NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29 – More than 70 senior executives from France Telecom meet in Nairobi next week for a major conference on data services.
The conference dubbed Sawaafrica 2010 will bring together executives involved in infrastructure development and wholesale carrier from France, Asia, Middle East and Africa – to adopt a common strategy on how to bridge the digital divide in Africa by increasing access to data services.
The two-day conference will also provide a forum for the executives to share experiences and lessons from the various markets, and deliberate on how they can be implemented in Africa.
The conference will mainly focus on bridging the digital divide across the operators in Africa.
In Kenya, the battle for dominance in the telecommunications market has shifted from voice with the emergence of mobile data poised to be the next frontier for mobile operators.
Last week, Telkom Kenya was awarded a 3G license as the company looks to launch more advanced data services.
The Communications Commission of Kenya has in the past indicated that increased competition in the mobile broadband market would bolster the level of innovativeness in the local mobile telecommunications industry and the penetration of high-speed internet services.
According to CCK statistics, the country has 7.8 million users. Out of this figure mobile data/Internet subscriptions through 2G and 3G accounted for 99 percent of the total subscriptions by June 2010.
CCK Director General Charles Njoroge has pointed out that the mobile platform had potential to drive internet development, including broadband.
“If this trend is anything to go by, mobile broadband has the best chance of becoming Kenya’s main broadband internet access medium in the future,” Mr Njoroge said.
Telkom Kenya currently operates two terrestrial cables, and has substantial shareholding in the TEAMS and EASSy undersea fibre optic cables. The integrated communications services provider is also set to have additional capacity with the anticipated landing of the LION II cable next year.
The company is already connected to the greater East African region and Kenya’s neighbors in the North with a capacity of over 6,000 kilometers of cable, through the National Optic Fibre Backbone Initiative (NOFBI) and Telkom Kenya’s own fibre cable.
The carrier-to-carrier service operated by Telkom Kenya is also used by other telecommunication services providers and corporate institutions with multinational presence to support seamless and reliable communication services.