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MTN Rwanda to invest US$20m in 3G network upgrade

MTN Rwanda to invest USm in 3G network upgrade

MTN Rwanda is ready to invest US$20 million to upgrade its 3G network as competition grows in the local market, spearheaded by the planned Airtel/Tigo Rwanda merger, already approved by the regulator.

Bart Hofker, CEO of MTN Rwanda said the investment will be used to deploy UMTS 850M/900M (U900) technology to automatically switch its 2G sites to 3G.

The technology uses a low-frequency 3G band that delivers performance in the areas of 4.5G voice fallback, MBB coverage, and data service experience.

Hofker noted that MTN will be able to attract new subscribers if it can significantly improve access to 3G. "MTN wants to attract new consumers directly into the ranks of competition," he said.

The company is also targeting Tigo subscribers that may not trust Airtel enough to provide the quality of services they received prior to the merger.

This among other reasons, Hofker said, could give MTN a competitive edge in spite of the merger.

At the end of 2017, regulator's figures showed there were over 8.8m subscribers in Rwanda, of which Airtel has over 1.6m representing 19% market share which is below Tigo's 3.5m (39% market share) while MTN's over 3.7m subscribers gave the company 42% market share.

However, an Airtel-Tigo merger would give the resulting operator about 5.4m subscribers which represents 58% market share.

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