Economic review

Kenya, Chinese firms partner to launch faster, cheaper internet

2017-12-07 17:17:00 (Beijing Time)         Xinhua

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Kenya's telecommunication firm Jamii Telecom has partnered with Chinese firm ZTE to introduce the country's fastest and cheapest mobile internet in a move Kenyan officials said will help spread the benefits of internet to more people.

Christened Faiba 4G Mobile Network, the service will operate under the prefix 0747 and will be the first to provide voice over LTE.

Faiba 4G Mobile will offer free voice calls, and will be able to do high definition voice and video after 50 million U.S. dollars were invested in its network infrastructure and commercial trials were successfully launched.

Jamii Telecom becomes Kenya's fifth mobile telephone services operator, helping increase competition which is attributed to lower costs of mobile telephone and data services in East Africa's largest economy.

"We have already been serving clients across the country with the fiber network but now we have also introduced mobile services to enable as many Kenyans as possible to access cheaper and faster internet," Jamii Telecom's Chairman Joshua Chepkwony said on Friday evening.

Chepkwony said the demand for internet in Kenya is increasing by day with the cost of bandwidth and speed being key considerations for customers.

"For instance we have noted a consistent increase in demand for home internet. Whereas all homes may not be reached through fiber optic cable, they have now had a mobile channel they can use," said the chairman.

The company also becomes the first to offer free voice services. "Voice will be free as long as the customer has bought a bandwidth bundle," said Chepkowny.

ZTE will be the company's strategy partner, enabling it to be the first in eastern and central Africa to launch the 4G Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) which is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals ensuring the best voice, video and internet quality and speeds.

The Chinese company termed the new development as historic for the east African country.

Kenya regulators Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) said the launch on new faster and cheaper mobile and fiber data is a continuation of innovation in country's information communication sector which has helped continuously disrupt the industry.

"What we now need as a country are data analytics to guide us on the best way to structure data so that it becomes useful," said CAK Director-General Francis Wangusi.

Wangusi said the industry regulator is working to complete the IT-aided national addressing system by 2018 in a move that will make it easier to do electronic commerce.

Henry Rotich, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for The National Treasury, said the government will continue to work on policy and related measures to encourage private investments like those being done by Jamii Telecom.

He said the government has also invested in laying fiber optic cables across the country in a bid to make delivery of services efficient.