In answer to an announcement dating exactly a month to date, the Rwanda cellular telkoms are in a rush to meet the six-month ultimatum of registering their subscribers’ mobile phone lines, starting February 4 of 2013.
According to the earlier announcement carried on national radio, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) had designed to initiate the SIM registration drive in early February, culminating in July 2013, in tandem with the country’s agenda to tackle mobile phone crime and related appendages.
Rwanda is becoming a major hub of cellular communications, and the larger ICT industry, having attracted major telephony players from across the globe.
In 2008, the government was in aplomb searching for the third network operator in the country to join the existing dual of MTN Rwanda, a data company and Celtel, the East Africa-wide mobile operator offering services in the Great Lakes Region’s country.
When opening up tenders to a horde of interests from the Middle-East and the Far-East, President Paul Kagame presaged a day when the country will clinch the title as Africa’s first nation to hit the jackpot of half the population owning the gadgets, with a hundred percent of lawful handset users being 16 years and above.
At the time of looking for the best bidder for the third operator, the government had sights on a probable GSM provider, to critically bridge the gap of data services for growing smart subscribers, with an aim to amass 5 million users of Internet services by the close of 2012.
The shortlist of bidders included Korea Telkom, Zain International and a Telkom giant from Israel.
Winner takes it all
Eventually, the honors went to Milicom, a data and cellular provider which instantly began providing a 3G network in the capital Kigali beginning in its year of incorporation.
Milicom Chief Executive Officer Michael Grahne then saw the great prospect of operating in Rwanda, which has one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa. As he said, the “mobile penetration of less than 20%” compounded with economic velocity unprecedented before, and encapsulating a ten-million resident number, Rwanda is every investor’s dream market. This analysis chimes with that of many other business investors outside the telephony and cellular markets in the country.
With the registration of customers’ mobile lines, the maturation of the Rwandese cellular market is on the homestretch towards realizing its aim of user transparency spiced with tangible industry growth. The registration highlights a trend in the globe, and the region, as well as another East African ICT hub, Kenya, also culminated its SIM registration by close of 2012.