France Telecom’s Kenyan Unit Awards 3G Contract to ZTE

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- France Telecom SA’s Kenyan unit awarded a 4 billion-shilling ($47 million) contract to ZTE Corp. to build a third-generation mobile-phone network that it expects to help double customers.

ZTE will install 1,500 so-called 3G base stations across the East African country over the next two months, focusing on Nairobi, the capital, the port city of Mombasa and Kisumu in western Kenya, Telkom Kenya Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein told reporters today.

"We expect to double our subscribers from the current 2.3 million active customers by the end of 2011,” Ghossein said.

Mobile operators in Kenya are becoming more reliant on data for revenue after the industry regulator in August halved the rates that operators charge each other to connect voice calls across networks to 2.21 shillings. That triggered a round of cuts in call costs by companies to less than 2 shillings per minute and in some cases free calls during off- peak hours.

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