The LTE status in Kenya

It’s  coming to a year since the first 4G -LTE Network was rolled out in Uganda by MTN, but in the neighborhood Kenya, the LTE story is a little different. The regulatory authority CCK, has not given out any LTE spectrum to any carrier as the government decided through it’s  ICT Authority to implement and back the sharing of the LTE infrastructure. The LTE project, is to be implemented under a public private partnership framework. This was done to significantly reduce capitalization and operation costs (OPEX) to network providers and service charges to increase internet users now at over 19 million.

Although there have been claims by some carriers that the whole process was slow, the government still insists that it is fully committed to fast tracking roll out of a planned national fourth generation long term evolution (4G LTE) mobile network contrary to earlier claims by some operators. The telecom dominant Safaricom was last November rumored to be considering pulling out the joint venture project, citing thwartings over the slow pace the state has apparently adopted in rolling out the advanced LTE network. Safricom said the slow process was holding its plans after it completed laying of fiber optic in Nairobi in readiness for the 4G roll out.

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Project manager at the authority Andrew Lewela said the

The draft plan, will be ready next month while the revised plan will be launched by ICT Secretary Fred Matiang’i on April 14 in Mombasa during the sixth edition of the annual Connected Kenya Conference. Some companies want to have their own infrastructure, but they stand to reap more from shared access in terms of their capex, But we prefer a market approach in having them invest in shared infrastructure rather than a policy.

As part of the terms of the joint venture, the state is to provide frequencies, some of which will be freed after migration to digital TV broadcast, while mobile network operators will pump in capital.

Other parties interested in the venture include; Airtel, Telkom’s Orange, and Essar Kenya’s yuMobile and foreign incorporated MTN Business and Liquid Telecoms.

Other countries that have implemented such a strategy are South Korea and Singapore. South Korea on Wednesday announced plans to upgrade its 4G-LTE network to an LTE-Advanced network to offer up to 300mbps and become the world’s fastest network at a cost of Sh128.85 billion ($1.5 billion) by 2017.

In Uganda today the regulator UCC gives out spectrum in an auction, and sometimes on a first come-first serve basis.  For those who want to know more about 4G LTE and LTE Advanced technologies don’t miss our piece on this technology next month February in our featured section.