Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has approved transfer of a hundred percent shares held by Millicom International Cellular S.A’ in Tigo Rwanda Ltd to Airtel Rwanda Limited.
The acquisition will make Airtel Rwanda the second largest operator in Rwanda, setting a new telecom competition with sector leader-MTN Rwanda.
The merger green light follows a request by both telecom companies to have the regulator endorse, by law, a deal that was signed in December 2017 to pave way for consequent administrative and operation changes.
This acquisition shall not affect the existing subscribers of TIGO Rwanda. They (tigo clients) will continue to be served, seamlessly, during and after the consolidation.
Subscribers will not be required to change their existing TIGO telephone numbers and existing TIGO cash services will not be affected.
Apparently, the workers will also keep their jobs. (There is need to attribute these statements to a source. They did not come from Heaven, Is it from RuRA, Tigo or Airtel?)
Tigo entered the Rwandan market in 2009 where the latest reports say it had 3,387,682 customers. Airtel joined Rwanda market in 2012.
Figures from RURA show Airtel had 1,628,510 subscribers in October 2017. Both telecoms were preceded by Mobile Telecommunication Networks, MTN a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company which began its operations in 1998.
“It is the primary responsibility of the Regulatory Authority to protect the consumers during this process” said Beata Mukangabo, Head of Legal and Economic Regulation at RURA in a statement released on January 23rd.
Airtel has been on the hunt to expand its market in Africa and has struck similar merger deals in Ghana, to become a profitable and a strong challenger in a two-player market, according to Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Airtel.
The combination of Tigo Rwanda Ltd and Airtel Rwanda Ltd operations will lead to industry stability and will benefit consumers in terms of improved quality of services, scalability of services and innovation of the product.
With the merger, Airtel has a sole competitor, MTN Rwanda.