One of the fastest-growing mobile phone networks in Africa, Celtel, has changed re-branded. Now known as Zain in all its 14 Sub-Saharan countries, the company wants to become one of the top ten mobile companies in the world by 2011.
Over the weekend all 14 countries in Africa simultaneously re-branded to the new name at a landmark celebration in all main cities where it operates.
In Sierra Leone the colorful ceremony which took place at the Miattia conference hall attracted citizens and lots of dignitaries.
“Today as we celebrate this day, we are beginning a new chapter in the world. The name Zain is now taking an African success story to the entire world” said Ted Sauti-Phiri Managing Director of Zain Sierra Leone.
He said the celebration was a unique and unforgettable event as they were simultaneously happening “at a truly impressive scale”, something he said demonstrated Zain’s commitment to make the world a wonderful place.
Giving a background of Zain, Mr Sauti-Phiri said the network was established in 1983 in Kuwait as the region’s first mobile operator and was known as MTC until September 2007 when the name was changed.
Since 2003, “the network has grown significantly becoming the 4th largest telecommunications company in the world in terms of geographic presence with a footprint in 22 countries spread across the Middle East and Africa.”
He said from its modest beginning in Kuwait, Zain now had more than 16,000 employees serving over 50 million customers in 15 African and 7 Middle Eastern countries including Ghana and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he said the company would launch its mobile telecommunications network in the coming months.
Talking about the “Build our Nation” programme which was an education initiative by Celtel, Mr Sauti- Phiri said Zain would continue with it as millions of dollars had been donated to buy books and other educational materials to supply to public schools in many Africa countries including Sierra Leone. He said this was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility which would be high on Zain’s agenda given its historic role of supporting communities it serves.
“We are committed to help open up an exciting world of new possibilities and opportunities, in culture, health and education, and acting responsibly in the communities we operate is an integral part of its business.”
The Zain MD disclosed the One Network facility meant Zain customers anywhere in the world can make a call back home on a local call charge without roaming charge as is currently the case.
Launching the new brand, Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana recalled the days communication was very difficult in the country and that it was only through the advent of Celtel that changes took place which he said transformed people’s lives. He expressed the hope that mobile phone companies live up to expectations as there was still a large untapped market.
Mr Sumana urged the companies to help in the areas of education. He thanked Zain for the work they had done in the country to the people and also commended the “build our nation” campaign which he said was very important for the next generation.
The Marketing Director of Zain Sierra Leone said this was a next step on the path of creation and that the company had a global ambition to increase coverage and reduce cost on calls.
By Betty Milton