Safaricom has signed a multi-year deal with Swedish telecommunication equipment maker Ericsson for the upgrade of its network in a bid to provide enhanced mobile broadband services. The deal will see Ericsson support the upgrade and expansion through positioning of its Wi-Fi technology on the Safaricom network thereby enhancing the MINI-LINK microwave transmission network which will enable subscribers to enjoy better mobile broadband services. The Wi-Fi solution allows the Telco to optimize its spectrum resources thereby enhancing 3G services, and boosting broadband app coverage for customers in selected densely populated areas. The solution transports voice and data traffic from the radio access to the core network, enhancing the capacity of the mobile transmission network to cope with increased traffic in the radio network.
Safaricom’s Director of Technology Thibaud Rerolle said the planned upgrade will allow Safaricom to cement its foothold of the data market through quality connectivity. “As we move into an era where the customer experience is re-defining our networks, this development is the most cost effective especially in heavily populated areas” he added. Ericsson’s MINI-LINK microwave products and IP portfolio will enable Safaricom to seamlessly migrate to an all-IP transmission network that supports its five-year network evolution strategy. The Ericsson SSR 8000 family also provides Safaricom with a highly scalable, consolidated platform for both fixed and mobile services for IP/MPLS routing.
Safaricom is also working on upgrading its current 3G network to 4G with the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa currently covered. 13 other cities are also earmarked for a network expansion to 4G. Safaricom has 3,382 2G base stations, 1,943 3G base stations and 195 wimax sites with most to experience the improvement. Ericsson is currently the global leader in the provision of Telecommunication equipment in the world with 40% of the market. A recent acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia places the company at second position with 35% market share with Huawei following third with 20% share of the market.