NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – Competition in the Kenyan telecommunications sector is increasingly shifting to data as operators pump investments into rolling out faster internet in the market.
Orange became the latest to launch a 42 Mbps network in Nairobi and Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein said they have invested more than Sh4.13 billion in the roll out of their 3G services since 2011, which is part of their aggressive campaign to capture the data market share.
“Telkom is moving in data and growing according to the CCK report, but we’re suffering to have more volumes of voice so we’ve decided to continue acquiring the data in this market and the development of data for the high and low end businesses is due to market demand,” he said.
“This is the way to make differentiation in the market and we saw it,” he added.
The latest quarterly industry statistics released by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) indicates that Internet penetration rose from 28.7 percent recorded in the previous quarter to 30.0 percent during the latest quarter under review.
Compared with the previous quarter, Telkom Kenya is the only operator that recorded growth in the market share of 7.70 percentage points as other operators experienced reductions or minimal growth in the market share by subscription.
“The new Orange Internet Everywhere 42 Mbps modem will also automatically connect to 21 Mbps speeds while in a 3G coverage area or switch to EDGE if a user totally moves to a non 3G area and the new plug-and-play device is also compatible with varied Operating Systems,” Ghossein explained.
The 42 Mbps is the maximum theoretical download speed achievable, while using the High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and Dual-Cell Carrier technology.
A 42 Mbps network can download a standard MP3 song in just under a second and a standard 700 Megabyte movie in three minutes.
However, in ideal conditions speeds experienced tend to be lower due to sharing of bandwidth and especially due to spectrum limitations or the amount of frequency which a mobile operator can transmit on and on average, the maximum speed experienced by a consumer is usually a third of the maximum speed available.
Orange customers will be able to purchase already existing prepaid data bundles or the unlimited data offerings to top up this device.
During the latest quarter review, broadband subscriptions increased tremendously to record 651,738 subscriptions up from 131,829 subscriptions posted the previous quarter.
According to the CCK as of March 31, there were 6.49 million Internet subscriptions up from 6.15 million recorded the previous period.
The continued increase in mobile data and Internet subscriptions could be as a result of stiff competition from the operators offering attractive promotional and special offers and competitive tariffs consequently leading to increased uptake of mobile data services and products.
Safaricom unveiled its own 42Mbps modem in mid April this year. Orange’s networking equipment is supplied by Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, while Safaricom sources from ZTE’s home rival, Huawei.
The Orange 42 Mbps modem will retail at Sh10,000 and customers in Nairobi will be able to experience the fast speeds and reliable connections, while other cities across Kenya will have to wait several months before Orange rolls out the product in their region.
“We’ve decided to first launch in the main cities because that’s where the market share is, but after we get the revenues and profits from Nairobi we’ll continue investing everywhere,” Ghossein revealed.
“We need more money because if customers would like to have more transmission and speed, we’ll have to inject more money into the transmission backbone,” he explained.
Orange have already launched their 3G network into Malindi and they are looking into opening up the same in Eldoret and Nakuru.