Kenya to invest US$500 million in 4G network

Nairobi_cityscapeNairobi will become a 4G hub if government plans are approved. (Image source: Sam Stearman)Kenyas information and communication ministry has announced plans to install a high-speed fourth-generation (4G) mobile data services network to service the East African nation by 2013

Estimated to cost in the region of US$500 million, the network would help Kenya meet the growing demand for wireless internet access across the country.

Speaking to Reuters, Kenya ministry of information and communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said that all mobile phone firms working in the country had signed up to the project.

“We need to have [the network] before the next elections [scheduled for March 2013]. That is what we are targeting,” Ndemo remarked.

Ndemo said that the ministry had finished its study on the project, which it has sent onto the Ministry of Finance for the approval.

The 4G LTE networks would provide download speeds five times faster than those provided by 3G and has been designed for data, rather than voice. It would also provide capacity for high-definition video conferencing.

At a cost of $100 million, the first phase of the project would involve rolling out the 4G network across the country.

This cost is expected to rise as the next phase would involve connecting the new service to the entire country’s network and connecting all the country’s mobile phone base stations to fibre optic cable.

According to Ndemo, the project would take between six and seven months to be rolled-out across the country following approval from the Ministry of Finance, after which the government would pass the 4G open-access model onto operators.

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