Kenyan cellco Safaricom which has approximately 80% of the local mobile telephony market, and its only rival Celtel will soon face competition from fixed line operator Telkom Kenya and Econet Wireless. Telkom Kenya will begin trials of its new mobile network in two weeks time and plans to launch commercial services in September, while Econet Wireless will roll out its mobile services in July.
Telkom Kenya’s CEO Dominic Saint-Jean has said the company will initially concentrate its activities on major urban areas and plans to introduce bundles of fixed, mobile and broadband services targeting corporate and SOHO customers to gain subscribers. However, Celtel and Safaricom will not give up market share easily and both have spent heavily on advertising and new technology in preparation for the increased competition. Just this week Safaricom has extended its wireless broadband internet service to Mombasa. The service was launched in May and was initially only available in Nairobi, but Safaricom has invested KES1.9 billion (USD30 million) in 3G licence fees and infrastructure development and now plans to have coverage of all urban centres by the end of 2008.