Telecom users rise but revenues slump

MTN Rwanda’s subscribers increased to 3,556,497 last year up from 3,454,270, despite challenges in SIM card registration that saw the leading telecom company switch off over 80,000 unregistered customers, a top official has said.
Ebenezer Asante, chief executive officer of MTN Rwanda addressing the Press, yesterday. The New Times / T. Kisambira.
Ebenezer Asante, chief executive officer of MTN Rwanda addressing the Press, yesterday. The New Times / T. Kisambira.

MTN Rwanda’s subscribers increased to 3,556,497 last year up from 3,454,270, despite challenges in SIM card registration that saw the leading telecom company switch off over 80,000 unregistered customers, a top official has said.

Ebenezer Asante, chief executive officer of the country’s leading telecom company, said that despite growth in the number of subscribers, the industry in general registered lower revenues due to a 25 per cent fall in tariffs.

“The industry registered lower revenues due to declining tariffs in the market which went down by 25 per cent year on year,” he said.  

MTN’s customer base stood at 3,556,497 as of December 31, 2013 up from 3,454,270 in January, according figures from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Asante said that "although the Rwandan telecommunications market presented a lot of potential, the market is very small and still requires a lot of investment."

Internet and digital services remain key drivers for growth with data revenues going up by 27 per cent last year, thanks to increase in both 3G network coverage and availability of affordable internet enabled handsets.

He said that to achieve sustainable growth, the company will focus on customer satisfaction through efficient distribution, good network quality, brand preference, voice and data services, employing experienced service providers, effective market segmentation. 

MTN has invested Rwf130bn over the last five years. With 17 service centers, 44 franchise shops and 130 distributor shops and two dedicated mobile money shops, Asante said the company has put in place the necessary infrastructure to achieve this year’s targets.

Most of the revenue will however be ploughed back into infrastructure growth—that accounts 32 per cent.

"During this year, we shall spend $20m as part of the continuous investment in communities in which we operate," he said.

Last month Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority statistics showed that Rwanda’s mobile penetration rate stood at 63.5 per cent to 6,689,158, with Tigo and Airtel having 2,175,127 and 957,534 subscribers respectively.

 

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