Rwanda’s telecom companies join Blackberry revolution

The country’s telecommunication companies are set to embrace the use of  Blackberry, a wireless communication tool designed especially for mobile professionals with high communication needs.  
Rwandans to become BlackBerry users.
Rwandans to become BlackBerry users.

The country’s telecommunication companies are set to embrace the use of  Blackberry, a wireless communication tool designed especially for mobile professionals with high communication needs.  

Information from the two telecoms operators MTN-Rwandacell and Rwandatel reveals that users of such devices will soon start enjoying blackberry’s  enormous functions.

According to the Blackberry manual, not only does the device function as a regular cellphone would, but its unique features provide an automatic delivery of emails with their attachments.

In addition to the above features, it allows you to manage your contacts and calendar, making it a full personal assistant in handset form. It is a type of personal digital assistant (PDA) but comes with complete alphanumeric keyboards.

A reliable source within MTN-Rwandacell disclosed that it has indeed  launched the service. This means that the device can now be used in Rwanda while it awaits its official launch.

However, a technician also revealed that only few users from specific countries and network providers such as UK (Vodafone), Canada (Rogers, Fido), Uganda (MTN-Uganda) and  South Africa (MTN-SA) can currently use the MTN-Rwanda Blackberry service. 

It was also revealed that MTN staff has been undergoing training on how to operate the service before it is launched probably during the course of this month.

Rwandatel S.A, on the other hand says that their blackberry  service is expected to be rolled out within the next two to three months.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rwandatel, Patrick Kariningufu said, “The equipment for this service is in transit and as such we expect to setup the infrastructure within the short term.”

“Once the setup is complete, we will import some Blackberry handsets for sale while launching in the country,” he added.

The developments come at a time when the country’s telecom companies have fully embraced the use of the GSM technology.

Rwandatel has fully migrated  from CDMA to GSM technology in a move which took up initial investments worth US$72m (Rwf40.4b) after the company’s acquisition by LAP Green networks, a subsidiary of Libyan African Portfolio.

GSM is an acronym for Global System for Mobile communications.

The technology is able to provide high data packages that enable subscribers to conduct wireless video calls, and access broadband Internet which can be upgraded to support Blackberry use.

If rolled out as expected, Rwanda will join regional counterparts Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda currently using Blackberry services.

With this state of affairs, the recently licensed telecom operator, Millicom International Cellular, a Luxembourg based telecommunications group may also embrace the use of such services as it moves in to take a position to penetrate the market.

Butera, a host of local and foreign investors have expressed interest of investing in the sector.

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