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Airtel to invest $100m over the next 3 years

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Image: Bharti Airtel Limited - Head office




Bharti Airtel Limited, a leading integrated telecommunications company with operations in 19 countries across Asia and Africa, has announced the launch of its operations in Rwanda to expand its footprint on the African continent to 17 countries, a release made available to newsmen at the weekend revealed.

The release said management of Airtel has already expressed its intension to invest over $100 million in its operations over the next three years and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Manoj Kohli, chief executive officer, Bharti Airtel, was quoted as saying at the launch, “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.”

He said management of the company was committed to “bring world-class and affordable services to our customers in Rwanda and add value to the economy,” adding, “We would like to thank the Rwandan government for giving us this opportunity, and we are committed to contributing to their aim of bridging the digital divide in the country.”

Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, Rwandan Prime Minister, said the country was ready to partner Airtel and other private partners “to provide good quality, accessible and affordable telecommunications services”.

He added: “As Rwandans begin engaging in business ventures and looking for regional partners, telecommunication companies like Airtel that are able to provide access to a pan-African wireless network become a crucial part of expansion.”

Airtel, according to the release, had also partnered IBM in a move that would enable the company to offer superior customer experience in Rwanda, adding that “the partnership will see IBM deploy and manage the information technology infrastructure and applications to support Airtel’s goal of providing innovative mobile services”.

Steve Martin, IBM vice president and senior project executive, Airtel Africa, said, “As part of our strategic services agreement, we are happy to assist Airtel with its entry into the Rwandan market and ensure the very highest levels of support.”

He described Rwanda as an important market for IBM, adding that his outfit would actively strengthen local presence and increase its ability to serve its local customers and partners in the country.

Ericsson, the world’s leading provider of services and technology to telecom operators, the release further revealed, was selected to manage the network from end-to-end, including OSS/BSS solutions and managed services.

Lars Lindén, head of region, Sub-Saharan Africa, for Ericsson, said: “This solution is using the latest Ericsson portfolio, and will be the first Airtel network designed as an all-IP solution. That means Airtel will be able to provide advanced services to its subscribers, expand quickly to accommodate quick growth, and keep operating expenses down.”

Rwanda, the release said, was one of the fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, adding that according to the National Statistics Institute of Rwanda, mobile penetration in the country was at 38.4 percent as at July 2011.

“The rapidly growing private sector – which includes telecommunications infrastructure and ICT – presents many opportunities for the development of the industry and the country’s economy. In fact, according to the World Bank, each 10 percent of broadband penetration results in a 1.3 percent increase in per capita GDP growth in developing countries,” it said.

Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services. Currently, the Airtel brand is present in both Francophone and Anglophone markets across the continent, including Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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Updated 6 Years ago

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