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Telkom launches Orange mobile

NAIROBI, September 17- Kenya’s newest mobile phone operator Telkom Kenya on Wednesday launched the ‘Orange’ brand for its GSM mobile, broadband and CDMA mobile services.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer Dominique Saint Jean said they would offer lower prices but with a greater focus on the quality of service.

“By offering several relevant services in one package, we can deliver unrivalled value, simplifying the customer experience and ensure Kenyans receive world-class communications services at competitive prices,” he boasted.

Calls within the three Orange networks – Orange mobile, Orange Fixed Plus (formerly Telkom wireless) and Telkom Fixed will attract a flat rate of Sh7 per minute. Calling across the other networks (Safaricom and Zain) will cost Sh14 per minute – significantly less than both competitors’ ‘off network’ charges.

Short Message Services (SMS) will be charged at Sh3.5 within the network. “These affordable costs with the integrated offer are set to liberate Kenyans from worrying about “off network” and landline call charges from their mobiles,” he added.

St Jean announced that Orange broadband and Orange mobile services will initially be available in Nairobi and Mombasa although a national roll out is planned for all major cities by the end of 2008.

Telkom Kenya entered a partnership with France Telkom which bought a 51 percent stake in the national operator.

The partnership has seen the Paris-based company invest, since January 2008, Sh8 billion to revamp Telkom Kenya’s infrastructure and maintenance. The investment is expected to help them raise customer base to 1.5 million in the first year.

At the Wednesday launch, the company revealed that top-up cards will be available in denominations of Sh20, Sh50, Sh100, Sh200, Sh500 and Sh1000 from some 45, 000 points of sale operated by over 200 dealers. St Jean added that the number of dealers would increase as they continue to roll out services around the country.

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The company pledged  to offer broadband with download speeds of up to 512kbps.These will be packaged under Broadband Plus, Broadband Turbo and Broadband Ultimate with a monthly fee of Sh5,990, Sh10,990 and Sh16,990 respectively.

The launch was attended by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who lauded France Telkom for its faith in the Kenyan economy at a challenging time.

“The investment and innovation that you are bringing to Telkom Kenya will create a national operator that we can proudly call Kenyan, which will supply both wananchi and businesses with a broad range of world class services,” he added.

These and other investments in the ICT sector, he added, would take the country  a step closer towards transforming Kenya into an ICT hub for the region and attaining Vision 2030.

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