It sounds just too marvellous to be true, but Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) says there is nothing clandestine about their prepaid telephone service. In fact, it is a customer’s dream come true, says Mmaphala Letsatle, BTC acting marketing communications manager. She said the service is an answer to the huge demand for affordable communication options that they identified in the country.

Letsatle said they have noticed that there are many customers who use receive-only services, while others have been suspended as a result of costs related to communication. And after analysis, BTC company created and launched the prepaid service to enable customers to enjoy the convenience of reliable telephony, which is suitable for their budgets and needs. To get one, BTC customers have an option of applying for a new BTC prepaid line or convert their existing post paid line to prepaid. Letsatle said customers are asked to pay P247 installation charge for a new line, whereas conversion is done free of charge.

Once installed or converted, the customers will find free introductory units available for them to start making calls and if they so wish, they could create a pin number to limit access. Other advantage of the service includes ability to check their balance at any time and at no cost, as well as free voice mail.

On recharging the BTC prepaid account, customers will purchase scratch and dial cards of any amount and load the units onto the BTC prepaid service. Customers can dial 1350 before the voice prompt and then enter the 14-digit number found under the foil. The customer will then be told the new balance on the account. The system was launched in Gaborone on June 3.

In a similar move, Ghana Telecom will install 1,000 indoor payphones in all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), police stations and military instalments throughout the country by the end of the year to help drastically reduce the huge payment of telephone bills by the government. The payphones, which have been specially designed, will allow people to make calls only with the use of a prepaid card within their offices. Another feature is that, unlike the outdoor payphones, they can receive calls as the normal office phones. Most of the phones will be distributed within Accra and Kumasi, with the rest spread to the other regions.