MTN Rwandacell, part-owned by South African mobile operator MTN, launched an international gateway on Tuesday, ending its dependence on the state’s satellite station.
“What it means for us is that we are no longer an island,” said MTN Rwandacell Chief Executive Rob Trustcott. “We used to be cut off from direct communications with the world, and the region, but now we can connect ourselves to the world.”
South Africa’s MTN – wholly owned by M-Cell – has a 31 percent stake in MTN Rwanda, with the Kigali-based Tristar investment company holding 41 percent and the state telecoms company Rwandatel holding 28 percent.
It is the only mobile service provider in the tiny central African country, and Trustcott said it had 60,000 subscribers.
Trustcott told a news conference MTN Rwandacell had also established terrestrial microwave links with mobile networks in Uganda and Burundi, which are in the final stages of testing.
He said MTN Rwandacell have reduced their tariffs for international calls by 46 per cent, and said the company was now in a position to provide Internet bandwidth to Internet Service Providers who require it.
MTN is now present in South Africa, Swaziland, Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon and Nigeria.