barnfords Financial Services has partnered with UK-based WorldRemit to launch a new Internet-based money transfer service for Zimbabweans living abroad.