BUJUMBURA May 21 The number of mobile phone
users in Burundi rose 13 percent in 2013 from the year before as
most operators expanded their infrastructure networks, the
industry regulator said on Wednesday.
Mobile phone subscriptions in the small east African nation
reached 2.53 million last year versus 2.24 million in 2012.
"Some companies which were just covering the capital
Bujumbura are now present in a large part of the country,"
regulator ARCT said in its report.
Competition between operators in reducing call prices and
handset costs has also contributed to the rise in subscribers,
Burundi had only 270,000 mobile phones users in 2007.
The landlocked nation of over 8 million people has five
active mobile firms, led by Ucom, owned by Egypt's Orascom
, with 64 percent of the market.
The rest of subscribers are shared between Econet, a
subsidiary of Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless, Africell
owned by VTL holdings of Dubai, Lacell SU from Nepal, and
The government has recently granted a licence to a sixth
operator, Vietnam's Vietell Telecom, for $10 million.
Some analysts say six operators are too many in a small
country such as Burundi, but authorities say it is good for
competition in the industry, and for their contribution to the
economy through tax payments.
(Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by George Obulutsa and