TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

- BulkSMS.com claims to have taken a lead in the South African mobile market by providing discounted bulk SMS services for community services. The service is called Community.BulkSMS.com and aims to support schools, non-governmental, not-for profit and religious organisations with a cheaper SMS rate to send text messages. Messages are partly sponsored by BulkSMS.com and the BulkSMS.com tagline is appended to all messages. "SMSing has become a cost-effective and efficient means to communicate with a larger number of targeted users instantaneously. We hope to support community organisations with a service that will provide both communication and cost benefits," said Dr Pieter Streicher, MD of Celerity Systems. Once the registration is approved, organisations can send messages from the user-friendly BulkSMS.com Web-to-SMS application. The Community.BulkSMS service can be used for notifications of meetings and events via SMS. Commercial messaging is not permitted on Community.BulkSMS.

- Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom has introduced the Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). The launch makes Safaricom the first mobile phone service firm to operate such a service in Sub-Sahara Africa outside South Africa. Michael Joseph, the Safaricom CEO, said the achievement had been made possible by the firm's recent acquisition of a Sh2.4 billion intelligent network platform. "Safaricom has invested heavily in a strategic network upgrade that enables us to provide services that are at par with any other network in Europe or America," Joseph said. The service is expected to enhance use of the mobile phone as a business communication and entertainment tool. The service is available to Safaricom Advantage (postpaid) subscribers with MMS compatible handsets. Joseph pledged that Safaricom would continue to enhance its position in the market offering world-class products. "We are finalising the installation of prepaid GPRS and MMS and our prepaid subscribers will soon be able to enjoy these value added services," he said. The MMS has gained a foothold in the market as the successor to short messaging services. Joseph said plans were at an advanced stage for Safaricom to enter into strategic partnerships with third party content providers for value added content such as TV news and sports streams.