TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

• Sonatel in partnership with Novavision has launched its “Sonatel 2004” phone directory with for the first time an internet enquiries option (see http://www.sonatel.com). The new directory offers numbers by region, “department” or “localité”. Novavision wants to put in place what it describes as “an international shop-window” through yellowonline.com which has 2 million visitors a day.

• Econet Wireless Nigeria has extended its service to Owerri in Imo State. It has plans to extend to Ilorin and Abraka in the coming weeks. The company is installing additional switching in the country, which would shortly become operational and would further boost quality of service countrywide

• Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe has announced plans to roll out 40 phone shops this year under the YourFone brand, to bring to 62 the total number of shops under this project. Econet Zimbabwe chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the current 22 phone shops were generating significant business. “Our phone shops around the country handle as many as 300 000 people per month. “These people generate an average of 350,000 minutes in airtime usage per month and this is equivalent to 6,000 Buddie subscribers,” Mboweni said.

• The Egyptian National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority NTRA, reached an agreement with Egyptian Company for Mobile Services and Vodafone Egypt by which both companies will increase their prepaid cards’ grace period to 2 months for LE100 denominated cards. The agreement came following customer complaints over the mobile operators recent decision to cut prepaid cards’ grace period to ten days, which was to be effected on January 3, 2004.