Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, plans to start deployment of a 4G LTE network in the next two weeks, and aims to launch commercial services within a year, Business Daily cites the company’s CEO Bob Collymore as saying. ‘We are going to roll out two LTE networks in the next twelve months — one for the government covering Nairobi and Mombasa and a commercial one covering 15 major towns,’ the executive revealed. Work on the network rollout will begin as soon as Safaricom signs a KES14.9 billion (USD163 million) security communication contract with the government in the next two weeks, which will give it access to additional frequencies.
The move follows a decision by Safaricom to pull out of a government-backed national 4G joint venture network, plans for which have made limited progress: ‘We have decided to go it alone because we are not seeing the feasibility of a joint network that the government has been talking about for the past two years,’ Collymore added. Safaricom has already completed the construction of fibre-optic cables in Nairobi to allow for the upgrade of its 2G and 3G sites to LTE.