TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

- Mobile operator Globacom, which provides services under the Glo Mobile banner, has expanded the reach of its GPRS service to all its entire network. Glo recently rolled out its GSM network to an additional 30 cities. The company plans to introduce 3G services in 2006 but has yet to release details of its 3G rollout plans. It believes it is well placed to introduce the technology following the strong take-up of its GPRS services.

- Mobile operator Celtel Sierra Leone has launched its network in the remote eastern region of Mattru Jong, the first operator in the country to provide services to the province. Celtel was the first cellco to launch in the country, rolling out its GSM-900 network in 2000. Today it competes with Millicom SL, Africell SL and Comuim, claiming 178,000 subscribers at the end of 2005.

- Vodacom Tanzania last week reported it has signed up its two-millionth customer since launching operations in Dar es Salaam in August 2000. Vodacom is the largest mobile operator in the country with 2,082,500 customers, ahead of Celtel with 952,690, Mobitel (590,000) and Zantel (230,000). Vodacom is looking to protect its commanding lead by introducing more advanced HSDPA technology. Elsewhere, fixed line operator Tanzania Telecommunication Company (TTCL) has around 145,000 main lines in service.

- The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) has made a discount on the registration fee. Accordingly, the 443.10 ETH Birr which customers were made to pay for service registration has been reduced to be 368.10 ETH Birr. ETC has also made a decision to extend the term of pre-paid mobile credit card. According to the corporation, the 25 birr card's period has been extended from 15 to25 days. That of 50 Birr has been prolonged, from 30 to 50 days and a 100 birr card's period from 60 to 75 days. The reform would be in use effective April 1, 2006. At the same time the ETH announced that residents of 69 rural kebeles in Somali State have become beneficiaries of wireless telephone services. The kebeles that accessed the wireless telephone services during the last four months are Jijjiga, Gursum, Awbere and Babile woredas.

- South Africa MTN says that it is continuing to make broadband available to over 10m subscribers, with the national roll-out of commercial High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) or 3G Evolved services. HSDPA went live on the MTN network on March 22. MTN is investing in excess of R600m this financial year in its 3G network, as it advances the roll-out of sites across the country. MTN says that its subscribers enjoy 3G coverage across Gauteng and in Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, and Port Elizabeth. Services are said to include High Speed Data, Video Calling, 3G content downloads from MTNLoaded, Streaming JamCams and VideoMail.

- Cameroon Telecommunications, Corporation, CAMTEL embarked on a campaign to disenclave Bengbis Sub Division near Meyomessala in the South Province and link it up to the rest of the world through Information and Communication Technologies, ICTS.