Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- In Nigeria, CDMA operator Starcomms Plc has announced a partnership agreement with China Telecoms to provide affordable and quality GSM handsets for its customers. The chief executive also said the company was also considering the possibility of giving free phones to its customers who stay with them for about 12 months as a way of encouraging them, adding that there will be emphasis on customer care and service.

- Kenyan pay television service provider Multichoice Kenya has launched a new mobile decoder into the Kenyan market that will enable its subscribers have access to mobile television services. The new mobile decoder dubbed Drifta, targeted at mobile television enthusiasts will see subscribers within the firm's mobile network coverage areas in Nairobi, Mombasa and their environs have access to various DStv channels.

- Nokia has announced the launch of two low-cost mobile phones, which it says are its most affordable phones to date. The Nokia 101 will be available in the third quarter of 2011 for about US$35. The Nokia 100 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2011 for about US$30.

- Canadian mobile device manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) is introducing BBM Music, a new BlackBerry Messenger service that allows for social and viral music discovery online. But there’s no word on when or even if the product will be launched in South Africa and other African countries. The company has signed licensing deals with the four biggest music labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI — to provide users of BBM Music with access to millions of tracks.

- South Africa’s newest television challenger, SouthTel Group’s VOD:TV, has revealed more details about its plans to launch a satellite-based video-on-demand service later this year. The company will go to market in partnership with mobile operators and has already concluded its first agreement with one of SA’s big mobile providers. The company’s founder and CEO, Oscar Dube, says he can’t name the operator yet because of confidentiality clauses. He says he’s keen to do deals with other SA cellphone companies and with operators elsewhere in Southern Africa.

- Samsung Electronics has launched a smartphone, two tablets and a netbook in Africa.
The NC215S netbook has a built-in solar panel for Africans still unconnected to the national grid and those facing unstable power supplies. The Samsung S11 smartphone uses Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), while Samsung said that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9 are the thinnest tablets, measuring 8.6 millimeters. The smartphone includes access to Samsung’s new content and management hubs for access to games, e-reading and social networking services.