Arguably the most successful company in the Kenyan market, Safaricom has launched Kenya’s first 4G network which it believes will keep it ahead of the competition.
Safaricom has launched its Safaricom 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in Kenya which it says is the first of its kind in the country and will provide superior service to its subscribers as a result of LTE’s capacity to provide for much higher data speeds to bring about a better, snappier, browsing experience. The investment in LTE technology is seen as a move to take advantage of growing mobile internet use in Kenya where Safaricom already is a sector leader as Kenya’s biggest telecoms phone firm. Safaricom’s advanced LTE service is hoped to be a boon to its revenues in the face of sliding voice calls figures.
The new 4G service is expected to cover parts of Nairobi such as Village Market, UNEP, Gigiri, Mpaka Road, as well as parts of Mombasa like Portriez, Changamwe National House among a host of other locations. To access the service, customers will have to possess a 4G-enabled device and purchase Safaricom’s 4G/LTE Advance SIM cards from retail shops with Safaricom agents to guide them through on getting activated on the service.
The deal to acquire the 4G spectrum is estimated to have cost Safaricom $75 million, a fee that its Chief Executive Officer, Bob Collymore says is a logical investment considering the promising future of businesses relying on internet access. He said that with the increased number of online enterprises providing services online, Safaricom could provide the 4G platform needed to advance new frontiers in services such as telemedicine and real-time video that could have revolutionary impacts on society.
With Safaricom shares experiencing a decline of 0.4%, the company will be hoping that its new 4G service will succeed in boosting revenues in the face of competition as it also steps up moves to invest in online payment systems to facilitate Kenya’s transition from cash-based transactions which still account for up to 98% of all transactions.