MTN relaunches UUNet as MTN Business in Kenya and targets the corporate market


Last Wednesday UUNET was re-branded as MTN Business Kenya, to reflect its principal shareholder. MTN group is Africa's largest telecommunications operator with nearly 130 million cellular subscribers in the region and in the Middle East. "We are leveraging on MTN's continental footprint to up our game in the internet market," said the new outfit's managing director, Tom Omariba.

This is anticipated to renew rivalry in the corporate data market, where the firm currently has about 700 customers. Its competitiors AccessKenya, Safaricom and Telkom Kenya are also fighting from their end to remain strong. According to Omariba, the new structure will give the firm impetus to play within the data sphere and will carry internet traffic from pan-African networks to the rest of the world by leveraging on MTN Business.

"With the rebrand, one of our core objectives is to open up the region for business with additional VAS offerings," said Mr Omariba. In 2004, Verizon South Africa bought UUNET Africa, including the Kenyan subsidiary.

However, in 2008, South Africa-based mobile operator MTN bought 100 per cent of corporate internet service provider Verizon South Africa, which was owned by US-based Verizon Communications (70 per cent) and local group Jay & Jayendra (30 per cent).

Later, MTN (60 per cent) and Telkom South Africa (40 per cent) in a joint venture formed SDN Mauritius that took over 70 per cent of UUNET Kenya. The other 30 per cent is taken by local shareholding.