Mobile phone penetration rate in Rwanda rises to 87.4%

On 13 July 2023 at 03:06

Figures from Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) have indicated that the number of Rwandans owning mobile phones increased from 11.5 million in May to 11.7 million in June 2023, indicating a growth rate of 1.44%.

These figures include over 7.2 million subscribers of MTN Rwanda and more than 4.4 million subscribers of Airtel Rwanda.

It’s important to note that these numbers represent the mobile phone ownership among a total population of 13,246,394 in Rwanda.

The data reveals that postpaid subscriptions increased from 168,243 in May 2023 to 169,697 SIM cards in June 2023. Additionally, prepaid subscriptions increased from 11,380,900 SIM cards in May 2023 to 11,545,285 SIM cards in June 2023.

The report states that as of June 2023, the Mobile Penetration Rate, which refers to the number of active SIM cards per the total projected population, has risen to 87.4% compared to 86.4% in May 2023.

In June 2022, the mobile penetration stood at 80.7%.

Regarding market shares as of June 2023, MTN Rwanda Ltd saw a decrease of 0.7 percentage points to 61.9%, while AIRTEL Rwanda Ltd experienced an increase of the same margin, reaching 38.1%. These figures reflect changes compared to the statistics from May 2023.

The increased mobile phone penetration in Rwanda has resulted in a higher usage of mobile devices for daily activities and cashless transactions.

In the fiscal year 2021/2022, the number of funds transfers through mobile payment channels increased by 58% from 196 million to 310 million transactions. The value of these transactions also rose by 41%, from Rwf4,707 billion to Rwf6,616 billion, as reported by the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) in November last year.

BNR further reported that transfers through mobile banking channels increased by 35% from 6 million to 8 million transactions. The value of these transactions rose significantly by 140% from Rwf917 billion to Rwf381 billion.

Besides, the number of mobile banking subscribers increased by 18% from 2,080,549 in June 2021 to 2,244,652, and Internet banking subscribers grew by 32% from 106,312 to 140,662 in June 2022. Active mobile payment subscribers also increased by 9% from 5,079,232 in June 2021 to 5,528,109 in June 2022.

In terms of the distribution of cashless transactions, transfers through mobile payment channels accounted for the largest share at 70%, followed by transfers via mobile banking at 26%. As for transaction value, transfer through mobile payment accounted for 51% of the total, followed by internet banking at 32%.