RURA freezes plan to award fourth mobile licence

28 Feb 2011

The Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency (RURA) has announced that plans to award a fourth mobile licence have been put on hold until subscriber growth and market share distribution stabilise, Reuters reports. ‘We will not be issuing a licence for the fourth national operator this year, until there is stability in the performance of the market,’ said Francois Gatarayiha, RURA’s acting director general, adding: ‘From the studies we have carried out, our target is to have at least six million subscribers by 2012, and that is probably when we shall introduce number portability as well’. The regulator also plans to revise interconnection fees between operators to allow more competition and boost wireless penetration. ’We are carrying out a study and PricewaterHouseCoopers is gathering all the necessary data from all operators and stakeholders. This data will help us come up with an interconnection fee that allows flexibility in the pricing. The current on-net tariffs are low, but the off-net is high because the operator has to pay RWF40 (USD0.07) for interconnection calls,’ Gatarayiha noted. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, South Africa’s MTN Rwanda is the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, with a total of 2.39 million customers at 30 September 2010, followed by Millicom Rwanda (Tigo) with 548,002 and Rwandatel, owned by Libyan government investment vehicle LAP Green Networks (80%) and the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (20%), which had a total of 535,710 users at the same date.