Kenya: China Crescent Builds WiMAX Network

August 28, 2009

WiMAX Communication Tower

China Crescent Enterprises announced this week to begin construction of their first project in Africa, and are starting the expansion of operations on the continent by setting up a WiMAX (802.16E) network in Kenya.

WiMAX is an acronym that stands for ‘Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access’ and provides wireless transmission of data via various transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. WiMAX provides up to 3 Mbit/s broadband speed without the need for cables and is ideal to connect both urban and rural communities at low costs.

For roll-out of their wireless WiMAX network, China Crescent is using equipment exclusively from Huawei Technologies, who has played a key role in Kenya’s mobile network infrastructure for the last 10 years and services mainstream mobile operators such as Vodacom, Orange, Telkom, MTN, Millicom, Celtel and Safaricom.

Huawei has had exceptional growth in the region since it began business in 1998 in Kenya and currently has 13 branches across 39 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region, and its headquarters of  East Africa is in Kenya, from where Huawei is serving other countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, and Ethiopia with GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, NGN, optical networks and other data solutions.

Throughout the first six months of 2009, China Crescent reported US$17 million in revenue and an over 200% net income increase. The company has forecasted profitable revenue of $40 million in 2009. Headquartered in the USA, China Crescent has its main operations in Shanghai and Beijing.

Kenya already has a fiber-optic cable infrastructure in place throughout the country, and three submarine cables under construction or currently coming on line. The Company anticipates the first phase of its first WiMax project in Africa to be online in the first quarter of 2010.

China Crescent recently participated at WiMax Conference in Nairobi, organized by the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) and  in preparation to begin operations in Kenya. AFRALTI, which is partnering with the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has a long history of development work and training for the Information Technology Sector throughout Africa, and is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

China Crescents first WiMAX network in Kenya is planned to be online and operational within the first quarter of 2010.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Edwin Muzuva August 30, 2009 at 07:57

Looking forward to WiMAX this is good technology for remote areas and as there’s no need for copper, cheap infrastructure and long range coverage.

WiMAX is ideal for Africa!

2 Alexander D. September 4, 2009 at 13:18

WiMAX is indeed ideal technology for providing broadband data and even phone services and VoIP to rural and remote areas. Here in South Africa there’ been a lot of WiMAX deployment going on during the last few years.

But WiMAX needs a liberal licensing: once the national regulators decide to cut down on license availability and start to regulate prices, chances are the it will loose many of its advantages and become more expensive.

3 Edward September 14, 2009 at 13:43

what’s the future of wi-max growth in light of the fibre optic cable being laid in urban Kenya?
any one with some thoughts?

4 Daniel September 14, 2009 at 18:51

Seems to me to be the ideal pair here:

You need the optical fiber to get the high-speed, then you use WiMax to bridge the last mile and broadcast the high-speed internet connection to the end-users, both in urban and in rural areas.

One WiMax station can cover a very large area, usually they state the figure as a radius of 50km (~ 30 miles). Which is a lot! A single tower is thus able to cover up to an impressive 8.000 square kilometers.

WiMax speeds are as good as DSL – or better – and at max. 70 megabits per second.

Cable are expensive and require loads of efforts, whereas WiMax boxes are easy and cost-efficient to setup. A WiMAX tower station can connect directly to the optical fiber using for example a T3 line.

A line-of-sight is not needed between user and base station, making WiMAX deployable also in urban areas such as CBD’s, financial districts etc.

One WiMax station can also connect to another WiMAX tower using a microwave link. Using such a connection to a 2nd tower one can easily cover huge areas with only a few towers.

WiMax is currently the most ideal technology to provide network access to rural areas, and I’m quite sure we’ll see a lot more WiMax deployment in Africa during the next years.

5 Vivien September 16, 2009 at 20:21

Hearing what has been said above, I might exclaim “Life’s Good with WiMAX”. Just make a stop in Benin and you’ll see it’s not. They deployed a lousy WiMAX Network that barely works. You get knock off the Internet every 5mn, the entrance cost is high…bof…

6 joseph October 7, 2011 at 15:04


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