In a bid to bolster its national network coverage , Rwandatel is set to construct 86 masts in two months early this year. The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Patrick Kariningufu said, ‘50 of these will be built this month and 36 next month’. He added that the company is identifying suitable sites and making the necessary arrangements to secure the plots.
‘Plots are either leased or bought’, he said, also adding that a mast in Kayonza, the Eastern Province is under construction and is expected to be complete in two-three weeks time.
Currently, Rwandatel has 76 masts scattered within Kigali and the neighbouring areas . The construction of 86 additional masts will bring the number to 162.According to experts, a single mast costs US$225,000 on average.
This means that Rwandatel needs about US$19.4m to roll out 86 masts in two months.
‘Once all these are complete, Rwandatel’s network will reach every corner of the country as the company seeks to increase its customer base’, Kariningufu continued.
Rwandatel believes that the investments are part of the company’s pledge to boost the government’s efforts to enhance ICT penetration in Rwanda.
This comes at a time when the company is using new technology having switched from CDMA.
The 2G, 3G and GSM technology launched early last month with an initial investments worth US$72m, can enable subscribers to conduct wireless video calls, and access broadband Internet among other uses.
After this technology migration, Rwandatel attracted over 120,000 active subscribers within four weeks. However, the company targets 600,000 subscribers by mid this year and hopes to double this figure by December.
MTN Rwandacell which is Rwandatel’s only competitor has slightly more than 1 million subscribers at the moment.
Analysts point out that it expected that Rwanda’s telcoms market will witness increased competition this year after the regulator RURA named the third national operator after an international competitive bidding of which Millicom emerged the winner.
Rwandatel has also announced that it is also testing the roaming service with regional telecom operators with a view to offering its clientele this service soon.