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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

The Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation. Please review the Executive Summary and Table of Contents for more details.


Executive summary

The aftermath of the 1994 genocide and a monopolistic market structure until 2006 have weighed on the Rwandan telecommunications sector, but the country is now rapidly catching up with other markets in Africa.

Mobile market penetration is still significantly below the regional average. The country has been slow to liberalise the sector, allowing South Africa’s MTN a monopoly until 2006 and licensing a third network (Millicom) only in November 2008. The prospect of intensified competition has sparked a new subscriber growth phase with over 100% per annum, but at the same time the average revenue per user has fallen below US$10 per month.

The fixed-line incumbent and second mobile operator, Rwandatel has launched third generation mobile services, with MTN expected to follow shortly. Both Rwandatel and MTN are rolling out national fibre backbone networks which also allow them to connect to international submarine fibre optic cables on the African east coast. Seacom, the first such cable landed in July 2009, giving the entire region fibre-based international bandwidth for the first time and bringing to an end its dependency on satellites.

These developments will revolutionise Rwanda’s Internet and broadband sector which has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices. The price for international Internet bandwidth is expected to plummet to a fraction of the current level. Several ISPs are rolling out WiMAX wireless broadband networks. They have adopted VoIP Internet telephony although the technology has not yet been officially deregulated, which potentially turns them into converged fixed-wireless voice and data/broadband service providers. Both MTN and Rwandatel have also adopted WiMAX to complement their mobile data services.

Rwanda is also a key partner in the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project and has a major e-government program.

This report contains an overview and analysis of Rwanda’s telecommunications market, profiles of the major players in all market sectors, relevant statistics, and scenario forecasts to 2010 and 2015 for the country’s mobile market.

Key highlights:

  • Market analysis 2009;
  • Mobile market forecasts to 2010 and 2015;
  • Comparison with other countries in the region in terms of GDP, mobile, fixed and Internet market penetration;
  • Third mobile network set to enter the market;
  • Subscriber growth at more than 100% pa;
  • ARPU has fallen below US$10 per month;
  • National fibre backbone network rollouts;
  • Connection to international submarine fibre optic cables achieved via neighbouring countries;
  • Profiles of major players in all market sectors.Mobile penetration in Rwanda and other countries in the region - March 2009
  • CountryMobile penetration
  • Kenya49%
  • Tanzania31%
  • Uganda31%
  • Rwanda17%
  • DRC13%
  • Burundi7%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecommunications sector in Rwanda, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:
  • One of the fastest growing mobile markets in Africa;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • Telecoms operators - privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Internet and broadband development and growth;
  • Mobile data services and pricing;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU).
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Rwanda’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Regulatory environment and structural reform;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU) trends;
  • Internet development and pricing;
  • Broadband, including 3G mobile;
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Market analysis 2009
3.2 Regional statistical comparison
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Regulatory authority
4.1.1 Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA)
4.1.2 RITA and NICT
4.2 Licensing
4.3 Market liberalisation
4.3.1 Third national operator licence
4.4 Interconnection
4.5 Universal access
4.5.1 MTN VillagePhone
5. Fixed network operators in Rwanda
5.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.2 Rwandatel/Terracom
5.2.1 Privatisation
5.2.2 Network infrastructure
5.2.3 Wireless local loop (WLL)
5.3 Artel Communications
6. National fibre backbone networks
6.1 Rwandatel/Terracom
6.2 Electrogaz
6.3 MTN
7. International infrastructure
7.1 VSAT
7.2 Submarine fibre optic cables
7.2.1 Seacom
7.2.2 EASSy
7.2.3 TEAMS
7.3 The East Africa Backhaul System (EABS)
7.4 Service provision to the DRC
8. Internet market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Internet statistics
8.2 ISP market
8.3 Rwanda Internet Exchange Point (RIXP)
8.4 Cybercafes and telecentres
8.5 One Laptop per Child (OLPC)
8.5.1 Similar initiatives
8.6 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8.7 E-government
8.8 E-health, E-learning
9. Broadband market
9.1 Overview
9.2 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
9.3 EV-DO
9.4 WiMAX, WiBro
9.5 WiFi
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Rwanda’s mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Major mobile operators
10.2.1 MTN Rwanda
10.2.2 Rwandatel (formerly Terracom Mobile)
10.3 Mobile handsets
10.4 Mobile data services
10.5 Third generation (3G)
10.6 M-payment and m-banking
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecasts - mobile market - 2010, 2015
11.2 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
Table 1 - Country statistics Rwanda - 2009
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Internet provider statistics - 2008
Table 4 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - March 2009
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - GDP per capita in Rwanda and other countries in the region - 2009
Table 8 - Mobile penetration in Rwanda and other countries in the region - March 2009
Table 9 - Internet user penetration in Rwanda and other countries in the region - 2008
Table 10 - Fixed-line penetration in Rwanda and other countries in the region - 2008
Table 11 - Fixed-lines in service and teledensity - 1999 - 2008
Table 12 - Internet users and penetration rate - 1999 - 2008
Table 13 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1999 - 2009
Table 14 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
Table 15 - MTN Rwanda ARPU - 2002 - 2009
Table 16 - Forecast mobile subscribers - 2010; 2015

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