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Celtel uses micro-franchises to boost rural business in Nigeria
01 February 2008
After success in winning urban business in one of Africa's richest countries, Zain's Celtel has turned to an innovative market strategy to find customers in poor and under-served areas of Nigeria's countryside. Within months of starting, the programme has had remarkable results, report Jamie Anderson and Ronan Moaligou
Celtel, the second largest mobile operator in Nigeria, has franchised 100 base stations across the most rural and poorest parts of the country — and the returns are already exceeding expectations after just a few months.
The company, part of the Zain group, plans 650 rural base stations by the end of 2008, creating 6,000 jobs in an initiative where franchisees themselves recruit local representatives to sell services and protect their local base station at the centre of their area.
Celtel is the second largest mobile telecommunications company in Nigeria, with a 28% market share in mid-2007 and eight million subscribers.
The company is successful in serving cities and larger towns, but has now shifted its attention to serving poorer consumers in rural areas — a massive but still under-tapped market.
This shift from urban to rural has not been easy, and although half of Nigeria's population live...
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