, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 15 – Safaricom has invested Sh2.3 billion to improve its network infrastructure in western Kenya.
As part of its western focus strategy, the money has gone into putting up 117 2G stations while a further 121 stations are currently being upgraded to 3G compatibility.
Speaking while on a tour of Western Kenya, Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore said the operator had ascertained that its network quality had not been the best for some time, prompting a major re-think of how the company sets up its infrastructure.
Mr Collymore said given the firm’s large customer base, similar investments in its network infrastructure would need to me made to ensure customers get value for their services with the operator.
“Safaricom is committed to ensuring that our subscribers, wherever they are, enjoy superior overall service experience. We consider network availability, reliability, and integrity as key components of this equation,” Mr Collymore said.
Safaricom has invested heavily in a 3G network a strategy that has seen it garner a huge lead in the mobile Internet market.
Safaricom has also undertaken a major modernisation of its network infrastructure between Kisumu and Kisii town, which is aimed at improving network quality, coverage and capacity.
New equipment, installed at some 80 sites between these key urban centres at a cost of Sh261 million, offers additional features that translate into improved services for customers.
These targeted improvements have come as a welcome boon to residents of western Kenya, where due to historical and topographical challenges, certain parts have had poor network coverage and quality challenges in the recent past.
The capital injection comes two months after Safaricom announced a joint venture with Telkom Kenya to form a jointly owned tower management company.
Mr Collymore said move by the two operators was prompted by the need for the industry to explore improved cost efficiency on infrastructure management.
Investment in infrastructure is said to form a bulk of the operators expenses, which they would like to bring down in light of heightened competition that has eroded profitability.
“We will continue to invest in our network to ensure we not only have the most modern and reliable network in this market, but we can also assure our subscribers, wherever they are in Kenya, of the best overall customer experience,” Mr Collymore said.
With Safaricom having earmarked Sh26 billion for capital expenditure in the current financial year, the CEO said they expect to use close to Sh13 billion will be dedicated to infrastructure projects.