Kenya’s Safaricom is testing HSDPA
Safaricom has completed a test run for an HSDPA service that it says will enable subscribers access the Internet faster. HSDPA will be used to deliver the service that will include mobile video conferencing and video phone.
To get connected to the service a subscriber will require a special 3G enabled SIM card plugged into a computer modem. Safaricom chief executive officer, Michael Joseph, said the service would increase access to high speed Internet in the country.
Initially, subscribers will be able to access their data at a speed of 3.6 megabytes per second but this, he said, will be upgraded to 7.2 megabytes per second. Dubbed 'Bambanet,' the service will be available on both prepaid and post paid basis.
Through the post-paid system, a subscriber will have to pay Sh5,999 for the modem and a special 3G SIM card, and sign a contract of two years. There will also be a monthly access fee of Sh1, 999 for 700 megabytes and a subscriber will pay a charge of Sh12.60 per megabyte.
On the prepaid mode, a subscriber will have to pay Sh12,500 for the 700 megabytes, receive free 700 megabytes for not more than a month, and pay Sh12.60. The costs could reduce when the company starts using fibre optic. Safaricom has spent US$20 million to roll out the service. So far it has built 75 third generation sites within Nairobi. The company intends to roll out the service first in Nairobi, followed by Mombasa by April then Kisumu.