Airtel set to launch LTE trial in Nairobi

27 Jan 2017

Airtel Kenya, the local unit of Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel, is set to begin trialling a 4G LTE network in the capital Nairobi next week, reports Daily Nation, citing chief executive Adil El Youssefi. The trial will initially comprise 40 base stations in the city, but will be expanded to 45 other sites in major towns, including Mombasa and Kisumu, by the end of March.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) gave Airtel and Telkom Kenya approval to start testing 4G using their current spectrum allocations in April 2015, although the pair need to acquire a licence from the regulator for USD25 million before launching their networks on a commercial basis. Mobile market leader Safaricom is currently the sole provider of 4G mobile data services in Kenya, having launched a limited LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in Nairobi and Mombasa in December 2014, before announcing the service’s full commercial availability in Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Meru and Kisii in October 2016.

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