Rwanda cuts KTRN monopoly on 4G spectrum

Rwanda cuts KTRN monopoly on 4G spectrum

Rwanda has moved to cut short Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks’ (KTRN) 25-year exclusive rights over the country’s 4G spectrum, to enable other operators to roll out their own 4G services and provide competition.

In an official gazette from the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), KTRN was notified of the regulator’s decision to “modify its license for network service provision” in October, as the government wants to remove regulatory hurdles preventing other operators from launching services.  

KTRN is the “dominant organisation” in Rwanda when it was awarded all spectrum for LTE and the role as a single network operator to resell capacity to rivals, in 2013.

MTN and Airtel only offer 2G and 3G services in the country through spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands, according to a 2021 GSMA report.

KTRN, a joint venture between Korea Telecom and the Rwandan government, had “varied success” by launching 4G services but the operator failed to meet coverage targets, however it “improved significantly”, noted the GSMA.

RURA detailed the move is part of Rwanda’s National Broadband Policy and Strategy which was unveiled last year with three key targets: increase market competition to accelerate adoption of broadband mobile services; making spectrum and technologies available to facilitate operator rollouts; and rallying more competition in the fibre backhaul market.

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