Rwandatel will scrap roaming fee

AS Rwanda opens up for more telecom service providers, consumers are beginning to enjoy the fruits of competition.

AS Rwanda opens up for more telecom service providers, consumers are beginning to enjoy the fruits of competition.

Lap Green, a Libyan firm that has taken over Rwandatel has also promised to scrap cross-border roaming fee on calls between users in Uganda and Rwanda.

The move comes shortly after MTN scrapped the fees in Kenya and Uganda and Rwanda.

Soon subscribers of Rwandatel and Uganda telecom will not switch lines and pay the exorbitant fees charged for using a cellphone when visiting the countries.

“We are to operate a borderless network between Uganda and Rwanda,” Eng. Abdulbaset Elezzabi, the Lap Green Networks’ managing director during the signing of Rwandatel share purchase agreement in Kigali yesterday.

Lap Green with a 69 per cent stake in UTL has also promised to make calls affordable to every Rwandan and have the fastest and biggest countrywide rollout.

“Our target is to invest in a vibrant network that will ensure the achievement of at least 2 million subscribers in GSM, 3G, fixed Network and information Technology,” Elezzabi said.

The Libyan company is to pay $100 million (about Frw54.5 billion) for the 80 per cent shares in Rwandatel. The company also promises to invest $317 million (about Frw 172 billion) to revamp the telecom sector in the country.

 The investment to stretch over a period of over 15-years will see the company inject $87 million in the economy during its first year of running Rwandatel.

To have a local investor to represent Rwandan’s interests in Rwandatel, Government sold a 20 per cent stake to the Social Security Fund.

Cabinet awarded Lap Green the 80 per cent shares in Rwandatel after beating other bidders who included telecom giants Vodacom Group of South Africa and Celtel - Africa’s third-largest cell phone company by subscriber numbers.

Others are V-Tel Holdings of Jordan, Bit Map Ltd of Singapore and Rwanda’s R-Com.

Lap Green is owned by Libya Africa Investments Portfolio for Africa, a consortium set up to reorganise the interests of the Libyan government on the continent.

Elazzabi said taking over Rwandatel is the ‘begging of hard work  to ensure the rollout of a of a telecommunication network that will cover the entire nation with a mix of value added services that we hope will transform the communities countrywide.”

The company takes over Terracom’s second generation technology called CDMA described by communication experts as quite inferior to a third generation GSM technology.

CDMA is an acronym for Code-Division Multiple Access, a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques.

On the other hand GSM is the Global System for Mobile communications. But Lap Green has also promised to operate the most popular the GSM.

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