In Kenya, modernization is squashing old ways of doing business, and smart millennials are at the forefront of the transformation.
Skilled developers and programmers work to accelerate innovation across the country to build cutting-edge telecommunication solutions birthed from the country’s challenges.
Kenya learned that ICT has the potential to mobilize the country out of unemployment and poverty.
We take a look at four trends in the telecommunications industry in Africa, and share a glimpse of what Kenya’s doing for each:
1: Infrastructure upgrades
Most Africans with internet access use mobile devices, and internet penetration is growing strongly.
As telecoms adapt to the changing needs of their customers, so too will their infrastructures require upgrades.
The more people’s lives digitally evolve, the greater the need for high-speed data network capacity. As the need grows, in order to stay competitive, telecommunications providers are forced to fork out substantial amounts on optic-fibre connectivity and upgrading 2G and 3G networks to 4G (LTE) networks, and soon, to 5G.
In Kenya, the Communications Authority data for the quarter ending September 30, 2018, shows mobile subscriptions numbers are currently at 46.6 million – a growth of 2.4%, when compared to 45.5 million subscriptions on June 30, 2018, earning the country a 100.1 mobile penetration rate.
The arrival of smart devices in Kenya has increased demand for broadband, and numerous companies have and still are in the process of rolling out fibre backbone networks and wireless access networks. All network operators have invested in mobile technologies and infrastructure upgrades to support the increase of mobile penetration rate.
In addition, Extensia-Ltd reports that “In partnership with the regulator, the Communications Authority, Telcos are putting up base stations to boost network connectivity across the country, expected to bring in about 300,000 Kenyans to the country’s communication grid.”
2: Arrival of 5G
Kenya’s mobile internet speed is faster than it’s neighbouring African countries, in fact, Kenya has been ranked second in Africa and 64 worldwide .
In Kenya, Telkom will dedicate KSh. 1 billion, $10 million, into the optimization and expansion of its 4G and 3G network, but although 4G was launched by Safaricom and Jamii Telecom, it is doubtful that Kenya, as all African sectors, have covered 20% of the market with 4G services as yet.
However, according to Francis Wangusi, director general of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Kenya is planning to roll-out a 5G network in 2019.
3: Increased personalization via AI and analytics
The power of analytics enables enhanced product and service offerings, better forecasting, risk mitigation, streamlined marketing, increased personalization and improved business systems.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the telco industry to enable the automation and processing of customer data for business insights that are actionable.
Analytical insight gives rise to new services and products that aim to attract and retain customers.
Analyzing huge amounts of data has prompted the creation of new facilities in Kenya. One such example is Liquid Telecom Kenya who partnered with Strathmore Business School (SBS) to develop a new data analytics centre for African businesses.
Liquid Telecom Kenya provides the with dedicated rackspace and colocation services at the East Africa Data Centre (EADC) and is establishing a direct fibre link between the SBS campus and EADC in Nairobi, to provide data analytic services.
In Kenya, Liquid Telecom ushers in the adoption of Big Data Analysis as an essential for any business.
4: Deployment of Fibre
The need for Fibre is increasing and Africa continues to push aggressively for the deployment of Fibre infrastructures.
Says CapitalFM: “Telkom Kenya has commenced the survey for the 30 Terabyte Fiber cable that runs for approximately 4,000 kilometres, interconnecting Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya.”
At the moment, Kenya is served by four cables, and the development of regional backbones will increase connectivity.
The availability of high-speed broadband should see faster speeds with the aim to generate more services and revenue.
Digital transformation is set to disrupt the telecommunications industry, but it will also provide outstanding opportunities for those MNOs in Africa that are innovative and flexible enough to grab them.
Speed, efficiency and value for customers are the key drivers.