Rwanda has entered into a deal with Asian telecoms giant Korea Telecom (KT) for the establishment of a high-speed broadband Internet service based on 4G LTE technology.
According to the government, the project will put the country on a list of few countries with a “first world broadband connectivity.”
The partnership will see the government and the Korean firm set up a company to roll out the 4G technology that will connect all parts of the country to high-speed broadband services.
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says the cost of the investment will be determined as soon as the negotiations are completed.
The two parties expect to strike a deal before the end of this year to pave the way for roll out early next year.
“The purpose of the intended joint venture is to develop, construct, operate and provide wholesale infrastructure services to customer-facing mobile service providers and mobile virtual network operators in Rwanda.
“Deployment of the new infrastructure will add to the fibre optic infrastructure already deployed by the government of Rwanda, to achieve maximum broadband connectivity for all communities in the country,” reads a statement released by the two parties.
Under a public-private partnership agreement, the government will extend to the joint venture company all investment incentives that are available under the country’s laws.
The Korean firm will be responsible for the deployment of the network and the operation of the company including transfer of technical and commercial know-how.
According to the head of the ICT Department at RDB, Patrick Nyirishema, Korean Telecom will put in place the “last mile” services, which includes delivering broadband to the end user while the government will provide the major infrastructure needed to link the country.
“It is a significant milestone. KT has been our partner in the deployment of Rwanda’s extensive fibre optic network and the early form of high speed mobile broadband services.
“We now intend to extend this partnership by working together to bring the most advanced form of broadband connectivity to Rwanda and to share our success with other African countries. It will be the first of its kind in the region,” said Mr Nyirishema.
According to the president of KT’s Global & Enterprise Business Group, Hong-Jin Kim, once the deal is struck, the joint venture “will trigger development of the ICT sector, create many job opportunities, and broadly support social and economic growth.”
KT, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has previously signed a deal worth over $40m to set the national database and lay the fibre optic in the country.
KT and the government announced plans to collaborate towards establishing a complementary joint venture targeted at specific areas of Systems Integration and Information Technology, to stimulate the growth of SME businesses within the sector.
Steve Mutabazi, the RDB strategy advisor on the project said once the deal is approved, the 4G LTE network will link almost every inhabited part of Rwanda to high-speed broadband.