VENTURES AFRICA – Mobile phone company Tigo announced this week that it has acquired more than 250,000 new customers in less than three months following its return to two troubled eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
According to the company, Since June, more than two thousand new customers a day have joined Tigo’s latest networks in North and South Kivu provinces.
Its success comes in spite of continuing unrest in the region, and has led to the official opening of the first Tigo store in the North Kivu capital Goma.
Authorities who attended the event welcomed Tigo, saying many local residents who have lived through civil war and continuing unrest were now able to connect with families and friends by telephone for the very first time.
North Kivu‘s Home Affairs minister Dr Valérien Mbalu and the Mayor of Goma, Naasson Kubuya, joined in the celebrations.
Mayor Kubuya said: “Our citizens and civil agents have started to smile again thanks to Tigo”
The Mayor went on to publicly announce Tigo’s two new toll-free phone lines, made available to every Kivu resident, linking them directly through to the police and emergency services.
Tigo has also issued 35 mobile telephones to facilitate and support this new and critical service.
The company’s General Manager, Stephane Teyssedre, speaking outside Tigo’s new head office, said “We are delighted to be back in Kivu and offering its people a superior service. Mobile communications can transform people’s lives and we are determined not only to remain here but to expand our network to connect more and more people, including faster internet connections to the outside world. By the end of the year, high-speed 3G will be available here. Tshekeni, Tigo anarudi! Smile, Tigo is back!”
Tigo, part of Millicom, an international telecommunications and Media Company, is connecting eastern DRC to the rest of the world amid a set of unique challenges.
The country that is two thirds the size of western Europe is emerging from a brutal war and now hosts the United Nation’s largest deployed peacekeeping force – almost 20-thousand personnel on the ground.
Millicom President and CEO, Hans-Holger Albrecht said: “We are very proud to be back in Kivu. Our return has been met by an amazing response from its people and I congratulate our team for their extraordinary work in such tough conditions. The progress is a symbol of the ambition to help transform the lives of customers in Kivu and support the process of normalisation across the region.”