* Burkina Faso’s Onatel is reducing its local rates. It will now cost FCFA50 for 2 minutes instead of FCFA 60 for 3 minutes. Inter-urban calls will be reduced by a third from FCFA150 to FCFA100 a minute. In off peak hours customers will pay less: FCFA60-70 a minute in place of FCFA90-105. Fixed to mobile goes down from FCFA200 to FCFA170. International calls go down by two-thirds: from FCFA600 to FCFA200 in peak hours. There’s a 15% reduction in its mobile subsidiary’s rates between two Telmob phones.


* Celtel Zambia Limited has launched its per second billing tariff system in response to the growing demand by its customers to have the facility, managing director David Venn said last week.It becomes the second mobile service provider to launch the per second billing facility after Zamtel’s Cell Z launched its GSM mobile service with the facility.

* Days after government made its feelings known on the manufacturing of recharge cards outside the country, giving operators January next year to terminate such practice, MTN, one of Nigeria’s leading operators, has introduced a new service it calls MTN Virtual Top Up (VTU). The service allows for sale of airtime to subscribers without the use of physical recharge cards. MTN Virtual Top Up is currently being tested among a crop of MTN subscribers and will be made generally available in due course. MTN is currently the only GSM service provider in Nigeria that offers Virtual Top Up service to its subscribers.

Describing how the system functions, MTN’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. Afam Edozie, explained that all a subscriber has to do to benefit from MTN Virtual Top Up is to request a recharge value that he wants from a vendor, supply the vendor his mobile phone number and within seconds gets an SMS confirming that his account has been topped up. He could then cross check his accounts and pay the vendor.