Airtel launches mobile services in Rwanda
Bharti Airtel on Friday announced the launch of its operations in Rwanda, raising its operations in Africa to 17.
Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services, the statement said, adding that the launch was part of the company's $100 million, three-year investment plan for Rwanda.
Group CEO (International) and Joint MD, Manoj Kohli said in a statement "we are delighted to launch our operations and bring Airtel to the people of Rwanda - we believe that Rwanda is an extremely promising market and this launch further strengthens our footprint in eastern Africa."
The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led Bharti Airtel acquired the African business of Kuwait-based Zain in 2010 for USD 10.7 billion.
Airtel has since partnered with IBM to deploy and manage its information technology (IT) infrastructure and applications across Africa, in just-came-on-board Rwanda.
The statement quoted IBM Vice President and Senior Project Executive for Airtel Africa, Steve Martin as saying "as part of our strategic services agreement, we are happy to assist Airtel with its entry into the Rwandan market. Rwanda is an important market for IBM and we are actively strengthening our local presence."
Telecom equipment maker Ericsson has been selected to manage the network from end-to-end solutions for Airtel Africa.
Ericsson's Sub-Saharan African Region Head Lars Lind'n was quoted as saying "this solution is using the latest Ericsson portfolio, and will be the first Airtel network designed as an all-IP solution."
Rwandan Prime Minister Damien Habumuremyi was also quoted as saying “the government welcomes Airtel into our country – w e are looking to partner with the private sector to provide good quality, accessible and affordable telecommunications services."
Rwanda is among the fastest growing telecom markets in Africa and according to the National Statistics Institute of Rwanda, mobile penetration in the country was at 38.4 per cent as of July 2011.
Story by Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona/Adom News/Ghana