Zain, the Kuwaiti-based Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan operator, has announced it is to rebrand its entire African operations from ‘Celtel’ to ‘Zain’ as part of a plan to create what it calls the world’s first “cross-continental borderless network” known as ‘One Network.’ Under the scheme, 14 of Zain’s Celtel-branded African subsidiaries will be renamed with immediate effect: Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Its Ghanaian operation will also be included when it launches later this year.
Under the One Network initiative, Zain says that all its customers (pre-paid and post-paid) in Africa and the Middle East using One Network will benefit from being treated as a ‘local’ customer wherever they are. This means that 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. Prepaid customers will also be able to top up airtime at any outlet in the 15 countries included in the One Network scheme with no prior registration required or sign-up fee. Zain Group CEO Dr. Saad Al Barrak described the initiative as another element in the operator’s previously-stated goal of becoming a top ten global telecoms company by 2011.