Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete and Bharti Airtel managing director Sam Elangalloor yesterday carried out the official rebranding of Zain Tanzania to Airtel Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, with the latter immediately announcing plans aimed at expanding the unit’s network reach and increasing its market penetration. The Citizen Reporter confirms Elangalloor as saying that Airtel has inked contracts with Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to extend its mobile networks to areas that are currently underserved. ‘We are aiming to increase our [overall group] subscriber base by 150% by 2013 to 100 million customers across Africa. That growth will stimulate economies and create thousands of direct jobs and connect communities,’ Elangalloor told a press conference. To help boost take-up in rural areas, Airtel has unveiled a new package in Tanzania whereby users can buy an Airtel SIM card, Nokia 1280 phone and the equivalent value in Airtel talk time and SMS text messages for TZS39,000 (USD26.6). More new initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks, he added.