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Telkom Kenya to spend Sh4b to rollout 3G

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 17- Telkom Kenya has contracted China’s telecommunications equipment vendor ZTE Corporation to rollout its third generation network (3G).

Telkom Kenya will invest Sh4 billion in constructing its 3G network infrastructure, which will enable it offer more Internet services.

Making the announcement, Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein said that together with ZTE the operator would install 1,500 3G base stations over the next two months and expects to roll out the service by June.

“With speeds of up to 21 Mbps, customers will have better browsing and download experiences. This will in turn encourage further growth in local content development and generation, Mr Ghossein said.

Telkom Kenya will concentrate its stations in high dense areas of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa towns before being rolled out to other parts of the country in subsequent phases.

Through 3G, Telkom aims to double its subscribers to about 4.6 million by the end of the year, as it continues with its quest to be the country’s second largest operator by 2015.

The company acquired the 3G license, for $10 million in November last year, after the Communications Commission of Kenya CCK reduced the price from $25 million.

Mobile operators are becoming more reliant on data for revenue as margins from voice thin out. This follows the CCK’s decision to reduce voice tariffs across networks to Sh2.21 setting off price cuts as they looked to either grow market share.

Mr Ghossein said the upgrading of the Orange Mobile internet platform will also complement plans to extend the lead in the broadband internet market offered via the Orange Internet Everwyhere3G + modems,  ADSL and fibre.

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Under the contract, ZTE has undertaken to build and maintain the best 3G network in Kenya for Orange. The infrastructure solutions company will also be obligated to transfer knowledge to Orange staff who will be maintaining the network in the long run.

The company acquired the 3G license, for $10 million in November last year, after the country\’s telecoms regulator reduced the price from $25 million.

ZTE Corporation’s Vice President – Africa Zhang Renjun said ZTE would bring specialist expertise in telecommunication, perfected since 1985 when the company was founded.

“We have installed 2G/ 3G equipment for over 110 operators in 80 countries in Asia, Europe, America and Africa,” Mr Renjun said.

Mr Renjun said the 3G network that ZTE is installing would allow seamless upgrades from 2G to 3G and 4G, without expensive network overlays and infrastructural replacements.

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