The combined Zain - Celtel group services over 50.7 million customers in 22 countries in the Middle East and Africa region. 14 country operations across Africa will immediately rebrand to Zain. These are Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Zain will launch its mobile operation in Ghana in the 4th quarter of 2008.
At a press conference held in Nairobi to announce the changes Dr. Saad Al Barrak, Zain Group's Chief Executive Officer, said "By rebranding to Zain, we are bringing together our African and Middle East operations under a single, strong and unique identity. We believe the Zain brand provides an optimal platform upon which we can build a top 100 global brand with the ultimate goal of better serving our customers. It builds upon the success of our African operations and will propel the Zain Group towards becoming one of the top ten global mobile telecommunications companies by 2011."
The move coincides with the linking of the world's first borderless mobile service ‘One Network' across two continents now inclusive of 15 countries covering a population of over 450 million. Saudi Arabia will join the 'One Network' on commencement of commercial services later this month. One Network offers Zain customers affordable cross-border communications, helping friends and families stay connected. Zain plans to roll-out One Network in all its operations, subject to regulatory approvals.
With immediate effect all Zain pre- and post-paid customers in Africa and the Middle East using ‘One Network' will enjoy the benefits of being treated as a ‘local' customer wherever they are. Customers can make calls and send messages at local rates when communicating with a travelling Zain customer who will receive incoming calls free-of-charge and be able to make calls back home at local rates. Pre-paid customers can also top up their phones with recharge cards bought from either their home country or more than one million outlets available in one of the 15 One Network countries. The One Network service is automatically activated upon crossing the geographic border into one of the countries, with no prior registration required or sign-up fee.
The Zain group already enjoys a reputation for supporting regional initiatives and is currently partnering with governments and communities to help them achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. In the last year Zain donated millions of dollars worth of books and educational supplies to government-owned schools in Africa. Zain also partners the Earth Institute and Ericsson in providing mobile telephony to over 400,000 people in remote areas of Africa.