THE rollout of the 4G network in Kenya should be done through an open access model and not via a consortium, telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson has said.
This is in contrast with the views of mobile phone service providers in the country and that of MTN Business Kenya managing director Tom Omariba who few weeks ago added his support for a public private partnership consortium. The consortium comprises of the four mobile phone service operators in the country, Kenya Data Networks, MTN Business, Alcatel Lucent, Epesi Communications and the government of Kenya.
"The set-up should be independent of organisations that will offer service using the network to open it up for fair usage," said Ericsson head of mobile broadband in Sub-Sahara Africa Hans Piet.
Long Term Evolution network or 4G is more superior in terms of speeds and volumes and once set up will enhance the services of the ICT industry.
He however added that the company is still willing to work with the consortium in developing the network as a vendor.
Ericsson had proposed to set up the 4G infrastructure for free and recoup its investment over 15 years. The company said the offer still stands in case anything changes and they are allowed to deploy this service.
But even as the back and forth swing of the 4G rollout continues, the government had earlier stated that it targets to have a part of the country to have 4G by end of this year.
Ericsson's business development director David Ochanda cautioned that the 4G rollout will depend on availability of compatible devices in the local market adding that most of the gadgets being used by consumers at the moment cannot connect to 4G.
The initial phase of the 4G network deployment was estimated to cost Sh8.4 billion.