Rwanda: Rwanda Up 47 Places in New Global Internet Speed Report

Rwanda made the biggest leap in fixed broadband speeds, with the result that its position in the global rankings raised by 47 places, according to Speedtest Global Index by Ookla, a global network intelligence and connectivity research firm.

Beyond Rwanda, the report indicates, a number of African countries have surged in global rankings that gauge internet speeds at telcos and internet service providers, thanks in part to the intensity of investments into network infrastructure as well as deployment.

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By the end of 2022, seven African countries had moved up by more than five positions in the global ranking of median mobile internet download speeds, while seven others upped their fixed broadband speed rankings by a similar number of spots.

“Internet connectivity continues to speed ahead for people around the world, especially as countries prioritize and improve mobile and fixed broadband networks,” authors of the report said.

Over the first 11 months of 2022, fixed broadband speeds grew faster by 28 per cent than mobile download speeds 17 per cent compared to the previous year.

In particular, lowly-ranked African countries, Rwanda inclusive, made the most significant strides.

For Rwanda, liberalization of the sector grants 114 fixed broadband licenses to internet service providers–including continental heavyweight Liquid Telecom and mobile network operators, MTN and Airtel–between 2021 and 2022.

“Accordingly, this enabled the expansion of the fiber optic network to the households and corporate services in the City of Kigali, Musanze, and Rubavu,” according to Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA).

The country is also expected to roll out Starlink internet services not later than February, a move that could potentially allow for an even larger leap.

Internet penetration in Rwanda stood at 60.6 percent by the close of 2022, with its international bandwidth capacity rising by 29.4 percent.

Another big leap was witnessed in Malawi, moving nine positions to 148 while Djibouti and Congo jumped seven slots to 153 and 103 respectively, while Mauritius, Lesotho, and Guinea improved their rankings by five places each to settle at 113, 127 and 154.

Burkina Faso, previously among the lowest ranking countries, moved up the most places in Africa’s mobile internet speeds, shifting 22 places to rank 102.

Botswana and Uganda, already seated higher in the global rankings, moved 15 places each to 47 and 57 respectively.

Among Africa’s largest economies, Kenya rose by five slots to 87 and Nigeria by one position to 92 in their mobile internet speeds rankings. However, Egypt and South Africa both saw their mobile rankings fall by six and nine slots respectively, to positions 91 and 64.

“We accelerated network investment to R17.1 billion ($950 million) and spent an additional R7 billion ($412 million) on securing 4G and 5G spectrum in the key markets of South Africa and Nigeria,” said MTN president and CEO Ralph Mupita in a statement on its financial performance.

The investment, MTN said, increased access to broadband services to 85.5 percent of the population and led to an average 22.5 percent reduction in data tariffs.