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Safaricom predicts demand for data services to grow by 15pc

By | July 30th 2009

By Morris Aron

Mobile service provider Safaricom forecasts demand for data services will go up by 15 per cent due to fast Internet speeds after fibre optic cables are fully operationally.

Safaricom, which carried out tests with the technology over the weekend, said Internet costs would drop by between 15 per cent and 20 per cent in the next six to nine months .

"We see a scenario where internet costs could come down in the medium to long term after the cable companies are fully set up," said Mr Michael Joseph Safaricom’s chief executive.

Clear the air

The announcement by Safaricom clears the air over a debate that has been raging between telecommunication and Internet service providers (ISPs) and their customers over how far the costs should come down.

A section of telecommunication experts and consumers have maintained that the costs should drop by between 80 and 90 per cent.

During the commissioning of the Seacom cable last week, Mr Haskell Ward, Seacom’s senior vice president in charge of government relations, said users would have to wait a little longer for cheaper internet as industry players come up with prices which will enable them to recoup their investment.

"The fibre optic cable is expensive to lay and service providers will first want to put in place modalities to recover their expenses," said Joseph.

Safaricom has invested $25 million in the government-backed East African Marine System (Teams) cable. Other cables expected to land in Mombasa are the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (Eassy) and Lion.

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