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Liquid Telecom Kenya, Nokia partner to extend fibre network

Liquid Telekom Kenya, Nokia partner to extend fibre network

Liquid Telecom Kenya and Nokia have announced a two-year partnership to upgrade their existing fibre network to support OTN/DWDM technology with an initial network capacity of 500G.

The companies claim the partnership will result in a faster and more reliable connection along the route from the Indian Ocean to datacenters in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and neighbouring countries.

"Powered by the Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), the upgrade allows Liquid Telecom to meet the growing demand from its carrier, mobile operator and internet service provider (CSP/ISP) customers for higher-capacity inter-networking services," reads a statement issued by the partners.

The network will support high-capacity connections from the submarine landing stations in Mombasa, Kenya, to major datacenters in Nairobi, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as surrounding markets.

Liquid Telecom will become the first communications solutions provider to connect through their own network with nearly every country that borders Kenya whilst also providing an alternate fibre route to submarine for other landlocked countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and DR-Congo.

Ben Roberts, CTO, Liquid Telecom, said: "We believe that every individual on the African continent has the right to be connected. This is the vision that has been driving our network expansion across Africa. By teaming up with Nokia, we have been able to quickly adapt to the industry's rapid growth within the region and greater access to our high-speed fibre network and cloud services across East Africa. This comes at a time when more mobile operators are planning to increase their backbone bandwidth as they prepare for 5G which is driving the demand for high speed city to city internet links."

Potential reach

The deployment began in October 2018, and the companies believe it has the potential to reach over 85 million mobile subscribers across Kenya and neighbouring countries.

Daniel Jaeger, head of the Central, East and West Africa Market Unit at Nokia, said: "As an industry-leading optical network provider, Nokia has enabled customers to maximise network capacity and efficiency while supporting the deployment of mission-critical services. With our DWDM/OTN network, Liquid Telecom can offer the high capacity and low latency needed for its customers, ensuring an excellent customer experience and ultimately connecting all of Africa to the digital world. This network will be an important, additional backbone network with Nokia technology across Africa."

Liquid Telecom selected Nokia's DWDM and OTN technologies for increased capacity and bandwidth, and the ability to support long distances. The Nokia solution allows Liquid Telecom to reuse its existing Nokia DWDM infrastructure, which reduces its capital expenditures, the companies added.

The companies explain the solution will initially be available on the following routes: Nairobi - Mombasa: high-capacity interconnections from Nairobi datacenters to the submarine landing stations at Mombasa; Nairobi - Kampala: opens a new high-capacity route to Uganda, Rwanda and beyond; Nairobi - Namanga: opens a new high-capacity route to Tanzania; as well as Nairobi - Ethiopia: opens a new high-capacity route to Ethiopia and gives the landlocked country an alternate route to the submarine connection in Djibouti.

In early March 2019 Liquid Telecom South Africa secured a deal with MTN to offer 4G roaming.

Liquid said the deal includes LTE services to fuel the growing demand for high speed mobile broadband. The wholesale roaming service will be made available across Liquid Telecom's network nationwide.

"With MTN as a customer, we have an opportunity to utilise our existing spectrum assets, so more people than ever will have access to fast and reliable mobile internet - and across Liquid Telecom's network nationwide for the first time," said Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.

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