Following the successful rollout of 3G services, Kenya’s biggest mobile service provider Safaricom now intents to introduce 4G technology services that will see their customers enjoy faster internet speeds and downloads. Presently, Safaricom is the only service provider in Kenya offering 3G services to its mobile subscribers. Airtel, and Orange Telkom have already been issued with 3G license from CCK but are yet to start offering 3G services to their customers.

Safaricom will start testing 4G technology on its network and later migrate from 3G to 4G. 4G technology will provide subscribers with faster internet speeds and a larger bandwidth in general. Although migrating to 4G seems to be a costly venture, Safaricom reckons that it has the potential to give them good returns. Safaricom has 500 base stations around the country but intents to set up another 500 to increase its efficiency.
4G technology operates on different frequencies and for this reason; Safaricom will be required to get the spectrum. Technology in Africa is advancing at tremendous speeds, it is said that 4G technology would not be ideal for Africa but Safaricom indicates that Africa is ready for the rollout of such infrastructure which can provide connectivity and bring government services closer to the people.

Safaricom plans to invest more in expanding and upgrading its data infrastructure as it gears up to offer reliable services to all Kenyans. In addition, the firm plans to have a completely IP (Internet Protocol) based network that will enable them offer high quality and cost effective services as well as faster speeds. This will only be possible if Safaricom invests in its infrastructure development.

Currently, Safaricom has a huge capacity on both TEAMS and SEACOM fibre optic cables but still rely on satellite connection for redundancy. It had signed a five year contract with satellite connection providers before the landing of the fibre optic cables. Moving to 4G technology may prompt Safaricom competitors to downplay the migration considering costs involved.

With the latest development in the telecommunications sector, local ICT entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest more in innovations to gain a competitive advantage from the sector. Information from the Kenyan government indicates that the government is working to ensure that good regulatory policies that can support such growth are put in place.