TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

* Following its full commercial launch Nigeria's First Wireless has announced official tariffs and rates for its range of services. A major highlight in the new tariff regime is that the company offers free monthly access unlike other wireless phone operators. Another major highlight in the new tariff regime is that prepaid cards in the denomination of N5,000, automatically credits the user with an extra N500 credit upon loading the top up card. Calls to GSM networks from First Wireless phones will cost N28 per minute for peak period and N24.64 for off peak periods. Calls within First Wireless network has been pegged at N4.00 per minute for peak periods and N3.52 for off peak periods. Calls to other PTOs from First Wireless cost N6.00 per minute and N5.28 for off peak periods. Local calls to NITEL costs N6.50 per minute for peak periods and 5.72 per minute during off peak. On the long distance routes, intra-zonal calls like call from Lagos to Ondo or Oyo states cost N 12 per minute of peak period and N10.56 for off peak periods. Intra zonal calls, like calls from Lagos to Abuja, Kaduna or Maiduguri, costs N22 per minute for peak periods and N19.36 for off peak periods.

On the international routes, First Wireless has adopted a three band tariff arrangement where in Band A, comprising of USA, Western Europe, Canada and South Africa costs N39 per minute for peak periods and N34.71 for off peak periods. In the Band B, comprising of the rest of Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia, calls to these countries cost N44 per minute for peak period and N39.16 for off peak. The band C comprising of the rest parts of the world costs N49 per minute peak time and N43.61 per minute of off peak.

* Kenya's Safaricom has announced a new Prepaid tariff – Sema – aimed at giving subscribers increased pricing options to match their lifestyles.

The Sema tariff now becomes Safaricom's fifth Prepaid tariff offering and follows the introduction of Traveller tariff, which is a Prepaid Roaming tariff. The new Sema tariff features a more convenient dawn to dusk off peak rate that allows Safaricom subscribers make their calls at a cheaper cost starting from 6.00pm to 6.00am as opposed to Safaricom’s other off-peak tariffs which start at 8 p.m. It has also deployed General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), which is a non-voice value added technology that efficiently allows the transmission of Internet Protocol (IP) data packets from computers or handsets to the Internet over a GSM phone network.

* Nigeria's Vmobile has used the ocassion of its 3rd Anniversary to launch the Vcorporate Solutions, a package of customised services for corporate organisations, business entrepreneurs or individuals with high airtime usage. Vbusiness is for customers who do not have a specific minimum monthly airtime usage. It does not offer bundled airtime, but is tailored to allow subscribers use up to a value of a stipulated credit limit. VBusiness (S) is for subscribers who make frequent short calls. Such customers will benefit from a Per Second Billing tariff plan. Bundled Airtime Packages is for corporate organisations and individuals, who are certain of their monthly talk time and want to enjoy special tariffs at their respective talk levels.