The number of Rwandans using mobile phones to connect to the Internet is likely to rise rapidly in the coming years as mobile providers compete to attract users to their data plans.
IGIHE has established.
Though this is considered as a significant progress in Rwanda’s ICT development, Internet Café operators who spoke to IGIHE confirmed that if the current trend of Mobile Internet continues, they will risk closing doors.
Habimana Eric who owns a small Internet Café in Kimironko Sector of Gasabo District said that the number of his clients has significantly decreased since telecommunication companies started giving internet services to their subscribers.
Rwanda’s Internet penetration grew from less than 1% in 2000 to 7% at the end of December 2011.
With the existing ICT infrastructure as well as access network rollout program, internet penetration is projected to increase tremendously to over by 2016.
Citizens have benefitted so much though Internet vendors see the trend as to hinder the progress of their businesses
For many mobile Internet users, the attraction lies in apps that allow them to make calls or send messages for free.
"I have an Internet subscription on my mobile because I use several apps to make international calls and send SMSs for free," said Kamugisha, a resident of Kinyinya Sector.
Even small farmers in Rwanda do not fear to ask for Internet connection in their mobile phones expressing the desire to remain connected to the world.
Mahoro, 57, and a mother of 5 has said” I always hear my children talking about Facebook so could you help me install the Internet in my phone so that I can browse like young people?.”
No matter to the sharp trend of mobile Internet, the problem will be there if subscribers failed to explore new technologies in a productive way
The country’s leading mobile telephony providers are MTN Rwanda, TIGO and Airtel.
According to official statistics the network coverage accounts for 99.79% of the country and the current subscriber base is at 48.1% (5,155,697 subscribers September 2012).
The long term outlook of growth in these numbers is 7,437,196 by 2016.