Telecoms Rates, Offers and Coverage

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

-  In South Africa, First National Bank has launched a new service called Pay2Cell that allows its accountholders to make payments to other FNB accountholders using only the recipient’s cellphone number. To make a payment, customers must be registered for cellphone banking. To receive payments, they only need to be registered for inContact, FNB’s SMS notification service. There is a limit of R1 500/transaction.

- Mozambique's publicly owned mobile phone operator, M-Cel, has announced that it is launching onto the market a cell phone that will cost only 449 meticais (about 16.5 US dollars). This phone, which M-Cel claims will be the cheapest on the market, is an Alcatel OT208 multi-functional handset. In June, Vodacom launched what was then the cheapest cell phone on the Mozambican market - the Chinese-made model ZTE S512, which sells for 499 meticais.

- South Africa’s mobile service provider Vodacom has unveiled a new step to protect its customers from cellphone fraud by automatically locking a SIM card if any irregular call activity is detected. Vodacom stated that they saw an increase in the number of cases relating to International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF), and with this fraud a syndicate steals handsets or SIM cards from victims and uses them to dial international premium numbers which could result in cellphone bills as high as R120 000.

- Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S II smartphone in Kenya. Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Electronics East Africa Business Leader, Robert Ngeru confirmed that the Android powered smartphone would be hitting the market to further enhance Samsung’s local offering.

- Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator, Econet Wireless, will at end of the month launch a mobile payment system that makes it possible for Zimbabweans to pay bills using their cellphones. The company said it had spent millions of dollars on developing the system, which will be launched to its over 5 million customers, completely eliminating the need for any notes for purchases below USD20.

- In Liberia, mobile operators Cellcom and Lonestar/MTN have launched mobile banking services. Cellcom has joined ranks with UBA Bank while Lonestar/MTN has partnered with Ecobank. Statistics also show that just about only 10% of Liberians have bank accounts while over 40% of the population has mobile phones. So, with difficult roads and limited formal banking facilities around Liberia mobile banking services will provide the opportunity for more Liberians, particularly in the rural areas to have access to cash, transfer money, pay bills, do business and improve their lives economically.

- News24 and Samsung South Africa have combined to produce the first local Smart TV application. The News24 app can be accessed from any Samsung Smart TV and offers the hooked-in user news reports, the latest sports results, financial indicators, celebrity gossip and much more. The move mirrors the recent UK launch of the BBC News app on Samsung TVs.

- Mobile operator, Cell C has deployed its HSPA+ network in Welkom, Kroonstad and Koppies, extending its coverage in the Free State. The latest expansion of the network now puts Cell C's national coverage at 63% of the South African population.