Rwandans switch to Vodacom

As mobile telephone subscribers search for cheaper and affordable call tariffs, scores of people in eastern province have subscribed to the Tanzania Vodacom Telecom network.

As mobile telephone subscribers search for cheaper and affordable call tariffs, scores of people in eastern province have subscribed to the Tanzania Vodacom Telecom network.

The strong signals the company has and the free airtime the telecom company is offering to all its subscribers has lured some Rwandans near the Tanzania border to subscribe to Vodacom, abandoning their MTN lines.

Vodacom has also lowered the calling rates to other networks to give its clients more freedom to talk, according to Kabayija, a ‘Vodacom agent’ in Kayonza district.

Rwandans in districts of Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kayonza and Rwamagana can now call for four minutes freely. Subscribers on pay standard spend Tzs200 (Frw93)—whereas MTN Rwandacell charges Frw100.

Prices of smuggled Vodacom sim packs have also soared from Frw1,000 to Frw5,000. (about Tzs10,000)

There are claims that MTN, with the largest coverage in eastern province is affected negativly, as sales  of its products have dropped.

“I no longer buy MTN airtime vouchers. Sim pack agents say sales have drastically dropped,” a resident of Kabarole who was using a Vodacom line claimed.”

But The New Times was not able get comment from MTN officials as some could not answer their phones. However, a source close to MTN Rwanda management say Vodacom and MTN are about to enter a roaming deal, where subscribers on the two networks will not have to switch sim cards.

In Kayonza and Rwamagana towns, dealers of Vodacom products were openly luring more Rwandans to get connected to the Tanzanian network. An official in Rwandatel said his company ‘is not worried about the competition.’

Victor Kinuma, the Rwandatel marketing manage is optimistic the restructuring exercise in the company will soon see Rwandatel in every part of the country.

Rwandatel plans to rollout a new infrastructure that will support its GSM and 3G UMTS network services countrywide
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