From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, ‘Our Hearts Are With Airtel, The New Owners Of Zain’ …Subscribers in Sierra Leone express freedom
Nov 25, 2010, 17:56

Thousands of Zain subscribers have expressed their willingness to embrace Airtel as the new global brand that has replaced Zain in Sierra Leone.  Airtel has made a huge commitment on its promise of making mobile communication affordable for all by launching a bundle package of a new Nokia phone plus Airtel Sim and SMS text messages that any Airtel purchasers will use over the first 12 months once they load any amount of Airtel credit to the Sim card on those Airtel Nokia phones. The vision of Airtel is to be the most loved brand in daily lives of Africans.

Airtel is one of the world’s top 5 mobile telecommunication companies in terms of quality service, reliable network with quality innovation and affordability. All Airtel subscribers in Sierra Leone will enjoy these facilities wherever they live, work or travel.

Mobile handset is the device that is truly able to bridge the digital divide and create positive impacts in the lives of Sierra Leoneans, catalyzing economic growth and social development in the country. These Airtel Nokia phones will connects some people to the world for the first time and give people everywhere access to education, healthcare and banking services.

Speaking to this writer, the Managing Director of Zain, RVS Bhullar said Airtel will deliver practical customer benefits through the power of a single global brand.  In terms of availability and affordability, Airtel will work with world class technology partners, who will make communications available and affordable for everyone across Africa even in remote areas which are at the present disconnected from the world, he further stated.

Airtel already has the world’s first borderless mobile network spanning 17 countries, completely removing traditional roaming charges. In terms of innovation, Airtel will deliver relevant and innovative mobile solutions to help customers overcome their daily challenges in Sierra Leone.

In an interview with the Commercial Director of Airtel, Keith G. Tukei said mobile broadband is a catalyst for economic growth and development and many subscribers will have an online experience for the first time in their lives. He encouraged Sierra Leoneans to embrace the new brand (AIRTEL) as it comes to stay forever in the daily lives of all Sierra Leoneans.

Airtel still operates under the ‘One Network’ system in which travelers’ only need to buy recharge card to top their phones instead of buying another sim when visiting another country.

 Airtel Money- formally called ZAP has now evolved to e-commerce network. This new electronic commerce network will enhance rapid growth in Sierra Leone’s economy as business transactions will increase rapidly. Innovation like buying on-line by making use of single use Master Card application, open platform email, social networking  will be available for all Airtel(former Zain) subscribers  in Sierra Leone .

The Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications Mr. Kelvin Kellie encouraged all Zain subscribers to have trust in the new brand as it is a universal name.   Airtel is one of the world’s leading mobile operators with more than 190 million customers which are already familiar with Airtel brand in Asia, he further stated.

The new Airtel brand will be instantly and universally be recognizable across Africa as the new brand promises a consistent and familiar customer experience wherever they may find themselves in the world. Through the strength of Airtel and its commitment to innovation, subscribers in Sierra Leone will have access to the latest technology and widest range of innovative service at affordable cost.

Airtel is partnering with world class telecommunications infrastructure suppliers to extend its networks to rural areas and ensure that the company has the best quality network in Sierra Leone and the Africa continent as a whole.

A school in the Western Rural District of Sierra Leone is also set to benefit from the phenomenal success of the first all Africa super group, Airtel ONE8 track. This rural school in the Western District of Sierra Leone has been adopted by Airtel, Africa’s leading mobile telecommunications provider, as a founding recipient of the Airtel Education Fund. Airtel conceived the ONE8 project and is the sole sponsor.

This school project is to showcase the company’s determination in facilitating more corporate social responsibilities in Sierra Leone. This rural school will receive a percentage of revenues from the hit song HANDS ACROSS THE WORLD recorded by R-Kelly, and number one selling artists in eight African countries including 2Face from Nigeria.

“We are committed to donating a percentage of the sales from the ONE8 records and merchandise to support education in poorer, rural areas by building, equipping and staffing such schools which will give underprivileged children the opportunity to achieve their goals”, Said  June-Rose Johnson, the PR &Communications Executive of Airtel SL.

The Airtel ONE8 hit ‘HANDS ACROSS THE WORLD’ was recorded in collaboration between the international R’n’B star R KELLY and eight of Africa’s biggest selling music stars: 2Face (Nigeria), Amani (Kenya), 4X4 (Ghana), Movaizhalene (Gabon), JK (Zambia), Alikiba (Tanzania), Fally Ipupa (DRC) and Navio (Uganda).

A special ringtone of the track can be downloaded from the Airtel live portal by sending the word ONE8 as SMS to 6262 and all customers will receive automatically the ONE8 ‘Hands across the World’ track as their Caller Ring back Tone  for the first 48 hours of release.

Commenting on the link between the Airtel ONE8 project and education, RVS Bhullar said such concept was developed because it expresses ‘the spirit, talent and rhythm of Africa and to showcase the African talents to the world and celebrate our diverse cultures by bringing them to together to achieve something extraordinary’.

Thousands of Airtel subscribers are jubilating in Sierra Leone as Airtel means a world class brand with world class services. By operating as a single brand across Asia and Africa, Airtel subscribers are expecting Airtel to deliver more as part of its vision of providing affordable and innovative mobile services for all regardless of status in society which will make it as the most loved brand in the daily lives of Africans.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.