Airtel–Tigo merger: What you need to know

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo
On 22 December 2017 at 01:10

All is set to service subscribers of the two merging telecoms even better now amid the pending merger and after the India-based Bharti Airtel acquires 100% equity stake in Tigo Rwanda Limited, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular.

Tigo Rwanda will hand in all operations to Airtel as soon as Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority (RURA) approves the merger which is expected to take between one and three months, starting the deal signing early this week.

The deal might have caused uncertainty among subscribers, retailers, agents, distributors and any other person in touch with the two companies but, in fact, the merger is more of benefits than liabilities in all angles, according to Airtel.

Airtel has answered the questions most people might be wondering about in these interview excerpts:

General information

Question 1. What is happening now?

Airtel and Tigo are awaiting the requisite regulatory approvals and everything remains the same for now.

Question 2. When the transaction has received regulatory approvals, what is next?

The two entities will commence the actual integration process which entails consolidating our customers, operations, people and infrastructure.

Question 3. Why are the two companies combining their operations?

We strongly believe that consolidation will lead to a greater industry stability, scalability, and better quality of service and innovation that will benefit the customer. The integration will allow us to leverage the strengths of both entities to better serve our customers.

Question 4. How will this merger benefit customers?

The benefits of the merger will include improved coverage and enhanced customer experience across a wider network of customer touch points. Our combined customers will now be part of a bigger family benefiting from competitively priced services.

Our Mobile Financial Services footprint will be greatly enhanced with combined agent networks and platforms.

Question 5. What will happen to customer’s SIM cards? Will they have to change their phone numbers?

Customers’ SIM cards and mobile numbers will not change. There will be no interruption to customers’ experience on both networks for the moment.

Question 6. What will happen to funds in customers Airtel Money and Tigo Cash wallets?

Their funds are safe and secured and they will continue to use their Airtel Money and Tigo Cash to pay for goods and services. Funds on customers’ wallets are always held in trust by our partner banks.

Question 7. What will be the name of the joint entity?

Airtel Rwanda.

Question 8. Which number will be used by customers?

Both. Our joint customers will continue to use their current SIM cards and phone numbers.

Question 9. Do customers need to re-register their SIM Cards?

No. If they have already registered their SIM cards, there is no need to re-register.

Question 10. Will employees be affected by this merger? How many?

It is early in the process to comment on this. As the integration process unfolds, details on this will become available.

Business to Business (B2B) information

Question 1. What will happen to retailers like me? Shall we lose our business?

No. Retailers will continue their business. They will now have the opportunity to serve a wider customer base of Airtel and Tigo customers - increasing their incomes

Question 2. Where do I pick my stock from now? Will my distributor change?

No. You will continue to take stock from your current supplier or distributor. We will inform you if this changes in the future.

Question 3. Which TSEs or Sales representative should I contact now if I need help?

Your current TSE or Sales representative will still be your point of contact. If this changes, we will let you know.

Question 4. As a retailer, should I stop stocking SIM Cards and recharge cards of one of the companies because of the merger?

No. Continue stocking Airtel and Tigo SIM cards and recharge cards and make these available to customers. You now have the opportunity to serve a wider customer base.

Question 5. Where should I go for services e.g. to buy a SIM Card/recharge cards or for SIM replacement?

You can go to your current Airtel or Tigo shop, agent points and vendors to access these services.

Question 6. What number can I call now if I have an issue with my services?

You can call your call center number (for both Airtel and Tigo). You will continue to be served by your call center agents.

Question 7. Who will be my main point of contact to resolve issues I may have?

Your current relationship manager will continue to serve you. They will remain your point of contact. We will communicate to you if this changes.

Question 8. What will happen to my current contractual arrangement or services on Airtel or Tigo Business?

You will continue to enjoy your services uninterrupted.

Question 9. Am I required to take any action?

No. Continue enjoying your current services on Airtel or Tigo.

Question 10. What else should subscribers expect?

Only the best. Continue to enjoy all the services you currently have on Airtel and Tigo.

Airtel Headquarters in Kigali