TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

* Nigerian SNO, Globacom, has commenced test-running of its land telephone services, preparatory to its roll-out by the end of the year.

All equipment needed for the deployment of the service has arrived in the country and the company was targetting two million landlines by December with Lagos getting about 50,000 lines and Ibadan 20,000 in the initial phase of the project. It has laid fibre on the following roads: Abuja-Kano, Kano-Bauchi, Abuja-Sokoto and Lagos-Benin. It is building a nationwide fibre optic fibre ring.

* MTN Nigeria has launched a campaign to promote its e-recharge options.

It is offering it in three regions of the country with its e-charge platform, known as the MTN Virtual Top Up (VTU) that allows for sale of airtime to subscribers without the use of physical recharge cards.

The campaign will run in Maiduguri, Jos, Zaria, kaduna and Kubwa in the northern region, Calabar, Umuahia, Owerri Abakaliki and Nsukka in the east, while residents of the western cities of Ado Ekiti, Ife, Ilorin, Offa and Osogbo will also witness the road show.

* CeltelL Zambia will next week connect Mbala, Mpulungu and Mwembeshi to its network as part of its next roll out programme that would cost about K160 billion. This roll out programme will also lead to the addition of about twenty-eight new sites to the Celtel network coverage area throughout the country by the end of August this year. Celtel public relations manager Bridget Nundwe said yesterday that other areas to be connected by July 1, 2005 are Mumbwa, Nyimba, Petauke and Sinda. Nundwe said by mid-August the sites in Katete, Nakonde, Samfya, Mfuwe, Kalabo, Senanga, and Sesheke would have been completed.

* Zimbabwe's Telecel has already connected to its network about seven towns this year alone and is now working on its next roll out programme for the rest of the year. The programme would also see Telecel boosting its network capacity in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Masvingo as the company seeks to ease congestion in urban centres. Eighty percent of Telecel's traffic originates in the major towns and cities, where most of its subscribers

* Vodafone Egypt has launched 3G mobile connect cards for customers who travel and use roaming services, enabling them to take advantage of 3G services in foreign countries even before the service is launched in Egypt. Vodafone is the only operator in the region to offer 3G roaming services.