Safaricom still keen on own 4G-LTE despite government PPP Dennis Mbuvi


Safaricom is still keen on doing its own 4G-LTE network. This is despite an ongoing public-private partnership (PPP) led by the government to have a country wide 4G-LTE network by the end of 2013. The government aims to kill two birds with one stone through the PPP. The PPP will see better utilisation of spectrum which the country is facing a shortage of while also expected to make 4G broadband affordable to majority of Kenyans by sharing costs between multiple entities.

TEAMS, also founded on a similar PPP model,  provides undersea fiber capacity at prices less than $ 100 per megabit per second compared with other cables whose pricing starts at between $ 200 to $ 250.

“We think it is worth exploring both options (PPP and own LTE network), because you may not want to be in the same bucket with some people. You may want to be in control of your own destiny. This is what we are doing with our fibre network - we are trying to put as much of our own fibre down  so that we have control of the quality and delivery of service to our customers and cuts,” Bob Collymore, CEO said.

The CEO said he was not aware of any such PPP rollout of 4G-LTE in the world. “Not to say it’s not going to work, but it needs a lot of thought, “he said.Safaricom has however satisfied with TEAMS. “TEAMS has been okay, there may be some challenges, but it does work.”

Commenting on the LTE consortium, Collymore said while it is still early on who are members of the consortium, there needs to be a convincing reason for the role of vendors in such a consortium. The CEO says it will take quite a number of months before the project takes root, especially with the setting up of the legal entity itself expected to take months.