Telecommunications network Tigo announced at the 2015 Transform Africa Summit in Kigali that it is the first operator to offer customers uninterrupted, on-the-go access to 4G internet on their phones.
Transform Africa 2015, is hosted by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and is a platform that brings the continent’s top political and business minds together to look at ways to help Africa through its digital transformation.
“Allowing our customers to take 4G high speed internet with them without interrupting voice services aligns well with the summit focus this year,” said Tongai Maramba, Chief Executive Officer of Tigo Rwanda in a statement.
Recently Tigo Rwanda brought 4G on mobile but it was tailor-made for post-paid customers using the Samsung J1 Ace.
“Customers kept complaining about cost, accessing 4G needed a certain set up, to buy a router which is about a couple of hundred dollars, plug it to power to create WI-FI and then access it on your laptop, your phone or your tablet but the 4G SIM is a game-changer,” Pierre Kayitana, Regional Government Relations Manager at Tigo Rwanda told CNBC Africa.
Kayitana says what makes 4G better is that it isn’t costly in general but is “slightly” higher that 3G but it comes with “quality and speed”.
Five years ago there was no infrastructure to allow for such access and now there is, so the next step is to localise what is on it.
“After connectivity, the issue of content makes a comeback – I think we need to grow a pool of entrepreneurship who can create local content because the infrastructure is there,” Kayitana said.
“4G is for those who enjoy watching movies online, streaming, gaming, CCTV and so on – so local content would be key,” he adds.
Tigo customers with 4G-enabled smartphones will now be able to get their SIM upgraded at the booth at the Summit Exhibition or from any Tigo Store across Rwanda.
Tigo has seven operations in Africa, mostly Central Africa including Tanzania, Congo where 4G is a priority in those countries.