MTN Rwanda fourth, subscribers grow 40 percent

MTN Rwanda has recorded a stronger subscribers’ growth of 62 per cent.
A group of people queue to buy handsets at the MTN stand. This was during a recent Trade Fair in Kigali. (Photo/ E. Nsekanabo)
A group of people queue to buy handsets at the MTN stand. This was during a recent Trade Fair in Kigali. (Photo/ E. Nsekanabo)

MTN Rwanda has recorded a stronger subscribers’ growth of 62 per cent.

According to the MTN Group’s Integrated Business Report for the year ending 31st December 2006, MTN Rwanda which has the 4th largest number of MTN subscribers in the South and East African (SEA) region has increased it’s subscriber base to 400,000 subscribers.

The report says that South Africa leads the region with a subscriber base of 12.4 million, while Uganda with 1.6m subscribers is second.  Botswana, Swaziland and Zambia are the other MTN players in the region.

Competition worrying

Though MTN has recorded an increase in the subscriber base, the group worries of increased competition in the region. 

The report says fierce competition continues in the region with a second operator expected to begin operations in Rwanda this year while Uganda, has two new GSM licences.

“Competitors in the region have in certain instances continued to use prohibitive off-net call tariffs to protect their subscriber base,” the report says.

East Africa has one of the most competitive markets in sub-Saharan Africa with almost ten GSM operators by the end of 2007. Celtel operates a borderless network in five countries while MTN Rwanda is soon teaming with Safaricom of Kenya which enjoys a partnership with MTN Uganda and Vodafone Tanzania.

Market share

According to the report MTN’s market share in Rwanda is 95 per cent, meaning that Terracom and Karame the mobile brands of Rwandatel are at 5 per cent.

MTN Group President and CEO Phuthuma Nhleko’s statement in the report says, “MTN Uganda, Rwanda and Swaziland all recorded strong subscriber growth of 62 per cent, 40 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.”

Over all the MTN subscriber bases all over the world including the Middle East have increased from 23 million to 40 million subscribers. The group operates in 21 countries across Africa and the Middle East serving a combined population of over 500 million people.


The South and East African (SEA) region where MTN Rwanda falls, is the largest contributor to group revenue, accounting for 52 per cent of the total followed by the West and Central African Region (WECA) at 41 per cent.

Revenues in this region are highly dependent on South Africa which accounts for 92 per cent of the region’s total.

The report also says that total payments, to various governments including taxes and licence fees has increased from 2.9 billion Rands to 6.4 billion Rands for the nine months ending 2005.

MTN Rwanda was awarded best taxpayer in 2006 after the telecom company paid Frw10 billion in taxes.

“We qualified as the biggest tax payer and most compliant company in the country. This is an honour and also an important recognition of our company as a good corporate citizen, which makes a significant contribution towards the development of our country through timely and substantial tax payments,” noted Themba Khumalo, the MTN-Rwanda Chief Executive Officer.

Themba attributed the performance to the collective good work of all MTN staff.
MTN Rwanda recently donated about US$700,000 to the Rwanda government as aid to flood victims.

Village phone

The report also says that over the next three years Village Phone Rwanda aims to create 3,000 new businesses throughout the country. Operators will soon be available in 14 of Rwanda’s 30 districts.


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