Troubled Rwandatel leads in internet broadband

Rwandatel is the country’s leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) despite its recent troubles, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) said in the latest statistics, which contradict earlier figures that suggested the telecom operator had lost its position to MTN Rwanda.

Rwandatel is the country’s leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) despite its recent troubles, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) said in the latest statistics, which contradict earlier figures that suggested the telecom operator had lost its position to MTN Rwanda.

The report from the regulator indicates that fixed broadband internet market is dominated by Rwandatel, which has 1,359 users or 52 percent of the market share.

MTN Rwanda is the second with 932 users, which represent 35 percent of the market shares. This means that the two operators hold 87 percent of the total broadband internet in the country.

Rwandatel in which Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP Green) hold 80 percent shares and government of Rwanda 20 percent lost its cell phone operating license after RURA accused it of failure to implement its license obligations.

Industry analysts say the decision by RURA will have a huge bearing on the entire internet segment, especially mobile internet.

The Director General of RURA, Regis Gatarayiha, told Business Times on, Wednesday, that he does not expect a slow down in internet penetration.

“Internet users still have options from MTN and TIGO modems and cell-phone internet, so don’t think it will cause a big impact on the market,” Gatarayiha explained.

He added that since his institution revoked Rwandatel’s mobile operating licence, mobile internet users have switched to TIGO and MTN.

With 731,027 users representing 59 percent of the market share, Rwandatel was still the market leader in terms of mobile internet as of December 2010. MTN and TIGO had 471,381 (38 percent) and 31,014 (3 percent) respectively.

Last year, the regulator announced that MTN Rwanda had overtaken Rwandatel to become the market leading provider of data and Internet services. Statistics from the regulator as of June indicated that MTN had 431,209 Internet and data subscribers, while Rwandatel had 40, 262 subscribers, representing only 17.60 percent market share.

The report further indicates that, New Artel has 169 users representing six percent of the market share while ISPA and Altech Stream Rwanda hold two and 178 users respectively.

While government revoked Rwandatel’s mobile phone license and is seeking liquidation of the company, Gatarayiha said that the data segment will not be transferable to the new owner in case government wins the case.

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