SEACOM brings joy to Rwanda

September 25, 2009 • Mobile and Telecoms

Brian_Herlihy_SEACOM.jpgRwanda is already reaping the benefits of the SEACOM fibre optic cable projectand internet subscriber base is expected to grow by 10%, The New Times said today.

Rwandatel signed a partnership deal with SEACOM and its sister company in Kampala called Uganda Telecom to have SEACOM’s connection a month ago. This new partnership gives Rwandatel’s 2G, 3G and ADSL customers uninterrupted high speed connectivity with bandwidth provided by SEACOM.

SEACOM_brian2.jpgAccording to the company’s CEO, Patrick Kariningufu Internet users will even double if the service is well marketed and after the undersea cable is fully connected to Rwanda.

Kariningufu said that there is no doubt, “it is an exciting and truly transformation time for Rwanda. Education and the internet are the two synonymous aspects in life.” “As a company, Rwandatel is firmly committed to advancing quality-person to person community network through this technology,” he added.

Kariningufu also explained that after the landing of the SEACOM fibre optic cable in Mombasa, Rwandatel immediately went in to negotiations with SEACOM and today they have the internet users have started enjoying the super fast internet.

With the connectivity to SEACOM, Rwandatel acquired 155 Mbps and they are planning to buy more from the company.

Kariningufu also explained that Internet prices will not immediately go down but they are expecting them to go down early next year.

He also added that the company is still connected to the satellite and they will be using SEACOM’s connectivity and satelite but they will abandon the satellite connection by the end of the year.

Rwandatel has been paying $2,000 (Rwf1.3 million) for every Mbps while using the satellite but now they are buying it at $200 (Rwf112,950) for the same amount of bandwidth.

“Business will drastically grow in Rwanda and the region as a whole, connecting to SEACOM means we are connected directly to the world, e.g. now it just takes 40 milliseconds to connect to Kenya and 300 milliseconds to connect to the USA,” Kariningufu explained.

Internet users can now expect near-instant e-mail downloads, streaming of real-time multimedia content and quick access of web-based services to be part of their day to day lives.

It is expected that education in the form of e-learning will become more widespread and accessible, cost-effectively and efficiently.

According to the recent AEO report released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Kigali, Rwandatel still remains the dominant Internet provider in the country.

“Rwandatel has 62 percent on its ADSL network compared to MTN’s 35 percent on the GPRS (32KBps) and Wimax network (64 KBps, 256 KBps and 1 MBps). Artel and ISPA share the remaining 3 percent,” the report says.

  • Frustrated in Dar

    It is extremely frustrating that people in Kampala–more than 800 kilometers and a country away from the landing station in Mombasa–are connected to SEACOM and enjoying increased bandwidth (if not reduced prices, yet). But great news for Kampala!

    The landing station in Dar es Salaam is about 15 km from my house, but I’m still stuck with 56kbps up and 256kbps down using a “3G” connection with Vodacom (I joke that I’m drinking from a water fountain through a fire hose), and a WiMAX connection to a local ISP (128 kbps on a good day, but generally closer to 28.8kbps). I pay about $150 for 4.6 GiB on Vodacom (to be used within 90 days), and $100 a month for the unmetered WiMAX.

    Are there any ISPs in Tanzania that actually offer SEACOM connectivity to consumers? I’m aware of only one business-level ISP (SimbaNet) that offers it, but I don’t have $1000 a month to spend. The one consumer ISP (TTCL, the public telecom utility) that supposedly offers SEACOM connectivity over ADSL has such an atrocious service record and pricing policy (more expensive per KB than my 3G card) that someone would have to pay me to use them. Where is the “competition”? Where is the “equal access”?

  • Frustrated in Dar

    Edits to the above: Replace “Kampala” with “Kigali” and “800 km away” with “1000 km away”. Increase frustration level by 25%.

  • still waiting for good ISPs in dar (tanzania) that use seacom..ttcl has a new 45,000 tsh/- per month deal out for unlimited bandwith that supposedly offers 256 up/down. cant be right tho

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