More Africa NewsRwanda Gears Up for 5G Network

October 24, 2022by myles0

Rwanda is in preparation to adopt the 5th Generation mobile network to drive its digital economy as part of the newly released broadband policy over the next five years.

A fifth-generation technology ecosystem, if realized, will enable mobile and fixed wireless connectivity and services tailored to use in long-range applications, mission-critical settings, and ultra-high-capacity broadband. Using low, mid-range, and high-frequency bands, 5G can provide speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) in urban and suburban areas and up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) in hotspot applications.

Mbps are units of measurement for network bandwidth. They are used to show how fast a network or internet connection is. Each Mbps represents the capacity to transfer 1 million bits each second, or roughly one small photo per second while Gbps represents one billion bytes per second and it is a measurement of peripheral data transfer or network transmission speed.

The ambitious policy suggests a Rwf200 billion that will be invested, mainly by the private sector with catalytic seed funding by the government the investment seeks to ignite the growth and access to efficient and quality broadband services, as well as trigger steps to broaden high-speed fiber connections nationwide.

This will ensure that fiber reaches more homes, businesses, public institutions, schools, and hospitals.

Minister for ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire. Rwanda is in preparation to adopt the 5th Generation mobile network to drive its digital economy as part of the newly released broadband policy over the next five years. Photo: File.

Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation, said the policy will enable the liberalization of the telecommunication market and spectrum.

“It will allow most of our operators to make the accelerated investments and deployments in 4G but also think about creating a roadmap and enter the 5G space and start to deploy 5G technology.”

“As we think about technology giving us an opportunity to leapfrog, we can’t also afford to remain behind when many countries are starting to adopt 5G,” she added.

Currently, the much higher price for 5G user devices has some operators focused on using the technology to provide fixed access as well as mobile access but prices are expected to come down to 4G price levels in due course, states the policy.

“When a new technology generation is overtaking an earlier one, operators find it more economically efficient to move up to the next technology generation,” said the Minister.

However, the result of public and stakeholders consultations, feedback, and analysis, conducted by the ministry, highlighted challenges of adoption of broadband and revealed the low adoption and uptake of 4G-LTE in comparison with industry performance.

With numerous strides made over the past for digital transformation with investments in broadband infrastructure and availing more smart devices to the people, experts still call for more affordable internet for people to keep up with the digital era.

According to the State of Mobile Internet Connectivity report of 2021, in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 28 percent of the population is connected to broadband, 19 percent are not covered with mobile internet and the usage gap is as high as 53 percent. This is mainly due to limited affordability.

This means that three things remain imperative for investment in Africa, namely; internet coverage, access to digital devices, and bridging the skills gap – which are all interlinked for successfully becoming a digital economy.

Implementation of mobile number portability

As part of driving competition on service, the policy will allow the implementation of Mobile Number Portability that enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network carrier to another.

The policy also seeks to promote smart device penetration, open diverse international traffic routes, put in place incentives to promote innovative technology solutions, and develop a broadband industry development index to monitor growth and usage of the internet, among others.

Read the original article on New Times.

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