Rwanda: Smartphones Still Not Fully Exploited in Rwanda

Eric Bright | AllAfrica | April 30, 2012

Siri has limitations [in Rwanda]...With increased penetration of smartphones, thanks to the fact that relatively cheap models are now becoming available, it is a pity and a nuisance that some of these quite useful apps are not available. And it can be pretty basic, too. iPhone owners, for example, will know the frustration that when one of their contacts sends them an SMS, what appears on the screen will be the number of that person, not his name - what is known as "ID mismatch."

"iPhones for some reason do not recognize a phone number if it comes with the country code (which automatically happens with SMS, ed.); this problem is an Apple issue and not related at all to the carriers," says Mathieu Dutrisac, head of products and marketing at Tigo Rwanda. He adds that this could only be solved if there were an "Apple-supported" network in Rwanda - meaning it has a contract with Apple for selling iPhones and iPads.

This issue also leaves certain standard iPhone apps disabled, and according to Dutrisac, the problem will not go away soon. "Apple requires a commitment to buy something like 50,000 units to work directly with the operator," he explains, "and this is way beyond what the Rwandan market can absorb in the short run."