#ConnectedKE : Safaricom and Orange Promises 42Mbps 3G Connection, Delivery Questioned

Safaricom has indicated that its subscribers in sections of Nairobi will from next week access the Internet at speeds of 42 Mbps after a system upgrade. The announcement was made by Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore, on the sidelines of Connected Kenya summit.

In the afternoon session, Orange Kenya also announced that it is testing its 42Mbps 3G connection with commercial roll-out expected in the next few weeks. Not much information is available on the availability of Orange Kenya’s 42Mbps network though its 21Mbps 3G network covers parts of Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi.

With Safaricom, the CEO indicated that the initial roll-out will be around Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), Kileleshwa, Kilimani and Westlands which Safaricom believes is their “Data Belt.” The Safaricom “data belt” are areas which has high Internet usage.

It is interesting that all the operators are talking of 42Mbps while in the practical sense, the end user has not managed to enjoy even 3Mbps in majority of the instances. The talk of 7.2Mbps, 14Mbps, 21Mbps and 42Mbps are turning out to be empty marketing talk without actual delivery. They all seem to be marketing buzz words.

Operators need to advertise their network as 3G but in talking about the bandwidth, they need to talk about what they can practically deliver. Safaricom has promised to unveil its 42Mbps network in the next one week with modem prices to be announced during the unveiling.

Safaricom was the first Kenyan operator to commercially launch a 3G network in October 2007.

Subscribers accessing internet through the mobile phones stood at 5.3 million during the period under review, out of which Safaricom controlled 4.3 million users or 88 per cent of the market share.

The last CCK data show that 14.3 million Kenyans had internet access in the period to September 2011, up from 8.6 million in September 2010 pushing internet penetration to 36.3 per cent from 22.1 per cent.

With all these promises, soon you might hear of some network announce that they have a 500Mbps network while they can only deliver 512Kbps to the end user.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (

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