TELECOM RATES, OFFERS AND COVERAGE

Telecoms

* Massive confusion amongst "cabines téléphoniques" users in Cameroon after recent rate rises from Camtel. Maybe Camtel’s Albert Ebongo Aboutou, Head of the Technical Department can explain:" The cost charged per pulse has not changed. It is the delay in sending the pulses which has been varied. Concretely for a call in the day-time between Yaounde and Douala for example, with the customer for a minute will pay the price of five pulses. With the new tariff the customer will pay for four pulses."

However customers are accusing them of manipulation and trickery. "Before today I paid 300 FCFAs for a call of less than three minutes within Douala." However the new tariffs are charging 125 FCFAs per pulse for this type of call making it considerably more expensive. According to Camtel, one problem is that "cabines téléphoniques" operators work to a tariff agreed with Camtel that is between 87 and 93 FCFAs and that they are rounding up their charges to 100FCFAs. Whereas before the rate rises it sometimes cost a rounded-up 100 FCFAs it now always costs 100 FCFAs.

- Bell Benin, the fourth mobile operator in the country is offering a minute’s calling to those who call within its own network for 100 FCFAs. It claims its competitors are charging more than this, often up to 250 FCFA per minute.

- The North-west zone of NITEL has announced it will begin a prepaid billing system for its landlines in the area. A pilot scheme of the service is expected to commence in Kaduna and Kano this month.

- Celtel Malawi, one of the country’s mobile phone service providers last week launched its 35-kilometre radius network in Domasi and Malosa.

- Nigeria telco RELTEL is offering free RELTEL to RELTEL calls as well as Reltel Friends and Family packages.