Bharti Airtel Ltd, a mobile phone service provider in Kenya, has announced its plans to launch 3G services in the first quarter of 2011. This strategic move is aimed at attracting more subscribers to the Bharti Airtel Kenya network and improving its profitability. The Managing Director of Airtel Kenya, Rene Meza, stated that the introduction of 3G services would facilitate the rollout of new products such as e-mail and e-commerce services. Additionally, Airtel is considering subsidizing laptops and Internet-enabled handsets to drive data usage in the country's largest economy, East Africa.

The finalization process for the implementation of 3G services is underway, with plans to launch as early as the end of the first quarter in 2011. This development comes at a time when mobile operators in Kenya are increasingly relying on data services for revenue, as voice tariffs have been reduced due to intense competition in the market. The reduction in interconnection charges by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has prompted mobile providers to lower call costs, some even offering free calls during off-peak hours.

Although Airtel Kenya has experienced losses due to the decline in call charges, the company recognizes the importance of maintaining low tariffs to drive market share growth. With the introduction of 3G services, Airtel aims to capture a significant portion of Kenya's mobile phone market. Airtel Kenya, formerly known as Zain Kenya before its acquisition by Bharti, is the second largest telecommunications company in the country, following Safaricom. This expansion of technology in Africa sets the stage for further advancements in the near future.

Currently, Safaricom is the only telecommunications network operating on a third-generation (3G) infrastructure in Kenya. Bharti Airtel Kenya holds a license to operate a 3G network, while Telkom Kenya is expected to obtain a similar license from the Communications Commission of Kenya. On the other hand, YU Essar telecoms has not displayed any interest in acquiring the 3G license at present.