Rwanda’s regulator secures m-money interoperability

Rwanda’s regulator secures m-money interoperability

Rwanda was slow to liberalise the mobile sector, allowing MTN a monopoly until 2006 when the fixed-line incumbent, Rwandatel (since acquired by Liquid Intelligence Technologies) became the second mobile operator.

There was effective competition among three operators after Tigo launched services in 2009. However, the acquisition of Tigo by Airtel saw a significant consolidation in the market, and the cancellation of Rwandatel’s licence in 2011 resulted in the market becoming a duopoly between the dominant operator MTN and Airtel.

The fixed broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices. Nevertheless, operators are rolling out national backbone networks which also allow them to connect to the international submarine cables on Africa’s east coast. These cables gave the entire region greater internet bandwidth and ended the dependency on satellites. Liquid Technologies has continued to expand its FttP services across Kigali and a number of other towns, while the country also has a new cable link with Tanzania, and via Tanzania’s national broadband backbone it has gained connectivity to the networks of several other countries in the region.

The number of subscribers on LTE infrastructure has increased sharply, helped by national LTE coverage achieved in mid-2018. Mobile remains the dominant platform for voice and data services. The regulator noted that the number of mobile subscribers increased 2.7% in 2021, year-on-year. However, there was a slight fall in the beginning of 2022, though this decline was entirely from Airtel.

Key developments:

  • Rwanda’s schools benefit from connection to One Web Satellite’s network;
  • Regulator tightens SIM card registration conditions;
  • Interoperability introduced between m-money platforms;
  • MTN invests in network upgrades, renews operating licence to July 2031;
  • Government commits to smart city infrastructure investment;
  • MNOs implement One Network Area scheme removing roaming charges;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s annual report for 2020-21, market data to January 2022, telcos’ operating data to Q4 2021, updated Telecom Maturity Index tables, charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of the pandemic on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Rwanda - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: March 2022

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Number of pages: 150

Companies mentioned in the report: Rwandatel (Terracom, LapGreen); MTN Rwanda; Liquid Telecom; Tigo Rwanda (Millicom); Bharti Airtel; Artel Communications; Electrogaz

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