Orange, Airtel authorised to test 4G

24 Apr 2015

The Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya has given mobile operators Airtel and Telkom Kenya (Orange) approval to start testing 4G technology using their current spectrum allocations, Business Daily reports. Safaricom, the country’s largest wireless operator by subscribers, is currently the only player to have launched a commercial LTE network, which was switched on in parts of Nairobi and Mombasa in December. ‘So far all the NFP [Network Facility Provider] Tier 1 licensees have been authorised to carry out tests [of 4G] on the spectrum they are already using,’ the regulator’s director-general Francis Wangusi was quoted as saying, adding that mobile operators were being encouraged to re-farm their existing frequencies and roll out national 4G networks that would allow them to share the capacity with other players. However, Telkom Kenya CEO Vincent Lobry said that the firm has not yet initiated trials of LTE on its network, as it is currently focusing on optimising its 3G services, which are available in 41 areas across the country. ‘Having the licence is one thing, acquiring the bandwidth and capacity compatible with LTE is the other part of the equation. The industry regulator needs to provide the mechanism on how such frequencies will be allocated/sold to all players in the sector… A commercial rollout of 4G by Orange Telkom Kenya will be advised by our Strategic Plan as we look forward to providing the ‘services of the future’ to our customers in the long term,’ he revealed.