Bharti Airtel to Launch 3G and Airtel Money in Rwanda by September
Bharti Airtel has announced that it plan to invest USD 100 million in its operations in Rwanda over the next three years. The company plans to rollout a 3G network and a Mobile Money platform in the future.
These were revealed when Manoj Kohli, CEO (International) & Joint MD, Bharti Airtel, met with the President of Rwanda to discuss the teleco’s progress in the country. The courtesy visit comes two months after Airtel launched operations in Rwanda.
Mr. Kohli also explained that although Kigali is currently operating on a 2G network, the company also plans to launch 3G services in the market within the upcoming quarter. He also revealed that Airtel Money will soon be launched in the country.
Targeted at both banked and unbanked customers, Airtel Money will enable customers to make affordable, fast and secure financial transactions including direct fund transfers from one user to another, bill payments, top ups and mobile banking.
Mr. Kohli explained:
“Rwanda is a promising telecommunications market and we are grateful to the Government and people of Rwanda for the support extended to us since our entry into the country. Our strategy for Rwanda is in harmony with the government’s vision to make telecommunications a priority. We plan to work closely with the government to provide access to affordable telecoms products and services across the country.”
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. Airtel was awarded a license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) late last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services.
Mr. Kohli said Airtel’s overall strategy is to ensure that its network is extended to rural communities, ensuring convenient access to telecommunication services.
In addition, Airtel plans to bring its football talent search – Airtel Rising Stars – into Rwanda. Airtel Rising Stars focus on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grassroots onto a national stage provides a platform for upcoming soccer talent under the age of seventeen to showcase their skills to leading scouts and coaches.
Bharti Airtel has operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia. The company is ranked as the fifth largest mobile service provider globally in terms of subscribers with over 250 million customers across its operations.
Airtel recently joined an elite club of global brands by making it to this year’s BrandZTop 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list. The company has been given an overall global ranking of 71 and brand value of USD 11.5 billion.