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Seacom buys metro fibre network in Kenya

Telecommunications provider Seacom has acquired Kenya-based fibre operator Hirani Telecom’s network, for an undisclosed sum, another piece in its strategy to dominate that country’s enterprise space.

SA-based Seacom sells internet data capacity on its networks to businesses, internet service providers and mobile operators on a wholesale basis.

Seacom, which connects SA’s internet traffic to Europe via its east Africa undersea cable launched in 2009, holds about 25% of the wholesale fibre market locally, competing with firms such as Telkom, Vodacom, Liquid Telecom and Dimension Data’s Internet Solutions.

The enterprise business was launched six years ago and accounts for 40% of the business.

On Wednesday, Seacom said it had completed an acquisition for 100% of Hirani Telecom’s metro fibre network. The network will be incorporated into its existing metro network in Nairobi, and will be under its full control.

Hirani Telecom is one of Kenya’s fastest-growing service providers, and the largest last-mile provider in the region.

Seacom said the acquisition is part of a strategy in the region to grow its “on-net capabilities, and provide its enterprise customers with world-class connectivity”.

Hirani Telecom owns two carrier-neutral national metro networks. The first is used to service its home users with internet and content. This will be retained by Hirani and continue operating as normal. The second network, which is being acquired by Seacom, will be dedicated solely to enterprise customers.

Seacom Kenya had already been using Hirani’s metro network to provide last-mile services to its enterprise customers. No disruption or customer migration is expected, as customers are already running on this network, the company said.

Steve Briggs, Seacom’s chief sales and marketing officer, said: “This is a first step towards ensuring we can provide end-to-end solutions for our customers across the region. We will be able to offer more competitive services, bring new, innovative solutions to market faster, and guarantee the highest quality of connectivity and service delivery.

“The acquisition of Hirani’s metro fibre network dramatically boosts Seacom’s operations and sets the stage for the expansion of our business services in the region. The world is rapidly changing, and customers need the service, quality, and availability that Seacom is known for providing.”

As a private company, Seacom does not disclose how much revenue it makes, however it did contribute R26m to 30% shareholder Remgro’s headline earnings for the year to June compared with a loss of R10m in the previous matching period.

gavazam@businesslive.co.za