Celtel to drop roaming charges for Nigerians

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June 25, 2007/ Businessday



Mobile cellular network operator, Celtel Nigeria holds an ace which it hopes will tip the scales in its favour as Nigeria’s telecom companies sharpen their teeth in the battle for supremacy in an increasingly competitive market.


Celtel International, the parent company of Celtel


Nigeria is working to expand its seamless, cross-border, zero roaming charges network into Nigeria. This is already operational in six African nations, from the Atlantic Ocean coast of Gabon in the west through central Africa to the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya in the east.


The implication of this move is that all Celtel subscribers in


Nigeria will be able to carry and use their phones across African countries covered by the network without roaming charges. The network is also planning to give its subscribers access to the use of their phones while in some countries in Europe and the Americas with minimal or zero charge as the plan expands.


Celtel currently operates in 13 African countries. These are


Burkina-Faso, Chad, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra-Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.


The company which prides itself as the world’s first borderless mobile network, expanded its ‘One Network’ facility into Central Africa a fortnight ago and now covers more than 160 million people in six countries on the continent.


The seamless cross-border network took off last September with the Republic of Congo,Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


A fortnight ago, three more countries–


Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were joined in.


Mainstream Celtel sources told Business Day that the network is now talking with the authorities in

 Nigeria but that no date had yet been fixed for the extension of the service here.


Our source said the talks involved the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for right of way, the Customs Service for cross border trade content and the financial authorities for financial transaction protocols.


Celtel said at the launch of its ‘One Network’ in Cape



Town days back that the scheme is a cost-effective, convenient solution designed to fit customers’ regional communication needs by taking advantage of the company’s unique presence in several African countries.



They added that the service was automatically available to all Celtel customers across the six countries for now and that there was no registration, no roaming or international access deposits or other such charges.


They further added:\"It is part of all our existing tariff plans, applying to all postpaid and prepaid subscribers throughout the two regions, automatically\". 


Customers can use any existing Celtel SIM card across all six countries and can receive incoming calls free, wherever they are. 

They can also use recharge cards bought from the countries where they are domiciled or in any of the said six countries currently covered by the plan.



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