CC Image courtesy of AJ LEON on Flickr
Thibaud Rerolle, chief technical officer (CTO) at Safaricom, was speaking this morning in a panel discussion at LTE Africa in Cape Town.
Rerolle said of their nine million data customers only one third were using 3G and so moving to LTE now does not necessarily make sense economically.
He added: “We are pumping quite a bit of money into the networks in Africa, but we need to have a business model. So our investment primarily is still pretty much in 3G.”
Rerolle did say however that they were working on the backhaul of their networks to ensure they are ready to activate whichever technology is most suitable in the future.
HumanIPO reported yesterday that Huawei has already built 44 LTE networks on the continent, 25 of which are in Eastern and Southern Africa, although many of them currently lie dormant until the operator is ready, or decides, to go live.
Huawei representatives refused to give away the names of those operators it has built the currently “invisible” networks for.
In the panel discussion, Rerolle added: “We are getting ourselves ready by building the other layers in the backhaul and then we are ready to trigger whatever technology is suitable.”