MTN Rwanda, the country's largest cellco by subscribers, has invested over USD2 million in the deployment of infrastructure required for its 'MTN Zone' service, reports local daily The New Times, citing the company's CEO, Khaled Mikkawi. MTN has been working with equipment vendor Ericsson on the deployment of MTN Zone, which offers mobile subscribers discounts on calls based on the amount of capacity available on the network at their current location.
The service was first tested in April 2009 in Huye Town for a period of two months. The operator is targeting 20,000 subscribers from the commercial launch of the service and hopes to bring its wireless customer base to 1.8 million by the end of the year. MTN Uganda has been using the MTN Zone Service for a year now.
In a separate story, the government is reportedly in talks with submarine cable company SEACOM to lower the monthly price of international bandwidth from about USD2,700 to USD50 per megabyte. State-owned ISP New Artel recently signed a contract to access the fibre-optic cables connected from the SEACOM Point-of-Presence (PoP) through Kenya and Uganda to the Katuna border. Meanwhile, Rwandan incumbent telco Rwandatel, alongside Uganda Telecom (UTL), also agreed to purchase international broadband capacity from the recently launched cable system.