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Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Rwandan economic growth benefitting telecom market

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 most of the population engaged in agriculture and a good proportion of the remainder involved in 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.

The country was slow to liberalise the mobile sector, allowing MTN a monopoly until 2006 when the fixed-line incumbent, Rwandatel (since acquired by Liquid Telecom) became the second mobile operator. There has been 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. However, the acquisition of Tigo by Airtel, a deal to be closed over a two-year period, will see the Tigo brand removed and a significant consolidation in the market.

Rwanda's internet and broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices. Nevertheless, 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. Suring 2018 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 mobile subscriber forecasts to 2023.

Key developments:

MTN to invest $20 million in network upgrades; Millicom sells its Tigo Rwanda unit to Airtel, with the Tigo brand to be phased out; government commits to investing in smart city infrastructure; 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 February 2018, telcos' operating data to Q4 2017, Telecom Maturity Index tables, charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics Rwanda – 2017
    • Table Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (Sep)
    • Table Internet provider statistics – 2018
    • Table Internet statistics – 2018 (e)
    • Table Mobile statistics – 2018 (Feb)
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • HISTORIC OVERVIEW
      • Table Telecom sector investment – 2005 - 2016
      • Table Telecom sector revenue – 2001 - 2018
  • REGIONAL AFRICAN MARKET COMPARISON
    • MOBILE AND MOBILE BROADBAND
    • FIXED AND MOBILE BROADBAND
    • TMI VS GDP
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA)
      • RITA and NICT
    • LICENSING
    • MARKET LIBERALISATION
      • Third national operator licence
      • Fourth mobile licence: Bharti Airtel
    • INTERCONNECTION
    • UNIVERSAL ACCESS
      • MTN VillagePhone
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS
    • LIQUID TELECOM
      • Privatisation
      • Network infrastructure
      • Wireless local loop (WLL)
    • ARTEL COMMUNICATIONS
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • Table Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
    • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
    • Table Fixed lines by operator – 2010 – 2017
    • OVERVIEW OF THE NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
    • LIQUID TELECOM (RWANDATEL/TERRACOM)
    • ELECTROGAZ
    • MTN RWANDA
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Table International bandwidth – 2006 - 2017
      • VSAT
      • Smart Africa Alliance
      • The East Africa Backhaul System (EABS)
      • Submarine fibre optic cables
  • FIXED-LINE BROADBAND MARKET
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Historic - Internet subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
      • Table Internet users and penetration rate – 2010- 2018
      • Table Internet subscribers by platform – 2009- 2017
      • Table Dial-up internet subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2017
      • Table Fixed broadband (>256kb/s) subscribers by type – 2013 - 2017
    • ISP MARKET
      • Table Internet subscribers by major ISP – 2011 - 2017
    • RWANDA INTERNET EXCHANGE POINT (RIXP)
    • CYBERCAFES AND TELECENTRES
    • ONE LAPTOP PER CHILD (OLPC)
    • OTHER INITIATIVES
    • FIXED-LINE BROADBAND TECHNOLOGIES
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • Other fixed broadband services
  • DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • E-GOVERNMENT
    • E-HEALTH
    • E-LEARNING
    • CLOUD SERVICES
  • MOBILE MARKET
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table Prepaid and contract mobile subscribers –2016 - 2018
      • Table Mobile call tariff – 2009 - 2017
      • Table Mobile sector revenue – 2015 - 2017
      • Table Mobile geographic coverage by operator – September 2017
      • Table Mobile population coverage by operator – September 2017
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
      • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator (regulator data) – 2009 - 2018
      • Table Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2011- 2018
    • MOBILE DATA
    • MOBILE BROADBAND
      • Table Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2017
      • Table Mobile internet market share of subscribers by operator– 2013- 2017
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers by operator – 2014 - 2017
    • FORECASTS – MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Tower infrastructure
      • One Area Network
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Digital networks
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • MTN Rwanda
        • Table MTN Rwanda ARPU – 2002 - 2017
        • Table MTN Rwanda financial data – 2011 - 2014
        • Table MTN Rwanda subscribers – 2012 - 2018
      • Rwandatel (formerly Terracom Mobile)
      • Tigo Rwanda
        • Table Tigo Rwanda B2C subscribers – 2010 - 2017
        • Table Tigo Rwanda mobile subscribers – 2015 - 2018
      • Airtel Rwanda
        • Table Airtel Rwanda subscribers – 2010 - 2018
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Money transfer, m-banking
        • Table M-money transactions and value – 2016 - 2017
  • RELATED REPORTS

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