Indian-backed cellco Airtel Chad has launched 3G services in Chad, the Economic Times reports. The announcement was made at a ceremony attended by Chad’s President Idriss Deby, and the heads of state of Nigeria and Mauritania, President Goodluck Jonathon and President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz respectively. Airtel was awarded the nation’s first 3G licence in April this year, with the condition that it activate the network in the capital N’Djamena within sixth months. Commenting on the launch, President Deby said: ‘The launch of the 3G network in the country goes in line with the government commitment to Chadians to make the country become a technology hub in Africa.’ Landlocked Chad is one of the most poorly connected countries on the African continent and one of only a handful still dependent primarily on satellite links for international connectivity.
The Chadian government and international aid organisations have identified broadband and wireless services as key factors in potentially alleviating a number of social and economic problems affecting Chadians. Indeed, CEO of Airtel Africa Christian de Faria commented upon Airtel Chad receiving its 3G licence that mobile services are more readily available to most Africans than many other basic services – such as electricity, sanitation and financial services – and ‘as a result wireless communications services can play a unique role in addressing social, economic and environmental issues.’