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GSMA welcomes Kenya’s digital migration plan

The global association of mobile operators is encouraged by the Government’s efforts in finalizing the schedule for the country’s digital switchover.

GSMA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Tom Phillips, said Kenya’s announcement demonstrates a clear commitment to meeting the International Telecommunication Union global migration deadline by 17th June 2015.

“The switchover from analogue to digital television allows more efficient use of a limited resource and frees up precious 700MHz and 800MHz spectrum bands, otherwise known as the Digital Dividend. This lower frequency spectrum delivers excellent geographic coverage and will be a key enabler for the provision of universal mobile broadband access,” said Phillips.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) announced the scheduled phase off of analogue signals starting with Nairobi which should begin 2015 having switched to the digital broadcasting platform.

The second phase shall cover Mombasa, Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Kisumu, Webuye, Kakamega, Kisii, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyahururu, Machakos, and Narok. These areas will have switched over by 2nd February according to CAK.

By 30th March 2015, the third and final phase-out of analogue signals will cover Garissa, Kitui, Lodwar, Lokichogio, Kapenguria, Kabarnet, Migori, Voi, Kibwezi, Namanga and other remaining sites.

Phillips said Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are leading the way in East Africa in bringing the benefits of the digital transition, with Tanzania and Rwanda at the tail-end of the migration.

“We hope that other countries in the region will be inspired to follow the Government of Kenya’s example and determine their own digital migration plans in time for next year’s deadline.”

GSMA sees an opportunity for telcos to take advantage of the lower frequency spectrum bands which will be available to mobile operators after the digital migration and will improve mobile subscriber penetration in Kenya which now stands at 40 percent.

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