Rwanda: Nearly 900,000 SIM cards could be deactivated when the new regulation comes into force on 1 February

According to the Regulatory Authority for Public Services of Rwanda (RURA), the number of subscribers to mobile telephony in the country would be affected by the entry into force on 1 st February 2019, the new regulation that prohibits more than three SIM cards per operator to nationals and more than one SIM card per operator to foreigners.

During a press conference on 29 January 2019, Patrick Nyirishema, RURA’s managing director, stated that the regulator works in real time with MTN and Airtel-Tigo operators and that ‘In view of current data, the number of mobile subscribers could fall by around 10%.

10% is nearly 900,000 subscribers, based on the 9.7 million consumers of telecom services reported in December 2018 by the telecom regulator.

The new regulation on SIM cards, the Rwandan government has adopted e to combat ghost SIM cards, often misidentified and sometimes used to commit criminal acts.

To another extent, this consolidation will also enable the regulator to have real data on the state of the telecommunications market and to make quality information available to potential investors.

Since last week, many Rwandans holding more than three SIM cards per operator have been working with telecom companies to deactivate the excess SIM cards. They want to avoid that less important SIM cards remain activated in the process of sanitation at the expense of those with strong professional or family value.

Source: Agence Ecofin