Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage (briefs)

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- The global parent company of Celtel Kenya, Zain Group has launched in-flight roaming services that allow customers to use their phones. Clients will now be able to send and receive e-mails, text messages as well as make and receive phone calls while aboard aircraft.

- Celtel Malawi has announced that it has reduced the cost of its cheapest handset by 35%, from USD25 to USD16. The move follows the government's eradication of a 25% customs and excise duty on imported handsets and cellular network equipment.

- Multi-Link Telkom has disclosed that the network has recorded over a million subscribers since Telkom acquired Multi Links late last year. Telkom acquired Multilinks in 2007, when the subscriber base was a mere 200,000. Today, barely seven months after acquisition, the figured has soared to over 1,000,000.

- Egyptian telecoms regulator the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has approved increases of up to 50% in some charges for fixed line telephony calls.Other charges, such as installation fees and calls between landlines and mobile phones, have been cut significantly. Under the changes, from 1 July the charge for local calls will rise to EGP0.03 (USD0.0056) after the first minute from EGP0.02. But the charge for calls between mobile phones and landlines will fall to EGP0.3 a minute at all times from EGP0.45 at peak times or EGP0.35 at off-peak times. The charge for installing a new line will fall to EGP250 from EGP500 for residential subscribers and to EGP500 from EGP1,000 for business subscribers. The cost of direct-dial national long-distance calls at peak times will fall 20% to EGP0.16 a minute (for distances greater than 60km) and EGP0.08 a minute for shorter distances, it said. The new rates are the same as those for off-peak times.