TOP STORY: Cabinet approves Millicom, Telecel and Zain bids

The third national operator will be issued both fixed and mobile licenses on the same terms and conditions as applicable to the existing duopoly operators, MTN Rwanda and Rwandatel. Cabinet on Friday last week approved bids from three companies vying for the third national telecommunication license, with Millicom as the preferred bidder.

The third national operator will be issued both fixed and mobile licenses on the same terms and conditions as applicable to the existing duopoly operators, MTN Rwanda and Rwandatel.

Cabinet on Friday last week approved bids from three companies vying for the third national telecommunication license, with Millicom as the preferred bidder.

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) announced Saturday at Kigali Serena Hotel that Millicom International Cellular, Telecel Globe and Zain (formerly Celtel) respectively according to their technical scores were preferred to Larrycom-Expresso, whose technical offer was below the minimum mark (70 percent).

The government is liberalising the telecommunication industry and will grant a 15-year fixed and mobile license to a third telecommunications company before the year ends.

Col Diogène Mudenge, Director General of RURA, said that cabinet approval was based on the evaluation of recommendations of a technical committee, in a period of one month after receiving and opening bids.

The committee was headed by the Minister in the President’s Office in Charge of Science, Technology, Research and ICT, Prof Romain Murenzi.

The one month evaluation was based on technical and financial proposals with strict terms and conditions.

Millicom, the proffered bidder offered the highest technical and financial bids while Telecel, the first reserve bidder had the second highest financial score but with the lowest technical score.

Zain is the second reserve bidder with the second highest financial score but had the lowest technical bid.

Mudenge said: “Basing on the government (cabinet) directive, RURA will negotiate with Millicon International Cellular as the overall preferred bidder.”

“Should negotiations fail, we will commence talks with Telecel Globe as the first reserve bidder. Should they fail, then negotiations with Zain will follow, as the second reserve bidder,” he continued.

“However, Zain will have to raise its license fee offer from $45 million (Rwf24.9 billion) to $50 million (Rwf27.6 billion), as the minimum offer set by RURA, if it is to be considered for negotiations.”

The third national operator will be issued both fixed and mobile licenses on the same terms and conditions as applicable to the existing duopoly operators, MTN Rwanda and Rwandatel.

With Rwanda’s telecommunication market shared by only MTN Rwanda and Rwandatel, mobile phone penetration is slightly above one million subscribers, around 11 percent of the estimated total population of 10 million.

MTN-Rwanda takes the lion share with one million subscribers registered just weeks back.

Government is targeting at least two million subscribers for each company, a total of six million mobile users in the country by 2012.

The developments hen MTN-Rwanda and Rwandatel duopoly expires this year.

Murenzi said that the preferred bidder shall boost the telecommunications sector in the country through the increase of bandwidth, storage capacity and capacity for analysis.

The preferred companies came from a list of 17 companies such as Neu Venture Group LTD, France Telecom, ADC Financial Services-a German consortium, Econet Wireless International and MTS and Black Eagle Investment.

Others included Smile Telecoms Ltd, Vitel Holdings Ltd, Africa Digital Investments, Forward Venture, Vivacell Africa Ltd, Easy Mobile Communication Ltd and Essar Communications Ltd

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