Kagame tests Rwandatel’s 3G GSM system

President Paul Kagame Thursday made a video call on Rwandatel’s new 3G GSM network system, management of the telecommunication company said.
Cleophas Kabasiita (left), Rwandatel Public Relations Manager with her colleague Nelly Mugiraneza, from the sales department at Gikondo Expo grounds. (Photo / G. Barya).
Cleophas Kabasiita (left), Rwandatel Public Relations Manager with her colleague Nelly Mugiraneza, from the sales department at Gikondo Expo grounds. (Photo / G. Barya).

President Paul Kagame Thursday made a video call on Rwandatel’s new 3G GSM network system, management of the telecommunication company said.

The President had visited Rwandatel’s stand during the tour of exhibition stands at Gikondo Expo Grounds. He officiated at the opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the Rwanda International Trade Fair 2008. Currently Rwandatel is testing its 3G GSM system before launching officially.

“The President made a video call when he visited our stand. He was talking to one of our site engineers,” Cleophas Kabasiita, the Public Relations Manager of Rwandatel said yesterday, in an interview with The New Times.

The new 3G GSM network system is a third generation of mobile phones standards and technology. It enables network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services.

With 3G GSM, the user is able to conduct wireless video calls and access broadband data in the mobile environment.
Investing in modern technology is part of the innovations that Lap Green, a Libyan company that purchased 80 per cent shares in Rwandatel has embarked on. The move is to turn around the formerly indebted firm with few subscribers into a competitive business.

Lap Green promised to invest $317 million (Frw173 billion) over 15 years period to revamp the telecom sector in the country.

According to Kabasiita, Rwandatel has between 50,000 and 60,000 subscribers on voice, data and Internet services as of yesterday.

She said the 3G GSM system slated to be officially launched next month has a capacity to serve more than 1 million subscribers.

“We have constructed 80 base stations out of the 154 planned to be rolled out countrywide to support our 3G GSM system,” she said. This is the fastest rollout and heavy investment in the telecommunication sector in Rwanda.

Rwandatel customers will therefore be part of the millions of customers in Africa that enjoy 3G GSM services.

Vodacom provides 3G GSM services to customers in South Africa, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo among others.

The Libyan firm took over shares in Rwandatel after agreeing to pay $100 million (about 54 million) for the public telecom firm.

Lap Green has also a 69 per cent stake in Ugandan telecommunications limited (UTL), and owns Sahel Telecom, Mali’s premier telecom company.

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