MTN’s Rwandan Unit Loses Market in Fourth Quarter to Rival Tigo

MTN Group Ltd. (MTN)’s Rwandan unit lost market share in the fourth quarter to its main competitor, Tigo Rwanda, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency said.

MTN Rwanda’s share stood at 65 percent compared with 72 percent a year earlier, while Tigo’s grew to 35 percent from 19 percent, the Kigali-based regulator said in a report yesterday. MTN had 2.89 million subscribers in the East African country as of December, while Tigo had 1.55 million, it said.

“Our affordable tariff structure has clearly played a major part in this achievement,” Tigo Chief Executive Officer Diego Camberos said in a phone interview yesterday. MTN Rwanda Chief Marketing Officer Yvonne Makolo didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

Rwanda’s mobile-phone penetration rate may increase to 60 percent this year after Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) begins operating in the East African country, the regulator said in January. The proportion of the Rwandan population with a mobile phone rose to 41.6 percent in December from 41.3 percent in November.

MTN Rwanda began operations in 1998, while Tigo, which is owned by Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular SA (MICC), obtained its license in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saul Butera in Kigali via Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at

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