High speed Internet broadband services based on 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology will be in place by August, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister for Youth and Information Communication Technology (ICT), has said.
The minister told Business Times in an interview that currently they were running tests on the technology, adding that the 220 cars transporting delegates for the on-going African Development Bank Annual Meetings already were using the facility.
Last year, Korea Telecom, South Korea's largest telecom company, signed an agreement with Rwanda to deploy the 4G Long Term Evolution broadband network across the country, a development that would ensure fast, reliable and cheaper Internet services. The broadband speed is almost three times faster than those previously available in the country, like 3G and 2G.
Nsengimana said when the 4G broadband is launched, it will boost Rwanda's Internet services, especially under the 'Smart Kigali' initiative that was commissioned last September. The initiative gives residents of the City of Kigali access to free wireless Internet in specific areas.
The designated areas, where people currently have access to wireless Internet include 15 KBS buses, King Faisal Hospital, Nyabugogo Taxi Park and selected commercial buildings and restaurants around the city.
"We are working with the telecom firms, transport service providers and hotels to see that more places have access to Internet," said Nsengimana.
Teddy Bhullar, Airtel Rwanda managing director, said they partnered with Rwanda Olleh Networks, the firm in charge of deploying the technology, to roll out the 4G Long-Term Evolution service in the delegates' cars. He added that once the tests are successful, they would deploy the facility in other areas.
Internet today is often referred to as a basic need, like how food and shelter are important. Nsengimana said in spite of the developments, many hotel owners and business people in the services sector didn't take Internet connectivity as important.
"People need to communicate with ease and stay connected to their world, a reason hotel owners and everyone else in the private sector needs to take Internet connectivity as important," he said.