LIBYAN TELECOM INVESTMENT IN RWANDA FACES AXE
The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, in short RURA, has cancelled the Libyan owned RwandaTel mobile license, following a series of prior warnings over alleged non performance and infringements of license terms and conditions, effective this Friday, 08th April midnight.
Nearly 600.000 subscribers will be affected, should last minute appeals fail to change the regulators’ mind, but it appears that the clock is now ticking down for this Libyan majority owned company, an elegant way in fact to at the same time ‘impose UN sanctions’ but a move equally set to create panic amongst the hundreds of thousands of subscribers who may be forced to change networks to join either TIGO or MTN Rwanda. Subscribers have in increasing numbers complained about ‘dropped calls’ and the lack of service quality of locally sold modems for internet connections, but the 80 percent stake of the Libyan investment company has, considering recent events in Libya, been unable to inject the capital required to upgrade and further modernize RwandaTel’s network. The other ‘branch’ of operations of RwandaTel, the fixed lines network, which of course is even more cost intensive to maintain and less profitable than the mobile network, is according to information from Kigali for the time being continuing operations.
The two main competitors, MTN and TIGO, are reportedly gearing up towards a mass ‘migration’ by injecting into the market the extra SIM cards for potentially new subscribers, although it is thought that many subscribers to any one network have also second or even third phones with other networks.
Anyone out there in the world, using phone contacts for Rwandan friends and business associates on the RwandaTel network are urgently advised to check with their counterparts and establish alternative phone contacts to stay in touch with them.
In a related development it was also confirmed that the Libyan owned telecom investments in Uganda and Zambia are eying the situation in Rwanda with growing concern, while their own fate too hangs in the balance due to the absence of any capacity by the Libyan holding company to make any further capital investment cash injections available.
Watch this space.