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Alvarion wins Safaricom project for Kenyan WiMAX network

Alvarion has won Safaricom’s contract for the initial phase of a US$12 million+ new infrastructure project to connect Kenya with high-speed broadband using 802.16e WiMAX and Kenya’s new maritime fibre-optic cable...

Kenyan mobile services provider Safaricom has selected WiMAX and wireless broadband solutions provider Alvarion for a three-year turnkey WiMAX project to deploy high-speed broadband services throughout Kenya. Using Alvarion’s BreezeMAX solution at 3.5 GHz frequency band, the WiMAX network will enable wireless broadband for residential and corporate users, rural areas, municipalities, banks, schools and universities.

Safaricom, the largest mobile carrier in Kenya and East Africa, provides integrated data and voice communication solutions.  The Safaricom WiMAX project will augment the Kenyan undersea fibre- optic cable that now connects East Africa to international communications networks; the buildout of this fibre network is aimed at improving the broadband infrastructure in the country.

 Safaricom is also among several companies participating in this government initiative to bring fibre connectivity to Kenya. With the commercial implementation of WiMAX, Safaricom will be able to expand into new markets and offer enhanced broadband wireless services to enterprises, residential subscribers, community broadband initiatives, local government connectivity, and a multitude of other value-added applications.

Alvarion’s WiMAX solution will give Safaricom the reach and network capacity to grow its subscriber base by connecting all of Kenya.  Alvarion’s radio base stations are built to “enable better coverage and capacity and provide significant reduction in power consumption while creating an environmentally friendly network.”

“Our new WiMAX broadband network will enable us to offer high- quality broadband services to our customers throughout the country, connecting all of Kenya, and creating new opportunities for business growth for multiple segments,” said Michael Joseph, CEO of Safaricom. “We will rely on Alvarion’s proven WiMAX solutions and unparalleled experience in deploying advanced wireless broadband networks of this kind to help us build the network that will establish Safaricom as a broadband leader in the country.”   Safaricom’s WiMAX network will be rolled out in both urban and rural markets throughout the country to provide equal opportunity to people by enabling various types of data applications including e-learning and e-government initiatives.

“We are proud to partner with Safaricom, one of the most advanced and innovative operators in East Africa.  We look forward to create a state-of-the-art network with Safaricom to bring new innovative services to Kenya,” said Tzvika Friedman, President and CEO of Alvarion. “Our WiMAX solutions are customised for emerging markets with capabilities that can help reduce operating costs and boost network capacity, and help deliver advanced voice and data services for a variety of applications.”

* With a subscriber base of over 14 million and about 2,000 base stations across the country, Safaricom claims it is Kenya’s leading total telecoms services provider with a huge investment and market leadership in both voice and data services. Formed at the turn of the decade as a joint venture between Vodafone and Telkom Kenya, two years ago it pioneered M-PESA, the first mobile money transfer service anywhere in the world. Recently Safaricom, became the first firm to commercially launch a solar-powered phone, Simu ya Solar.

 ** Alvarion has a strong presence in Africa and has now deployed over 60 WiMAX networks over the continent. It claims to be the largest WiMAX pure-player with the most extensive WiMAX customer base and over 250 commercial deployments around the globe. Committed to growing the WiMAX market, the company offers solutions for a wide range of frequency bands supporting a variety of business cases.

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