Giant companies eyeing Rwandatel

Giant international telecommunication companies want to takeover Rwandatel, the embattled sole state telecom utility.

Giant international telecommunication companies want to takeover Rwandatel, the embattled sole state telecom utility.

Rwandatel was temporarily bought by an American company and Terracom is being re-privatised to potential private investors.

According to current government information, some of the telecoms that have shown interest in the company include: Celtel from East Africa, Vodacom from South Africa but jointly owned by Vodafone and Telkom, Lap Green Network, Bitmap from Libya and Vitel Holdings from Hong Kong.

While appearing on the well-known Sunday show “Crossfire” at Contact FM, State Minister for Energy and Telecommunication Eng. Albert Butare said the government had to cancel the Terracom deal after the company failed to meet technological demands to keep calls and internet costs low. 

“The very big problem was the gaps in fulfilling the contract and performance,” he said.

Terracom, which originally belonged to an American investor Greg Wyler, had acquired 99 per cent of stock but presently, the government is selling 70 per cent of the shares in Rwandatel.

Butare said this is to allow the company to be run by several potential shareholders, avoiding irresponsibility.

“The move is to fulfil one of the structural adjustment policies of World Bank and IMF,” he said.

Early last year, Terracom wanted to sell Rwandatel, however the government objected to the deal because Terracom still owed the government $15 million and a ‘promised technological roll out.’

However, Minister Butare noted the government is limiting the number of investors in the Telecom business to protect operators because the market is still growing.

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