Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, has signed a deal with the government to construct a security system worth KES14.9 billion (USD162.2 million). Reuters writes that the project was given the go-ahead by a parliamentary committee on administration and national security in July, which cited the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September 2013, alongside attacks on the coast in recent months, as reasons to improve national surveillance and security. Under the terms of the contract, Safaricom will install and operate a communication and surveillance system that is linked to police stations, initially operating in Nairobi and Mombasa. The company’s CEO Bob Collymore said the project would take 18 months to construct. Critics have, however, complained that the contract had been awarded to Safaricom without an open bidding process.
Earlier this month Collymore was reported as saying that Safaricom would start deployment of a 4G LTE network as soon as the firm signed the security communication contract with the government, which will give it access to additional frequencies. ‘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.