Kenyan Kompendium: Safaricom renews licence; infrastructure sharing on the cards; NOFBI phase two to start in July; Kenya Power witnesses fibre windfall

26 Jun 2014

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has renewed Safaricom’s operating licence for a period of ten years, after an extended stand-off prompted by the mobile giant’s poor quality of service (QoS). The cellco paid a KES2.3 billion (USD25.9 million) renewal fee, although no mention was made of specific network improvements or possible sanctions.

In other news, CA director general Francis Wangusi has indicated that tough new rules compelling Kenya’s cellcos to share infrastructure are likely to be introduced as early as September. He told AllAfrica: ‘We also are thinking [of] drawing [on] the synergy in terms of the penetration of each particular player across the country, so that the subscriber of one player who has not reached a certain place cannot be disadvantaged.’ Operators who refuse to comply are likely to be penalised, he added.

Meanwhile, the second phase of Kenya’s National Optic Fibre Broadband Infrastructure (NOFBI) rollout is likely to get underway in July, with an additional 1,600km of fibre rolled out across the country. To date, 4,300km of fibre has been deployed, covering 28 counties; phase two will see the number of counties covered increase to 47. According to AllAfrica, the project is being funded by a USD72.5 million loan from EXIM Bank of China; Huawei Technologies of China will take charge of the rollout.

Finally, Kenya Power has announced that it has generated a total of KES1 billion from its fibre-optic networks since the establishment of its backhaul business in 2010. The company has installed over 1,800km of fibre on its high voltage power lines, with any surplus capacity leased to telecoms service providers such as Safaricom, Liquid Telecom Kenya, Jamii Telecommunications Limited (JTL), Wananchi Group and Airtel Kenya. Samuel Ndirangu, Kenya Power’s telecoms manager, told AllAfrica: ‘The fibre-optic network now interconnects [with] Uganda at the Malaba border point … Kenya Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Uganda Electricity Transmission for cross-border fibre-optic connectivity to facilitate backhaul of data extending to submarine cables in Mombasa.’