Let’s use free internet to grow our businesses

Recently, the ministry of ICT and the city authorities lauched free wireless Internet in specific areas in the City of Kigali under what was dubbed the ‘Smart Kigali’. Selceted places, including bus stations, commercial buildings and restaurants and some public buses now have wireless broadband. This initiative presents immense opportunities to city dwellers, especially those who work ‘on the go’.
Nsengiyumva (second right) and City of Kigali Mayor Fidel Ndayisaba enjoy free Internet on a city commuter bus during the launch of the ‘Smart Kigali’ initiative. The New Times / File
Nsengiyumva (second right) and City of Kigali Mayor Fidel Ndayisaba enjoy free Internet on a city commuter bus during the launch of the ‘Smart Kigali’ initiative. The New Times / File

Recently, the ministry of ICT and the city authorities lauched free wireless Internet in specific areas in the City of Kigali under what was dubbed the ‘Smart Kigali’. Selceted places, including bus stations, commercial buildings and restaurants and some public buses now have wireless broadband. This initiative presents immense opportunities to city dwellers, especially those who work ‘on the go’.

However, since this is a free service, many people may use it for social purposes when the initiative was created to trigger and drive data business in Rwanda and show people that they can remain productive anywhere; away from their workplaces and homes.

The ICT ministry is urging restaurant and hotel operators to provided free wireless Internet, whose cost can be embedded in the services for the same reason. The facility is also meant to expand paid data market so that telecoms may make profits out of this service.

Out of curiosity, I caught with the Minister for Youth and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Jean Philbert Nsengimana, to understand these developments.

This is especially how Rwanda should use ICT for socio-economic development and create ICT jobs and investments.

Many Rwandans are eager to use ICT in a much smarter way to boost their businesses and change their lives.

While government targets to create 200,000 off-farm jobs per year, it’s said that only 1004,000 jobs are created, leaving the private sector the unenviable task of ensuring this tartget is met.

“Our dream is not becoming an ICT hub, but a knowledge-based economy. That’s where we want to go with ICT,” said Nsengimana

I can’t agree more, especially after an inspirational discussion last week by a group of successful young ICT entrepreneurs.

Among them was Clarisse Iribagiza, a young woman who embraced ICT and is the founder CEO of HeHe Limited, a leading mobile technologies Company established in 2010.

Anyway, if we are to enjoy the benefits of the digital era, harnessing the Internet and ICT to ease work processes, should be everyone’s target.

And with the regional market, embracing ICT will make business operations in the East African Community faster and easier.

The good thing is that the telecom market in Rwanda is growing steadily and only requires proper management and well developed strategy and organised customer care to operate more smoothly.

“As we enter into a knowledge economy, there must be a digital lifestyle as well, where one is able to access services regardless of time and location,” Nsengimana noted.

As Liquid Telecom ups operations, people are expecting affordable rates, as well as quality services, and capacity to link Rwanda to the rest of the world.

The company comes in the market when a strong foundation has been laid with 10 per cent in broadband penetration and 65 per cent of mobile penetration this year from less than 5 per cent five years ago.

“We expect Liquid Telecom to expand the Internet market, especially fixed broadband Internet which is also their specialisation,” the minister stressed.

Data could give Liquid Telecom a competitive advantage since a number of companies that provide data service do it as a secondary business, with top business in mobile money and voice.

The company is therefore, expected to contribute in expanding the data market still underserved, especially for homes and corporate market segments.

With more competition and increasing demand, Rwandans hope that the market will react by lowering the prices, allowing more people to access the service.

In a period of one month since the entry of Liquid Telecom, it has caused a stir in the industry. This is a positive development for data users.

However, it is important that the new investor studies the market further to be able to give Rwanda the quality service. All that is required is to do the right thing and and help Rwandans live a happy and rewarding digital life.

The writer works with Private Sector Federation

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News