Rwanda’s Mobile phone penetration rised over past five years

With the recent development of communication facilities, the large majority of Rwandan population has continuously adopted the use of mobile phone as one of the technology platform to share information. Within this move, the mobile phone penetration has impressively increased from 2005 to 2010 across the whole country.

According the third EICV (Integrated Survey on Life Conditions), the percentage of households with at least one mobile phone which was 6.2 per cent in 2005/2006 has increase by 39 per cent to reach 45.2 per cent among the general population in 2010/2011.

The City of Kigali made a big progress in terms of mobile phone ownership because the percentage of households with at least one mobile phone in Kigali City was 79.6 per cent in 2010/2011 from 33.2 per cent in 2005/2006, which is a growth rate of 46.4 per cent in only five years.

Countrywide, Kigali recorded a great different vis-à-vis other provinces with a rate of 79.6 per cent of household owning mobile phone followed by the Eastern province with 48.4 per cent. The three provinces which have a low percentage of mobile users are namely Northern, Western and southern provinces with a proportion of 41.9%, 40.4% and 35% respectively.

The percentage of households which own at least a mobile phone also increased in urban areas (from 26.5% in 2005/2006 to 71.5% in 2010/2011) as well as in rural areas (from 2.2% in 2005/2006 to 40.6% in 2010/2011). In terms of gender, the households headed by female accuse a low percentage in owning at least one mobile phone in 2010/2011 with 35.1% against 49% of households headed by male. In terms of mobile phone subscribers, the number has also increased from 2009 to 2011. The number of subscribers was 2,429 thousand in 2009 and 4,842 thousand in 2011, which is a growth rate of 99.34%.
Source: Statistical yearbook 2012 

The mobile phone in Rwanda is used for different purposes: calls and short messages sending/receiving,  money transfer, recording and playing music and movies, picture shooting, listening to the radio, watching TV, internet connectivity, advert and publicity etc. The increase of ownership of mobile phones goes together with the increase of economic growth of a country.

Within the current situation of mobile phone penetration, both public and private institutions are affording means to plan they can use this opportunity for other functions to foster the potential of national development.

By: Jean Claude Nyirimanzi

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