Reference is made to the article, “4G Internet launched” (The New Times, November 12). I cannot hide my excitement regarding the availability of LTE in Rwanda. Hopefully, I will be able to afford the package.
However, I am engrossed with pity that my rural comrades (75 per cent of the population) who may struggle to access such technology due to the high cost and lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity. Experts may argue that you don’t need electricity to have access to LTE. And I can’t agree more.
If our mobile phone coverage can reach most remote areas, then our comrades in rural Rwanda should be able to benefit. Whatsoever arguments one may put forward the internet is a luxury to many rural families and does not make it to the list of priorities. However, this does not mean that the long-term gains of LTE should be minimised.
We should show gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for having allowed the Koreans to do business that has a presumably significant multiplier effect on local business. I am looking forward to the day when objective research will reveal how LTE is used across the different social groups, with empirical evidence demonstrating the benefits (life changing) of LTE to Rwanda (not only Kigali).
Let’s do the math: I use a 3G modem from MTN and I’m allocated a daily limit of 1 GB where I pay Rwf21, 000 monthly. Why on earth would I shift to LTE with a monthly bundle of 5GB at Rwf18, 600?
For the same data usage of 30GB monthly you would pay an astounding Rwf111, 600. That’s a price increase of 360 per cent on rate MB/Rwf or exactly Rwf90, 600. And of course you have to buy a new hardware that’s LTE-compatible.
Who’s willing to switch to LTE? Not me; sorry.
All new products are first and foremost for the exclusive luxury class, if it is cheap and affordable to every one of us, it will not be attractive to them. Let LTE suck money out from them, and once they have paid off their investment, it will gradually come down to us all and by that time, the exclusive class will have upgraded to 5G!
Nothing is impossible. Many years ago, the mobile voice technology was never considered affordable and no one knew that it would ever be affordable for the low income earners. People thought it will never be. Now, most Africans can afford it. In my own opinion, availability first, and then other elements will evolve in appropriate direction. Give it some time, the LTE package pricing will go down. Never say never!