Safaricom deploys 400G network link to improve its internet offering

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Safaricom has announced that it has deployed a 400G network link, making it among the first in the world to commercially deploy the solution. The 400G standard was approved in December 2017 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, paving the way for network equipment suppliers and operators to begin deploying equipment that conforms to the standard.

The new 400G link will enable Safaricom to support increasing video consumption alongside demand for higher video quality from both its home and mobile customers. It will also support its plans to launch IOT devices on its network.

The new link was installed by Huawei and it will increase the company’s capacity to carry internet traffic over 500 kilometres. The link will achieve a speed of up to 400 Gigabits per second, an upgrade from the previous connection which offered speeds of 100 Gbps. Safaricom and Huawei announced deployment of the solution at the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.

“The 400G solution will support the continued growth of our network which is being driven by an explosion in internet usage. Mobile data usage on our network has been doubling year-on-year while our fibre network now reaches more than 220,000 homes and 17,000 businesses across more than ten towns. It was therefore prudent to invest in the latest network technology to ensure that we can support the demand from our customers for years to come,” said Thibaud Rerolle, Chief Technology Officer – Safaricom.

In the two years to September 2018, Safaricom experienced an increase in the average data usage per customer which went from 160 MBs per customer per month to 640 MBs per customer per month. Safaricom has also increased its 4G coverage in Kenya to more than 2,600 sites. The 4G sites cover 53 per cent of the country while the 3G coverage covers 91%. Additionally, Safaricom has laid more than 5,500 kilometres of fibre linking its masts in more than 16 major towns.

Safaricom is the largest telecommunications in Kenya and provides voice, data, financial services and enterprise solutions to over 29.5 million customers in Kenya. It is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and it has annual revenues in excess of Ksh. 200 Billion. The company plans to invest Ksh. 38 in infrastructure this year. Safaricom pioneered mobile money transfer in Kenya through M-PESA in Kenya. It now has 28.6 million M-Pesa customers and over 156,500 M-PESA Agent outlets countrywide.

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