Zain Communications Ghana, part of the Kuwaiti-based Zain Group, has launched its mobile commerce service ‘Zap’ in Ghana, the firm said in a press release. The new service will enable Ghanaians to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones, and conduct banking services regardless of the type of handset they use. The parent company said Zain Ghana is the seventh Zain mobile operation to launch ‘Zap’ following the successful implementation of the service in Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. Zap allows Zain customers to: pay bills and pay for goods and services; and receive and send money to friends and family; top up airtime accounts. In the coming weeks Zap will be expanded to include the sending and receiving of money to bank accounts, cash withdrawals and bank account management. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Zain launched its 3.5G network in Ghana in December 2008, claiming to have invested more than USD420 million in the rapid rollout of high speed services – sub-Saharan Africa’s first such network outside South Africa. The cellco says it began signing up customers to the new service a month before the network went live, but has not disclosed actual subscriber figures. The company has come a long way since 14 December 2007 when the government of Ghana finally completed the agreement to allow Netherlands-based Celtel International, then the holding group of Kuwaiti telecoms group Zain (formerly MTC Group’s) African interests, to take control of the second national operator (SNO) WESTEL, which had received a licence to operate GSM-based mobile services in November 2006.