From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Airtel Now Have Babies After Re-Branding
Dec 2, 2010, 17:18

The largest mobile phone service provider in the country, Airtel officially recognized children born on the 19th November 2010 in selected Government Hospitals in Freetown. This day was chosen for the simple fact that Sierra Leoneans gained communication freedom on this day. This Sierra Leone has been involved in this freedom through Airtel, a global brand now operating in Sierra Leone. Zain re-branded to Bharti Airtel marking the second time the company has changed its identity since being introduced to Sierra Leone 10 years ago.

Bharti Airtel, the fifth largest telecommunications provider in the world last week completed the rebranding of its acquisition deal of Kuwait-based Zainís operations in 15 African countries and Seychelles at a cost of $10.7 billion.

The children born on this day in the following hospitals were automatically recognized as Airtel Babies; Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH), Marie Stopes Ė Aberdeen Road & 34 Military Hospital, Wilberforce. A total of 7 lucky babies were identified, four from PCMH, nil from 34 Military Hospital and three from Marie Stopes, of which there were 2 boys and 5 girls.

For and on behalf of Airtel, and for being born on the 19th¬†November 2010, Airtel Sierra Leone donated cash prizes of Le.500, 000.00, phone with SIM card and Airtel T-shirt to the mothers of each baby identified. This venture according to the Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications, Mr. Kelvin Kellie was a unique step in a drive to live the brand of Airtel. ďThese children are now born in the brand and will continue to be branded Airtel Babies in such a way that their growth is going to be monitoredĒ said Mr. Kelvin Kellie.

The mothers of these Airtel babies were first of all surprised at the unexpected good-will and later on commended Airtel for giving their babies what they called a very good start in life. Names and addresses of the mothers are as follows:

Madusu Kamara  70 Pratt Street, New England   076421058

Adiza Grant        32 Whenzle Street        076156970

Fatmata Sesay 27 Lucas Street               076421076

Ann-Marie Bangura      42 Hill Station       076421066

Francess Sesay           Leceister Rowe, BLK D

Fatmata Bello Jaye 11 Spurr Road            076421059

Mariama Bah        10 Hill Cot Road          076421075

The new face of the mobile provider is expected to usher in new corporate and management strategies within the group to reflect Bhartiís ownership and also to consolidate its enviable position in Sierra Leoneís highly competitive telecommunication market.

The companyís Managing Director, Mr. RVS Bhullar said Airtel is focusing on rural areas by expanding its coverage in the country by 90 per cent and lowering communication costs.

ďWe are not up for price wars with other telecommunication companies: what we are looking forward to, is to increase market share in Sierra Leone by offering more Value Added Services especially to the rural population,Ē added Bhullar.

Airtel will be focusing to build a rural brand through promotions and CSR activities, be a low cost operator, employ skilled force and Push for lower interconnection rates which will lead to affordable products.

Since Bhartiís entry in the country mid this year, the telecommunication market has tremendously witnessed a drop in calling and SMS rate that saw a mad rush by subscribers to obtain Zain lines or re-activate old ones.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.