Essar Telecom wants to take Yu from Kenya to Tanzania, Zambia and Cameroon

20 Oct 2010

The Essar Group has announced its intention to extend the ‘Yu’ brand, currently used for mobile services in Kenya, to other African countries including Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and Cameroon. Rajiv Sawhney, Essar CEO told the Hindu Business Line: ‘The Yu brand was created to be culturally and linguistically agnostic. Our plan is to have the brand in whichever geography we are present in. Africa is in the same stage of evolution where India was five to six years ago, and, hence, the potential is truly huge. The skills that we have developed in India will be more helpful in Africa rather than, say, Western Europe’. After acquiring a 49% share in Econet Wireless Kenya in 2008, Essar has made the East African country the base for its African operations, which are set to encompass Uganda and the Republic of Congo following an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Dhabi Group subsidiary Warid Telecom for USD150 million earlier this year. Sawhney also noted that Essar considered tabling a bid for Zambia’s former state-owned telco Zamtel, only to dismiss the opportunity as it ‘came with too much baggage’. However, the Indian group has pinpointed Zambia for future expansion.