Kenya’s giant telecoms provider Safaricom is said to invest up to Ksh 8 billion to lay a 2,300 kilometers of fibre-optic cable within the coming four years. This is due to the rising customer base and continued use of the internet.

Safaricom CEO, Bob Collymore says that the company is highly dependent on Fibre for voice and internet services and therefore more investments will be channeled into developing and increasing its coverage in the country.

Britain’s Telecoms firm Vodafone owns 40 percent of Safaricom shares and already has 600km of fibre and is set to add another 800km from November and run for the next 18 months.

Mobile networks in Kenya are racing to extend their network coverage across the country to keep up with the growing number of subscribers. There has been a 16 percent rise of mobile phone usage in the first quarter of this year to bringing the total to 29 million users compared to the same period last year. Internet usage also grew by 69 percent to 6.5 million subscribers.

Safaricom commands a 67 percent market share in east Africa’s biggest economy with 19.1 million subscribers and 70 percent of internet users. In the meantime, the firm will in a month’s time be launching its Applications-Store that is said to promote local developers.

This innovation will compete with other apps stores like Nokia’s Ovi Store, Samsung Apps, Google Play which are already in the market but are short of the local touch and content.

Speaking about this, Safaricom Director of Corporate Affairs, Nzioka Waita said that the innovation will give developers the platform to reach the local market as well as a stepping stone towards the international market.

There will be a competition for apps development where the winner gets a Sh1 million cash prize and also get top placement in the Safaricom Apps Store. Other top contenders will also get favorable placement in the store.

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