Roke Telkom, a Ugandan public service provider for voice and data communications services and Facebook Inc, a global social networking service provider, have launched a new internet service program dubbed Roke Express Wi-Fi to take high-speed internet connections to millions of Ugandans at a lower cost.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Roger Sekaziga, the Chief Executive Officer of Roke Telkom said; “I wish to extend our gratitude to Facebook and its founder, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg for extending this opportunity to us. We thank Facebook for choosing us as the ideal partner for the Express Wi-Fi initiative in Uganda. Your choice is a great mark of confidence in our services and brand and we commit to ensure that through this partnership, millions of Ugandans gain access to affordable internet across the country.”
According to a Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) 2019 report, only 23% of a population of more than 44 million Ugandans were internet users. A Forbes 2020 report also indicated that there was a 70% increase in internet usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic therefore this initiative will go a long way in enabling a number of Ugandans access the internet.
“The Roke Express Wi-Fi is a more scalable service network that will enable us increase the number of access points to the internet, improve our deployment scale and enhance the efficiency to over 600 Rokespots,” Mr. Sekaziga said. He added that Roke is now able to offer a more diversified set of services including; promotional offers, while charging for some, which will ultimately improve the company’s customer’s experiences and position Roke Telkom as a front runner in internet service provision.
Roke Telkom expects the program to enhance its ability to understand the market better and tailor products best fit for its customers. “This partnership represents a great deal to our company and also Uganda at large, seeing that now more Ugandans will be able to access better internet services even in the most remote regions of the country at affordable prices,” Mr. Sekaziga noted.
Facebook first began testing its Express Wi-Fi service network five years ago, and has since expanded across many African countries including; Tanzania, Kenya and most recently Uganda. The program is intended to offer local entrepreneurs and the grass root communities affordable internet services. The partnership between Facebook and Roke Telkom is the first of its kind to be launched in Uganda.
Mr. Michael Mukasa, the Chief Commercial Officer at Roke Telkom said that, “Roke Telkom is a 100% Ugandan enterprise and our key tenet is inclusion, therefore we are proud to be making strategic strides and impactful partnerships towards not only our business growth but also continuously shaping the internet service space and technological needs of Ugandans in an ever-evolving digital era.”
Such strategic partnerships indicate that, regardless of the setbacks COVID-19 has created, Ugandan enterprises continue to strive to bring better services to the citizens.
Uganda becomes the 8th country in Africa to partner with Facebook to build more internet access points that will enable developing countries easily set up and manage their hotspots, in turn providing high speed connectivity to more communities.