Celtel Nigeria offers base station franchises for rural areas

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Celtel Nigeria has launched a new local entrepreneur-ship project, Celtel Rural Acquisition Initiative (RAI), aimed at boosting rural business and connecting rural areas to the rest of the world.

According to the Chief Executive of Celtel, Bayo Ligali, Celtel RAI is designed to boost rural business, rural employment, entrepreneurship, empower rural dwellers, and increase the level of community participation in telecom business by offering rural entrepreneurs micro-franchises.

He said under the RAI programme, the mobile operator will franchise base stations in rural and poorest parts of Nigeria where about 70 per cent of Nigerians live and work. About 500 rural base stations are expected to be franchised by the end of 2008, creating 5,000 jobs in process.

The national rollout of the programme was launched by the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, at a ceremony in Abuja on Tuesday, April 30, 2008.

The new Celtel rural route to market is expected to help the company serve poorer consumers in rural areas — a very massive but still a hugely under-tapped market. The programme is both an entrepreneurship development and a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the company said last week.

Making a presentation, Ligali said the rural areas were still largely underserved, adding that analysts forecast that 80% of new net subscriptions in the Nigerian market over the period 2008-12 will come from rural areas, with a potential rural subscriber base of some 40 million people spread across some 35,000 rural villages.

He explained that Celtel will utilize rural entrepreneurs as trade partners or Associate Distributors (ADs) or local entrepreneurs who will be the company’s exclusive representatives in their communities. He said the ADs would be offered a relevant Celtel products and services portfolio including specifically introduced low denomination recharge cards or vouchers.

The ADs ,according to him,would be responsible for level one Base Station maintenance and security of Celtel equipment in their localities as well as operate on a revenue sharing basis, supervised by larger distributors or Trade Partners. ADs would be given a Start up pack including Stand Alone branded shelter (Kiosk), In store point of sale and merchandising materials, tailored rural brand communication , materials for outdoor, a manned payphone and brand new scooter or motorcycle. Celtel commenced RAI, first as a pilot project, in mid 2007, with the aim of profitably reaching about 50% of Nigerian population that reside and work in rural areas.

Daily Trust