Airtel heats up competition as it launches first promotion

Tigo’s free calls and MTN’s late night free calls promotions are set to be put to test by Airtel’s new promotion dubbed “Yagaruze”—100 per cent bonus. Airtel launched the promotion yesterday, bringing in yet another dawn of tight competition in the telecom sector.
Prime Minister, Damien Habumuremyi with Airtel officials launch  the firm’s operations in Rwanda.
Prime Minister, Damien Habumuremyi with Airtel officials launch the firm’s operations in Rwanda.

Tigo’s free calls and MTN’s late night free calls promotions are set to be put to test by Airtel’s new promotion dubbed “Yagaruze”—100 per cent bonus. Airtel launched the promotion yesterday, bringing in yet another dawn of tight competition in the telecom sector.

Airtel’s announcement of cheaper calls during its launch in the country last month was seen as a boost to the sector where operators are expected to roll out cheap and innovative products to remain competitive.

“Airtel will remain committed to providing Rwandans with accessible and innovative technologies that make a positive difference in the lives of the people,” Marcellin Paluku, the Executive Officer Airtel Rwanda said yesterday during the launch

Through the promotion, Airtel customers will receive bonus airtime equivalent to what they have spent on calling or using Short Message Services before midnight each day.

 “We recognise that telecommunications will play an important role in transforming the country through community and economic development,” Paluku added.

Airtel’s Yagaruze 100 per cent bonus promotion will put to task Tigo’s famous free calls for 30 minutes at Rwf100 and MTN’s late hours free calls where subscribers pay for the first minute and receive 30 minute free calls.

The operator’s promotion is applicable on both local and international, meaning that it is set to reduce international calling rates, which are currently very expensive.

“These promotions help us as students and other people who don’t have enough money to make calls. If they are many, we have an option  to choose what to use,” Louise Ntihanabayo a student said
Francois Rurangirwa, a taxi motor operator believes that the promotion by Airtel will provide people with a chance to freely make calls without rushing to hang up.

“If I make a call and they give me back, what I have used, it will be like I have made free calls that day and this is what we want as customers,” he said.

Nevertheless, the promotion that will run for three months from now is yet to face challenges especially with consumers unable to understand when the bonus airtime is awarded.

“The promotion is good but it would be better if they give instant bonuses to consumers. It will be hard for us to explain to our customers how this promotion works,” John Bosco Uwiringiyemana airtime vendor in Kigali said.

Paluku says that users will be receiving notification every end of the call showing both their balance and the bonus airtime loaded, to give ease to clients from going through the process of confirming their airtime.

“We are willing to pay back as much as people are willing to use,” Paluku added.

Airtel Rwanda launched last month is a subsidiary of Bhart Airtel, which is headquartered in Delhi, India, with a presence in 20 Asian and African countries including the East African Community Bloc.

Government is targeting 60 per cent mobile penetration rate by the end of 2012 up from 41.6 per cent.

 

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