Safaricom, Bharti Airtel in partnership to lay fiber network


Safaricom Kenya and Bharti Airtel are set to form an agreement that will enable the two giants to lay a fiber network. The move is designed to cut costs associated with the involvement of third parties whom they rely on for their internet.

Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, told the Business Daily that the company initiated talks with other mobile operators including Telkom Kenya and Essar, but only Airtel took up the bid. About the fiber he added: “We are going to roll out the fibre in the coming financial year; it will involve partnering with other mobile operators.”

“Safaricom and Airtel have a long standing Tower Sharing Agreement and we have similar agreements with Telkom Kenya and Essar. Therefore, collaborating in fibre optic network deployment is an extension of this and will ensure that operators minimise costs while avoiding duplication.”

The increase in cheaper smart phones, such as IDEOS and other tablets, has resulted in a data surge, where users need wireless internet. As such Kenya’s Communications Commission (CCK) says that this has seen the mobile operators upgrade their networks to better and high-speed wireless services.

Collymore added, “We have mentioned in the past that the strategy remains one of “in filling” which means that we focus on building fibre in the areas that have no infrastructure whilst avoiding unnecessary duplication.”