Jamii Telecom becomes 5th Telco to launch 4G mobile network in Kenya

Kenyan Internet service provider Jamii Telecom has launched its mobile service named Faiba 4G Mobile, becoming the 5th telecom operator to be licensed in the country.

Jamii Telecom has reportedly invested US$25m into its infrastructure and its service includes mobile internet bundles that compete directly with current market heavyweights Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.

The telecom company’s bundles are priced at Kshs 50 for 1GB, Kshs 300 for 8GB up to 210 GB for Kshs 6,000. Safaricom charges Kshs 499 for 1GB, Kshs 1,999 for 7.5 GBs and Kshs 2,999 for 12GB.

The ISP has three mobile phone tariffs: Kifaru, Ndovu and Simba.

Using Kifaru, consumers will pay Kshs 1,500 per month and get 1GB per day mobile data, 200 hundred call minutes and 200 SMS per month. Ndovu and Simba will have 2GB and 3GB daily data bundles and will pay Kshs 2,500 and Kshs 4,000 monthly.

“The issue of connectivity has been addressed by fibre and now 4G you can get speed of up to 1Gbit with the Qualcomm chip,” said John Kamau, General Manager at Jamii Telecom Limited.

Jamii Telecom has also invested in a data centre that it says will enhance businesses across the region. “New opportunities are coming and so for JTL what we have done is we have invested in a tier 3 data centre,” Kamau added.

Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT said there are many opportunities for other companies to launch services in the LTE space.

“We have spectrum available on the 800 and the 700 megahertz bands and we have decided as a policy to test the market on which area is going to grow. We need people to come to show us where the opportunities are just like JTL.”

“LTE allows you to converge many services in that band. You can have voice, data multimedia and many others. That is the area we have moved in, in terms of regulations,” he added.

Ten companies have also applied for 4G spectrum licences, which if granted will pave the way for them to begin offering high-speed Internet and mobile phone services. The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said the applicants are part of two different consortiums composed of five companies each.

Their applications were submitted in December last year and are still under evaluation.

“The board made a decision sometime towards the end of last year. The decision was to have (the tier two companies) form consortiums and then we give them spectrum on trial for one year. Then if they are successful, they pay the $25 million (spectrum fee),” said CA director-general Francis Wangusi.

The consortiums want a slice of the 700 MHz frequency band that was freed up when Kenya migrated to digital television, and which can be used to deliver 4G services to mobile phone customers.