Telecoms - In Brief


-Globalstar is today launching the cheapest pre-paid satellite phone service for consumers and businesses. Seasonal and occasional satellite phone users can now enjoy crystal-clear satellite phone calls without being tied to a contract. The new low cost pricing makes it affordable for anyone frustrated by limited or no mobile phone network – sailing or shipping, working at remote construction or mining sites, travelling across the desert etc. For comparison, Inmarsat’s service is between 10% to 38% more expensive than Globalstar’s new offering, dependent on the value of the pre-pay card. On a 1000 unit card, Globalstar’s service costs 40p or €0.48 per minute while Inmarsat costs 55p or €0.66 per minute. The Globalstar pre-paid 1000 unit credit is valid for two years. Apologies that this includes only UK/Euro pricing.

 - The government of South Sudan said last week that it would temporarily shut down the mobile phone network in Upper Nile, as fighting in the northeastern border state between rebels and troops loyal to President Salva Kiir continues. Presidential spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny says that mobile phone service had been cut ‘for security purposes’ in all parts of the state except Renk and Paloch. The key oil city of Malakal in Upper Nile has been a major battleground since violence erupted between government troops and rebel forces in the capital last month.

- Owerri — Mobile telephone users in Imo State have cried out over alleged extra tariff slammed on them by MTN, and its authorised distributors and agents in the state.Recharge card dealers now charge extra N10 for every N100 recharge card purchased by any subscriber in the state.The extra but illegal tax, which started last December and has continued at the time of going to press, grows as the recharge card purchaser increases his demand.A recharge card retailer, Mrs. Tina Iwuala, explained that recharge card printers now sell the N100 brick for N980 as against the previous N960.

- African tech companies Econet, Liquid Telecom and MTN South Africa have been shortlisted for the inaugural Industry Awards, putting them up against global telecom giants