Magazine article New African

Africa: Fastest Growing Mobile Market in the World; There Is Good News from the Mobile Telephone Front in Africa. Celtel International, the Continent's Dominant Provider, Is Making Huge Inroads and Is Now the Leader in 10 of the 13 Countries in Which It Operates. Stuart Price Reports

Magazine article New African

Africa: Fastest Growing Mobile Market in the World; There Is Good News from the Mobile Telephone Front in Africa. Celtel International, the Continent's Dominant Provider, Is Making Huge Inroads and Is Now the Leader in 10 of the 13 Countries in Which It Operates. Stuart Price Reports

Article excerpt

Africa's leading mobile telecoms provider, Celtel International, has increased its number of customers to over four million, according to figures released by the company for the first half of this year. The company, which currently operates in 13 African countries, has also announced significant growth in the six months up to the end of June as a result of the acquisition of KenCell, a Kenyan mobile network operator.

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Marten Pieters, Celtel's CEO, was euphoric: "We have continued to achieve strong organic growth with a 63% increase in the number of users in the existing businesses," he said. "During the half year, we made a strategic investment of $118m in infrastructure to grow our networks and aggressively promoted our new brand."

The acquisition of KenCell now sees Celtel as the only provider supplying coverage across all of East Africa, incorporating Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. "The KenCell acquisition in May was a critical strategic development which gave us a quantum leap in user numbers to four million," Pieters revealed. "This key licence consolidates our position in the East African region and we have already identified network expansion and development opportunities for these markets."

The transaction took place at the end of May and involved the investment of $250m to attain 60% of the equity in KenCell, in addition to taking over all shareholder loans and developing the business. In tandem with the company's steady growth has come the creation of a further 891 jobs in the communications industry, taking Celtel's staff figure to 3,341, from 2,450 at the end of last December. …

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