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Nokia Siemens eyes bigger piece of Kenyan pie

NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 26 – Telecommunications equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) is eyeing shared infrastructure management services in the country’s fast growing ICT sector.

The company, which in January made Kenya its Africa headquarters, says an opportunity exists in the space as telecom operators and internet service providers look to cut down operation costs in a competitive environment.

Nokia Siemens Head of Africa Dimitri Diliani said on Tuesday that with players in the sector rapidly expanding their infrastructure, the firm will be positioning its self to tap into the investments being made.

“Managed infrastructure today is core business in terms of revenue streams and we are working more on opportunities as all operators are looking to outsource their networks and offloading towers to third parties,” Mr Diliani said.

Its clients in Kenya are Safaricom and Airtel with Mr Diliani saying they are involved in rolling out 2G and 3G networks for both operators.

“We are extremely significant in Kenya in terms of deployment with both of the operators we have here,” Mr Diliani said.

Nokia Siemens Networks has already signed up a contract with Bharti Airtel for its for network management and optimisation across East Africa.

With regulatory pressure to lower costs and expand services beyond urban areas, operators in Kenya have been forced to come up with innovative cost cutting measure to meet these challenges.

In June, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya announced plans to form a jointly owned tower management company. Details released indicate that the new tower company will operate on a separate Network Facilities Provider (NFP) license from the Communications Commission of Kenya in order to allow it operate on an open access model.

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Mr Dilliani said that competition would be stiff in the market but said the company had an edge in offering solutions to problems like energy costs and power generation in remote areas.

“We have competence in areas such as providing security, managing the diesel generators and also deploying green energy solutions to the sites because that’s the only way we can lower costs of operating networks,” he said.

Mr Diliani said 15 percent to 30 percent of operational expenditure for telecom operators is spent on energy. With competition putting pressure on voice revenues and ultimately average revenue per user for operators NSN would be active in offering its managed services.

Nokia Siemens Networks will however have to contend with Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE who have been in the market longer and have already signed a number of deals especially in supply of network equipment.

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