The two companies signed a three year strategic partnership under which Safaricom selected Huawei as its vendor of choice for the supply of its core network requirements, and roll out the 4G network at a cost of KES12bn.
Speaking during the signing ceremony held at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen China, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said the company was also keen to overhaul its billing system, core network and expand its 3G network coverage throughout the country.
“We are going to do a technical LTE trial on our spectrum to see if it suits the Kenyan market and its commercial viability. This is completely a technical trial and not a commercial trial and we are going to do the trials within our spectrum in the next two months.”
Joseph said once the 4G network becomes operational, Safaricom customers will be able to enjoy high speeds of 600megabit per seconds or 1.5 gigabit per seconds in both downloads and uploads. The new technology will enable Safaricom to deliver a combination of services like data, voice, and video and download services like iTunes which will be billed through a different charging system.
He said in the next two years the company will overhaul its current system to march the precepts of the LTE technology .The first phase will include installation of the operating system for the prepaid system, followed by upgrading of the postpaid system which will later will include converging both systems to have one billing system. “We believe this will enable our customer service unit to monitor the customers’ calling histories and their tariff plan on one screen, -for this will be a superior customer service platform.”
The upgrades are expected to begin in the next six months and will be done in two phases.