Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

Telecoms, Rates, Offers and Coverage

- Celtel Nigeria has installed a new switch in Abuja. The addition of the new $6 million (about N702 million) switch to Celtel network will boost the company's ability to process more calls and SMS in the framework of its service quality improvement projects which are expected to cost about $1 billion (N117 billion) in 2008. Celtel also plans to build 1,000 additional base stations and to construct a 4,000km fibre optic backbone.

- Kenya’s mobile operators Safaricom and Celtel have signed agreements with Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry devices to enable other mobile devices (like the Nokia E series) to access Blackberry services. Industry estimates that there are least 20,000 users are hooked to the service in Kenya.

- In partnership with local bank, Bicici, Orange Côte D’Ivoire has launched “Orange Money”, a mobile payment system that enables users to make money transfers and pay their utilities bills.

- Uganda telecom’s utl has introduced a new “Flat Rate” product where by customers spend a flat rate of sh2,000 and get 50 free minutes of calls from utl to utl and 25 free short messages (sms). The normal call charge is sh260 and 50 minute is over sh2,000. Using the normal call tariffs, 50 minutes and 25 sms will cost about sh18,000.

- Nokia has announced the release of special models allowing phone sharing for the low-end market. The move comes after a survey that found that 50 per cent of mobile phone users in emerging markets buy a phone to share with relatives. Besides, the survey found that digital cameras have become an important item in most families.

- Nigerian mobile telco Globacom has launched Afri-Chat, an instant messaging-powered service which enables users to chat with people who share their interests.

- Namibia’s mobile operator Cell One announced that it had reduced rates for international calls by 33 per cent.

- Uganda telecom (utl) has launched 3G services. The service will initially be available in Greater Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja and will roll out to other districts like Mbarara by the end of the second quarter of the year. A video call will only cost sh400, sh1 per kilobyte (kb) when accessing the Internet and sh1 per kb when watching television. all the local free to air television stations can be accessed on the service and negotiations were on going with pay television stations GTV and DStv.

- Interweb Satcom Limited, a Nigerian Internet calling card firm, is set to launch sets of N1000, N500 and N200 denominations cards. Local calls will attract seven naira (N7.00) per minute while international calls will go for only Five Naira (N5.00) per minute.

- Mauritius Telecoms mobile and Internet arms will soon be rebranded under the “Orange” label.

- Celtel Malawi says with effective from March 13, all their tariff names would adopt Chichewa names to make them unique and relevant to the people in the country.