Safaricom launches advanced 4G network
04 December 2014, 20:54
Nairobi - Kenya's largest mobile phone
firm Safaricom on Thursday officially launched its LTE Advanced (4G) network
aimed at improving communication and data services in the East African nation.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said the LTE Advanced network
will offer peak speeds of up to 100Mbps, which is more than twice the speed
offered on 3G technology.
"This makes it possible for customers to download and
upload files faster, as well as enjoy buffer-free streaming of audio and
video," Collymore told journalists in Nairobi.
The LTE Advanced is the most advanced version of the 4G
system for mobile networks and promises to pass on significant improvements in
data speeds and latency to its customers while maintaining superior voice
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Safaricom, which has over 22 million subscribers, becomes
the first operator in Sub Saharan Africa to launch LTE Advanced, enabling Kenya
to maintain its leadership technology position in the region.
"Today's launch progresses our strategic push to
democratize data. We believe in the transformative power of the internet and
are keen to deliver the most advanced technologies to our subscribers in order
to remain the network of choice," said Collymore.
The company will initially roll out the 4G service in
Nairobi and Mombasa, before scaling up coverage in other major towns in the
LTE Advanced will also allow Safaricom customers to benefit
from increased bandwidth accessible through the aggregation of different LTE
"The direct impact of data on our economy has already
been noted through the increasing number of businesses and services offered
on-line. With 4G, we can deliver revolutionary services like tele-medicine,
virtualization or real-time video that have immediate and transformational
impact on our society," said Collymore.
The mobile firm last month received regulatory approvals to
complete its 80 million dollar acquisition of various assets of rival Essar
Telecom which operates under Yu brand.
The acquisition, the largest of its kind in the telecom's
sector in Kenya, has received the approvals of the Communications Authority of
Kenya (CA), the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) and the Capital Markets
Authority of Kenya (CMA).
Under the deal, Safaricom and Airtel have agreed to absorb
175 of exiting Yu employees, with the leading mobile provider, taking 150 Yu
employees and Airtel 25.
Safaricom has been holding talks to buy Yu's base stations
to support its efforts to improve network quality.