RURA to lower interconnection fees; mobile licence tender ‘on hold’

30 Sep 2010

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) is working on a plan to lower interconnection fees among telecom operators, reports AllAfrica. The watchdog’s acting director general Regis Gatarayiha said in an interview that interconnection charges were acting as a bottleneck to the sector’s growth, as they prevented retail prices falling, and that bringing down the standard charge from the current RWF40 (USD0.067) per minute would compel operators to lower the cost of mobile communications for end-users. The regulator has commissioned a study ahead of a decision on new pricing, and hopes to adjust wholesale rates within four months, according to Gatarayiha.

Meanwhile, the same report quotes Mr Gatarayiha as saying that plans to licence a fourth mobile operator have been suspended until a formal policy decision is taken. He disclosed that the process would have started early in September and been completed within six months, but delays have occurred whilst RURA seeks agreement with operators on the licensing procedure and conditions. ‘We still have some three months to legalise everything, agree on the process and we may start it early next year, and I don’t see it going beyond June,’ he said. The former director general of RURA, Diogene Mudenge, previously stated that a fourth licence would be issued ‘by the end of 2010’, whilst revealing that numbering codes for a new entrant had been reserved.

In another mobile sector development, Gatarayiha said that the government will start registering all active SIM cards early next year in an attempt to prevent crimes committed using cell phones.