Millicom Awarded Third National License in Rwanda

Telecoms

Millicom International Cellular, the Luxembourg based telecommunications group has been awarded a licence in Rwanda as the third national telecoms operator, a top government official has revealed last week.

Romain Murenzi, Minister in President's Office in charge of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) revealed last week that the company was awarded the licence in December 2008 during the last cabinet meeting.

He further said, "The ministerial decree was based on the background paperwork provided by Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) approved by the ICT Ministry." Without going into detail, Murenzi explained that the licence was awarded upon payment of US$60 million licence fee which was to be operational over 15 years.

He also disclosed that the company's operations are expected soon after rolling out the necessary infrastructure, adding, "Millicom is a promising telecom firm based upon its technical proposal submitted during the international bidding which commenced prior to the issuance of the licence." The firm beat competition from Telecel Globe, Zain and Larrycom-Expresso.

Millicom entered into a joint venture partnership with Marathon Corporation in a 87.5-12.5 percent equity arrangement. Marathon Corporation is an established local company with numerous business interests in Rwanda. Millicom is a brand already operating in 16 countries of Africa, Asia and America, has promised to offer affordable rates and other value for money services.

The entry of a third operator after Rwandatel and MTN-Rwandacell should help lower prices and increase coverage. The current penetration rate is estimated to be about 11 percent.

The New Times Kigali