KT Corporation and Rwanda Government sign Shareholders Agreement to establish a JV company to build and operate a wholesale-only 4G LTE broadband network
KIGALI, Rwanda – 10 June 2013: The Government of Rwanda and KT Corporation (NYSE: KT), South Korea’s largest telecommunications provider, today signed a shareholders agreement to establish a Joint Venture (JV) Company to deploy a high-speed (4G LTE ) broadband network to cover 95 per cent of the population in three years.
As principal shareholders, KT will bring expertise and make staged cash injection of around $140 million, while the Government’s equity investment in the JV includes assignment of its extensive (over 3,000 km) national fibre optic network assets, spectrum and a wholesale-only operator license. Debt and vendor financing will be sourced, to complement these equity contributions.
Rwanda’s current mobile network operators are invited to invest in the project, and it is expected that these companies and other ISPs will provide retail access to 4G LTE wireless broadband services for 12 million end-users (at full maturity of the market).
The JV established for an initial 25 year term was co-signed on behalf of the Government of Rwanda by Ms Clare Akamanzi (CEO of Rwanda Development Board) and on behalf of KT Corporation by Mr Yung Kim (President and Group Chief Strategy Officer) and ratified by and Hon. Jean Philbert Nsengimana (Minister of Youth and ICT).
Minister Nsengimana said:
“Rwanda’s citizens and businesses must have access to the tools that will enable them to seize the opportunities of the digital age — and none is more important than fast, reliable and accessible broadband.
“This agreement with KT marks a major milestone in Rwanda’s drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy – and by expanding our information infrastructure, we will create jobs, support social progress and propel economic growth."
Mr Yung Kim said:
“We believe a nationwide broadband based on 4G LTE technology is the key foundation for Rwanda’s ICT development. Public-Private-Partnership with the Government of Rwanda to build the 4G LTE network for wholesale is a unique and innovative way to achieve an accelerated nationwide broadband coverage and it shows other developing countries to follow.
The wholesale network service for mobile broadband will help to promote healthy competition for advanced retail services and solutions, and will benefit consumers, enterprises and the nation. KT looks forward to actively participating in this great opportunity and is excited to be able to partner the Government of Rwanda to bring this plan to fruition. “
This rapid deployment of high-speed broadband capability in Rwanda will accelerate development of the country’s ICT sector, create jobs (including more than 100 professional jobs within the JV itself), as well as help facilitate social and economic progress. Based on recent reports published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 95 per cent broadband penetration will translate into a 10 to 13 per cent boost in GDP growth for Rwanda.
KT and Rwanda will also seek opportunities to extend the business model of this JV to neighbouring countries.
Deployment is expected to commence later this year after further detailed planning.
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About Rwanda Development Board
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is Rwanda Government’s specialized agency tasked with the mission to fast track economic development in Rwanda: its mandate is to enable private sector growth towards the transformation of Rwanda into a hub for global business, investment, and innovation. RDB invites, receives, and facilitates international investors to take full advantage of Rwanda’s sustained high economic growth, robust governance, investor-friendly climate, accessibility to markets within the region, and a range of well-planned projects for direct investment.
About KT Corporation
KT is the largest integrated telecommunications service provider in the Republic of Korea. Originally founded as the Korea Telecommunication Association in 1981, KT’s evolution mirrors Korea’s rapid development in the information communication technology. The company initially provided telephone services, which paved the way to its new businesses, including high-speed internet service and IPTV.
Since a 2009 merger with KTF (wireless affiliate), KT provides the world a convergence of fixed and mobile services. In 2012, KT introduced LTE technology to the market thereby adding momentum to its expansion and focuses in media, global ICT convergence, etc. Currently, KT is taking initiatives in creating a virtual goods market where goods can be traded and consumed over the broadband network such as music, learning services, banking and security.
Government of Rwanda Initiatives for ICT Sector Growth
The Government of Rwanda continues to implement a rapid succession of creative initiatives towards its policy goal to transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based society, using ICT as a key enabler. These initiatives include 3,000 km of the national fibre optic infrastructure completed in 2010; the “One Laptop per Child” program; the e-Soko program which enables farmers to purchase subsidized handsets for use with the real time agri-products information system; and government efficiency programs including e-Government, e-Health and e-Education.