MTN Rwanda and Bbox to increase smartphone access

19 July 2023

Bboxx and MTN Rwandacell PLC have announced a transformational new strategic partnership aimed at widening access to smartphones across Rwanda and accelerating the country’s digital agenda.

Bboxx and MTN Rwanda will leverage their combined expertise and shared vision to make essential technology more accessible for all Rwandans, helping to bridge the digital divide and provide internet access to previously unconnected communities. A significant barrier to delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is low smartphone penetration; despite network coverage of 99%, Rwanda’s current smartphone penetration stands at just 23.5%. This initiative perfectly builds upon the Rwandan government and MTN Rwanda's existing goal to 'Connect Rwanda’ by ensuring that every household has access to a smartphone.

Bboxx’s pay-as-you-go smartphone service, Bboxx Connect, will give customers a simpler, more accessible, way to pay for their smartphones while providing a tool for financial education and helping them build credit worthiness. This will, in turn, strengthen the digital economy and fuel socio-economic development across the country.

MTN Rwanda, in turn, will provide SIM cards, making use of its 99% coverage in Rwanda, and will also offer a starter data pack that consists of 1Gb per month for a period of three months to all customers who sign up for Bboxx Connect. The deal will also see Bboxx’s existing suite of IoT-enabled household appliances connected with telecommunications services provided by MTN Rwanda.

"This partnership underscores our commitment to unlocking potential through technological innovation. With MTN Rwanda's extensive reach, we will scale our Bboxx Connect service to enhance affordability and accessibility of smartphones for customers across Rwanda,” said Mansoor Hamayun, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bboxx. “This is not only an innovative business collaboration but a significant step forward in the global effort to end the digital divide and deliver affordable, life-changing technology to all.”

“At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and by partnering with Bboxx, we continue to make this vision a reality. This collaboration represents a significant step in bridging the digital divide by expanding access to affordable smartphones across the country. Together, we are committed to creating a more connected world to enable individuals and communities to access the power of the internet and thrive in this digital age,” said MTN Rwanda CEO Mapula Bodibe.