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Kenyan telco Safaricom partners Aviat to facilitate 5G backhaul


Kenyan telco giant, Safaricom, has selected Wireless Transport Solutions provider, Aviat Networks to facilitate a 5G backhaul with its WTM 4800 multi-band radio platform.

This will enable Safaricom to roll out 5G networks in rural areas and other remote locations in Kenya where fiber and copper cable sites are not feasible.

Aviat’s role in the partnership will be to provide Safaricom with the spectrum equipment. This equipment focuses narrow beams that can deliver upto 10GBps over long distances. While this coverage will still be inadequate for the most part, Aviat says that their multiband radio platform will cut costs.

According to Aviat, this WTM 4800 multi-band network deployment is the industry’s only cloud-based multi-band link design solution allowing microwave planners to see a combined, integrated view of availability and capacity for the complete multi-band link.

The company said in a statement, “Microwave spectrum cost is one of the largest TCO (total cost of ownership) elements in many countries around the world, and as capacity demands grow with 5G, more spectrum is required. Aviat multi-band provides the lowest TCO for 5G backhaul, especially in countries, like Kenya, where the cost of microwave spectrum is high.”

Aviat’s equipment will be useful to lower Safaricom’s spectrum costs, and to offload traffic between the expensive microwave spectrum onto the less expensive E-band without compromising reliability.

Company CEO, Pete Smith expressed that the pace of 5G rollouts was increasing, and that the firm was determined to leverage their capabilities to help their customers deploy the lowest TCO backhaul possible.

This announcement comes quick on the heels of Google and Telkom’s Loon Internet Baloons’ deployment in Baringo, Kenya. This makes Kenya one of the first countries to have a Loon base station in Africa.

The base stations provide more extensive internet coverage than cell towers. As such, the service is set to promote digital inclusivity of people in rural areas.


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