Ali Balunywa in Kigali
Rwanda to date has 3 Mobile Telephony operators. The South African Giant: Mobile telephone Networks (MTN), the former government owned Rwandatel. Now owned by Libyans and the new boy on the block: TIGO. MTN is over 12 years on the scene, Rwandatel over 40 years, but GSM is under 2 years and TIGO barely 1 year.
Rwandatel has been edited out of the competition because as a company they have refused to openly compete with the rest. Even finding airtime for Rwandatel is a real problem. Vendors on the streets no longer sell it because there is no demand. It is only in established supermarkets and Rwandatel openings that you will find it. And finding it in big denominations is some sort of miracle. It is commonly available in units of Francs 500, equivalent to about 6 Euro cents.
To leave the technical details, I have been quite amused by the TIGO advertisements in the media. I was told before I came to Kigali, Tigo had promised its clients tickets to go watch the world cup finals. Unfortunately, MTN being a partner to the South African World Cup organization complained to the World Cup and Tigo was warned not to infringe on MTN's rights.
It seemed like an advantage for Tigo and they came up with a winner advert; (See a copy below).
"Because 'You know who' complained,
We are no longer able to provide you with
tickets to go 'you know where' to watch
the final of 'you know what'
that will happen 'you know when' "
I think they were warned not to use any words referring to South Africa or World cup. To me it has been the most creative advertisement I have ever seen. What is your take?