Safaricom eyes northern Kenya in Ethiopia fibre optics deal

Safaricom eyes northern Kenya in Ethiopia fibre optics deal- Business daily


(Business Daily) — Safaricom has acquired a 260-kilometre stretch of fibre cable between Marsabit and the border town of Moyale from a regional tech firm as the telco eyes Internet customers in Kenya’s northern frontier.

Mauritius-based Bandwidth and Cloud Services sold the fibre cable to Safaricom for an undisclosed amount and the deal received regulatory approval from the anti-trust last Friday.

The acquisition is also seen as a strategy to provide an additional redundancy route through Ethiopia in the event of outages on the Mombasa undersea cables, Safaricom said.

“We continuously look for means to expand our coverage and find additional fibre routes that will enable our customers have convenient access to more connectivity options,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore told the Business Daily.

“It gives us enhanced access to additional international routes through Ethiopia for redundancy purposes beyond the international cables landing in Mombasa.”

The acquisition now raises Safaricom’s fibre network to 4,190km — connecting more than 53,000 homes and 1,445 commercial buildings with Internet.

Safaricom’s move to turn to acquisitions marks a change of strategy. The telco in 2013 hired Ericsson and Chinese firm Huawei to build its metro fibre optic cable expected to cover 2,400 kilometres.

Bandwidth and Cloud Services East Africa Ltd –which owns fibre cables across Eastern Africa – said it disposed of the Marsabit-Moyale fibre line because the firm is withdrawing from the Ethiopian market.

“The asset was no longer in line with our strategy as we are withdrawing from the Ethiopian market,” said Yonas Maru, founder and managing director at the firm.