TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

* Togo Cellulaire has now set up roaming agreements with over 180 countries and is now launching a prepaid roaming offer. The launch was made by Togolese national rock star Jimmy Hope and Afia Mala.

* Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom has launched a MMS service for its post-paid customers, the first of its kind in the country. The cellco recently acquired a KES2.4 billion intelligent network platform to enable it to launch the service.

* Independent Online and ViaMedia have joined forces to launch a mobile news service in South Africa, IOL USSD, to local cell phone users. Every cell phone owner - no matter which handset is used - can access a wide range of information by dialling *120*IOL#, the companies say. Users are intended to have access to the latest news and lotto numbers, as well as sport, weather, business and entertainment information. The wireless service uses a technology called Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD), which aims to allow text-based communication. Whether a contract subscriber or pre-paid user, everybody will be able to use IOL USSD, even though it is currently only available with Vodacom and MTN, as Cell C will be coming on board soon. Users are charged per minute or part of a minute as for a phone call. Vodacom users will pay R1,50 per minute, although the service is free on MTN for a limited period. There is no subscription process or contract required to dial IOL USSD. The two companies behind IOL USSD are Independent Online and ViaMedia. Independent Online claims that IOL USSD will always offer the latest and most useful information, while ViaMedia has developed the mobile solution, and takes care of all involved technological processes.

* Nokia has unveiled two new mobile handsets for the Kenyan market, the Nokia 1110 and 1600 models, which are targeted at low-income customers. The company has also introduced Nokia Prepaid Tracker, which will enable pre-paid users to monitor their account balance after each call, instead of having to contact the operator’s customer centre.

* Glo Mobile has become the first Nigerian mobile operator is to launch a pre-paid roaming service. The service enables subscribers to take their Glo Mobile line to a foreign country in which the operator has a roaming agreement with an operator, and make and receive calls as if he is in Nigeria. Globacom already has postpaid roaming agreement with operators in 175 countries. The service is now available for travellers to UK, South Africa and 10 other countries where Nigerians frequent, while more countries would be added in the next 10 days. With the launch, Glo Mobile subscribers can now make and receive calls and SMS messages in any of these 12 countries. With the CAMEL 2 technology, sending SMS messages is not enabled, so a subscriber would be unable to send text messages. in the country to ensure that everywhere you go, you can do business anytime, anywhere. This is in consonance with our new pay-off line, Everywhere you go.