Symbol image: cell tower

Mobile communications and Internet in Rwanda

Compared to the United States, Rwanda is massively lagging behind in the development of telecommunications. Under the country code +250, there were a total of 10.91 million connections in 2021. Among them were 10.90 million mobile phones, which corresponds to an average of 0.81 per person. In the US, this figure is 1.1 mobile phones per person.

With about 1,447 webhosts, Rwanda is below the world's average by population. At the end of 2020, 1,061 of these, or about 73 percent, were secured with SSL or comparable encryption.

Back to overview: Rwanda

Internet speed for cell phones and fixed network

With an average download speed of 31.99 Mbit/second for fixed-network broadband internet, Rwanda ranks 112nd in an international comparison. The upload rate of only 10.09 Mbit/second was significantly lower (128th place).

The Speedtest Global Index published regularly by Ookla is based on several million individual measurements in April 2023 from 180 countries.

Mobile phone rates in Rwanda

Every year, the International Telecommunication Union calculates for many countries what a mobile phone contract costs to use. A monthly budget averaging US$ 7.00 was calculated Rwanda in 2021. This is about the same value as in the previous year.

The ITU refers to the costs for monthly use and includes 140 telephony minutes, 70 text messages and a data transfer of 2 GBytes. The transfer speed should be the minimum of a 3G connection, i.e. at least UMTS, which is already outdated in many parts of the world. 2 GBytes do not sound much. However, this is already quite a high consumption in a worldwide comparison. If one does not take a fixed amount in US dollars, but converts it to the economic output per inhabitant, a user in Rwanda spends 11.10% of his gross national income on mobile telephony. Worldwide, this rate is around 6.6 percent.

In the USA, the monthly cost was around $38.10.

Lack of network coverage with 5G

A modern 5G network does not yet exist in Rwanda (as of 2021). The penetration rate of 4G, i.e., mobile communications with at least LTE speed, was recently 98.07 percent. In other words, 259,814.44 people in the country had to make do with a maximum Internet speed of the outdated UMTS standard (or even less).

The following diagrams show the development of the various telephone and internet connections as a percentage of the country's population. Values above 100 percent mean that, on average, every inhabitant has more than one connection.

Access to the internet in Rwanda from 1990 - 2021

Broadband internet in Rwanda 2004 - 2021

Symbol image: cell towerRwanda is lagging behind in the expansion of broadband internet connections. Around 30 percent of all residents have access to the internet. Around 0 percent have their own fast internet connection, which is at least faster than the former ISDN (more than 256 kbit/s). All fixed connections via DSL, cable or satellite were counted here, but not those connected to the internet via mobile communications.

Landlines 1990 - 2021

Mobile phones 1990 - 2021

The increasing prevalence of cell phones and the simultaneous decline in landline phones clearly indicate a change in Rwanda. While the number of landlines has fallen significantly in recent years, the spread of cell phones has risen to 81 cell phone subscriptions per 100 people at last count. Such a clear shift does not occur in all countries, but the trend points in the same direction internationally.

All international calling codes

Distribution in 2021Rwanda
Internet users4.10 m30.46 %304.52 m91.75 %
Broadband users31,902.000.24 %125.89 m37.93 %
Landlines11,893.000.09 %97.82 m29.47 %
Mobile cellulars10.90 m80.99 %361.66 m108.97 %

United States of America: TelecommunicationTelecommunication in the United States of AmericaComparison of technological development and communication in the United States of America with the countries of the European Union
Hong Kong: Public HolidaysPublic holidays in Hong Kong 2023-2027Statutory and inofficial holidays in Hong Kong for 2023 to 2027
Venezuela: InflationInflation rates in VenezuelaDevelopment of inflation rates over the last 40 years in Venezuela incl. comparison with the U.S.