Rwanda to end 4G wholesale deal for KT partner
The government of Rwanda is to end the right of a local company, part-owned by Korea Telecom (KT), to provide wholesale 4G services to other operators
KT Rwanda Networks (KTRN), which is 51% owned by the South Korean company, will now face infrastructure competition from other operators.
The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) said in a statement: “The new national broadband policy and strategy proposes a shift away from service-based competition and a redesign of the market structure that allows for the deployment of advanced networks and services.”
KTRN, 49% owned by the government, had a licence for 25 years that was issued in 2013 – and thus was originally due to run until 2038. It opened its 4G wholesale network in January 2018, and that now covers 95% of the 13 million population (see map).
The move follows a decision by the government in its 2022 National Broadband Network Policy, which called for KTRN’s monopoly to end, allowing operators such as AirtelTigo and MTN to enter the market. Both currently offer services via KTRN’s 4G wholesale infrastructure, in which Korea Telecom is thought to have invested $140 million.
RURA said: “It’s about removing the regulatory barriers that get in the way.” But the government also sees the move as a way of encouraging the adoption of newer technologies to the country.
Reports from Kigali say that at the same time there will be competition in the backhaul market. This was originally supplied by the government.