Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “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.”
Safaricom says 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. The 4G service will be rolled out in Nairobi and Mombasa, before scaling up coverage in other major towns in the coming months.
LTE Advanced also enables ‘Carrier Aggregation’, which will allow Safaricom customers to benefit from increased bandwidth accessible through the aggregation of different LTE spectrum bands.
“The direct impact of data on our economy has already been noted through the increasing number of businesses and services offered online. 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 Mr. Collymore.
Mr. Collymore said Safaricom is keen to supply affordable 4G-enabled devices including phones, routers and modems to the market, with a sub Ksh 9,000 phone planned for early next year.
The low cost devices will supplement the already available iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Huawei P7 smartphones along with 4G modems that shall be available in Safaricom shops and come with a free 4GB data bundle.
Safaricom already has the widest network coverage in the country, with over 3,200 base stations, nearly half of which are 3G-enabled. Safaricom was the first operator in Kenya to roll out mobile data in 2003 on the 2G platform, and later the company was the first to launch its 3G platform in 2008.