Safaricom Kenya to offer free fibre connectivity to offices
Kenya’s largest mobile operator Safaricom has outlined plans to connect commercial buildings to the fibre optic grid for ‘free’ as the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) firm tries to woo customers.
The company has started connecting buildings in Nairobi’s Westlands area to its recently laid Sh8 billion fibre cable as it prepares for a national rollout of the service.
“We will start off in Nairobi before rolling out to the other towns as we expand the reach of our high quality metro-fibre,” said Nzioka Waita, Safaricom’s director of corporate affairs.
In Kenya, telecom firms can charge between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000 to connect buildings to their fibre networks and require office blocks to subscribe to a minimum average of 4 Mbps speeds.
Safaricom’s free connection offer, therefore, is planned to help it win bulk customers in efforts by the telecom firm to reduce reliance on its voice business
Safaricom controls more than two-thirds of the East African country’s mobile internet market share but expects that the strategy to connect commercial buildings to fibre is set to boost its performance in the lucrative fixed internet segment, which is dominated by Wananchi Group.
Previously, Safaricom has been leasing fibre connections from other providers such as KDN (Kenya Data Networks), AccessKenya and Wananchi, denying it the competitive edge in pricing and guaranteeing quality of service, which are key demands in this market segment.
Safaricom now hopes to reverse this trend with its own fibre.
“The enterprise segment is still nascent in Kenya and the data demands of businesses today require high capacity bandwidth to deliver that content back to the core.
"However, factors relating to quality and reliability have made it necessary for us to lay our own infrastructure,” Waita added.