Telkom Kenya has announced that it has awarded the contract to roll out its 3G network to Chinese equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation; the deal is worth approximately KES4 billion (USD46.1 million). The cellco acquired the country’s third 3G licence for a reduced price of USD10 million in November 2010. Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein confirmed that the operator expects to launch commercial 3G services in all major cities before end-June 2011, before expanding the network to other areas in a phased rollout. Further, the CEO confirmed that ZTE’s 3G infrastructure will allow seamless upgrades to 4G, without the need for expensive network overlays and infrastructural replacements.
Ghossein commented: ‘Across the globe, Orange is known for its unique strengths in meeting customer expectations in the data market. The installation of the 3G network, makes it possible for us to showcase the same strength in Kenya, in addition to improving our overall Quality of Service (QoS). With speeds of up to 21Mbps, customers will have better browsing and download experiences, have access to new applications that simplify life such as GPRS, improved e-commerce and online gaming. This will in turn encourage further growth in local content development and generation’. Ghossein concluded by saying that he hopes that the introduction of HSPA+ technology will double Telkom’s subscriber base by end-2011, speculating that the cellco could achieve the second place in the market by 2015. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of 2010 Telkom was the country’s smallest cellco by subscribers, with a market share of just 4.6%, equivalent to 1.1 million customers.