TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

- Zimbabwe mobile operator Econet Wireless has started migrating customers to a new and bigger switching centre as part of the company's ongoing USD35 million expansion programme to double network capacity by the end of 2005. A spokesman said already thousands of customers have been migrated to the new switching centre while the company is also completing the installation of an expanded text message system that will speed-up the delivery of messages within the network, and to other local and international mobile networks.

- Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom has launched a pre-paid roaming service in east Africa, enabling users to call any country in the region for a flat rate of KES28.5, enabling savings of more than 50% in some cases. Subscribers will need to switch to the ‘Safari’ tariff to enjoy the new rates. Safaricom says it hopes the new service will enhance regional telecommunication services between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in east Africa.

- On Friday Celtel Zambia launched the SMS suite for the high, medium and low-income segments of the market. The service is designed to allow subscribers on be informed and updated of the latest developments through short messaging system (SMS) content. Celtel subscribers will thus have access to information (both local and international) such as commodity prices, rates for various currencies, news, bus and airline schedules, accommodation and entertainment. For instance, to get schedules of an airline such as British Airways, a Celtel subscriber would be required to type in a key word such as 'AIRLINES/BA' or any other specific airline on a cell phone and send the message to the number 555. Typing 'HOTEL/SUNHOTELS' and sending this to 555 would thus avail Celtel subscribers information for all Sun Hotels, or any other hotel according to customer specification.