The New Times (Kigali)

12 August 2014

Rwanda: Airtel Seeks to Open Up Voice Market With New Product

Subscribers of telecom services provider Airtel Rwanda will from now onwards be able to determine how much they spend on making calls after the firm launched a new voice product on Thursday.

Teddy Bhullar, the Airtel Rwanda managing director, said the product dubbed "Airtel zone" would ensure quality of communication for customers as the product promotes transparency on call rates, "offering real-time, low and transparent rates for on-net (Airtel to Airtel) voice calls."

Calls will cost as low as Rwf1 per minute to a maximum of 31 francs per minute, depending on the time and traffic on the network.

The move comes at a time when telecom firms are experiencing low Average Revenue per User (ARPU). The dropping ARPU means that majority of mobile phone users in Rwanda are low-end subscribers, whose tendency to spend on mobile value added solutions, especially on voice calls, is low. This depresses the effective rate of revenue realisation per minute for the operators. The government also increased tax on airtime, which could further discourage users from consuming the services.

The government imposed 10 per cent tax on airtime from 8 per cent last financial year.

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