Safaricom to consider Huawei as supplier for 5G network

By Natasha Agunda | Telecom giant Safaricom is considering partnering with china’s Huawei as it rolls out its fifth generation (5G) network this year.

Safaricom acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said that they will go ahead and use Huawei in 5G network.

The move is against the United States’ urge to urging their European counterparts and others not to use Huawei’ which is one of Safaricom’s network vendors along with Nokia (NokiaHE) citing security concerns.

‘’What will we do in terms of the American statements about not using Huawei? We don’t have that situation in Africa.” Said Joseph adding that America cannot tell Kenya what they should or should not do.

Involving Huawei in Safaricom’s 5G network could hamper talks on a free trade agreement between the United States and Kenya, which were announced this month-according to analysts as reported by Reuters.

Joseph, however, said Safaricom would follow guidelines from its two main shareholders, South Africa’s Vodacom (VODJ.J) and Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L)

There is demand for more bandwidth, and more speed and 5G services network would first be offered to customers in major cities where demand is highest.

Safaricom the most profitable company in East Africa, has mentioned plans of expanding their territories in to Ethiopia where Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has promised to open up the telecom sector run by the state.

Two operating licenses are expected to be offered and Safaricom is putting together a consortium including Vodacom and Vodafone for its bid but Michael joseph said the prices are expected to be lower than the initially quoted figure of USD1 billion (Ksh100 billion).

Safaricom is racing to assemble the group of investors ahead of its Ethiopia bid, which is expected in April.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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