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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 government commits to smart city investment

The Rwandan telecom market 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 helped 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.

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. During 2017 Liquid Telecom has continued to expand its FttP services across Kigali and a number of other towns.

Interest from investors in the country's ICT sector remains strong. A deal with Korea Telecom has developed a wholesale LTE operator, Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks, which provides retail services to a number of fixed-line operators as well as to the mobile network operators. The number of subscribers on LTE infrastructure increased 200% in 2016, year-on-year.

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:

MTN to invest $20 million in network upgrades; Tigo Rwanda pilots loan facility via Tigo Cash; government commits to investing in smart city infrastructure with Nokia; Bharti Airtel considers sale of Rwandan unit; MTN Rwanda fined for moving IT services abroad; Liquid Telecom expands FttP network; fleet of buses equipped with LTE routers to provide mobile broadband for passengers; regulator calls for interested parties to manage Mobile Number Portability facility; MNOs implement One Network Area scheme removing roaming charges; Smart Africa Alliance Initiative to raise $300 billion by 2020 for regional ICT infrastructure; KTRN expands wholesale LTE services; report update includes the regulator's market data to September 2017, telcos' operating data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Rwandatel (Terracom, LapGreen); MTN Rwanda; Liquid Telecom; Tigo Rwanda (Millicom); 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 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 Liquid Telecom (Rwandatel/Terracom)
7.3 Electrogaz
7.4 MTN Rwanda
7.5 International infrastructure
7.5.1 VSAT
7.5.2 Smart Africa Alliance
7.5.3 The East Africa Backhaul System (EABS)
7.5.4 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. Mobile market
10.1 Market analysis
10.2 Mobile statistics
10.3 Mobile data
10.4 Mobile broadband
10.5 Forecasts mobile subscribers 2018; 2020; 2022
10.6 Regulatory issues
10.6.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.6.2 Tower infrastructure
10.6.3 One Area Network
10.7 Mobile infrastructure
10.7.1 Digital networks
10.8 Major mobile operators
10.8.1 MTN Rwanda
10.8.2 Rwandatel (formerly Terracom Mobile)
10.8.3 Tigo Rwanda
10.8.4 Bharti Airtel Rwanda
10.9 Mobile handsets
10.10 Mobile content and applications
10.10.1 Money transfer, m-banking
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Rwanda 2016 (e)
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2016
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2016
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2016 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Telecom sector investment 2005 - 2016
Table 8 Telecom sector revenue 2001 - 2018
Table 9 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity 1999 - 2009
Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 - 2018
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- 2018
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 24 Prepaid and contract mobile subscribers 2016 - 2018
Table 21 Mobile call tariff 2009 - 2016
Table 22 Mobile sector revenue 2015 - 2016
Table 23 Mobile geographic coverage by operator September 2017
Table 24 Mobile population coverage by operator September 2017
Table 25 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2009
Table 26 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2010 - 2018
Table 27 Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) 2009 - 2016
Table 28 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2011- 2018
Table 29 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2016
Table 30 Mobile internet market share of subscribers by operator 2013- 2017
Table 31 Mobile broadband subscribers by operator 2014 - 2017
Table 32 Forecast mobile subscribers 2018; 2020; 2022
Table 33 MTN Rwanda ARPU 2002 - 2017
Table 34 MTN Rwanda financial data 2011 - 2014
Table 35 MTN Rwanda subscribers 2012 - 2018
Table 36 Tigo Rwanda B2C subscribers 2010 - 2017
Table 36 Tigo Rwanda mobile subscribers 2015 - 2017
Table 37 Bharti Airtel Rwanda subscribers 2010 - 2018
Table 37 M-money transactions and value 2016 - 2017
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 2018
Chart 2 Internet users and penetration rate 2005- 2018
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2018
Exhibit 1 e-Soko

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