internet projects

Kenya’s shifting Internet and Telecoms landscape.

The last couple of weeks have seen a whole raft of new developments in Kenya’s Internet and Telecoms sectors:

  • The first major development is that the SEACOM high speed undersea cable has landed in Mombasa and work is underway to ensure that operations commence in June 2009 as scheduled. This will afford Kenyan’s for the first time true broadband internet access via their preferred internet service providers.
  • The second was that Telkom Kenya had managed to secure in the region of Kes. 8 Billion from the local banking sector to fund the expansion of its services and network including its Orange Kenya offerings.
  • The third major announcement was that the Access Kenya Group had secured funding of Kes. 400 Million from NIC Bank to expand its  network infrastructure and offerings. This gives the Access Kenya Group a war chest of Kes. 1 Billion in addition to the Kes. 600 Million it already had in reserves.
  • The fourth major announcement was that Safaricom was dissolving Onecom as its small to large enterprise internet services division and integrating the business as part of the broader Safaricom brand due to cost-cutting measures.
  • The fifth announcement is that Google Kenya has launched an SMS search service that enables users with standard mobile phones to make SMS keyword searches via a short code service. This service clearly takes cognizance of the fact that most Kenyans do NOT have web-enabled mobile phones and as such SMS is an alternative channel to access Google’s search services.
  • The last major (and shocking) announcement came from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) which announced that WIMAX licenses would now cost around Kes. 270 Million to acquire and an annual fee of Kes. 14 Million to maintain.

All these developments mean that the next few years should become a pretty interesting for Kenya’s Internet services sector. The funding and roll-out of high quality internet infrastructure, coupled with the fast growing internet market, and the expected lower costs of access through the high speed SEACOM, TEAMS and EASSy undersea cables is going to change ALOT for businesses and individuals in Kenya. However, what remains to be seen is if the appetite for internet services (especially with such limited local content and online services) will match up with copious amounts of ubiquitous bandwidth at relatively low cost – will it ultimately make business sense? I certainly hope so!

Previous post

Brawn GP is the new face of Formula One.

Next post

Google launches Maps for Kenya

6 Comments

  1. April 3, 2009 at 6:03 am — Reply

    Hi, am also concerned about the appetite of internet services. The problem is not just a matter of lack of local content, the bigger problem is a poor reading culture. Internet was about yahoo mail and now facebook craze. Now these services can be accessed cheaply via a phone. Since last year 2 cyber cafes next to my work place have shut doors. No surprise there!!

    Kenyans are not going to pay thousands for internet service, even maybe hundreds. Just look at the low subscription numbers for Pay Tv, Magazines, daily papers. Another indicator that internet service is a hard sell look at safcom modem. Safcom is promoting the modem as give aways to atleast get it out there.

    I have a library membership with KNLS @100 per year and the local manager told me she is having difficulties getting takers, kenyans are ambivalent!

    Cheers man

  2. simiyu
    April 3, 2009 at 1:04 pm — Reply

    What Constantine has just said is absolutely true. All that Kenyans are interested in is facebook and mail and the novelty of it all soon wears off. We will have lots of bandwidth thats true but then what???

  3. […] [Source] Save this: […]

  4. May 4, 2009 at 1:56 am — Reply

    I would be less skeptical about Kenyan’s peculiar habits. I think online content providers just need to find a way of modeling their services along the lifestyles of Kenyans.

  5. Justin
    May 11, 2009 at 2:00 am — Reply

    People, I’ve been waiting for cheap unlimited internet for a while in the outskirts of Nairobi. If I can get it at say, ksh 1000, I would get it in a pinch. The same applies to many of my student friends. The demand is there, just a business model that works and is affordable needs to be found. If net is as cheap as my power and water bills, then it will be affordable. But I guess that’s a impossible at the moment…

  6. Jellyfish
    May 11, 2009 at 1:13 pm — Reply

    Constantine & Simiyu I respectfully disagree with your assessments. Remember what was said about Africans and the cellphone? Would Africans surviving on under a dollar a day afford cellphones? What about literacy, lack of electricity, lack of exposure to technology and the lack of infrastructure (base transmitting stations) at the time. Well today no one asks those questions anymore. With respect to data I am confident that once the cables arrive and cheap bandwidth floods the market the uptake will be tremendous. My friends Kenyans are very innovative and hardworking especially if they can make money in the process. Look at the promise of BPO, e-govt, entertainment and local broadcasting. Throw in the e-commerce component from SME and you have a huge potential for growth. Finally if the students in Kenya take up the bandwidth voila you have a tehnological revolution waiting to happen. Optimism my friends. Yes We Can!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 + 6 =