Safaricom today at the financial year 2013 end year announcements demoed a set-up of 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution technology) network maxing out at 100 Mbps. Robert Mutai, Head of Network Engineering at Safaricom demoed a set-up where he had connected to an LTE modem and streamed three live Full HD 1080p YouTube videos concurrently with no lag at all. The link is able to max at 100 and at the moment I was able to witness at-least 70 Mbps downloads speeds. The speeds were also determined by the CPU speed, saying that the machine he was using, a core i5 2.5Ghz was already being utilised to the max and that a bigger processor would achieve higher downloads speeds.
Mutai added that Safaricom is currently testing the set-up of 4G LTE in Gigiri and will roll out to Nairobi and other 3G sites which are currently 690 by the end of the year. Data users with LTE modems and smartphones within the UNEP area will be able to access 4G speeds. He said that in rural areas adoption of data use is driven by demand and Safaricom implements based on demand. MTN in Uganda has already rolled out 4G LTE and has upto 20 sites within Kampala, Uganda’s capital connected to 4G. Safaricom intends to utilise their fiber network and has currently rolled out over 70kms of fiber network. Currently the main factor slowing the pace of implementation is access to wayleaves.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the 2013 financial year announcements noted that recently when they announced lowering of data rates from 8 shillings per MB to 4 shillings on unbundled data affected the price downwards. But immediately there after there was a spike in data use due to the lower costs making data revenues go up by 21% to Kshs 6.3 billion.