From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, For Tariff Reduction, Zain Becomes the Most Affordable & Accessible Network
By
Jul 26, 2010, 12:49

With the battle for supremacy still on for the leading GSM operator in Sierra Leone, this article is set to provide an independent analysis on the first GSM operator in Sierra Leone since 2010 which is Zain Sierra Leone. Zain is branded as the key brand of Sierra Leone’s Telecom Industry for the simple fact that it brings it all together for their customers, from the revolutionary BlackBerry to One Network services and sophisticated solutions for multi-national businesses and organisations through E-Commerce (Zap).

For a decade now, Zain have consistently provided innovative, reliable, high-quality products and services and excellent customer care. Today, the Company’s mission is to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else, hence creating a ‘Wonderful World’ for their customers. Zain is fulfilling this vision by creating new solutions for consumers and businesses and by driving innovation in the communications industry.

The Company’s strategy, which is characterized by a strong focus on innovation, convergence and effective customer satisfaction, aims to establish Zain as an integrated operator and benchmark for new telecommunications services in Africa. Today, Zain remains focused on its core activities as a network operator, while working to consolidate its position in new growth activities. To meet customer expectations, Zain strives to provide products and services that are simple and user-friendly, while maintaining a sustainable and responsible business model that can be adapted to the requirements of a fast-paced and changing eco-system.

Zain leads in all its activities here in Sierra Leone. As such it has been disclosed to members of the press that Zain Sierra Leone has been the highest GST contributor in January and February 2010. The company in January this year paid a total of Le 720 Million and a whopping Le 1.475 Billion in February (biggest payment so far).

Quoting an astute independent industry analyst ‘This goes to reiterate the fact that Zain sells the highest amount of airtime because they have a huge customer base as illustrated in their tax returns on airtime sales’. ‘Zain’ he continued ‘has always been a responsible citizen when it comes to paying taxes and complying with the rules and regulations as stipulated by the government of Sierra Leone’.

Zain in Sierra Leone has also established quite a reputation for itself in terms of its CSR activities such as Build Our Nation, Zain Africa Challenge, significant donations to community projects like the Wilberforce Health Centre, donation to St Georges Old People’s Home and several similar institutions.

Zain believes in giving back to its communities and several have benefited from initiatives launched. According to the Kelvin Kellie, Zain’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications,

"Our mission is to re-humanize business, to create business romance within our community through a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility". 

To Date, Zain commands the highest network coverage country wide, rendering communication support to development organizations (Local & International) working in very remote communities in driving the country positively towards its development agenda. The driving force behind the provision of the most innovative and reliable network to Sierra Leoneans is the network capacity and availability.

Zain has been growing over the years in traffic and more recently data. To ensure that all our voice and data services are adequately handled with carrier class quality of service, Zain upgraded its main transmission backbone to the provinces. The upgrade was done on a number of sites. It was done through the North and up to the South. Both of these regions have been joined together to form a ring which increases network resilience exponentially.

Responding to the growing challenges of mobile communication and as the need to stay connected "anytime and anywhere" is becoming a necessity, Zain provided its postpaid residential and business roaming subscribers the possibility to access Mobile Internet, WAP, and BlackBerry® services, in addition to sending MMS from their handsets while they are abroad. This service allows mobile-phone users to stay updated with the stock market, daily news in addition to internet surfing and chatting as well as music and video downloading.

With the Youth Club, Zain has made it possible for Students to access the internet through their mobile phones for just 10 units per mega byte, call any Zain number for as low as 1 unit per minute between 12 midnight & 2 am, call all club members for 3units per minute anytime (24 hours), call any Zain number for 6 units per minute between  5 am & 5 pm, call at no charge from 2 am to 5 am and then SMS any Zain number for only 2.5 units per SMS.

This offer appeals to Secondary and Tertiary educational institutions and with such offer ongoing, the company has enrolled over 50,000 students from a wide range of institutions country-wide. With the youth club, students are always logged on to the World Wide Web through the Zain Internet. They now can search for assignments with their WAP phones and also participate in chatting and blogging on the social networking sites.

All these come in the wake of a 40% drastic reduction in tariff. This tariff called ‘Fambul Tariff’ was launched almost a fortnight ago and with this tariff, customers can call for as low as 0 units per minute and as high as 9 units per minutes. Early testimonial revelations from numerous subscribers show that Zain is now the most economically viable network and that is now the most preferred network by all segments including the youths. Following the 40% reduction, the company again reduced Off-Net calls (Zain to other Networks) from 28 units to 19 units per minute all through the day.

Zain Sierra Leone also promoted the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa locally through its ‘Watch Football Promotion’. This promotion had five ultimate winners and these were opportune to be in the Soccer City stadium in South Africa to watch the grand finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup live. This, all Sierra Leoneans in Television and radio land could attest happened for real as reports of their (winners) departure and arrival were live in the print and the electronics medium.

As the company continues to break new ground and deliver new solutions, they’re focused on delivering the high-quality customer service which is their desired heritage.

With all the above, in which most are unique to the company, what would your judgment be in the battle of No1. Telecommunications company in Sierra Leone?



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