2G, 3G, 4G Networks continue to play an important role in the rise of Rwanda’s Economic growth while during the COVID 19 pandemic time, the use of above-mentioned networks has undoubtedly contributed to the reduction of the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, TOP AFRICA NEWS reports
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday, 21 December 2020 during a State of the Nation address announced that 4G Network has now reached 127 locations across the country.
With the modern 4G Network, it is considered to be a technology that signals a shift from voice- to the data-based transmission with high-speed in time for the onset of smartphone era and the next step forward in Rwanda.
In November 2019, Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks (KTRN) commenced the process of a network upgrade and optimization that included software and hardware upgrade along with coverage expansion in order to meet Quality of Service (QoS) demands from its customers and fill the coverage gaps experienced.
In a bid to deliver on its promise for a reliable and quality nationwide 4G network, KTRN invested more than USD 10 million in this network and system upgrade exercise and this has yielded instant good results in improving user experience on the 4G network.
“As a result of 4 G network and system upgrade, currently, KTRN possesses a more reliable network infrastructure that matches the rate of growth, meets 4G Internet demands, and increases performance to 4G full speed.” According to information retrieved from KTRN website.
With the recent upgrade and coverage expansion countrywide, KTRN is still the first telecom company in Rwanda to provide the largest network coverage with more than 98% of the population coverage.
KTRN’s wide population coverage offers a huge opportunity to private companies, public institutions, and NGOs to expand their reach in the entire country, on a reliable and fast network.
The upgrade coincided with the novel COVID-19 global epidemic that saw the world shut down, but as the world was shutting down, the internet became an even more necessary essential needed at home as work and schools relocated to homes.
However, Rwandans find that there are still a lot to be done to get connected to the fastest Internet Networks as the modern communications speed increases.
This is in addition to the high cost of Internet such as 4 G based on the capacity of those who want a fast-growing network among them are predominantly young people who are very fond of knowing what is happening around the world.
Although President Kagame did not comment much on the 4G Network during the State of the Nation address on Monday, 21 December 2020 in Kigali, he pointed out that telecommunications technology had supported Rwanda during the COVID 19 time and this is confirmed by the way he successfully conducted an interactive session with citizens in different rural and urban areas across the country.
President Kagame said “Due to the COVID-19 situation and the need to keep people safe, I was unfortunately unable to meet physically with many of you at the annual National Umushyikirano Council and the RPF Congress this year.”
However, President Kagame added “Thanks to technology, we were able to have a virtual interaction this afternoon with citizens across the country and the press. It was an opportunity to highlight important issues to thank all Rwandans for your dedication and resilience in tackling domestic and global challenges”
ICT experts believe that the development of Internet communications in Rwanda, despite the high cost for some, has made a significant contribution to the safety of the citizens during the pandemic time.
It is clear that if the deployment of Networks such as 4G is successfully and wisely used, much benefits are set to arise.
For instance, Jacques Kabandana, Country Manager at Ericsson Rwanda which is heavily involved in deploying other technologies such as 2G and 3G with its partners namely MTN Rwanda and Airtel Rwanda, finds that in this hardship times of Covid19 pandemic, it is imperative to make use of the technologies available in Rwanda whether it is 2G, 3G or 4G.
“By doing so, it will certainly help bridge the digital divide that we are all seeing. That would mean, more and more Rwandans will have access to Internet as a basic need but the latter are just infrastructure such as roads, electricity, etc…. I would call it the first step.” He explains
“The second step will now be to stem use cases that will actually make an impact to our lives. He we think about 4G use case in agriculture sector where the technology will help you determine the amount of water needed for farming, etc… in the health sector whereby you can do an e-consultation, etc…” Kabandana noted
“The use cases are even beyond our imagination.” He added.
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU