Zain Kenya (known as Celtel Kenya until 1 August) has introduced a flat cross-network tariff ‘Vuka’ of KES8 (USD0.11) — a 50% reduction from the KES16 the firm has been charging for cross-network calls, as it focuses on subscriber retention and acquisition. Safaricom charges KES10 for on-net and KES25 for off-net calls, while Orange launched services last week with a tariff of KES7 for on-net calls and KES14 for off-net calls. In the first half of 2008, Zain lost around 20% of its subscriber base but Rene Meza, managing director of Zain Kenya says the company is now claiming 50% of all new mobile phone subscribers. ‘We are gaining 500,000 customers a month,’ he said.
Over the last two years cross-network call charges in Kenya have been slashed from over KES50 as Zain fought for a bigger market share from rival Safaricom. Meza said most recent steep reduction in cross-network tariff had been made possible by Zain’s movement to the KES4.42 standard interconnection charge set by sector regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) for January next year.