Bharti Airtel has appointed Marcellin Paluku as Airtel Rwanda Limited’s Country Manager barely a month after the telecom giant was granted an operating licence.
Bharti Airtel, which was awarded the operating licence early this month to roll-out 2G and 3G technology, becomes the country’s third mobile operator after MTN Rwanda and TIGO.
According to a statement by the operator, Chief Executive Office Anglophone Africa, Bharti Airtel, Jayant Khosla said Rwanda is a market with great growth potential.
“As with all our operations, the leadership team in Airtel Rwanda will be made up of passionate and experienced Rwandans who are committed to our goal of providing best-in-class mobile broadband services,” Khosla noted.
Paluku has over 15 years of experience at leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods and telecom companies, including Coca-Cola and Celtel and has worked in eight markets across the continent. Prior to this appointment, he was the Commercial Director at Airtel Democratic Republic of Congo where he played a pivotal role in ensuring that Airtel maintained its leadership position.
Airtel Rwanda becomes Bharti Airtel’s 17th operation across Africa out of the 19 operations all over the world.
According to recent figures from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA), the sector regulator, the sector currently has 4.2 million subscribers out of the six million users RURA targets by next year.
With the entry of Airtel, RURA targets to raise mobile penetration rate from 39.6 per cent as of August to 60 per cent by the end of 2012.
Rwanda still has the slowest mobile penetration rate in the region after Burundi.
Telecom experts believe the entry of Airtel will spur competition in the Rwandan telecommunication sector. The competition expected will be characterised by low calling rates and aggressive promotions.
Airtel plans to invest over US$100m (Rwf59.3 billion) over the next three years, creating both direct and indirect job opportunities.