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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses


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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Rwandan buses equipped with LTE routers as part of a Smart Kigali initiative

The Rwandan telecom continues to develop strongly, buttressed by sustained GDP growth which has seen the country develop one the fastest-growing economies in the world. Supported by significant foreign aid, this growth has been buttressed by prudent fiscal and monetary policies which have create a business-friendly environment conducive to investment.

Nevertheless, poverty remains widespread. There is little economic diversity, with up to 99% of the population engaged in agriculture and in the mineral and agro-processing sectors. The financial services sector is also underdeveloped: with banks focussed on government borrowing there is little attention paid to the support of small businesses, and most of the population has little or no access to conventional banking services. In turn, this has made Rwanda one of the more successful markets on the continent for mobile banking and payment services.

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 (since acquired by Liquid Telecom) 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 Tigo in 2009 sparked renewed subscriber growth, though competition has eroded mobile services revenue and ARPU since then. The number of mobile subscribers increased by only 1.4% in the first quarter of 2016.

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 on the African east coast. These cables have given the entire region fibre-based international bandwidth for the first time and brought to an end its dependency on satellites. In early 2016 Liquid Telecom was able to expand its FttP services across areas of the capital Kigali, with a view to extending fibre-based services to a number of towns by the end of the year.

Interest from investors in the country's ICT sector remains strong. A deal with Korea Telecom has developed a wholesale LTE operator, ORN, which now provides retail services to a number of fixed-line operators as well as to the mobile network operators.

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 2021 for the country's mobile market.

Key developments:

Liquid Telecom expands FttP network in Kigali; fleet of buses equipped with LTE routers to provide mobile broadband for passengers; Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda agree on SMS price cap; government launches initiatives to expand use of mobile broadband nationally; regulator calls for interested parties to manage Mobile Number Portability facility; MNOs implement One Network Area scheme removing roaming charges between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda; Smart Africa Alliance Initiative to raise $300 billion by 2020 for regional ICT infrastructure; MTN Rwanda and Tigo Rwanda offering LTE for smartphone users; Rwanda Olleh Networks (ORN) launches wholesale LTE services; Liquid Telecom completes East Africa Fibre Ring; government increases telecom tax to 10%; Tigo launches cross-border money transfer service for Tigo Pesa users in Tanzania and Rwanda; report update includes the regulator's market data to May 2016, telcos' operating data to Q1 2016, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Rwanda's telecoms sector 2015 (e)
Market | Penetration rate
Fixed-line telephony | 0.1%
Fixed internet | 29%
Mobile SIM (population) | 78%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies mentioned in this report:

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


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Market analysis
4.2 Historic overview
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Regulatory authority
5.1.1 Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA)
5.1.2 RITA and NICT
5.2 Licensing
5.3 Market liberalisation
5.3.1 Third national operator licence
5.3.2 Fourth mobile licence: Bharti Airtel
5.4 Interconnection
5.5 Universal access
5.5.1 MTN VillagePhone
5.5.2 Cheaper handsets' initiatives
5.6 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
6. Fixed network operators
6.1 Rwandatel/Terracom/Liquid Telecom
6.1.1 Privatisation
6.1.2 Network infrastructure
6.1.3 Wireless local loop (WLL)
6.2 Artel Communications
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
7.2 Rwandatel/Terracom/Liquid Telecom
7.3 Electrogaz
7.4 MTN Rwanda
7.5 International infrastructure
7.5.1 VSAT
7.5.2 Service provision to the DRC
7.5.3 Smart Africa Alliance
7.5.4 The East Africa Backhaul System (EABS)
7.5.5 Submarine fibre optic cables
8. Fixed-line broadband market
8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
8.2 Market analysis
8.3 Broadband statistics
8.4 ISP market
8.5 Rwanda Internet Exchange Point (RIXP)
8.6 Cybercafes and telecentres
8.7 One Laptop per Child (OLPC)
8.8 Other initiatives
8.9 Fixed-line broadband technologies
8.9.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
8.9.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
8.9.3 Other fixed broadband services
9. Digital Economy
9.1 E-government
9.2 E-health
9.3 E-learning
9.4 Cloud services
10. Digital media
10.1 Digital TV developments
10.2 Videostreaming
11. Mobile market
11.1 Market analysis
11.2 Mobile statistics
11.3 Mobile data
11.4 Mobile broadband
11.5 Forecasts mobile subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
11.6 Regulatory issues
11.6.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
11.6.2 Tower infrastructure
11.6.3 One Africa Network
11.7 Mobile infrastructure
11.7.1 Digital networks
11.8 Major mobile operators
11.8.1 MTN Rwanda
11.8.2 Rwandatel (formerly Terracom Mobile)
11.8.3 Millicom Rwanda (Tigo)
11.8.4 Bharti Airtel Rwanda
11.9 Mobile handsets
11.10 Mobile content and applications
11.10.1 Money transfer, m-banking
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Rwanda 2015 (e)
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2016 (Mar)
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2016
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2016 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016 (Mar)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector investment 2005 - 2016
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue 2001 - 2016
Table 9 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1999 - 2009
Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 - 2016
Table 11 Fixed lines by operator 2010 2016
Table 12 International bandwidth 2006 - 2016
Table 13 Historic - Internet subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2009
Table 14 Internet users and penetration rate 2010- 2016
Table 15 Internet subscribers by platform 2009- 2016
Table 16 Dial-up internet subscribers by operator 2013 - 2016
Table 17 Broadband (>256kb/s) subscribers by type 2013 - 2016
Table 18 Internet subscribers by major ISP 2011 - 2016
Table 19 Registered pay TV subscribers by operator 2013 - 2015
Table 20 Active pay TV subscribers by operator 2013 - 2015
Table 21 Mobile sector revenue 2015 - 2016
Table 22 Mobile geographic coverage by operator March 2016
Table 23 Mobile population coverage by operator March 2016
Table 24 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2009
Table 25 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2010 - 2016
Table 26 Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) 2009 - 2016
Table 27 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2011- 2016
Table 28 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2016
Table 29 Mobile internet market share of subscribers by operator 2013- 2016
Table 30 Mobile broadband subscribers by operator 2014
Table 31 Mobile broadband subscribers by operator 2014 - 2016
Table 32 Forecast mobile subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 33 MTN Rwanda ARPU 2002 - 2016
Table 34 MTN Rwanda financial data 2011 - 2014
Table 35 MTN Rwanda subscribers 2012 - 2016
Table 36 Tigo Rwanda subscribers 2010 - 2016
Table 37 Bharti Airtel Rwanda subscribers 2010 - 2016
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 2016
Chart 2 Internet users and penetration rate 2005- 2016
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2016
Exhibit 1 e-Soko

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