Bharti Airtel Limited, an India-based telecom giant has announced an agreement with Millicom International Cellular S.A, to take over Tigo Rwanda, which is currently the second biggest telco in the country by market share.
The implication is that Airtel Rwanda Limited will acquire 100 per cent equity in Tigo Rwanda, which, according to October figures, has 3.4 million subscribers in the Rwanda market.
The acquisition, according to Bharti, is aimed to consolidate the Rwandan telecom market and position Airtel as a strong number 2 operator in Rwanda with revenues of over USD 80 million and a revenue market share of over 40 percent.
Existing Millicom Rwanda customers will join over 370 million customers on Airtel’s global network across 17 countries and enjoy the benefits of a superior network, international roaming, and high quality 3G, 4G speed as well as Airtel Money services.
The deal indicates that Airtel will make the payment for over two years.
“Airtel has taken proactive steps in Africa to consolidate and realign the market structure in the last few remaining countries where its operations are lagging on account of lower market share and presence of too many operators. Airtel and Tigo have already merged their operations to create a strong viable entity in Ghana.
“Today, it has taken yet another important step to acquire Tigo Rwanda to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market.” Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said.
In a statement, Millicom attributed the sale of their Rwanda operation to their deliberate strategy to focus on providing advanced fixed and mobile data services in Latin America.
“We are very grateful to the government of Rwanda for their support throughout the last eight years, which allowed us to extend digital inclusion to thousands of Rwandans. We are also very grateful to all our employees, whose drive and commitment enabled Tigo Rwanda to become a leading provider of digital services in the country,” said Mauricio Ramos, the CEO of Millicom.
“We are confident that Bharti Airtel will build on the strength of Tigo Rwanda and enhance the services provided to customers,” he added.
Over the years Airtel has been solidifying its market position to become a key player in the continent with in-country acquisitions.
In the past, Airtel acquired assets in Uganda (Warid) and Congo B (Warid), Kenya (yu Mobile) and consolidated operations in Ghana (Millicom).
The customers in these markets today enjoy a wider network, relatively affordable voice and data services, Airtel Money among other things.
With presence across 15 African countries, Airtel is one of the largest telecom service providers across the continent in terms of geographical reach and had close to 83 million customers at the end of quarter ended September 30, 2017.
Globally, Airtel is ranked as the third largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.
Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Bharti is ranked amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.
If the takeover is concluded, the Rwanda market will now have to players; the merged entity and MTN Rwanda, which is currently the biggest player in the market.Follow https://twitter.com/AthanTashobya