Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Airtel - A re-branding strategy being developed for Zain Africa

[daily nation] India's Bharti Airtel officials are set for a meeting in Kampala, Uganda beginning Tuesday with Zain Africa chief executives to map a re-branding strategy.

The heads of Zain operations in Africa will attend the weeklong strategy workshop.

According to Mr Rene Meza, Zain Kenya managing director, it is after this meeting that the company will be able to announce a roll out plan desired by the new owners.

"In the coming weeks we shall be able to say how the re-branding exercise shall move after the meeting in Kampala. As at now we are yet to receive any information from Bharti," Mr Meza answered to a question from journalists on Monday.

Last week, Indian telecoms tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal announced the conclusion of the Sh856 billion acquisition deal of Kuwait-based Zain's operations in 15 African countries.

This is expected to usher in new corporate and management changes within the group to reflect of Bharti ownership as are in standard operations of business.

This will be the third time the second largest player by market share in Kenya mobile phone industry will be changing names and owners.

It started its operations in early 2000 as Kencell, then re-branded to Celtel finally changing to Zain in 2008.

This was Bharti's third attempt to enter the African market after the failure of merger pacts with South African telecom major MTN on two occasions.

The deal however does not cover operations in Sudan and Morocco.

"We would like to express our deep gratitude and thank the governments of all the fifteen countries as well as the government of India for their overwhelming support to this landmark event," said Mr Bharti in a press statement.

And in a move that signals that the company is keen on following the Bharti model of mass market attraction, Zain Kenya announced a reduction in its international calling rates.

"Although this is not on instruction from Bharti, it is inline with what it does in attracting the mass market. To us it is a strategy to offering our customers with affordable and effective telecommunication services," explained Mr Meza.

The new rates will see subscribers call at low as Sh10 per minute to various destinations around the globe.

The cut in calling rates is also informed by the growing positioning of Nairobi as the headquarters of several international agencies and corporations.

Kenya: Bharti Airtel, Zain Africa Officials Meet Over Rebranding Strategy

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