Kenya’s biggest telecom carrier, Safaricom will consider awarding a contract to Huawei as they roll out their 5G network this year. Michael Joseph, Safaricom’s Acting CEO said this yesterday according to Business Daily.
He said this at a time where Huawei has been under criticism by the US authorities over them building 5G networks, citing security concerns. “We will use Huawei in 5G. What will we do in terms of the American statements about not using Huawei? We don’t have that situation in Africa,” Michael Joseph was quoted as saying.
Huawei has been battling the United States government in 2019 and that led to them being banned from trading with US companies. This also meant they were not allowed to build 5G networks. However, the UK decided to give Huawei the go ahead to build 5G networks in the country but limited to ‘non contentious’ parts.
Michael Joseph said that the will follow guidelines from their main shareholders: Vodacom and Vodafone. “There is demand for more and more bandwidth, more and more speed,” he was quoted as saying.
Safaricom considering Huawei is not surprising at all. They have worked many times before. Huawei built Safaricom’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks and MPESA is also based on Huawei Mobile Money’s platform that processes upto 900 transactions a second.
Other companies that sell 5G radio hardware and systems for carriers include Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, ZTE, Cisco and others.
Safaricom was also pictured some time back testing 5G on a contraption that had the Huawei logo, which again was not shocking at all. Safaricom is expected to roll out 5G in Kenya this year.
In Africa, Huawei built the first 5G network in South Africa. Rain uses the 3.6Ghz spectrum and advertise speeds of upto 700Mbps. This is pretty mid band 5G and not the super fast 5G (mmWave) that have double the theoretical speeds that Rain is offering for South Africans. ZTE began 5G trails in Uganda last month in collaboration with MTN.