Rwandatel’s Internet subscriber base is set to increase by 10 percent in the first 12 months following the telecom company’s official launch of its connection to international fibre optics.
A month ago, Rwandatel signed a partnership deal with SEACOM and its sister company in Kampala called Uganda Telecom to have SEACOM’s connection. This meant that Rwandatel’s 2G, 3G and ADSL customers can now access uninterrupted high speed connectivity with bandwidth provided by SEACOM.
According to the company’s CEO, Patrick Kariningufu Internet users will even double if the service is well marketed and after the undersea cable is fully connected to Rwanda.
Kariningufu said that there is no doubt, “it is an exciting and truly transformation time for Rwanda. Education and the internet are the two synonymous aspects in life.”
“As a company, Rwandatel is firmly committed to advancing quality-person to person community network through this technology,” he added.
Kariningufu also explained that after the landing of the SEACOM fibre optic cable in Mombasa, Rwandatel immediately went in to negotiations with SEACOM and today they have the internet users have started enjoying the super fast internet.
With the connectivity to SEACOM, Rwandatel acquired 155 Mbps and they are planning to buy more from the company.
Kariningufu also explained that Internet prices will not immediately go down but they are expecting them to go down early next year.
He also added that the company is still connected to the satellite and they will be using SEACOM’s connectivity and satelite but they will abandon the satellite connection by the end of the year.
Rwandatel has been paying $2,000 (Rwf1.3 million) for every Mbps while using the satellite but now they are buying it at $200 (Rwf112,950) for the same amount of bandwidth.
“Business will drastically grow in Rwanda and the region as a whole, connecting to SEACOM means we are connected directly to the world, e.g. now it just takes 40 milliseconds to connect to Kenya and 300 milliseconds to connect to the USA,” Kariningufu explained.
Internet users can now expect near-instant e-mail downloads, streaming of real-time multimedia content and quick access of web-based services to be part of their day to day lives.
It is expected that education in the form of e-learning will become more widespread and accessible, cost-effectively and efficiently.
According to the recent AEO report released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali, Rwandatel still remains the dominant Internet provider in the country.
”Rwandatel has 62 percent on its ADSL network compared to MTN’s 35 percent on the GPRS (32KBps) and Wimax network (64 KBps, 256 KBps and 1 MBps). Artel and ISPA share the remaining 3 percent,” the report says.