Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Econet Kenya Hits 200,000 Subscribers in Three Months

Econet Wireless's newest network, in Kenya is reported to have signed up 200,000 subscribers since it launched last November - and is aiming for one million customers by the middle of the year. Econet Wireless trades under the Yu brand in the country.

"Now we have close to 200 000 subscribers but the target is to have one-million by July," Econet Kenya's chief executive, Srinivasa Iyengar told Reuters. "In another two to three years, we should have four-million to five-million subscribers easily."

"We are the ... cheapest (network) in town today and we will be the cheapest forever," he said at a promotional road show.

The firm recently secured the Sh 35 billion (US$450 million) loan necessary to fund its network rollout. The deal had been delayed by two months after Econet reported difficulties finding credit during the current global economic downturn.

Last year, Econet Wireless International (EWI) sold a 49% stake in the company to India's Essar Communications Holdings (ECHL). The companies said that the move would significantly benefit Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK), which is 70% owned by EWI, from a rollout as well as product offering perspective.

Figures from the Mobile World database subscriber database reports that Safaricom is the market leader with a market share of 82.3% with Celtel coming in at 17.6%. Telkom Kenya (Orange) has just started a "mobile" type service. The country itself has a population penetration level of 36%.

The regulator has recently announced that it will make a second attempt at launching mobile number portability - which traditionally benefits new entrants into markets.

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