According to national telecoms regulator Agence de Regulation et de Controle des Telecom (ARCT), Burundi’s overall mobile base stood at 2.53 million at end-2013, up 13% from 2.24 million a year earlier. Reuters reports the watchdog as saying that the gains were largely the result of network expansion projects undertaken by most operators in the east African nation, noting that ‘Some companies which were just covering the capital Bujumbura are now present in a large part of the country’. The ARCT went on to point out that an increase in competition has resulted in a reduction in call prices and handset costs, further driving uptake; Burundi had only 270,000 mobile phones users in 2007. In its report, the regulator confirmed that U-Com Burundi (leo) – a unit of Egypt’s Orascom – dominates the domestic mobile market with 64% of all users. The remainder is shared between Econet Wireless Burundi, Smart Telecom (Lacell SU), Africell (TEMPO) and state-backed Onamob. The government has also recently issued a licence to a sixth player, Vietnam’s Vietel Telecom, for USD10 million.
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