Kenya’s Safaricom plans big push

April 30, 2015 In Kenya, telecommunications company Safaricom has its sights set on mobile financial services and Internet access as the next big areas of growth after calls. To this effect, the company’s chief executive has announced that it is building up its 3G and 4G networks.

Bob Collymore says

 “Customers’ needs are changing rapidly, customers behavior is changing rapidly. You know at the beginning of last year if you would have asked me when exactly will we roll out 4G and how quickly would we do it, I wouldn’t have been able to say to you that by the end of the financial year which was end of March we would have rolled out two hundred and thirty something LTE base stations. So that technology is changing rapidly and we have to respond to it and so constant tweaking of the strategies is important,”

The executive told Reuters the company has fitted about 6 percent of its 3,700 base stations with 4G technology, which gives users faster speeds and eliminates buffering when downloading video clips.

However, since many people lack 4G enabled handsets, Safaricom will extend 3G coverage from 57% of its network to 75 percent by year-end.

The additional 3G network will be rolled out in rural areas.

Bob Collymore says

The demand for data in rural areas is much higher than people would have assumed a couple of years ago so wherever we have voice we want to have data now and of course you know you will always have some areas where its just going to be voice because the commercial payback is never going to be there but you know 75% of the population covered by 3G is going to be pretty impressive. I mean it will always be the biggest footprint,”

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