Rwandatel switches to GSM phones

11 May 2009

Rwandan mobile operator Rwandatel has started to switch from CDMA mobile phones to 3G-enabled GSM handsets, according to, citing the company’s CEO Patrick Kariningufu. He added that the cellco is currently acquiring old CDMA phones and handing out new GSM handsets to subscribers who have been active in the last month, which are estimated at 20,000 and mainly located in rural areas. This will increase Rwandatel’s GSM subscriber base to around 300,000. The move is also part of the company’s approach to counter increased competition in Rwanda’s wireless sector, which is largely controlled by MTN Rwanda. The rival cellco uses GSM technology, while Tigo, which was licensed as the country’s third mobile operator in November 2008, is also expected to launch services utilising GSM technology. Kariningufu added: ‘We do not want our subscribers to be missing calls from the old numbers, so we will be forwarding them calls from the old lines to the new acquired lines for the next six months,’ disclosing that CDMA subscribers not active for the past month will be offered GSM handsets at a subsidised rate.

Rwanda, Rwandatel