Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- Namibia is experiencing a cellphone war. MTC and Cell One are competing furiously and trying to outdo each other in giving best value to customers. Both companies are offering a number of similar promotions including the free SMS service every Friday, and the new call rate of 95 cents per minute during off-peak hours introduced this week by both companies.

- According to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the three main telecommunications companies in Uganda have built 743 masts without approval. NEMA executive director Dr. Aryamanya Mugisha told MPs on the technology committee that only 25 MTN masts were approved, 30 for Celtel, 29 Warid and one for Uganda Telecom.

- Celtel Kenya will be rolling out a new promotion to provide incentives for retailers and authorised distributors. Just last week, the mobile service provider launched a mobile top-up service for its retailers and authorised distributors dubbed Jaza Jaza, a move aimed at eliminating physical scratch cards. Both initiatives indicate renewed efforts by the firm to extend its distribution and retail network- a key factor in recruiting new subscribers.

- Nokia has launched a take-back and recycling initiative that offers Kenyan consumers a structured way to dispose of old mobile phones and accessories.

- Senegal’s two incumbent mobile operators - Orange and Tigo Senegal added 688,725 new users in the fourth quarter of 2007 to boost the country mobile total to 4.123 million at the end of the year. According to the country’s telecoms regulator Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP), cellular penetration reached 38.97% by 31 December 2007, up from 28.19% the previous year. Orange Sonatel, part of the Paris-based Orange group, had 3.004 million users at the end of December 2007, up from 2.443 million in September. Meanwhile, Tigo had 1.118 million clients, from 991,631 three months earlier. An overwhelming 99.17% of all users are on pre-paid services, the regulator said.

- Celtel Sierra Leone has announced its intention to launch GPRS services nationwide, according to local news source The Awareness Times.

- The number of registered mobile phones in Ghana topped the seven million-mark by the end of 2007, according to new data published by the regulator, the National Communication Authority (NCA). The watchdog’s figures show that the country recorded quarterly net growth of 8.4% in the last three months of the year, boosting the country total to 7,604,053 by 31 December. Local industry watchers predict, however, that the sector could soon reach saturation levels, leaving the four main cellular operators to slug it out for market share. The NCA reports that MTN Ghana was the market leader by the start of 2008 with 4,016,132 subscribers, ahead of Millicom Ghana (Tigo) with 2,023,091, while GT-OneTouch and Kasapa Telecom took third and fourth place with 1,275,764 and 289,066 subscribers respectively. Tigo topped the list in terms of net subscriber additions in 4Q07, however, signing up a net 426,640 new users compared with 143,743 for MTN and 21,456 for Kasapa Telecom. Meanwhile, Ghana Telecom’s mobile arm OneTouch recorded a net loss of 4,493 users in the last three months of the year, with a proportion of the net decline being attributed to subscribers having their lines cut or deactivated from the network.