Kenyan mobile giant Safaricom has promised to double 3G broadband speeds to 42Mbps, Business Daily Africa reports. Although the operator has not explicitly confirmed the exact technical specifications behind the increase in speeds, it is assumed that the advanced connections are courtesy of a Dual Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) network deployment. The move comes just a month after long-term rival Airtel Kenya launched its own belated 3G network in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret and Naivasha. Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore commented: ‘The network will run at 42Mbps from the current 21Mbps, and it will be the fastest network in the whole of East and Central Africa. We are already receiving the modems to support the new network’. However, Collymore offered no indications as to when the advanced speeds will be available to end-users, aside from saying that the rollout will begin in Nairobi and the surrounding area before going nationwide. The CEO was speaking at the Connected Kenya 2012 summit in Mombasa.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Safaricom inaugurated the country’s first 3G network in May 2008, and currently counts in excess of five million 3G subscriber accounts. Meanwhile, Airtel Kenya confirmed the belated launch of its 3G network this February, almost two years after being awarded a UMTS concession by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). During the interim period, smaller rival Telkom Kenya – which secured a 3G licence a full five months after Airtel – went on to launch its 3G network in August 2011, albeit on a limited geographical basis.