Nokia has announced that it has been selected by African mobile operator, Airtel Kenya in a three-year deal to modernize Nairobi with high speed 4G LTE and 5G-ready hardware from its comprehensive AirScale portfolio.

Deployment, which began in June, will cover hundreds of sites and include upgrading existing 2G, 3G and 4G radio access network (RAN) coverage in urban, semi urban, highways, tourist spots and central business districts in Nairobi and the rest of Kenya.

This comes as telco competitor and market leader Safaricom continues its plan to launch 5G services early next year in partnership with Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Nokia’s future-proofed network infrastructure will also offer Airtel Kenya the option to smoothly transition to 5G when necessary. The upgraded network will deliver enhanced connectivity to customers of Airtel Kenya and access to new, high-speed data services.

“We are in the midst of rolling out our network to enhance coverage along with modernization of our data network that will help us to deliver improved, high-speed data services to our customers. This will allow our customers seamless coverage enhancing their browsing experience further,” P. D. Sarma, CEO, Airtel Kenya, said.

“We are excited to partner with Nokia on this project. Its technology portfolio improves our network quality considerably and also allows us to move to 5G services in the future.”

Nokia is supplying Airtel Kenya with its AirScale Single RAN (S-RAN) portfolio for both indoor and outdoor coverage, including base stations and radio access products.

These solutions will enable Airtel Kenya to deliver improved connectivity and capacity benefits including enhanced voice and data services to its subscribers while reducing complexity and driving cost efficiencies. 

The improved network will provide higher data speeds using additional 4G spectrum bands and provide access to secure, high-speed and reliable data services.

Rajiv Aggarwal, Head of CEWA Market Unit at Nokia, said that it is an exciting deal in an exciting market.

“We are proud to supply Airtel Kenya with our comprehensive AirScale portfolio and support the operator with its efforts to deliver the best possible connectivity experiences to end users in Kenya. In a maturing market, we look forward to helping Airtel execute its strategy in the short-term as well as set it on the path to 5G services.”

As part of the deal, Nokia will also deploy its cloud-agnostic NetAct software solution to securely manage Airtel Kenya’s networks. Nokia will also provide digital deployment, network planning and technical support services helping Airtel to launch its services faster to the market and ensure customer requirements for quality are met.


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