Airtel Kenya and Orange Kenya have received regulatory approval to begin testing 4G technology on their networks. The authorisation by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) means they can begin to launch the service commercially.
Safaricom has commercially launched of LTE services in some parts of Nairobi and Mombasa Island. The company is awaiting extra frequency capacity to increase its wireless broadband service to other parts of the country. This is according to a report by Business Daily.
“So far, all the NFP Tier 1 licensees have been authorised to carry out tests on the spectrum they are already using,” CA director-general Francis Wangusi said in the report. Wangusi added that mobile operators were being encouraged to re-farm their existing frequencies and roll out national 4G networks that would allow them to share capacity with those that lack similar networks.
According to the report, the CA authorisation given to Airtel and Orange comes against the background of the switch-off of analogue broadcasting, to release spectrum for 4G.
Vincent Lobry, Orange Kenya CEO, said the company is yet to begin testing LTE on its network as its main focus currently is to ensure there is optimal use of its allocated 3G frequencies. Orange Kenya has so far deployed its 3G network in 41 new urban and peri-urban areas.
Lobry added that although Orange has a technology-neutral licence that allows it to launch any telecommunication services including 4G, it does not have the required frequency for 4G. Wangusi said the CA has freed up spectrum in the 168 MHz band and is currently working on a new frequency pricing model. This is according to the report.