India’s Bharti Airtel, a telecommunications company with operations in 19 countries across Asia and Africa, has said that it has been awarded a license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services in Rwanda. This development will see the Company’s footprint across the African continent expand to 17 countries. Rwanda is amongst the fastest growing telecom markets in Africa. According to the National Statistics Institute of Rwanda, the mobile penetration in the country was 38.4%, as of July 2011.
Bharti Airtel says that it plans to invest over USD 100 million in its operations in Rwanda over the next three years generating direct and indirect employment opportunities in the country.
Bharti made an entry in to African by acquiring Kuwait based Zain Telecom for about USD 10.7 billion. It also reported to have 46.3 million mobile customers on its network by in Africa in the first quarter which ended on June 30, 2011. During the quarter, the company added 2.1 million customers to its networks in Africa. The company reported to have earned average revenue per user of USD 7.3 per month during the same quarter.
Rwanda’s telecom market is a duopoly with MTN and Tigo being the main players while the Libyan owned Rwandatel has had its voice license withdrawn after being declared bankrupt. The mobile subscription in Rwanda is just around 2.5 Million out of a population of over 11 Million.