The central African nation of Burundi was home to 480,000 mobile subscribers at the end of 2008, up 78% on the 270,000 reported the previous year, according to data published by the national telecoms regulator, Agence de Regulation et de Controle des Telecom (ARCT). The sharp rise has been attributed to increased competition in the local market and mobile network expansion by the four active operators - U-Com, ONAMOB, Africell and Econet. Two more licensed operators, Lacell and HiTS Telecom are yet to launch services. U-Com claimed the lion’s share with 344,830 users as at 31 December 2008, with the remainder split between its three rivals. ARCT is targeting 700,000 mobile subscribers in the country by 2010. The regulator’s report also highlighted earnings for the four cellcos reached BIF33.2 billion (USD27.31 million) in 2008, up from BIF25 billion the previous year.