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Airtel rolls out 4G service with 20 sites on pilot

The full-fledged 4G roll out will commence from April 2017 across the country.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 2Airtel Kenya has rolled out its 4G LTE service in the country with an initial pilot rollout of 20 sites in Nairobi expected to be up and running by the end of this month.

The success of the pilot phase will give way to setting up of a full roll out across the country starting with 65 more sites in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu by end of April.

The mobile telco company has said a 4G network will allow consumers to enjoy faster browsing and explore more media on diverse devices.

The rollout will bring Airtel sites in Kenya to 1,563, up from 1,211 two years ago, a 30% increase in Airtel’s sites across the country over the period.

Airtel Kenya’s roll out of 4G network comes at a time when Kenya’s telecommunications industry is recording significant wins and losses across all sectors from mobile and fixed telephony, data/internet subscriptions as well as broadband, postal and courier services, according to the latest numbers.


Airtel Kenya’s CEO, Adil El Youssefi has said the company remains committed to competing in the Kenyan market and providing choice to Kenyans by further investing in the rollout of 4G services in the next few months and the continued expansion of its network coverage.

“We are happy with our performance in the first quarter, and we attribute the gains to the company’s continued investment in network expansion, the introduction of innovative and value for money services and our resolve to provide the best customer experience,” he said.

El Youssefi added that the steps taken recently “with regards to human resources and infrastructure have been geared towards getting ready to grow in the medium to long term, efficiently and sustainably.”

Overall, Kenya’s telecommunications sector recorded notable gains in mobile money services where subscriptions and mobile money agents grew to 31.0 million and 169,698 respectively during the quarter under review. A total of 400.6 million transactions were made valued at over Sh1 trillion.

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But the industry has also recorded a significant decline in mobile subscriptions whereby the number of mobile subscriptions stood at 38.5 million down from previous quarter which was 39.7 million marking a 3 per cent decline.This is largely attributed to the heightened crackdown on subscribers who use the services to commit various criminal activities, especially mobile money fraud.

Mobile and data services experienced a downward trend in subscription numbers, recording a declined to 25.6 million from 26.8 million subscriptions in the last quarter, representing a 4.5 per cent drop.

Airtel Kenya recorded an increase in its market share with regards to mobile data/internet subscriptions posting a 21.2 per cent share up from the previous quarters’ 18.7 per cent.

Raghunath Mandava, Airtel Africa MD is confident the cost control measures has led to earnings margin expansion of 4.9 per cent Y-o-Y, standing at 24.5 per cent.

“Africa is now generating positive free cash and is PBT positive in constant currency,” said Mandava.

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