Bboxx, MTN Rwanda sign partnership to increase smartphone access in Rwanda

On 18 July 2023 at 10:13

Bboxx Capital Rwanda, a data-driven super platform, and MTN Rwandacell, Rwanda’s largest mobile network operator have signed a strategic partnership aimed at widening access to smartphones across the country and accelerating the country’s digital agenda.

Rwanda has achieved a remarkable mobile network coverage of 99%, but smartphone penetration remains low at 23.5%.

This partnership aims to build on the Government of Rwanda and MTN Rwanda’s goal to ’Connect Rwanda’ by ensuring every household has a smartphone. The two companies will leverage their combined expertise and shared vision to bridge the digital divide by increasing internet access to previously unconnected people.

Through the agreement, both companies will be able to provide affordable pay-as-you-go smartphones to customers who would otherwise not afford them, and all customers who buy a smartphone will receive a free data pack that consists of 1 GB per month for a period of three months to enable them to start their digital journey.

“At Bboxx, we are proud to partner with MTN because this will enable us to improve access to information and digital services, strengthen the digital economy and increase our contribution to socio-economic development in Rwanda,” John Uwizeye, Bboxx Rwanda Managing Director commented at the launch.

Through Bboxx Connect, customers will have a flexible repayment plan of six months or twelve months. Customers can make payments through MTN Mobile Money short code *182*2*4*2#.

“At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and by partnering with Bboxx, we continue to make this vision a reality. This collaboration represents a significant step in bridging the digital divide by expanding access to affordable smartphones across the country. Together, we are committed to creating a more connected world to enable individuals and communities to access the power of the internet and thrive in this digital age,” MTN Rwanda CEO Mapula Bodibe added.

By rapidly increasing access to smartphones, the two companies are not just reducing digital divide but also expanding the formal financial economy. Every customer’s smartphone payment history will be used in their credit scoring to make them eligible for loans from different financial institutions in Rwanda.

Prior to the partnership, both companies independently introduced their own unique PAYGO smartphone offerings to the Rwandan market. The two products; MTN Macye Macye and Bboxx Connect have together added tens of thousands of new Rwandan smartphone users independently.

The goal of the partnership is to maximize the synergies of the two companies’ products and services and retail capacity to achieve faster smartphone penetration. Once successful, the partnership will lay a foundation for additional collaboration opportunities between the two entities in other countries where they both operate.