Olleh Rwanda networks, a joint venture of the government of Rwanda and S. Korea’s largest telecommunications company, Korea Telecom (KT), has established a fourth generation long term evolution (4GLTE) internet square in Kigali City where anything and everything about the technology can be accessed.
Rwanda targets to increase access to the fast 4G internet to 95% of the population by 2017, which translates into about 11,400,000 people basing on the 2012 general population census which put the country’s population to 12 million.
Olleh Rwanda network serves as a wholesaler of the technology serving 11 internet service providers including three of Rwanda’s leading telecommunications companies.
The newly launched 4GLTE square is in efforts to increase the technology’s penetration which is paramount if the country is to reap the anticipated benefits of the technology’s rollout.
4GLTE square is located in one of Kigali’s prime business centres, the Grand Pension Plaza, and will among others offer visitors an opportunity to experience the services and speed of the internet, familiarise with the various devices used, in addition to gaining lessons on how best they can benefit from the technology.
At the inauguration, Patrick Yoon CEO of Olleh Rwanda Network revealed that the Kigali based square which is a one stop centre for 4GLTE is a beginning of a countrywide campaign to have similar facilities in different parts of Rwanda.
As a result of the highest speeds of downloads and uploads on the internet, 4G presents a golden opportunity to Rwanda’s growth which if effectively harnessed will hasten the country’s development goals.
Estimates by the International Telecommunication Union indicate that 95% access to broadband internet would result into 10-13% boost to Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product.
Internet penetration in Rwanda was last recorded at 16% in the ICT sector profile carried out by the Ministry of Youth and ICT at end of 2013.
According to Francis Gatare CEO of Rwanda Development Board, rolling out 4G internet in Rwanda is a miracle in itself which was made possible by the joint venture government struck with KT to make the otherwise very expensive technology affordable.
To this Gatare admonished Rwandans to make use of the investment by establishing business that can use the facility.
Since November 2014 when the technology was unveiled in Rwanda, ORN has managed to extend its reach beyond the City of Kigali.
“4GLTE is now accessible in five cities; Kigali, Musanze, Rubavu, Huye, and Rusizi,” Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Youth and ICT shared.
He however says efforts are in place to increase coverage to eleven additional cities by the beginning of the year 2016.
Prior to the establishment of Olleh Rwanda Network, the Rwandan Government invested in a fibre optic, a national skeleton, that covers more than 3,000km through which 4G internet will be supplied to reach all parts of the country.
With all districts reached, the remaining part on the infrastructure is finalizing with last mile connections to public facilities like schools and hospitals and marketing the technology to other entities as a breakthrough solution to internet challenges.
According to Hon. Nsengimana, the prices of 4GLTE bundles have significantly reduced in the past nine months, dropping to over half the initial prices.
‘As subscribers to the technology increase, prices are expected to drop even further”.