(Ecofin Agency) - In 2013, the semi-public company Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks obtained a 25-year monopoly on 4G. Consequently, it provided wholesale services to other companies like MTN and Airtel, who then resell them to their customers.
Telecommunication operators MTN Rwanda and Airtel Rwanda have recently launched their independent fourth-generation (4G) mobile networks. Both companies obtained modified operating licenses from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA). They promise faster, more affordable, and reliable connectivity to individuals, communities, and businesses throughout the country.
"Our customers can expect popular benefits, such as live streaming of high-definition (HD) content (including shows like The Voice Africa on Airtel TV), the ability to play video games in real-time, and reduced buffering during video calls and virtual video meetings," said Emmanuel Hamez, CEO of Airtel Rwanda.
The introduction of MTN and Airtel’s 4G networks comes a few months after RURA revoked the 2013 wholesale monopoly to Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks (KTRN) for 4G and future mobile technologies. This initiative aligns with the new national broadband policy adopted by the government in October 2022, aiming to increase competition in the telecom market currently dominated by MTN with 61.9% market share, and Airtel with 38.1%.
According to GSMA Intelligence statistics, 24% of the Rwandan population was connected to mobile internet services by the end of 2021. However, 75% of this population resides in areas covered by high-speed mobile networks but is not yet utilizing mobile internet services. Additionally, 1% of the population is still not covered by these services.
Mapula Bodibe, CEO of MTN Rwanda expressed her gratitude to the government of Rwanda saying: “We thank the government of Rwanda for the continuous support, providing a conducive operational environment that allows us to provide increased connectivity and drive digital inclusion, leaving no one behind. [...] By launching the next generation 4G LTE technology, we are not only investing in the network, but we are also, and above all, investing in leading digital solutions for Rwanda's progress.”
Isaac K. Kassouwi