TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

* Nigeria’s SNO Globacom Limited, last week, introduced a new package, TalkNow and free-value added services of Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) for its Glo mobile subscribers.

* According to the Financial Gazette, cell phone tariff increases implemented by two of Zimbabwe’s three mobile network companies have brought them a welcome temporary reprieve. Econet Wireless and Telecel Zimbabwe have raised their tariffs by over 1,000 percent, while the state-run Net One is expected to announce new charges soon.

Current Econet tariffs of ZD780 per minute on the Buddie pre-paid service translates to about US13 cents, which company managing director Douglas Mboweni said would give the firm some breathing space and enable the construction of at least two more base stations to boost capacity.

Econet has also done away with its three-minute billing cycle, which drew some criticism when it was effected, and has reduced the cycle to one-and-a-half minutes. At ZD1,196 per minute, rival network Telecel is now realising almost US20 cents, which the networks were pressing for as an economic rate.

* Celtel Uganda has launched the "Celtel Mega Festive Specials," a promotion offering free connection and shopping discounts. Also on offer is a collector’s edition cassette of the 2003 Pearl of Africa award-winning songs. Customers have an option to get two free Celtel Simpacks, with every phone purchased. The second simpack may be given to a family member as a Christmas gift, says a press release issued last week. A customer would also get to enjoy a 20 percent discount on all calls between the two new free Celtel numbers.

* M-tel, a subsidiary of NITEL has introduced new lower tariffs. For calls within M-tel network at night, subscribers would be charged 20 kobo (that is N12 per minute) about 90 per cent reduction. A call within M-tel network and to NITEL fixed line as well as PTO’s network during peak period is 64 kobo per second. However, off peak period tariff for same services is 47 kobo per second. M-tel subscribers calling other GSM network during the peak period would be charged 70 kobo per second, while same call to other networks during off peak period would attract just 57 kobo per second. Night rate tariff to other GSM networks is 42 kobo per second. International calls on M-tel network would be a flat rate of N99 per minute. SMS (Short Message Service) within M-tel network is only N10 per message.

* Vodacom in Tanzania has once again extended its coverage in the southern regions covering Masasi, Newalla and Nachingwea districts and Nangose urban centre situated between Massi and Nachingwea. The new sites will boost telecommunication services in these regions, which are major cashewnut growing areas. It has also has launched a new Vodashop at the Royal Palm in Dar es Salaam.