In a bid to facilitate subscribers to stay connected on their network, in remote areas which have no access to electricity, MTN Rwanda has installed a mobile ‘charge box’ in Murundi, a small trading centre located in Kayonza district.
MTN subscribers in the areas will be able to charge their phones for free. The mobile charge box is placed on an MTN mask working on a running generator.
While the giant telecom company’s network is currently covering approximately over 90 percent of the country, electricity coverage currently stands at 6 percent.
“We want to ensure that for 24 hours, seven days a week network service for our customers is accessible. This is a value added service to customers,” Andrew Rugege, the Chief Operating Officer at MTN Rwanda told Business Times.
Rugege also observed that the 400 MTN masts are located in areas that are either connected to the national electricity grid with a steady but not 100 percent reliable service.
“Some are located in areas with no electricity supply at all and Murundi is such an area,” he said.
In recognition of this challenge Rugege said, MTN Rwanda has invested heavily in generation of equipment to enhance access to their network.
A fully self sufficient mast with all equipment installed costs close to Rwf150 million each.
“Over the past 11 years of existence, MTN Rwanda has positioned over 400 self sustaining masts across the country delivering network coverage,” Rugege said. MTN Rwanda currently has 60 mobile charge boxes in circulation across the country in areas with no access to electricity.
The country has a rural electrification plan that has been set for a five year period with the aim of increasing electrification rate from the current rate of 6 percent to 16 percent by 2013.