Orange Kenya today announced the commercial opening of the 42Mbps data network and availability of infrastructure devices supporting the service. Starting tomorrow, Thursday 2nd August, customers will be able to purchase the 42Mbps modem at a price of Kshs 10,000 and experience the fast data speeds in limited areas in Nairobi. The areas one will be able to get the fast speeds are Nairobi CBD (Uhuru Park, University Way, Ngara Round About, Kirinyaga Road, Ring Road and Haile Selassie Avenue), Westlands areas being (Riverside drive, Rhapta Road, Lower Kabete, Peponi road, Parklands, Sarit Center, Westgate) and areas around Nakumatt Junction, Nakumatt Galleria, and Nakumatt Mega.
Once users are not in these regions they will access the 3G service that has been available to the rest of the users and also EDGE for the areas not covered by 3G. The device is backward compatible, meaning it will work for all these options of network service. Mickael Ghossein, Telkom Kenya CEO made this announcement adding that the Orange network is capable of supporting 42Mbps, 84Mbps and also LTE only that the necessary frequencies to deploy it are not yet available. Also the devices to utilise this huge capacity are limited as previously one would only access the 21Mbps via a few devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy Note and the New iPad.
42MBps modem features:
- There are 1000 sites covering Orange 2G , and the same sites are capable of doing 42Mbps
- Offers faster and reliable data
- Supported by DC-HSPA+ network platform to ensure fast and steady connection
- The dongle is plug and play
- User friendly graphical interphase( and you can monitor your data usage)
- Compatible with most Operating systems
- Price is 10K and you get free Orange mail, e.g email@example.com
- Parental control( you can download parental control and monitor what your children have been up to)
Orange Kenya also did a speedtest at the press conference and proved the service was actually up and running, journalists and bloggers were able to witness down links of upto 34Mbps and uplinks of upto 5Mbps on the 42Mbps dongle. A speedtest on the New iPad yielded 31Mbps, so users of these devices will notice a spike in the data capacities on the network in the above regions. Orange recently opened it’s 3G network to Malindi and has plans to do the same to Eldoret and Nakuru. The 3G network was previously available in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu and was launched last year.
Orange notes that their efforts to get fixed connections to more homes and offices have been hampered by rampant cable cuts by malicious individuals hence increased maintenance costs. This has made them reconsider this as a mass implementation option. The mobile service company still offers connection via the Orange livebox, internet modems and the recently announced Wi-Fi router that offers a connection to upto 20 people. Responding to a question on whether we would see costs of the dongles and routers going down soon, Orange said that this is a new technology and the devices are currently being sold at market prices, adding that they do not aim to seek revenues from the devices but the data. Ghossein said that 80% of the market is driven by voice, hence even as data is king, the main revenue still comes from voice and sms.
Ghossein also said that use of social media and other similar sites is not really utilising the data as a resource well and there is a need to push for more local and international content online.