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Zain Kenya eyes data market

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – Zain Kenya has upped investment in the data business with a view to growing data usage especially among its prepaid customers.

Managing Director Rene Meza said on Monday that Zain Kenya had embarked on a network upgrade program in order to effectively handle the anticipated growth in data business.
“Unlike in the past when data services have largely been used by post paid customers, we expect the prepaid customers to start actively using the services due to easier access and reduced costs as a result of the connection to the fibre optic cable,”  Mr Meza said. 
Despite mobile telephony subscription growing to more than 16 million, data services have largely been utilised by corporate clients and customers in the post paid tariff plans.
Mr Meza said unveiling new products specifically tailored for the prepaid mass market to increase penetration of data services considerably. 
“We have ensured that our subscribers can access the internet from all corners of the country since we have a wide network coverage which currently reaches 88 percent of the population,” he said.
Last month Zain Kenya announced a 25 percent reduction in internet access charges for the unlimited internet package in a move aimed at growing her market share in the increasingly competitive data business. 
Customers who sign up for the service enjoy unlimited internet for only Sh2,995 per month down from Sh3,999 and also receive a free USB modem.
To maintain its steady market share growth this year, Zain Kenya has invested over Sh4 billion so far despite the lull in the mobile telephony market occasioned by the global economic recession and a dip in the country’s growth rate.
Mr Meza said the increased penetration of data services will be critical to spurring economic growth.  He said following the Sh25 billion network upgrade which commenced late last year, subscribers both in urban and rural areas will enjoy a similar experience when accessing the internet through the Zain network.
Telecommunication service providers are readying for competition in the data business following the arrival of the TEAMS and SEACOM fibre optic cables at the Kenyan coast.

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