Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) today announced the launch of its operation in Rwanda, expanding its footprint on the African continent to 17 countries. Airtel has already said that it will invest over USD 100 million in its operations over the next three years and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) & Joint MD, Bharti Airtel said,

“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.

It will be our endeavour to bring world-class and affordable services to our customers in Rwanda and add value to the economy.

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.”

Ericsson was selected to manage the network from end-to-end, including OSS/BSS solutions and managed services. At the launch, ars Lindén, head of Region Sub-Saharan Africa for Ericsson, said that it took only 83 days to built the Airtel Rwanda network making it the “fastest Greenfield launch in history in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Rwanda had a mobile penetration of 38.4% as at July 2011. Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services