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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics


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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

Government embarks on initiatives to improve mobile broadband penetration and use

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Rwanda's telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

One of the fastest growing mobile markets in Africa;
Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
Internet development and pricing;
Broadband, including 3G mobile;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Average revenue per user (ARPU).

The Rwandan telecom sector has shown particularly strong growth in recent years, buttressed by a vibrant economy and a GDP which has sustained growth of between 7% and 8% annually since 2008. As a result, the country is rapidly catching up with other markets in Africa, with increased penetration particularly evident in the internet and mobile sectors.

Although the country was slow to liberalise the mobile sector, allowing South Africa's MTN a monopoly until 2006 when the fixed-line incumbent, Rwandatel became the second mobile operator, there is effective competition among the three current operators, each of which provides wide geographic coverage. The launch of services from Millicom/Tigo in 2009 sparked renewed subscriber growth, though competition has eroded mobile services revenue and ARPU since then.

Rwanda's internet and broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices, but developments in the fixed network market are improving connectivity and reliability. The operators are rolling out national fibre-optic backbone networks which also allow them to connect to the international submarine fibre-optic cables that landed on the African east coast in 2009 and 2010. These cables have given the entire region fibre-based international bandwidth for the first time and brought to an end its dependency on satellites.

Interest from investors in the country's ICT sector remains strong, particularly during the last few years. An existing deal with Korea Telecom to build a national fibre backbone was supplemented in late 2013 with a deal by which Korea Telecom will build a national LTE network. The newly created wholesale operator ORN secured spectrum and an exclusive licence to operate the network for 25 years, launching limited LTE services in November 2014.

This report contains an overview and analysis of Rwanda's telecommunications market, profiles of the major players in all market sectors, relevant statistics and analysis, and scenario forecasts to 2016 for the country's mobile market.

Key developments:

Government launches initiatives to expand use of mobile broadband nationally; MNOs implement One Network Area scheme removing roaming charges between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda; Smart Africa Alliance Initiative announces aim to raise $300 billion by 2020 for regional ICT infrastructure; Bharti Airtel launches cross-border money transfer platform in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, agrees to sell tower assets to IHS Telecoms; Rwanda Olleh Networks (ORN) launches LTE services; Liquid Telecom completes the East Africa Fibre Ring, invests $34 million in domestic FttP networks; Airtel launches Airtel Zone; Northern Corridor plan roaming agreement implemented; government increases telecom tax to 10%; government services to be available online from early 2015; additional mobile network operator enters the market; Tigo launches cross-border money transfer service for Tigo Pesa users in Tanzania and Rwanda to send and receive funds; JV created with Korea Telecom to build a national LTE network; strong mobile subscriber growth continuing; mobile market forecasts to 2016; MTN Group sells tower network to IHS Holding (IHS); Liquid Telecom takes over from the failed Rwandatel; regulator's market data to December 2014; telcos' operating data to Q4 2014; recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Rwanda's telecoms sector 2014 (e)
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 70%
Fixed | 0.45%
Internet | 27.0%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Rwandatel (Terracom, LapGreen); MTN Rwanda; Liquid Telecom; Millicom (Tigo); Bharti Airtel; Artel Communications; Electrogaz.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Market analysis
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
4.3.2 Fourth mobile licence: Bharti Airtel
4.4 Interconnection
4.5 Universal access
4.5.1 MTN VillagePhone
4.5.2 Cheaper handsets' initiatives
5. Fixed network services
5.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.2 Rwandatel/Terracom/Liquid Telecom
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/Liquid Telecom
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
7.5 Smart Africa Alliance
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)
9. Broadband market
9.1 Overview
9.2 ADSL
9.3 EV-DO
9.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
9.5 WiMAX, WiBro
9.6 WiFi
9.7 Mobile broadband
10. Digital Economy
10.1 E-government
10.2 E-health
10.3 E-learning
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Overview of Rwanda's mobile market
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.1.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
11.2 Major mobile operators
11.2.1 MTN Rwanda
11.2.2 Rwandatel (formerly Terracom Mobile)
11.2.3 Millicom Rwanda (Tigo)
11.2.4 Bharti Airtel Rwanda
11.3 Mobile handsets
11.4 Mobile data services
11.5 Third generation (3G)
11.6 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
11.7 Mobile money transfer, m-banking
12. Digital TV developments
13. Pay TV
14. Forecasts
14.1 Forecasts mobile market 2013, 2016
14.2 Notes on scenario forecasts
15. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Rwanda 2014 (e)
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2014
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2014 (Jun)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector investment 2005 - 2013
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue 2001 - 2013
Table 9 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1999 - 2004
Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2005 - 2015
Table 11 Fixed lines by operator 2010 - 2014
Table 12 International bandwidth 2006 - 2014
Table 13 Historic - Internet subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2004
Table 14 Internet subscribers and penetration rate 2005- 2015
Table 15 Internet subscribers by platform 2005- 2014
Table 16 Mobile internet market share of subscribers by operator 2013- 2014
Table 17 Internet subscribers by ISP 2011 - 2014
Table 18 Fixed-line internet subscribers by ISP Sept 2013
Table 19 Wireless and mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2013
Table 20 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2011- 2014
Table 21 Mobile geographic coverage by operator June 2014
Table 22 Mobile population coverage by operator June 2014
Table 23 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2004
Table 24 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Table 25 Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) 2009 - 2014
Table 26 Mobile market share by subscribers 2013 - 2014
Table 27 MTN Rwanda ARPU 2002 - 2014
Table 28 MTN Rwanda financial data 2011 - 2014
Table 29 MTN Rwanda subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 30 Tigo Rwanda subscribers 2010 - 2014
Table 31 Bharti Airtel Rwanda subscribers 2010 - 2014
Table 32 Pay TV subscribers by operator 2013
Table 33 Forecast mobile subscribers 2013; 2016
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 2015
Chart 2 Internet subscribers and penetration rate 2005- 2015
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2015
Exhibit 1 e-Soko

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