Safaricom launches US$1.93mn telecommunications lab in Kenya

4702342669 4ca48ce67c zThe new lab is aimed at fast-tracking the deployment of new technology and solutions. (Image source: afromusing/Flickr)Safaricom has announced Kenya’s first ever telecommunications R&D lab whose first phase has been put up at a cost of US$1.93mn and replicates Safaricom’s entire networking including the billing platform, application servers such as M-PESA, Safaricom’s cloud, microwave, 2G, 3G and 4G networks in a single room

Safaricom has collaborated with a number of industry players including Cisco, Huawei, Nokia and others who have donated equipment and expertise to the lab, which is located at the firm’s headquarters in Nairobi.

The new lab is expected fast track the deployment of new technology and solutions. This is aimed at avoiding the inherent risk of testing and deploying upgrades on live networks, which has impacted the pace at which such improvements can be rolled out. The technology lab will allow vigorous and expedited testing of such upgrades allowing them to be deployed on the live network at less than half the time it has usually taken.

In addition, the lab will serve as a training environment for new engineers and those working on new technologies, and also as a testing ground for new ideas that can be developed into new telecommunication solutions.

“In the last five years, Safaricom has put in place various measures to attract, retain and develop world-class local talent in the telecommunications sector. The launch of this research and development lab, the first in the region, is a step towards shifting the country from simply being an importer of telecommunication solutions to one that also creates such solutions,” said Thibaud Rerolle, director- technology at Safaricom.

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