TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

 -   Ghana Telecom is to provide 60 payphones at Odumase-Krobo and another 30 in Adukrom-Akuapem by the middle of July, this year. GT iss installing 240 capacity broadband switches in Abetifi, Kibi, Asamankese and Akuapem-Mampong each with the capacity for expansion to 1000 lines. It will modernise the Mpraeso and Nkawkaw switches into digital ones, while the Koforidua switch was to be increased from the current 9,000 lines to 20,000 under an on-going expansion project. By the end of 2005, telephone lines in the Eastern Region would be expanded from the current 10,618 lines to 50,000 lines.

-   MTN Nigeria has introduced a Recharge A Contract, which enables Business Time subscribers to settle their bills without going to the bank. The customer users a Recharge Card and phone a special phone number using a PIN code to top up their accounts. MTN recharge cards come in denominations of N6, 000; N3,000; NI ,500 and N 750, respectively.

-   Nigeria's, Globacom is to take delivery of one million GSM lines in the northern part of the country provided by equipment vendor, Siemens A G of Germany. The project is nearing completion and would soon be commissioned by the operator. The coverage of the north will take the operator to Kano, Kaduna, Yola, Jos, Bauchi and Zaira. Globacom service would also be available in Sokoto, Maiduguri, Damaturu, Gombe and 10 other cities in the north in addition to many towns and communities in the region. The contract also provided that a fibre optic ring of about 2800 km length running from Lagos through Benin, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Abuja, Minna, Ilorin, Ibadan and Lagos. There is also a backbone to be provided from Abuja to Kaduna, Zaria and Kano. Another digital microwave connecting such main cities as Birnin Kebbi, Sokoto, Funtua, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe, Yola, Jalingo, Potiskum, Damaturu, Maiduguri and Katsina to the fibre optic backbone is to be constructed.

-   Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless has introduced a new product, Buddie Inner Circle, for its pre-paid customers. It also deferred a tariff increment at the beginning of April. Under the "Inner Circle", users of the pre-paid package will be allowed to nominate up to five numbers each that they frequently call. He said each time a customer makes a call to those numbers, they are given a discount of 20% off the peak tariff.

-   Swazi MTN has stated that the four companies that have been selected to be the distributors of its prepaid products may be deregistered if found to be operating and supplying their own outlets. The Sales and Marketing Manager, Ronnie Mkhombe said this when announcing the selected wholesalers and added that disciplinary measures will be taken against a company found to be, among things, selling to the public.

-   Nigeria's M-TEL slashed its international tariff by 54.5 per cent to N45 par minute during peak periods as against N99.The off peak tariff dropped from 59.6 per cent to N40 per minute.