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Rwanda Joins Kenya to Lower Roaming Rate
Source: East African Business Week
Source Date: Sunday, October 12, 2014
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Uganda
Created: Oct 15, 2014

Kigali, Rwanda — MTN Rwanda has been quick to lower roaming charges beginning with its customers traveling to Kenya.

This follows an initiative by Heads of state of the Northern Corridor in the East African Community to create a One Network Area.

"We are committed to provide affordable communication services to all our customers and the roaming charges which have always been a hindrance for many within the East African region will now drastically go down," MTN Marketing Operations Senior Manager, Robert Rwakabogo said during a press briefing in Kigali last week.

"This is aimed at creating more business across the borders in EAC countries," Rwakabogo said.

He said this was starting with Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan coming in soon after reviewing their policy issues aimed at dropping the roaming charges in the country.

Calls made by MTN customers roaming on all networks in Kenya both prepaid and Post-paid will go down from Rwf178 (about 25 UScents) to Rwf68 whereas calling Kenya will cost RWf60 from the previous Rwf122 customers have been spending with receiving calls freely.

The One Area Network is supposed to cover Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. Customers have been promised a reduction in roaming charges and other sub rates for services across the area, including improved regional connectivity.

Meanwhile MTN Rwanda has chalked up a string of achievements. According to Rwakabogo, the telecom company contributes over 70% of the sector contribution to Rwanda's GDP.

He said the MTN Rwanda Foundation gives back to the Rwandan community through supporting several health and education projects. The firm does this as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.

The company continues to create jobs throughout the country where now it has over 70,000 indirect employees and 300 direct ones which is in line with the country's Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy 2 (EDPRS2) of creating over 200.000 off-farm jobs annually.

Rwakabogo said MTN was focusing mainly on data and the data revenue was growing very well at 27% which is quite a great improvement compared to the past.

"We had a 72% mobile money penetration by end August 2014, with over 8.000 mobile money agents across the country and this is supporting Rwandans in different ways such as payment of schools fees, electricity, among others and is again in line with government's ways of helping Rwandans not move around with cash," Norman Munyampundu General Manager MTN Business said.

"On the data services this is growing year from year representing 16% of the company's revenue," he said.

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