Safaricom, the leading mobile carrier in Kenya, say that mobile money and internet access are the next big business for telecoms after calls. The carrier wants to take its 3G and 4G infrastructure to the next level in anticipation of growing demand from its subscribers.
This is according to the Telecom CEO, Bob Collymore while being interviewed by Reuters. Safaricom is currently busy installing 4G network around the country as it seeks to enter the fieldof digital decoders for home use. The CEO told Reuters that Safaricom has already fitted 6% of its 3,700 base stations with the 4G technology said to give users faster internet connection without buffering when streaming videos.
The Telecom said, however, that it will continue investing in 3G networks given many subscribers are yet to acquire 4G enabled devices. Thus, the company wants to extend wishes to extend its 3G network to cover 75% of the country by the end of 2015; Safaricom’s current 3G network only covers 57% of Kenya. The telecom, which currently boasts of a fiber network around major cities in Kenya for businesses and a small Wi-Fi network, wants to roll out more 3G network in rural areas.
The expansion of the 3G network will be in line with the telecom’s guidance for capital expenditure worth $320 million for the financial year that just ended last month. According to the company’s projections, the capital expenditure was expected to go down after it complete a government-led program toinstall a police information technology network. Safaricom secured this Ksh. 15 billion contract last year. For more details on this, follow this link >>.
As far as 4G TV decoders go, the telecom plans to partner with digital broadcasters to provide internet data bundles and Wi-Fi among other contents for the home-based digital TV. This comes after the Government of Kenya directed a paradigm shift in broadcasting, demanding all broadcaster to adopt a digital platform over the old-fashioned analog fashioned. Details on this here >>.
The telecom’s CEO also refuted claims that Safaricom is exploiting its dominant position in the local telecom industry with unfair competition practices. Collymore said the telecom already shares its infrastructures such as base stations, spectrum, and even mobile money agents.
“Rather than focus on trying to cut the legs off a successful Kenyan company, just focus on doing the right things in your organization,” Collymore said, in reaction to those making unfair competition practices claims by Safaricom.
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