TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

Côte d'Ivoire Télécom has made the fourth change in its tariffs since 2003, lowering them by 40%. The price drops are in two areas: for international calls and for calls to mobiles. For example calls to the USA, Canada and France to FCFA127 a minute from FCFA348-387 a minute. Calls to the EU and and Africa cost FCFA211 a minute against FCFA396. According to a Côte d'Ivoire Télécom spokesperson the cuts will cost the company around FCFA12 billion but that this was the price of being a modern operator.

Nigerian SNO, Globacom Limited, has established interconnectivity links with another leading international carrier, France Telecoms. Globacom's international gateway subsidiary, Glo Gateway, said the interconnectivity arrangement with the French telecommunication giant, was part of its efforts to put in place structures that would enable it offer world-class telecommunication services to its subscribers. Last month it interconnected with British Telecom.

Celtel Kenya pre-paid subscribers can now utilise the roaming service introduced by the company last week. The new service has partners in UK, Israel, Switzerland, Litchtenstein and South Africa. T-Mobil of UK, CellCom of Israel and Swisscom of Switzerland and Cell C of South Africa provide the service. Currently, Celtel has an estimated 250 roaming partners in 114 countries.

Starcomms Limited, one of Nigeria's Fixed Wireless Operators has introduced a Balance on Demand Service. A subscriber can now check his or her balance by dialling * 225# (send) on their phone. The balance is sent instantly as a message. Starcomms recently launched high-speed data services in Lagos, Kano and Maiduguri. It plans to roll-out services in Port Harcourt and Ibadan by first quarter of next year.

People who live around a two to three km radius from Otjinene in Namibia can now use the mobile communications technology. The coverage is low at the moment because MTC has not yet secured a lease agreement with NamWater for the cellular phone company to use the water utility's facility for its tower, according to MTC's general manager for operations, Jochen Traut.

He said the most ideal site to put up a tower was 10 km out of Otjinene, but this entails installing a mast and a power line that would cost the company around N$1 million.