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MTN remains market leader in Rwanda despite regulator concerns

2 October, at 13 : 32 PM Print

MTN remains market leader

The Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (in white shirt), inspects RURA facilities accompanied by cabinet ministers and senior government officials on August 10, 2012 (Photo/PRIMATURE)

Telecom giant MTN Rwanda continues to maintain lead over the other providers – controlling more than half of the market despite concerns from regulators and clients over its services. In some places, its services are often unavailable for hours.

The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA) slammed the firm with a Rwf 3m daily fine last week until the company solves its service hitches. On the other hand, clients continue to show hostility at the company – with the visible anger being vented on social networks.

The situation was so serious that Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, did also join the complaint chorus last year, but the firm seems to have been unmoved.

Even with its international clients, many on Twitter have called for RURA-style action in places like Nigeria where MTN also controls a large section of the phone market.

In many places around Rwanda, clients make call-ins to radio stations on daily basis reporting how they have spent hours with no network. For example in north eastern Rwanda, clients say they sometimes spend hours receiving the MTN Uganda signal.

In Rwanda, however, the numbers show that MTN continues to attract new clients to its network. Between July and August, the firm added some 106,314 clients. This is more than 70 percent of all the clients of smaller competitor Airtel, which is still trying to establish in the market.

Meanwhile, TiGO is also on the radar of regulatory authorities. Officials have warned it could face the wrath as MTN.

RURA says it is getting tough with service providers that are taking clients for a ride. In other sectors, it has also warned Chinese satellite TV provider StarTimes to work on providing better signal or face fines, or even possible withdrawal of its license. The signal is always on and off.

Below is a table of the latest phone market status of the 3 telecom competitors:


Active mobile subscribers (90-days revenue generating subscribers) as of August 2012

Operators June July August
MTN  Rwanda Ltd 3,033,421 3,082,025 3,188,339
Tigo Rwanda Ltd 1,615,585 1,663,672 1,732,857
Airtel Rwanda Ltd 110,304 144,044 168, 832
Total 4,759,310 4,889,741 5,090,028


44.4% 45.6% 47.5%

Source: RURA


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