The Ministry of Environment has leased state land to TRES Infrastructure Ltd, a telecommunication company specializing in optical fiber transmission and network optimization, to expand network coverage across the country.
The allocation of the state land was among cabinet resolutions that were released on January 25, 2024.
The firm will leverage on allocated state land to expand network coverage nationwide.
Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya the minister of environment told The New Times that the allocated plots are strategically located in key districts that include; Kamonyi, Nyanza, Muhanga, Ruhango, Nyamagabe, Musanze, Gakenke, Karongi, and Nyagatare.
“This expansion initiative underscores government commitment to providing reliable and high-quality telecommunication services to residents nationwide. The establishment of antennas in these diverse regions aims to bridge connectivity gaps and contribute to the overall development of the country,” she said.
The firm will establish antennas, aligning with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation policy and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) standards.
The intervention comes after complaints about the lack of network in some parts of the country.
“In Rubavu district, especially in Nyakiriba sector, we have network issues. We struggle with calling and internet networks,” said Rodriguez Neza, a resident of Rubavu district.
Peter Imanishimwe, a resident of Jabana sector in Gasabo district said: “Three years have elapsed without network in Bweramvura locality in Jabana sector. Calls, SMS, and Internet do not work properly. To get network, we have to first go to Karuruma.”
Residents of Nyakariro sector in Rwamagana district and those from Ruhuha sector in Bugesera district have also been complaining about poor network which makes calling on mobile phones difficult.
In 2021, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) ordered local telecommunications companies to solve all problems related to its call services as members of the public have over the years been raising concerns about call and internet connection services.
2,000 antennas needed
In October 2023, the Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire said that Rwanda needs more than 2,000 antennas to solve the problem of network across the country.
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Currently, 2,800 antennas are installed countrywide.
Rwanda needs at least $30 million (approx Rwf30 billion) to expand cellular and internet networks to 300 sites identified across the country, Ingabire said.
The latest Mobile Connectivity Index by Global Systems Mobile Telecommunications Association shows that Rwanda has 61.5 per cent internet infrastructure, 30.3 per cent affordability, and 42.1 consumer readiness.
This is while internet connectivity in Rwanda stands at 60.6 percent of the entire population while mobile penetration is at 81.4 percent, according to the latest data available.
Improving cellular and internet networks would mean that more people would get connected through Telco players in the country to efficiently tap into opportunities at hand in a service-led economy.