Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bharti Airtel Launches in Rwanda -- Greenfield Net Built in 83 Days

India's Bharti Airtel has launched operations in its 17th African country -- Rwanda. Airtel has already said that it will invest over USD 100 million in its operations over the next three years and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities. Mobile penetration in the country was at 38.4 per cent as of July 2011. Airtel was awarded the license by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) last year to operate 2G and 3G GSM mobile services.

Ericsson was selected to manage the network from end-to-end, including OSS/BSS solutions and managed services. IBM was selected to provide customer support systems.

Lars Lindén, head of Region Sub-Saharan Africa for Ericsson, says: “This solution is using the latest Ericsson portfolio, and will be the first Airtel network designed as an all-IP solution. That means Airtel will be able to provide advanced services to its subscribers, expand quickly to accommodate quick growth, and keep operating expenses down. The inaugural call was placed on the system on March 7. It took just 83 days to build this network from the start – the fastest Greenfield launch in history in Sub-Saharan Africa."

Airtel's other markets in Africa include Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

  • Last month, Bharti Airtel announced a commitment to a greener environmental profile including for its operations in Africa. The company said that over last one year, it has reduced the number of telecom sites running solely on diesel by more than 50%. By 2013, the Bharti Airtel aims to completely eradicate the constant use of diesel to power its network. This means no telecom site of the company will rely solely on diesel power 24 hours a day.

    Bharti Airtel is leveraging Hybrid Battery Banks to collect the excess energy produced by the diesel powered generator. This stored energy powers the site once the generator in switched off. This has helped reduce the use of diesel by up to 14 hours a day. Close to 60% of Bharti Airtel's telecom sites in Africa are now powered using the Hybrid model.

  • In June 2010, India's Bharti Airtel acquired Zain's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for US$10.7 billion. This included operations in15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million.