In an interview with the MEA Broadband World forum organisers, Yousef Abu Mutawe, CTO Zain Jordan, said: “Data growth is clearly the biggest challenge in today’s telecom market and as an operator we have to invest heavily in order to keep up and to grow the data network. The real balancing act is that operators have to manage investors’ expectations in the short term while building to generate a ROI for the long term.”
This comes at a time when the rollout of 4G or LTE network is becoming imminent globally. In Kenya, not all parts of the country are covered by the 3G network, with only Safaricom ahead of the game.
Analyst have argued that the move to 4G in Kenya does not make sense for the industry. The investment in 4G is quite expensive for consumers as it would mean they have obtain LTE-compliant handsets.
However, it is certainly a good option to go for LTE as users on the network use nearly 35 percent more data than those on 3G, which would mean more economic sense to the telecom companies in the long run.
Mutawe said that they had to rely on Wi-Fi offload to meet the demand on fixed broadband for their company. He admitted that the rollout of LTE is inhibited by the high costs although Zain is testing the network currently.
Even with the offload to WiFi networks, the challenge still remains on handling customers on the system.
The Broadband MEA conference will take place from March 19 to 20, 2013 at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai, UAE.