Kenya round-up: Liquid plots FTTH launch; ZTE demands Essar debt guarantee; Orange inks Avanti deal

17 Sep 2014

Liquid Telecom Kenya is keen to enter the country’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) market segment, while retaining its focus on expanding connectivity to the counties. In an interview on the sidelines of last week’s East Africa Com conference in Nairobi, Liquid CEO Ben Roberts noted that the firm will be strategic in its rollout, avoiding areas already covered with fibre infrastructure deployed by the likes of Telkom Kenya and Zuku. Roberts commented: ‘We’re looking at an FTTH rollout, and we intend to be strategic [in terms of] where we roll out. [We] will be keenly looking at multiple dwelling units. Nairobi has a lot of blocks of flats going up mostly in affluent areas where people with young families are based. We are looking at just going into the estates and building a fibre to every single door.’

Chinese vendor ZTE has demanded a bank guarantee for the KES568 million (USD6.3 million) debt owed to it by Essar Telecom Kenya (yu), the operator that recently saw its assets carved up and acquired by rivals Safaricom and Airtel Kenya. The debt, which relates to the supply of telecoms equipment in 2009, is the subject of out-of-court negotiations between the two parties who have been given until 18 September to reach an agreement on the matter. ZTE is said to be willing to wait for Essar to complete the sale first, on the condition it is granted a security for its dues.

Finally, Ka-band satellite operator Avanti Communications has announced that it has signed a new contract with Telkom Kenya (Orange). The telco will use Avanti’s products to provide high speed data services to a variety of government and enterprise customers throughout the country.