TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

- Sierra Leone mobile operator Celtel SL has revealed plans to invest USD20 million in its GSM network to expand its reach across the country. The cellco, which currently provides coverage to around 75% of the territory, said it wants to increase this figure to 100% over the next few years. Celtel SL recently introduced a series of tariff cuts, including a 'Family and Friends’ offering which enables users to choose five numbers to which calls can be charged at a reduced rate. Celtel SL competes with Millicom SL, Lintel and Comium and had a market share of 46% (115,000 subscribers) at the end of September 2005.

- Somalia-based mobile operator Somafone has successfully completed its network expansion plans, allowing for the existence of high-speed mobile data services in the country. The operator’s network features both EDGE and GPRS wireless data capabilities, supplied by US-based telecoms solutions provider Tecore Wireless Systems.

- Mali’s incumbent telecoms operator Société des Télécommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) has launched a new per-second billing system as part of its plans to offer its customers better value services.

- A service that enables subscribers to send SMS messages from computers, using Outlook and Outlook Express, has been introduced in Namibia. The service, texSMS, is a brainchild of TelePassport Namibia, a technology and communication solutions company that specialises on least cost routing for the corporate market.