2 - 8 May, 2001

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Maltacom launches new services

By Nadine Brincat

Maltacom launched the Easyline and e-directory services at a press conference held at the Maltacom head office in Marsa, last Friday.

Easyline is a telephone line with a prepaid card facility for residential users, wanting to control the use of their telephone line. The new system is also user friendly, the user enters the PIN number on the back of the Easyline card before the telephone number, however incoming calls are received as usual. The system, which does not require any special equipment, is rent free, and has no phone bills, since call charges are deducted from the phonecard. Maltacom will carry out migration to Easyline at no extra charge.

Easyline services include Calling Line ID, Call waiting, Alarm Call and Voice Mail. The Easyline cards are available in Lm 10 and Lm 5 value.

During the Easyline demonstration Joe Azzoppardi explained that the Easyline system was approved by the Telecommunications Regluator, while different Maltacom departments were involved in the project, for a number of months.

The e-directory is run on windows, and has a dynamic search engine strengthened by SQL. The user can make queries by any field, while fonts can be increased to facilitate viewing for the visually impaired.

The e-directory can be upgraded by downloading from the Internet, so the programme will include the latest subscribers and changes. Mr Zarb Adami commented that while the printed version made this operation both expensive and slow, the e-directory gave users more independence.

"The e-directory is a small part of Maltacom’s general review of directory services, to streamline projects and facilitate services for clients," Mr Zarb Adami continued.
When run with a special programme for the blind, the user can scroll to hear the screen contents. The e-directory was designed entirely by the Maltacom team, consulting with the National Commission Persons with Disabilities. Persons with disabilities can carry out all the functions using one key. It also contains hyper links and a simplified web browser, as well as details which were not available on the printed directory. Mr Vella, IT executive at Maltacom, explained that the e-directory includes distinctions between residential and commercial phone numbers, subscribers’ particulars, and profession, among others. X-directory phone numbers are identified only by a number of question marks.

The e-directory also features a reverse directory search, allowing the details of callers "and pests" to be identified by searching the numbers displayed on caller IDs.

There are also different skins for the browser and search engine. The CD Rom is sold at Lm 2.50

Mr Zarb Adami added that in a few months’ time, Matlacom will announce a new service carried out through the company’s investments, and an international pre-paid card operator.

Mr Zarb Adami said that by October, all Maltese telephone numbers will change to an eight digit system, except for emergency services.

"The change will also affect Vodafone subscribers too, but Maltacom would try to keep the transition smooth," Mr Zarb Adami said, adding that he was making this announcement early as so companies and individuals would act accordingly when ordering new stationery accordingly. "Like this there will not be any waste of paper, money or resources, so people at home or in the office can avoid problems," he stressed.

Pdemonstrations were given by Elaine Fenech, Easyline brand manager, and David Vella, IT executive, for the e-directory.


The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt