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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Celtel takes over Accra Westel

Pan African mobile operator, Celtel, has finally taken charge at the Ghanaian telecom network, Westel.

This follows the conclusion of agreements between the telco and the Ghanaian government at the weekend.

Champion Infotel recalls that few months ago, Westel, a government owned telecommunications in Accra, was sold to the pan African mobile operator after the bidding was concluded, even as the signing of the final deal took place last Friday with the Ministry of Communications in Accra, thus giving Celtel the right to move into operations.

Westel is the second national operator in Ghana and is licensed to provide fixed and mobile (GSM) telecommunications services.

Also, Champion Infotel gathered that Celtel plans to commence enhanced telecom services nationwide in the first half of 2008.

According to Celtel parent company, Zain Group, a leading mobile telecommunications network operator in the Middle East and Africa, the delay in handing over the operation to Celtel was believed to have been caused by the need to work out the finer details of operational rules or issues including the approval of a tax holidays to Celtel.

“With the signing of the agreement, the issues appears to have now been resolved paving the way for the African operator owned by Zain Group to move into the company,” sources close to the deal informed.

Meanwhile the selection of the winner for Ghana Telecom is still being finalized, although the transaction advisors have already passed on their recommendations to government.

Celtel hopes to quickly turn around the network by investing heavily in network coverage expansion, improvement in quality of service and in other critical areas of the business such as human capital development.

Commenting on this development, Zain Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Saad Al Barrak, said the acquisition of Westel is important to Celtel as it gives the mobile operator a “gateway to West Africa.”

Celtel operates in a number of West African countries including Nigeria , Niger , Chad , Burkina Faso , and Sierra Leone, among others.

The company also looks forward to promoting Ghana as a gateway to West Africa through its One Network, the world’s first borderless network.

One Network offers Celtel’s customers the opportunity to move freely across geographical borders using the same services they would access in their home country, and to make calls without roaming surcharges and without having to pay to receive incoming calls and messages.

The service will also permit customers to buy and top up with local airtime when they visit other countries in which One Network is operational.

Celtel’s One Network service is currently operational for over 400 million people across six nations in East, Central and West Africa.

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