Rwandan ORN workersKorea Telecom/Rwanda Government ORN spectrum could support ~2 gigabits across the country. While the initial rollout is using only 20 MHz, the Nokia equipment being installed can expand quickly to 60 MHz/400 megabits. There's a clear roadmap at least to 100 MHz with higher MIMO, enough to go well above a gigabit.  Nokia demonstrated 3.8 gigabits at the recent Mobile Asia event, using 200 MHz.

   Joint venture ORN has 145 MHz of prime low band spectrum between 700 MHz and 900 MHz. This is one of the world's first wide allocations of spectrum, the most efficient way to increase capacity in the LTE and 5G era. Large spectrum blocks are the right move for capacity in any country with few wires, including India, Indonesia, and almost all of sub-Saharan Africa. 

 At the Broadband Commission in 2013, I had a chance to discuss 100 MHz with the Rwandans. They know that with few landlines their future is wireless and they intend to leapfrog the Western world's wireless and quickly deliver over a gigabit.


    A gigabit tower could support 10,000 homes at today's typical DSL or cable 100K/home allocation, uncapped or with a cap in the 100's of gigabytes/month. Congestion with 100K/home is infrequent. As bandwidth demands grow, a gigabit will still be enough to support thousands of users. Of course, at the current low 2-10 gigabyte caps, many more could be served. That's the initial rollout but the Rwandan government is committed to raising that substantially.

    Rwanda and Kenya's 100 MHz physical networks will be "wholesale-only," with at least 4 retailers planned when the network turns on later this month. Britain has proven that model can work even in the half of the country with no cable competition. Britain's broadband prices are typically a third less than the U.S. because of the strong retail competition, although that's fading. The wholesale company has to be tightly regulated; BT is constantly trying to raise prices by shifting costs to the regulated part of the country. 

    Robert Pepper rose at the Broadband Commission to criticize the large allocations, preferring to see the spectrum divided among more operators. Pepper was senior at the U.S. FCC as spectrum auctions were highly effective, till around 2007, U.S. prices were among the lowest. Pepper is one of the best in the business, but today it's obvious that competition often works poorly as well. As the industry consolidates, competition doesn't work nearly as well. Five years of stagnant competition meant U.S. prices in 2013 were about a third higher than in several similar countries, as Verizon & AT&T maintained cartel prices.

   Both Canada & France had long-standing cartels with three carriers. This year, T-Mobile and Sprint seem to be breaking the cartel and bringing down prices, but the current owners of both companies would love to raise prices. In the richest countries in the world, 3-4 carriers do not guarantee competition will work well. In poorer countries, strong competition will be very hard to maintain. Where capacity is essential, ~100 MHz networks with regulation have major advantages. 


    Rwandan spectrum policy will probably prove more advanced than Washington's when the results come in.


Here's the pr 

KT Corporation and Rwanda Government sign Shareholders Agreement to establish a JV company to build and operate a wholesale-only 4G LTE broadband network


KIGALI, Rwanda – 10 June 2013: The Government of Rwanda and KT Corporation (NYSE: KT), South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, today signed a shareholders agreement to establish a Joint Venture (JV) Company to deploy a high-speed (4G LTE ) broadband network to cover 95 per cent of the population in three years.

As principal shareholders, KT will bring expertise and make staged cash injection of around $140 million, while the Government’s equity investment in the JV includes assignment of its extensive (over 3,000 km) national fibre optic network assets, spectrum and a wholesale-only operator license. 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 JV established for an initial 25 year term was co-signed on behalf of the Government of Rwanda by Ms Clare Akamanzi (CEO of Rwanda Development Board) and on behalf of KT Corporation by Mr Yung Kim (President and Group Chief Strategy Officer) and ratified by and Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana (Minister of Youth and ICT).

Minister Nsengimana said:

“Rwanda’s citizens and businesses must have access to the tools that will enable them to seize the opportunities of the digital age — and none is more important than fast, reliable and accessible broadband.

“This agreement with KT marks a major milestone in Rwanda’s drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy – and by expanding our information infrastructure, we will create jobs, support social progress and propel economic growth."

Mr Yung Kim said:

“We believe a nationwide broadband based on 4G LTE technology is the key foundation for Rwanda’s ICT development. 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. KT looks forward to actively participating in this great opportunity and is excited to be able to partner the Government of Rwanda to bring this plan to fruition. “

This rapid deployment of high-speed broadband capability in Rwanda will accelerate development of the country’s ICT sector, create jobs (including more than 100 professional jobs within the JV itself), as well as help facilitate social and economic progress. Based on recent reports published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 95 per cent 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.

Deployment is expected to commence later this year after further detailed planning.

# # #

About Rwanda Development Board

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is Rwanda Government’s specialized agency tasked with the mission to fast track economic development in Rwanda: its mandate is to enable private sector growth towards the transformation of Rwanda into a hub for global business, investment, and innovation. RDB invites, receives, and facilitates international investors to take full advantage of Rwanda’s sustained high economic growth, robust governance, investor-friendly climate, accessibility to markets within the region, and a range of well-planned projects for direct investment.

About KT Corporation

KT is the largest integrated telecommunications service provider in the Republic of Korea. Originally founded as the Korea Telecommunication Association in 1981, KT’s evolution mirrors Korea’s rapid development in the information communication technology. The company initially provided telephone services, which paved the way to its new businesses, including high-speed internet service and IPTV.

Since a 2009 merger with KTF (wireless affiliate), KT provides the world a convergence of fixed and mobile services. In 2012, KT introduced LTE technology to the market thereby adding momentum to its expansion and focuses in media, global ICT convergence, etc. Currently, KT is taking initiatives in creating a virtual goods market where goods can be traded and consumed over the broadband network such as music, learning services, banking and security.

Government of Rwanda Initiatives for ICT Sector Growth

The Government of Rwanda continues to implement a rapid succession of creative initiatives towards its policy goal to transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based society, using ICT as a key enabler. These initiatives include 3,000 km of the national fibre optic infrastructure completed in 2010; the “One Laptop per Child” program; the e-Soko program which enables farmers to purchase subsidized handsets for use with the real time agri-products information system; and government efficiency programs including e-Government, e-Health and e-Education.

Media Only:

Rwanda Contacts
Rwanda Development Board

Linda Mutesi
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KT Contacts: 
Communication Office
Dongwoo Kim
+82 10 9685 4455
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Rosemary Mbabazi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and ICT opening the stakeholders seminar kicking off Rwanda online


KIGALI, Rwanda – August 19th, 2014: The Government of Rwanda and Rwanda Online Platform Limited kicked off the beginning of the first phase of implementation of the Rwanda Online platform set to establish an integrated public service platform that will exclusively offer Government to Business (G2B) and Government to Citizen (G2C) services in the country, accessible via internet and mobile devices.

The agreement between the Government of Rwanda and Rwanda Online Platform Limited, signed in April of this year, granted the concession to Rwanda Online Platform to Build and Operate the Platform for twenty-five (25) years, after which it will be transferred back to the Government of Rwanda.

The Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) agreement aims to bridge the gap of access to information, as well as improve public service delivery through the digitalization of services. As part of the agreement, Rwanda Online Platform committed to deliver one hundred pre-selected services using a phased approach over a course of three years effective August 20th, 2014.

The kick-off meeting, attended by leaders from the six institutions within which the one hundred services fall, served the purpose of strengthening the commitment from key stakeholders ahead of implementation.
The first phase of implementation is expected to end in April 2015 whereby ten services are expected to go live. Starting this month, Rwanda Online will begin to work with the six institutions in Phase 1 to gather requirements, build prototypes and engage institutions in testing and training activities, leading up to the go-live date in April. 

Services to be automated in the first phase include: National ID card application, Application for birth certificate, Registration for theory test, Application for Visa Permits, Application for Criminal Clearance certificate (extrait du casier judiciaire), Application for building permits, Transfer of land title, Application for ordinary passport, Issuance of trading license and Land registration. 

Rosemary Mbabazi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and ICT said:

“The Rwanda Online platform will be a single service delivery portal for all Government ministries and agencies, providing citizens and businesses with a streamlined and efficient experience with reduced operational costs. Rwanda online is a transformational project that demonstrates government’s continued efforts and commitment to better the lives of the citizens and increase productivity while enhancing service delivery”.

Francis Gatare, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board said: 

“The Rwanda Online initiative is an excellent demonstration of how the return on investment made on ICT infrastructure continues to transform the lives of our citizens and make the Rwandan business environment even more attractive and competitive. We are looking forward to seeing the first ten services online, as a success story in public service delivery in Africa unfolds here within Rwanda. Even as all services shall be provided at a single point of access, accessible 24 hours/7 days via Internet and mobile devices, as we kick off the project for the next twenty-five years, we acknowledge the importance of a quick-win within the first phase of implementation.”

He added that the fact that Government is in a PPP with a local company should not be taken lightly as it is one of the first. It is a remarkable time for the government, citizens and the private sector as we aspire to become a connected Government whilst inspiring citizens and grooming vibrant businesses.

The Government of Rwanda is committed to developing a vibrant IT Eco-system through partnerships with local companies since they are better placed to develop innovative, homegrown solutions that address local challenges.

Irene Ndikumwenayo, Ag. CEO of RwandaOnline said: “The RwandaOnline platform is designed with citizens and businesses’ interests in mind. In the short term, it will provide tangible results such as reducing the amount of time spent waiting in line, streamlining requirements for the application process, and increasing accountability on the Government. In the longer term, it will heighten expectations of government service delivery--- making Rwanda a model for the rest of the continent”