LTE coming to Rwanda via Government JV

A new government joint venture is aiming to provide high-speed 4G/LTE broadband to 95% of Rwanda’s population within the next three years. The Government of Rwanda has partnered with South Korean market leader KT Corporation for the initiative, with the latter injecting around $140 million into the venture.

The Rwandan Government’s equity investment involves the assignment of its extensive (over 3,000 km) national fibre optic network assets, spectrum and a wholesale-only operator licence. Debt and vendor financing will be sourced, to complement these equity contributions.

Rwanda’s current mobile network operators are invited to invest in the project, and it is expected that these companies and other ISPs will provide retail access to 4G LTE wireless broadband services for 12 million end-users (at full maturity of the market).  

The joint venture has been established for an initial period of 25 years.  Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT who ratified the agreement, stated that it marked “a major milestone in Rwanda's drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy”, adding that stronger information infrastructure would “create jobs, support social progress and propel economic growth."

KT President and CSO Yung Kim noted: “Public-Private-Partnership with the Government of Rwanda to build the 4G LTE network for wholesale is a unique and innovative way to achieve an accelerated nationwide broadband coverage and it shows other developing countries to follow. The wholesale network service for mobile broadband will help to promote healthy competition for advanced retail services and solutions, and will benefit consumers, enterprises and the nation.”

Based on recent reports published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 95% broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in GDP growth for Rwanda. KT and Rwanda will also seek opportunities to extend the business model of this JV to neighbouring countries. 

 

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