Safaricom Told To Share 4G Network With Rival Telecoms For License


After Safaricom announced earlier this month that it was waiting for a government license to kick off its plans to roll out the 4G LTE network across Kenya, the telecommunications regulator has a condition for the telecom.

To get the go ahead to roll out the planned 4G network in towns across the country, Safaricom will have to agree to give out 30 per cent of the network to rival telecoms, through a new pre-condition set by the Communications Authority (CA).

“One of the conditions is that they must spare 30 per cent of the capacity to other operators to be shared on a commercial basis,” said Francis Wangusi, CA’s director general, Business Daily reports.

Announcing the plan to roll out the network, Safaricom said it would deploy two separate 4G networks in a period of one year, with one network dedicated to the government to cover Nairobi and Mombasa while the other to be for commercial services covering other major towns.

The government has been working to roll out a national 4G network for over two years now that would be shared among telecoms but no progress has been reported, causing doubts if indeed the national network will ever see the light of day.

Neighbouring countries have already launched their national 4G LTE networks, with recent implementation taking place in Rwanda which joined other countries already enjoying the network services, including Uganda and Tanzania.

With Kenya taking up latest technologies at a fast rate, it is disappointing that it’s still behind with the roll out and not citing any progress whatsoever, but being quick to give reasons and excuses as to why the roll out is experiencing delays.

As much as the condition requiring Safaricom to share infrastructure may come as a benefit to other operators who find it expensive to roll out their own networks and in the long run connect more Kenyans to the high-speed network, just what is the government planning?

If indeed the planned joint consortium is still working to see deployment, then there would be no need for the government to issue a condition requiring Safaricom to share infrastructure with other telecoms, as the national network would facilitate the same.

Safaricom is, however, yet to ink a final agreement with the telecommunications regulator.

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