Asante goes to replace Khaled Mikkawi who was CEO for MTN Rwanda for the last couple of year.
A circular issued by MTN Group CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa said “We congratulate Ebenezer Asante as the new CEO for MTN Rwanda.”
The Group CEO also thanked Mikkawi for his invaluable contribution to MTN whiles he was at MTN Rwanda as CEO.
Asante goes to MTN Rwanda with a wealth of experience. He joined MTN Ghana in 2008 as the Sales and Distribution Executive, responsible for Sales, Distribution, Trade Marketing, Channel Management and Design and the countrywide MTN branch network.
While at MTN Ghana he managed a team of 220 members plus seven Senior Managers and two General Managers, working with a budget of about GHC110million.
The current MTN Uganda SDE, Shaibu Haruna, for instance, worked on Ebenezer Asante’s team at MTN Ghana for years before his appointment to MTN Uganda.
Asante led team that designed and executed sales and distribution strategies and programs that delivered some US$700million turnover for MTN Ghana between 2008 and now, and during his service as SDE MTN Ghana actual number of subscribers grew from 3.9million in January 2008 to 9.9million now.
The new MTN Rwanda boss also has significant experience in creating a distinct customer service. Before coming to MTN, he spent 13 years with Unilever, where he held various roles, including that of Country Manager for Zambia in 2005. In 2006, Ebenezer was appointed as Customer Development Director, responsible for Sales and Customer development strategy and execution.
Asante holds a BA (Hons) Economics & Statistics degree from the University of Ghana, a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Henley Management College, and was part of MTN’s Global Advancement Programme (GAP) in 2010.
MTN Group CEO said “We know he [Ebenezer Asante] will add tremendous value in his new role, not only to MTN Rwanda, but also to the MTN executive leadership team.”
Meanwhile, prior to Asante’s move to Rwanda, MTN Ghana had already sent Sakyi Opoku to that country as Senior Marketing Manager, while Clement Asante was also dispatched a couple of years ago to Liberia as Chief Marketing Officer.
Fact about Rwandan Telecoms Industry:
Currently there are four telecom operators in Rwanda; MTN, Tigo, Airtel and the state-owned Rwandtel. The three private telcos are mobile operators and Rwandtel is the only fixed line operator.
MTN entered the market in 1998 and currently it is the overwhelming market leader with 69% market share as of last year, followed by Tigo (2004) with a bit over 28% market share, and then Airtel, which entered the market only in 2010, has 2% plus market share.
The Rwandan government had planned to license a maximum of four private telcos but because of the size of the country’s population and purchasing power of its citizens, they have no immediate plans to license a fourth operator.
Telecom coverage in Rwanda was 97% as of last year, and mobile penetration was 45% against a population of 11 million.
The country has licensed 11 ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and seven of them, including all the three mobile operators, are currently operational.
The country is working on a plan that would give the telecom regulator, RURA (Rwandan Utilities Regulations Agency) regulatory powers over radio and TV stations through a memorandum of understanding, which would require the media to do self-regulation under the supervision of RURA.
RURA issues operational licenses to telcos through auctioning so there is no flat licensing fee, and the spectra fees is RWF1.2 million (about $2,000) per megahertz; and licenses are technology neutral, which means once a telco has a license it can have 2G, 3G or 4G network, but in accordance with what is stated in the licensing requirement. Telcos also pay a meager $10,000 per year for a block of one million numbers.
Telecom regulatory fee is one per cent of telcos’ annual turnover, just like in Ghana; but telcos also contribute two per cent of turnover into the Universal Access Fund, what is called the GIFEC Fund in Ghana. This is one per cent in Ghana, and it is used for providing last mile infrastructure in rural, un-served and under-served communities among other things.
Rwanda is also encouraging co-location and incentivizing telcos which extend services to the remote and less profitable un-served and under-served areas.
The regulator, the telcos and the local authorities have an agreement which ensures that local government levies on telcos for installation of infrastructure are within reasonable levels, unlike in Ghana where local authorities charge telcos arbitrarily unreasonable amounts as compared to what they charge other commercial organizations.
Rwanda learnt international gateway monitoring from Ghana, but it has gone ahead of Ghana and installed the system parallel to the gateways of the telcos and it is working great. Meanwhile, Ghana has still not been able to install its system because it was outlawed.