Rwandatel attracts many customers with new GSM network

Telecoms

On the first day there was a stampede. On the second day the stampede intensified. Rwandatel had launched its new cell-phone service network and everyone wanted in.

The reaction when Rwandatel launched its GSM service was electric. Within 2 days flat Rwandatel had sold out its initial stock of SIM cards and had 50,000 subscribers. They were giving MTN Rwandacell a real run for its money.

This reporter passed by the UTC building on the first day of Rwandatel's launch. The Rwandatel shop was jam-packed with customers and others were spilling out all the way to the sidewalk. The MTN shop had only a handful of customers. This was the case at all other retail outlets. It must have panicked MTN management in Nyarutarama.

MTN will have to do something pretty fast to counter this onslaught now that it no longer enjoys monopoly of the market. "This is very good news to us," said David Munyaneza, a new Rwandatel subscriber. "Now we have the first really low rates since we were introduced to the mobile technology."

The new subscribers of Rwandatel were excited over the new state of the art handsets, cheap airtime rates (a unit equivalent to a full minute costs Frw 80), a SIM card which automatically gives the new subscriber access to Frw 1000 worth of air time as well as acting as an entry ticket to the launching music festivities at the Amahoro stadium.

Having managed to bag 50,000 subscribers within the first two days Rwandatel now targets 600,000 subscribers by September 2009.

Focus Media