Rwanda will soon get a third mobile phone operator following the entry of India’s Bharti Airtel, which was awarded its operating license, yesterday.
Bharti Airtel, the world’s fifth largest telecommunication company, disclosed that it will invest US$100 million in rolling-out 2G and 3G GSM network technology over the next three years in Rwanda.
The multi-million investment package includes US$30 million to purchase the operating licence.
Rwanda becomes Bharti Airtel’s 17th operation across Africa.
The Minister in the President’s Office in charge of ICT, Dr Ignace Gatare, welcomed Bharti Airtel, saying that the country is entering into an exciting era in telecommunications, bringing advanced broadband wireless services at competitive prices.
“We are confident that the Indian-based company with its vast experience in operating in emerging markets, will add immense value to our telecommunications sector,” Gatare noted.
Bharti Airtel’s becomes the third operator after MTN Rwanda, which has 2,824,874 subscribers and TIGO Rwanda with 1,300,159.
“As government, we want all stakeholders to be winners, but more so, we want our consumers to be part of the real winners. Choices need to be real and consumers must at all times be protected,” the minister added.
The Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said he was pleased with the country’s vision and commitment towards ICT.
“We will work with the government to bring affordable and best mobile services that add value to the lives of people of Rwanda and contribute towards bridging the digital divide in the country,” Mittal explained.
He added that in addition to the routine voice, SMS and value added services, his company will “take it to another level of making true broadband availability to the market.”
The telecom’s officials, however, declined to disclose when they plan to launch their operations.
Bharti Airtel is a leading global telecommunication company across Asia and Africa with over 230 million subscribers across 19 operations. It has operations in three other East African member states;Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Bharti Airtel offers mobile voice, data services, fixed line and high speed broadband.