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Airtel Rwanda, regulator moves to reassure customers after Tigo buyout

  Airtel Rwanda, regulator moves to reassure customers after Tigo buyout

Subscribers assured of a seamless consolidation.

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) has moved to reassure subscribers of both Tigo Rwanda and Airtel Rwanda that they will not lose out after it authorised the transfer of all shares of Millicom International Cellular SA in Tigo Rwanda to its former competitor last week.

Beata Mukangabo, Head of Legal and Economic Regulation at RURA said consolidation of the two operators is expected to bring about industry stability, an improvement in the quality of services and product innovation.

"This acquisition shall not affect the existing subscribers of Tigo Rwanda. They 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. It is the primary responsibility of the Regulatory Authority to protect the consumers during this process."

For its part, Airtel Rwanda has tried to dispel fears by customers on social media who wanted to know what is next for both businesses, as well as how long it would take to "sort everything out" by indicating that detailed information would be shared as soon as it becomes available.

In November last year Airtel Ghana acquired Tigo Ghana and resulted in the launch of a joint brand called AirtelTigo.

Roshi Motman, CEO of AirtelTigo said at the time that the joint brand name and identity was a natural progression following extensive customer engagements.

"The combined name brings clarity and simplicity and continues on the brand journey of former Airtel and Tigo. Our new business is a combination of our strengths and positions us perfectly to bring greater value, deeper insights, and bigger and better solutions to all our customers."

The total cost of the Airtel Rwanda/Tigo Rwanda deal was announced as approximately six times the Airtel's 2017 adjusted EBITDA to be paid over two years, consisting of a mix of cash, vendor loan note and earn out.

Mauricio Ramos, CEO of Millicom said the decision to sell the business in Rwanda was in line with Millicom strategy to focus on providing advanced fixed and mobile data services in Latin America.

Airtel runs its business in 17 African countries, while the sale of the business in Rwanda reduces the number of countries in which Millicom is present to three.

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