South African firm Intelvision on Wednesday launched Seychelles' third telecoms operator, boosting competition in the islands' telecoms sector, an official said.

The company started telephone and internet services, saying its charges would be lower than the country's other two service providers Airtel Seychelles and British-owned Cable and Wireless.

There are 21,000 landline telephone connections in the 120-island archipelago of 80,000 people. Seychelles' 54,368 subscribers are served in nearly equal proportions by the two existing operators.

India's Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of mobile phone service provider Bharti Televentures, owns Airtel Seychelles.

Intelvision's marketing manager, Sabrina Didon, said the company aims for cheaper services than the two companies. "Our monthly rental charges are 50 rupees compared with 72 rupees for Cable and Wireless," Didon told Reuters.

She added that their local call rates stood at 50 cents per minute compared with Airtel's 70 cents and Cable and Wireless' 82 cents.

Intelvision will charge 1.00 rupee per minute for local calls to mobile phones, compared with Cable and Wireless' 2.00 rupees per minute and Airtel's 2.60 rupees per minute, she said.

She added that the company will charge 3.90 rupees per minute for international calls, compared with its two competitors' 6.75 rupees per minute.

Intelvision first entered Seychelles in 2004, offering the archipelego's first and only cable-supported television service.

The firm will use a hybrid of optical fibre cable and coaxial cable to connect its subscribers, which many say is faster than the narrow-band satellite links offered by the other two companies.

Cable and Wireless had a monopoly in Seychelles for decades until Airtel launched its services in 1998.