MTN Rwanda has supplied over 120,000 cellphones under the device financing programme “macye macye” since its introduction last year.
According to telco, this has increased smartphone penetration to 25.7%, resulting in greater mobile internet adoption.
Last week, MTN Rwanda reported its performance for the nine months ended September, updating the market of its device financing programme.
The Macye Macye programme was launched, in November 2022, to enable MTN customers to acquire smartphones and tablets through credit options.
The programme’s approval and onboarding process allows customers to become smartphone owners from RWF200 per day.
The progress of MTN Rwanda’s macye macye programme comes as Africa experiences rapid growth of mobile connectivity across the region, due to consumer demand for enhanced mobile services, according to Ericsson’s Mobility Report.
The report notes that current mobile data traffic in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow 12-fold by 2025. Mobile broadband subscriptions are expected to account for 72% of all mobile subscriptions in the same year, with LTE subscriptions estimated to triple and top 270 million.
Turning to other metrics in the nine months under review, MTN Rwanda CEO Mapula Bodibe said, despite a challenging operating environment, the telco delivered solid financial results and sustained growth in its subscriber base, with mobile subscriptions increasing by 5.6% year-on-year (YoY), reaching a total of 7.2 million.
Active data subscribers expanded by 8.4% YoY, reaching 2.6 million. While, MTN Rwanda’s Mobile Money (MoMo) subscriber base grew 11.5%, with 4.6 million users.
“These achievements reflect our continued efforts to reach and serve more of the Rwandan population with industry-leading connectivity operations,” she said.
On financial performance, she said, service revenue grew by 13.6% to reach RWF186.2 billion. Notably, fintech revenues grew by 34.7% YoY, driven by an increased contribution of advanced service revenues, as well as an expanded payments ecosystem.
EBITDA improved by 4.7%, growing to RWF84.7 billion, although the EBITDA margin contracted by 3.9 percentage points, settling at 44.9%.
She said : “This contraction was primarily attributed to increased interconnect costs, the introduction of a zero Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) policy as well as the impact of US dollar denominated costs, impacted by the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar.”
Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) after considering the inputs from telecom operators in relation to the interconnection glide path for MTN, on 4 October 2023, it set new directives on local Interconnection rates for the mobile telecommunication sector.
For the period of January 2023 to July 2023, mobile network operators will apply the prevailing December 2022 MTR of RWF1.5 to MTN Rwanda and RWF2 to Airtel Rwanda per minute and from August 2023, a rate of zero will be applied for an initial period of one (1) year, during which, the Regulator will study the impact to determine the way forward.
As a result of this regulation, MTN Rwanda will not record local inbound interconnect income for a year beginning in August 2023, which will have a direct impact on its service revenue performance, EBITDA margins, and profit after tax.
MTN Rwanda’s interconnect charges would rise in tandem with the increase in traffic to outbound roamers.
“We are collaborating with the regulator to remedy this issue as soon as possible,” said Bodibe.