Airtime Use Drops By 20.6 Percent in Rwanda

Telecoms

Rwanda's excise tax revenues on airtime sales have dropped by 20.6% in the last quarter. The revenue dropped from Rwf199.7 million in January to Rwf158.48 million in April 2009, putting telecoms operators in jeopardy, according to the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA).

Rwanda has two telecom operators, MTN and Rwandatel, with over 1.6 million subscribers. A third operator, TIGO, licensed last year, is about to launch.

The drop is linked to less liquidity in Rwandan banks and the global economic crisis that have reduced consumer spending. MTN Rwanda registered a shocking 33% quarterly drop in average revenue per subscriber/user (ARPU) from $11 in December 2008 to US$7 in March 2009, according to the MTN Group's quarterly report released this month.

East African Business Week