The country’s telecommunications regulator, RURA, has announced that it is putting on hold a process that allows subscribers to freely move from one network to another, without losing their original number.
Known as Mobile Number Portability (MNP), the process is expected to be implemented after the country reaches 60 per cent of mobile penetration rate.
“At the current 36 per cent which is below the African average, MNP would simply defeat all incentives for more subscribers by addressing the unaddressed market,” Regis Gatarayiha, the Director General of RURA said.
According to the industry regulator, the need to reach 60 per cent penetration rate will ensure that all operators achieve comparable market share before porting is allowed which is the best practice worldwide. The regulator says initial projections were by the end of 2012 but it may be attained before or after.
“The target is not on the year but rather the penetration rate of 60 per cent,” Gatarayiha emphasized.
Porting is the process of moving the number from the original network (donor) of the number to the new network called the recipient.
Gatarayiha said after the public consultations, the position to hold on the MNP has been communicated to all operators.
The process is expected to intensify the already stiff competition among players of one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy.
The industry regulator is optimistic to grow and reach six million next year despite the recent drop after Rwandatel’s mobile license was cancelled in March. The penetration dropped to 34.4 in April where it regained to 36 per cent in May.
MTN remains the leading operator with 2,638,838 subscribers in March, 2,727,135 in April and 2,764,201 in May compared to Tigo’s 742,861 subscribers in March, 861,922 in April and 966,065 by end of May.