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SPTC ‘has its own little mobile’

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By SIBONGILE SUKATI - SWAZI TIMES-06-Sep-2009

MBABANE—Some SPTC employees are making very affordable calls on their own mobile phones.

The project, which was supposed to be launched this weekend, was stopped by government which said it needed to be brought up to speed with all the initiatives that the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation was up to.

The mobile numbers have eight digits and according to one of the employees, the calling rates are much lower than those of MTN Swaziland. “Everything was already in place in terms of infrastructure for the mobile phone company to be launched and therefore, some feel this should not just stay there without being put to use,” said the employee.

The employee said in order to get the mobile working, there was a certain subscription that they paid to MTN which is similar to the subscription of things like the Internet. About E500million was spent on this project, which was suddenly halted in July two months before the big launch. The digits begin with the number 7 and only a few of the employees have these phones.

“It is more of a test, but should government allow the project to continue then it is clear that this will work in a similar fashion as those for MTN,” said the employee. During the official opening of the International Trade Fair last weekend, SPTC revealed a wireless mobile which the company said it would lower the costs of telecommunication both to customers and SPTC.

The company is now phasing out the fixed line communications that requires cable installation but instead it would be done via the network similar to what MTN does. Although government halted the project, engineers who were contracted to set up the network continued with finishing off the installation.

Last week, the Times SUNDAY quoted SPTC’s Communications Manager Lindiwe Dlamini as saying the country had missed out on a huge opportunity of lowering communication costs following the failed fixed mobile project. Fixed mobile telecommunications is a project which would have significantly lowered the costs of communication in the country and had it been implemented it would have directly attacked the monopoly that is currently being enjoyed by Swazi MTN. The technology came as a package and now they were going to use part of it and the rest of it if they got a go ahead from the country’s authorities.


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