Kenyan telecom giants Safaricom, on Tuesday, announced that it will temporarily put on hold, the deployment of its new Huawei-powered fifth-generation (5G) mobile network.
The news of the 5G mobile network suspension came as a surprise to many, given that the company had already concluded trials and testing of the new network’s high-speed mobile connections.
The general expectation was that haven concluded trials and testing, Safaricom would make its 5G service available to customers by the end of last year or sometime in the first quarter of this year.
Now, the company’s CEO Peter Ndegwa says the attention of the company will instead be focused on the conversion of millions of existing customers from 2G and 3G services to 4G services.
Beyond that explanation, the company has not provided any further details. Although some speculation has been making the rounds in the Kenyan press that security concerns related to Huawei equipment may have also played a role in the decision, it is however important to note that neither Ndegwa nor any other company official has made any comment to that effect.
In fact, both telecom giants Safaricom and the Kenyan government have until now, been ardent supporters of Huawei, so it would be unusual if they suddenly reversed course and aligned themselves with the US-led effort to not use equipment made by the Chinese telecom giant, as suggested by some.
The US government has been mounted an increasingly successful campaign globally, to discourage several countries and telecommunication companies from using Huawei networking equipment in their new 5G networks due to the company’s “close ties to the Chinese military and intelligence communities as well as Communist Party.”