Jean Diop, Director Consulting at the Strategic and Operations at Deloitte East Africa, said the current 3G technology in the country is yet to be enjoyed by the wider majority of the customers, and moving to the LTE network, which offers three times faster connection speeds than 3G, will only increase the digital gap in the country.
Speaking to The Standard, Diop said: “The business case for LTE in Kenya might still be a question mark in the short-term. For Kenya, it’s more about preparing the ICT sector to the tremendous potential of the technology, especially in terms of bandwidth and speed, compared to 3G.”
Commenting on the same, Stephen Mutoro, the secretary general of the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek), said although advancement in technology is welcome, certain factors have to be taken into consideration, for instance Kenya being a third world economy, and while 10 percent of elite consumers might want to go for advanced technology, 90 per cent might be left out.
“We must take care of those that might be late to migrate to the new technologies,” he said.
According to Cofek, it has conducted a study that showed only one operator is offering quality 3G services, a clear indication that there is still more to be done with the technology.
Customers will also be forced to purchase new 4G-compatible handsets, since the current 3G handsets in the market cannot be upgraded, thereby putting more financial burden on consumers.
Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication had earlier stated that the LTE network will be deployed in the country before the March 4 general election, though this has yet to be achieved as the date approaches.
The government plans to partner with several local mobile phone operators in a partnership that will see a consultant draw up a financial plan for the project, estimated to cost KSh42 billion (US$488 million).