TELECOMS, RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

- Nigeria - Fixed wireless operator, Starcomms has introduced a global Short Message Service (SMS) for all subscribers currently on its network. Under the scheme, Starcomms subscribers will not only be able to send international SMS to phones in all parts of the world, but also locally. Mr. Omar Lababidi, Starcomms' Marketing Director, who made the disclosure said: "This is yet another pioneering effort by Starcomms, designed to further increase value for our esteemed customers. They can now enjoy unlimited SMS capability internationally. On the local scene however, we have, as of now, we are very close to completing interconnection with 2 operators. We hope that the other networks will also come on board very soon". He announced that Starcomms will be charging a flat tariff of N15 for each SMS sent either locally or internationally. As a launch promotion, all texts will be free to any part of the world until 6 November 2005.

The Global SMS, first of its kind by a PTO in Nigeria, is yet another value added service enabled by Starcomms' CDMA 2000 1X intelligent Network, which has made it possible for the company to provide a broad range of communications products and services that cater to the needs of both their corporate and individual subscribers.

- Econet Ezicel Lesotho, a subsidiary of locally owned Econet Wireless Ltd, has embarked on its first major expansion programme in three years to expand geographical coverage and increase its subscriber base.Chief executive Elvis Gwanzura said the expansion includes the installation of new base stations and repeaters across the tiny mountain kingdom. This will result in a 40 percent growth in national coverage during the period ending March 2006. He said two sites had already been commissioned and work was in progress on the other sites. "This will enhance capacity of the business to attract new subscribers and also be more competitive in the local market," Mr Gwanzura said. "The development is significant in that it is the first time in three years that the company has had to build new sites."

Econet Lesotho has also entered a promising growth phase after a particularly challenging start-up period during the past two years.Already, the Lesotho division has started recording significant growth in subscriber numbers as well as market share."The current financial year is an exciting period for the business because of the significant progress and growth that has been experienced so far," Mr Gwanzura said. "On customer service, front graduate staff has been recruited and trained to sharpen our service offering to subscribers. "On the other hand, a new outdoor marketing campaign has been developed and is currently being deployed to replace the campaign launched when our network was launched," he said. Econet Ezicel Lesotho is part of Econet Wireless Group, a global telecommunications company operating in the core areas of mobile and fixed telephony, satellite and internet services in Africa, Europe and the East Asia Pacific Rim.

- Nigeria's Glo Mobile which recently covered more than 21 major cities, towns and expressways in just one week, has again marched forward, effectively covering Ashaka town in Gombe state, Mubi, Michika, Numan and Demsa in Adamawa state, Ago-Are and Saki in Oyo state and Katsina in Katsina state.With the commencement of service in Katsina state, Glo Mobile has now covered 32 states of the country and Abuja, the FCT. According to Globacom sources, the remaining four states will be launched by the end of this month.Ashaka is the home of Ashaka Cement, one of the biggest cement industries in West Africa.