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Kenyan operators tackle growth with dual SIM handsets

March 10, 2010 • Mobile and Telecoms

Kenyan operators are considering introducing more dual SIM handsets that will support both CDMA and GSM networks, in a bid to increase their subscriber bases and revenues.

The initiative will mean even more choices for subscribers, lower charges and eliminate the need for many SIM cards and phones, writes local publication Business Daily.

Using both Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) technologies, subscribers will benefit from both a mobile phone line and a wireless line on the same handset.

CDMA is currently provided by Telkom Kenya, Flashcom, and EM Communications, reaching less than 500 000 subscribers in Kenya, compared to 18 million GSM subscribers. The disparity is attributed to the first entry and rapid coverage of GSM in the country.

Telkom Kenya is also planning to introduce cross-network mobile phones in partnership with Chinese manufacturers. The company has only 300 000 CDMA subscribers and a dual low-performance ZTE model handset so far.

“Our CDMA service has been slowed down by lack of variety of models and the fact that the models we had focused on voice and not data, which is what consumers are looking for now”, said Angela Mumo, head of corporate communications at Telkom Kenya, adding that the firm was also in talks with Nokia to introduce dual SIM platform models.

She added that the company would prefer models from major handset makers, as these are more appealing to the consumers.

At a recent meeting in Nairobi, Chinese manufacturers announced the introduction of dual mobile phones, ranging from simple to data-enabled smart phones with slots for two GSM SIMs and one for CDMA.

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