September 1, 2014 will mark the transition of Rwanda’s telecommunication services to the 4G LTE internet which has gotten internet firms and telcos competing for the bigger share of subscribers in the country.
The target market who in this case is businesses and heavy internet users will enjoy the benefit that is up to ten times faster compared to the current 3G services. The 4th Generation Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE) network is spearheaded by Olleh Rwanda Networks (ORN), a joint venture of the Rwandan government and Korea Telecom.
MTN and Airtel have come out as the aggressive competitors on this one with both putting out adverts on the dailies giving their clients an outline on the new service to be rolled out. With Airtel already putting out its rates; Rwf20,000 for 5GB, Rwf38,000 for 10GB and Rwf73,000 for 20GB. Simcards cost Rwf20,000, the modems Rwf77,000, while routers, which can connect 4G internet to over 30 computers cost Rwf98,000.
Olleh Rwanda Networks plays wholesaler while the telecoms and internet service providers (ISPs) will be the retailers. This will have telecom companies bargain individually with ORN prior to the launch deadline. The body rolled out a pilot study on the same in 13 government institutions, 13 public locations and 17 private sites, including hotels and companies which ended July.
With the pricing, Airtel aims to reach 95 per cent of the Rwandan population in the next three years and with time make the prices affordable to subscribers an issue that came up during pilot study. “Other internet options will still be available for normal users. 4G is meant for people and companies that rely on super fast internet, that is why it is a bit expensive,” a source told The New Times last week.
Tigo launched the first 4G pilot service in central Africa July, showing its commitment to providing the fast internet service joining it up with its digital innovation that has been key project over a long period of time.
The move is meant to accelerate development of the country’s ICT sector, create jobs, as well as help facilitate socio-economic progress in the country. Based on recent reports published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 95 per cent broadband penetration would translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in GDP growth for Rwanda.
Rwanda’s Governement striked the deal with the Korean biggest telecommunication mid last year in a project that has seen the government lay more than 1,865 miles (3,000km) of fibre optic cable since 2009 but only about 8.3% of the population currently has access to the internet.
The government is therefore looking to enhance economic development as well as easen day to day operations in the offices and business places.
Source: New times Rwanda.