In order to boost its services in Western Kenya, Safaricom has improved its network in this area at a cost of $ 24.7 million, a move that will result in better services for subscribers.
The works, which involve both capacity and quality enhancement, have been going on since September last year. As part of the ongoing works, dubbed Western Focus, some 117 2G base stations have been installed while a further 121 2G sites have been upgraded to 3G status in the region, resulting in an across-the-board optimization of the network and introduction of services like internet to a bigger segment of the population.
Safaricom has invested heavily in a 3G network, the only one of its kind in Kenya, a strategy that has seen it garner a huge lead in the mobile internet market. Today, nine out of every 10 Kenyans who use the internet regularly access it through the Safaricom network.
“We are very much excited about the investments we have made in network expansion and improvement in western Kenya. Safaricom is committed to ensuring that our subscribers, wherever they are, enjoy superior overall service experience. We consider network availability, reliability, and integrity as key components of this equation,” said Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore.
Safaricom has also undertaken a major modernization of its network infrastructure between Kisumu City and Kisii town which is aimed at improving network quality, coverage and capacity.
New equipment, installed at some 80 sites between these key urban centers at a cost of $ 2.8 million, offers additional features that translate into improved services for customers while the firm will also benefit from lower operation costs as a result of this initiative.
These targeted improvements have come as a welcome boon to residents of western Kenya, where due to historical and topographical challenges, certain parts have had poor network coverage and quality challenges in the recent past.
As a result of these investments, most residents can now enjoy improved Safaricom services including voice calls, data, M-PESA, SMS, Okoa Jahazi, Sambaza and Skiza, among others.
Mr Collymore spoke during an extensive tour of Nyanza and Western provinces, during which he officially launched two Safaricom base stations – one at Lubao, Kakamega County and another one at Okore within Kisumu City.
“We will continue to invest in our network to ensure we not only have the most modern and reliable network in this market, but we can also assure our subscribers, wherever they are in Kenya, of the best overall customer experience. We shall listen and we shall use feedback to improve continuously,” added Collymore.
The areas where major network improvements have been achieved by Safaricom in the greater western Kenya region as part of the Western Focus project since the initiative started include:
1. Okore, Kisumu City: This offers coverage and capacity improvement for residents of Okore, a densely populated residential estate within Kisumu City.
2. Lubao, Kakamega: Famous for its dog market, Lubao now enjoys better coverage after a new base station was debarred here.
3. Wagai market and the surrounding villages along the busy Luanda-Siaya road, which previously had no coverage, but which now do, following the installation of a new site.
4. Shianda area in Kakamega has also benefited from the optimization of an existing site, spawning better coverage for residents in this high -population area.
5. Kawundi, Pith Dero Market, Kagwa and Wichlum beach and other surrounding areas along Lake Victoria in Siaya Country have also witnessed better coverage following the unveiling of a new site.
6. Kapsara: New site at this market, situated between Chepkoilel Campus and Kitale in the North Rift, now means Safaricom subscribers have been enjoying the firm’s services.
7. Ombeyi: This area near Miwani has also seen better services following the installation of a new site.
Safaricom expects to continue committing substantial amounts of its capex to growing and improving its infrastructure in all parts of Kenya. It is expected that more than half of the $ 279.6 million capex expenditure estimated for the current financial year, up from $ 247.3 million previously, will be dedicated to infrastructure projects.