Tigo Rwanda has attracted more mobile subscribers in the last three months, taking over Rwandatel’s position as the second largest cellphone company, by subscriber base, according to the Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Agency (RURA).
Information published on the regulator’s website indicates that mobile subscribers have increased by 20.9 percent from March to June 2010 from 2,722,236 users to 3,293,891 overall. However, RURA figures also indicate that Tigo Rwanda claimed the bigger percentage of that market growth.
The figures indicate that ,overall, teledensity now stands at 31.7 percent with MTN Rwanda claiming 22 percent, Tigo 5.3 percent and Rwandatel 4.4 percent.
Teledensity refers to the number of telephone subscriptions per 100 people. It is a rough measure of the ubiquity of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in a country.
According to RURA, MTN Rwanda is still the market leader, claiming 66.99 percent of the market share with 2.2 million subscribers, as of June 2010. Tigo Rwanda now claims 16.05 percent with 529,114 subscribers while Rwandatel claims 13.4 percent with 443,534 subscribers.
with operations in 13 countries including 3 in Central America, 3 in South America and 7 in Africa, Tigo Rwanda recorded an increase in subscriber base from 170,000 subscribers at the end of March to almost 530,000 subscribers at the end of June 2010.
Tigo was licensed to operate in Rwanda in December 2008 after MIC paid some $60 million as license fees. While the company only launched its operations in November 2009, Rwandatel launched its GSM operations in 2008. On the other hand MTN Rwanda has been operating for over 10 years.
Figures indicate that MTN Rwanda grew from 2,050,000 at the end of March to 2,200,000 by the end of June 2010. Commenting on the figures Yvonne Makolo, MTN Rwanda’s Senior Manager Sales and Marketing said she had no doubt that MTN Rwanda was exceeding growth expectations.
Rwandatel which is partly owned by the government of Rwanda and the Libyan investment consortium, LAP Green, lost 57,000 subscribers from 501,000 to 443,000
Cleophas Kabasiita, the Corporate Communications Manager of Rwandatel told Business Times that despite the RURA figures the company’s current mobile voice subscriber number stands at 541,281.
However Regis Gatarayiha, the Ag. Director General of RURA told Business Times that, “These are active subscribers because they made at least one revenue-generating activity using the SIM cards within the last three months.”
“These figures are a result of the regulatory monitoring. Subscribers have grown yes. The attribution is on the lower tariffs and promotions resulting from increasing competition,” he added.
Rwanda intends to license a fourth national telecom operator, probably by the end of the year. RURA says that market trends will determine the date of licensing.
“The issuing a fourth mobile operator in Rwanda by the end of the year is still being discussed,” Gatarayiha added.
Rwanda targets 6 million subscribers by 2012.