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Safaricom to initially target enterprise market with NB-IOT

Safaricom to initially target enterprise market with NB-IOT

After announcing its intention to launch a Narrow-band IOT network in Kenya last year, Safaricom has confirmed it will engage enterprise businesses first before moving on to individual customers.

This is according to the company's Chief Customer Officer (CCO) Sylvia Mulinge who said: "Our enterprise unit is talking to our corporate customers to figure out how we will deliver solutions that enable them operate more efficiently."

Safaricom plans to work with power utility company Kenya Power with the possibility of using the NB-IOT network to monitor metres, potentially offer smart metering options and improve the billing process.

"On fixed data side, we are looking at a surveillance solution that will run off our IOT system. It is still early stages, but our global company Vodafone has made some good strides in terms of developing (the) IOT proposition for enterprise and at home," she said.

FTTH users will be among the first individual customers to leverage the company's NB-IOT network.

According to Safaricom, there are currently over 79,000 homes connected to the company's fibre and 212,000 homes passed.

"We are currently still at concept stage, testing the delivery and pricing and if the customer understands the solution then we will commercialise it," Mulinge added.

She said the network will be rolled out in a global standard platform, but did not divulge how much money had been set aside for this purpose.

Safaricom is preparing for an increase in VoLTE services as part of its 4G infrastructure and according to the company, its 4G coverage now stands at 53%.

Mulinge said the company will look to disrupt its own voice business which posted a 1.4% increase in revenues to Kshs 48 billion, as reported in the half-year2018/2019 financial results.

"Voice is going down globally and therefore it is important to plan for this future where there is flat growth. We continue to leverage the assets that we have," she said.

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