[/blockquote]Airtel Uganda is pumping up its 3G network to serve its customers with higher broadband speeds and has partnered with Chinese telecom equipment vendor ZTE to upgrade its 3G UMTS network. This boast will reportedly increase the carrier’s network performance by 20%. Since Airtel acquired Warid telecom, they inherited extra 2G spectrum (900 MHz) capacity that they have now reaffirmed to 3G, to form the UMTS900 3G network. So far, over 674 3G sites have been deployed in strategic areas and towns and this should provide wider coverage and an improved indoor 3G broadband experience. Airtel becomes the only carrier in Uganda to deploy a UMTS900 3G network. This means they will operate both the 2100 MHz frequency spectrum and the new reaffirmed 900 MHz band offering unbeatable 3G coverage in and around Kampala.
The modernized network has facilitated a lower equipment power consumption and tower renting fees, resulting in lower CAPEX and OPEX. ZTE has deployed equipment that will also pave the way for 4G deployment in the near future. According to capacitymedia, the deployment involved the adoption of ZTE’s SDR 2.0 solution which supports the evolution into long-term evolution (LTE) and long-term evolution advanced (LTE-A) networks.Airtel Uganda remains the only big carrier in Uganda with no 4G -LTE rollout.
“I have been impressed by the high quantity of sites delivered by ZTE and the resulting improvement in customer experience on data which ZTE has enabled for the Airtel Uganda network,” said Tom Gutjahr, managing director of Airtel Uganda.
According to the last open signal report, Airtel Uganda’s 3G mobile data speeds have not been that impressive, lagging behind MTN and Africell at number three, with averages of up to 1.85 Mbps download and 0.85 upload. Subscribers hope this network upgrade also be reflected in a better user experience.