MTN, Africa’s giant mobile network operator, has spread its wings to Kenya, intending to digitally transform businesses and improve fibre internet infrastructure in Kenya and across Africa.
These operations will gain momentum after MTN GlobalConnect acquired MTN Business Kenya to transform its operating company into a dedicated wholesale and infrastructure hub in Kenya.
MTN GlobalConnect is a Pan-African digital wholesale and infrastructure services company founded in 2017, and an operating company in the MTN Group.
Consequently, MTN will battle it out for customers with Safaricom and Telkom Kenya, among other fibre internet providers which are already in the Kenyan market. The telco giant says that the Kenyan move is the first milestone in its fibre railroad deployment projects, as it aims to shape its Pan-African infrastructure expansion.
Digital transformation has been an important aspect of East Africa’s economic growth over the last 15 years. Kenya was a natural selection for MTN GlobalConnect to kick-start its Pan-African fibre railroad journey.
Fibre is the most sought-after mode for sending and receiving data, as it allows for enormous data bandwidths and enables the fastest internet speed. Fibre technology uses laser pulses to transmit billions of bits of data per second through long, thin strands of glass, at speeds more than 100 times faster than traditional non-fibre.
The decision to invest in Kenya was also informed by an efficient telecommunications policy and regulatory environment and the Kenyan Government’s objective to position the country as a hub for information and communication technologies, and digital services.
MTN GlobalConnect Chief Executive Officer Frédéric Schepens said that Kenya is best suited for rolling out the Pan-African fibre railroad plan. “We have prioritised the Republic of Kenya to form part of our fibre rollout owing to its strategic location in the East African Community bordering five countries, its access to the 2Africa subsea cable at Port Mombasa, and that doing business in Kenya furthers our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.”
Kenya is connected to six sub-sea internet cables via the port city of Mombasa. The sixth submarine internet cable was launched on the 29th of last month. Kenya boasts one of the fastest-growing economies on the continent but also the most expensive mobile data in East Africa, according to the GSM’s global Mobile Data Index.
Speaking during the launch at Nyali, Mombasa, the government’s ICT and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said that the Sh 44 billion cable will revolutionise the Kenyans’ internet consumption and experience. “5G smartphone penetration in Kenya is growing. More online business opportunities will be unlocked by this cable,” said Mucheru.
MTN GlobalConnect continues to inject incremental foreign and direct investments across Africa to build the much-needed terrestrial backbone with an extensive fibre-optic network that will expand broadband connectivity and further integrate the continent. MTN GlobalConnect says it is committed to broadening and stimulating fast and affordable broadband access from the East to the West of Africa. This investment will interconnect countries by building digital hubs and connecting landlocked countries to subsea cables.
The initial 2021 investment in Kenya exceeded 9 million US Dollars with a 35% growth in headcount. The newly appointed Managing Director, Sylvia Anampiu who joined on the 15th of February 2022, has taken the helm to lead the Kenyan business as it expands its services.