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image READY TO CONNECT: Members of the public queue to register with new mobile network company Swazi Mobile during the unveiling of service packages at Gigi’s Restaurant in Ezulwini last night. (Pic: Sibusiso Shange)

EZULWINI – With only five months of preparation from date of being granted a licence to going live, Swazi Mobile customers will be able to make their first call today. 

This is the bold statement made by the third mobile telephony company after Swazi MTN and Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), during what Chairman Victor Gamedze dubbed as the unveiling of prices of the mobile company.

At 25 cents, the company has made their Short Message Service (SMS) rate five cents cheaper than Swazi MTN, which has a newly introduced SMS rate of 30 cents. The call per unit of the new player in the market will be E1.10 per minute (peak time) and 66 cents off-peak.

Comparatively, this is lower than Swazi MTN, whose call per unit was recently dropped from E1.80 per minute by a staggering 60 cents to stand at E1.20. However, it should be pointed out that the price for calling on MTN Zone remained the same, primarily because customers continue to enjoy making calls at a far lesser price of the cost per unit depending on the discount at the zone where they are making the call.  An analysis of the eagerly anticipated rates, since the company was granted a mobile licence by the Swaziland Communications Commission (SCCOM) in March, has unearthed that Swazi Mobile will be the first company to provide Voice-Over-LTE (VoLTE), Video-Over-LTE (ViLTE) and Voice-Over-WiFi (VoWiFi) on 4G in the kingdom.

Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Penberton explained that provision of voice over LTE on voice, video and WiFi was a first in the kingdom.  Without referring specifically to their main competitor, Swazi MTN, Penberton said most mobile companies, not only in Swaziland but even in other parts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), use 4G purely for data and not voice calls.

He mentioned that even in South Africa – a fast developing economy which is part of G20 – Vodacom was the only mobile company that provides all voice over LTE on voice, video and WiFi. He said Telkom had most recently announced that it would introduce this feature next month. 

“It is very humbling to witness Swazi Mobile going live. It is one of the goals we sought to achieve, which provides all the reasons to be happy and proud of the team. A lot of people doubted that we would actually achieve this goal (of going live within the set deadline) but we have gone beyond that to provide a network that is used at First World countries that include the UK and the US,” said Penberton.  In terms of data, Chief Marketing Officer Khulile Dlamini explained that under standard data, their price had been placed at 80 cents per megabyte (top up and use).

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: Fuel shortage
Is the fuel shortage at govt depots a sign that the country is on the brink of collapse?