Safaricom has won the lion’s share in a network upgrade tender awarded to a total of five companies. Safaricom and four other companies will help upgrade network connectivity in remote areas across 15 counties.
The network upgrade is part of Kenya’s Communication Authority (CA) plans to improve communication in unserved and underserved areas.
Other firms awarded the Ksh 1.6 billion tender include Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd, Seal Towers Ltd, ATC Kenya Operations Ltd, and Alan Dick and Company (East Africa).
The tender, announced in July 2020, will benefit over 270,000 residents with mobile broadband, voice, SMS, and other communication services via the third Generation (3G) network or higher.
Safaricom won 21 slots valued at Ksh 95, 044, 253 million, according to Ngene Gituku, chairman of the Communications Authority(CA) board.
Airtel Kenya won five slots, valued at Ksh 14.424, 253. Kenya’s smallest telco, Telkom Kenya, did not bid for the tender.
Counties that are set to benefit include Laikipia, West Pokot, Narok, Mandera, Tana River, Wajir, Lamu, Marsabit, Turkana, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Garrissa, Isiolo, Samburu,Kajiado, Kilifi and Kitui.
The tender paves the way for the second phase of CA’s Voice Infrastructure and Services Project to see 101 remote sub-locations have base transceiver stations build to receive essential telephony services.
The CA embarked on supporting the rollout of voice infrastructure services during the 2016/2017 fiscal year “to promote and ensure universal access and service with respect to the provision of communication services in Kenya.”
The regulator’s project has helped roll out voice infrastructure in 74 sub-locations across 15 counties in the first phase.
As part of the CA’s Voice Infrastructure and Services Project, over 30,000 residents in four Kitui county villages were able to make and receive calls for the first time last year November.