Kenyan bandwidth prices drop 90% thanks to submarine cabling

Following the arrival of three fibre optic international submarine cables in Kenya across 2009 and 2010 (Seacom, TEAMS and EASSy), Kenya’s telecommunications and broadband markets are no longer dependent on limited and expensive satellite bandwidth. While bandwidth prices fell significantly following the liberalisation of international gateway and national backbone network provision in 2005, prices have now fallen by 90%, enabling far cheaper tariffs for calling and internet services.

According to Research & Markets, the country's incumbent fixed-line telco, Telkom Kenya, is revamping its infrastructure and services under the Orange brand with fresh capital from its new majority shareholder, France Telecom, and it has also re-entered the mobile market. A simplified and converged licensing regime introduced in 2008 has lowered the barriers to market entry and increased competition by allowing operators to offer any kind of service in a technology- and service-neutral regulatory framework. Various competitors such as Kenya Data Networks (KDN), AccessKenya and Jamii Telecom are rolling out national and metropolitan fibre backbones and wireless access networks to take the new bandwidth and services to population centres across the country. Several fibre infrastructure sharing agreements have been forged.

Regulatory issues on the agenda in 2010 include tariff regulation, interconnection, number portability and universal service.

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