Wholesale LTE model gets greenlit in Kenya

Investors as well as local operators have been invited by the government of Kenya to take part in the construction of a wholesale LTE network. A wholesale model for LTE spectrum had been under consideration in Kenya for some time, and its selection was confirmed by advertisements released by the Ministry of Information and Communications.

In an official statement, the government notes that it “envisages a Private Public Partnership (PPP) model in which the government will undertake to provide the necessary frequency spectrum resources as its contribution, while the private sector will undertake to meet all other costs related to the deployment and operations.”

Investors must meet certain criteria before they are considered; these include the “financial and technical capability” to begin offering commercial services to all 47 counties in Kenya across the next year. In addition, successful firms must be at least one fifth Kenyan-owned.

Once an alliance of operators and investors has been formed, the operators will deploy infrastructure and oversee the LTE network, while market players that are not members of the consortium will have the opportunity to lease spectrum.

Although the project is intended to facilitate the offering of LTE services while keeping costs down for operators, it could run into problems – not least of which being the fact that the country’s leading operator Safaricom is reportedly already conducting five LTE tests of its own.

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