Friday, November 23, 2007

Roaming - Africa

Africa abolishes roaming as Celtel’s One Network expands

400 million people across 12 countries now connected across Africa in one borderless mobile network covering an area more than twice the size of Europe

Celtel International, a subsidiary of the Zain Group, the leading mobile telecommunications operator in Africa and the Middle East, today announces the introduction of ‘One Network’, the world’s first borderless mobile network to Burkina Faso, Chad, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. These countries now join the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in the network which was initially launched in September 2006 and has been expanded due to increased demand.

The extension of this technological break-through now offers the possibility for nearly half of Africa’s population to make calls at local rates across 12 countries throughout the continent. The expansion of One Network now means the world’s first borderless mobile phone network covers an area more than twice the size of the European Union. Since its launch more than two million people have already used the service.

Announcing the One Network expansion, Zain Group CEO Dr Saad Al Barrak said, “The innovation behind and the expansion of the world’s first borderless mobile phone network is a reflection of our dedication to the African continent and its people. We have revolutionarised telecommunications in Africa and we intend to roll out this service to more of our operations on the African continent and in the Middle East.”

Starting today, all Celtel’s customers both prepaid and postpaid in the 12 countries from East, Central and West Africa, will be able to use this service. They can move freely across geographic borders making calls and sms at local rates and receive incoming calls free of charge. They can top-up their prepaid phones with locally-bought airtime cards which can easily be bought at more than 500,000 points of sale. The One Network service is simple to use and is automatically activated upon crossing into any one of the other countries, with no prior registration required or sign up free charged.

Commenting Tito Alai, Chief Commercial Officer Zain Group said “One Network is now available to more of our customers and makes it easier for them to communicate with their family, friends and business colleagues, making their life better.”

The extension of One Network is crucial to Celtel’s strategy of ensuring that their customers in Africa are connected through one borderless network; an initiative that has not been done anywhere else in the world. Additionally One Network plays a crucial role in helping to promote and boost cross-border trade while driving economic growth in East, Central and West Africa.

Commenting about One Network in September 2006 the internationally respected magazine, The Economist, said ‘Celtel has, in effect, created a unified market of the kind that regulators can only dream about in Europe.’

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