Kenyan mobile service provider Safaricom has acquired mobile operator Essar’s 10% stake in the undersea fibre optic The East Africa Marine system (TEAMs). The value of the deal has not yet been made known, but Safaricom now owns 32.5% of the cable.
“The stake was sold to Safaricom in September at undisclosed figure, and the finances from this sale went towards yuMobile’s operations. It was an investment made by Essar, which was not being used for operations. This bandwidth had always been idle since we acquired it five years ago,” said Madhur Taneja, Essar Kenya CEO.
Safaricom added that the extra 10% it purchased from Yu Mobile will enable them to offer faster and more efficient Internet data services, which will also contribute to Safaricom’s upgrading schedule of their 4G network.
“The additional shareholding in TEAMs entitles Safaricom to have increased capacity on the 1.28 TB/s international cable. It is an integral part of our data strategy to have sufficient international capacity to feed the demands of our growing customer base and to support our terrestrial fibre strategy and LTE (4G network) plans.
According to Hispanic Business, “TEAMs, which began operations in 2008, offered bandwidth to telecom firms that feed their fibre optic cables that have been laid on land. Yu, unlike Safaricom, is yet to lay down its own terrestrial fibre-optic cable, prompting the equity sale in Teams.”
While Safaricom now holds the majority share in the cable, other shareholders include the Kenya government (20 per cent), Telkom Kenya (20 per cent), Kenya Data Networks (10 per cent) and Jamii Telecom (6.25 per cent).
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor