Rwandatel Calls for Uniform interconnection fees

Telecoms

Former incumbent Rwandatel has called for the telecoms regulator to reduce interconnection fees among the operators. Rwandatel's Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Francis Egbuson, believes that reduction of the interconnection fee will create a level playing field for operators to compete regardless of the subscriber base.

He said Rwanda should emulate Kenya and reduce significantly the interconnection fee. "What happened in Kenya is a clear example-they did not scrap it but they brought it down to a point where it is no longer a differentiator for an incumbent who has had the advantage of a larger subscriber base,"said Egbuson.

"I think that is the same way it should be done here. It should be reviewed in such a way that the field is level regardless the subscription base."

Rwanda has three licensed mobile operators MTN, Tigo and Rwandate with a combined subscription base of more than 3.2 million users as of June 2010 according to Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA). MTN has the largest market share followed by Tigo.

Interconnection fee is currently Rwf40 per call and Rwandatel believes it favours the operator with more subscribers. Meanwhile, the industry regulator RURA says a study is underway to determine whether the current interconnection charge should be changed or retained. The acting Director General of RURA Régis Gatarayiha says that the interconnection is a bottleneck to the growth of the industry.