Kenyan mobile service provider Safaricom plans to expand further into the fixed line industry and directly take on rival Telkom Kenya’s monopoly in the country. While the anticipated launch of fixed-line services is still in the planning phase, it is widely believed that Safaricom will initially only target businesses.
“The new fixed line business will trade under the brand name Safaricom One Net, a name proposed by the Vodafone Group who owns 40 per cent of the Kenyan listed telecom company.
According to sources familiar with the development the service will be launched next month,” wrote Kenya’s The Star.
Safaricom has been granted a license to connect 800 000 customers, but the company is expecting a much higher demand when services are made commercially available. Telkom Kenya has dominated the fixed-line industry in Kenya, and makes millions each month.
The fixed-line services will be made available in all 47 counties in Kenya, while being offered through fibre and Wi-Fi, which will have a very competitive price point.
Safaricom’s head of corporate affairs and regulatory director Nzioka Waita stressed that the new fixed-line service is not a landline telephony service and will depend on broadband.
“It’s unified communication but we are not ready for launch yet. It’s an entirely different product that relies on broadband,” he said.
The Star added that “companies that currently use the Safaricom fixed lines with short numbers (such as 0711046) will be given a chance to upgrade to the new version. The new version will have similar numbers that are used by Telkom Kenya but will not include a 020 prefix at the beginning.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor