Mombasa One Construction Update: 2017
Its been a busy start to the year at icolo as we prepare for the launch of MBA1 this July – exciting times!
We have made good progress with the main building, in January the walls came up and rooms took shape. The core structure of the building is 90% complete, including plastered walls and concrete floors. The fire doors and ceilings are currently being installed in the technical rooms. In the coming weeks, the ceilings will be finished; concrete floor slabs sealed with an epoxy coating and painting will begin.
March 2017 will be a major milestone for MBA1’s development, we will be fitting out the building with cable trays for power. Data cables and piping for refrigerant and fire suppression will start as soon as the main contractor hands over the finished rooms in the month of March. The expected completion date for the building is 31st March 2017!
We have scheduled dates for the delivery of all equipments to sites:
- Cooling equipment is on site including the raised floor and CRAC units.
- Fire suppression and HSSD kit arrived on site in January.
- Another milestone in March: our staff will do a Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) and Factory Witness Testing (FWT) for all our equipments at the European facility.
- All the pending equipment will be delivered by April-May and the fit out of raised floor, duct work and cooling equipment will be done during the same time.
- By the end of May we will be expecting the delivery of electrical equipment: generators, UPS and electrical boards.
- June is the time for equipment installation, commissioning and integrated site testing.
- And 1st July – We are READY For Initial Customer!
Kenya: An upward growth pattern
2016 was a year where the ICT industry stood apart from its peer industries in Kenya.
A recent report by the Communications Authority of Kenya provided the current statistics surrounding the ICT sector and if one thing is clear, the growth patterns are significant. A few years ago the ICT sector in Kenya was barely recognized and placed categorically under transport and communication.
Let us take a look at Kenya’s latest ICT statistics.
Mobile Money – The Kenyan Way
The latest Communications Authority report highlights that there are currently 26.3 million mobile money subscribers in Kenya. Kenyan’s on average made 4.1 billion transactions via mobile money last year. Safaricom’s M-pesa was responsible for a staggering 92% of the transactions done, valued at Ksh 267 billion. Just to give you an idea of the substance of those numbers, in 2014, Kenya’s 42 commercial banks reported profits before tax of Ksh 139 billion. Yes, dull in comparison. Numbers like these have propelled Kenya’s mobile money scene to a global stage, and rightly so as mobile money was birthed in Kenya.
From the same report, another notable highlight is the penetration rate of mobile. With an astounding number of 39.7 million subscriptions recorded during the period April to June 2016. This puts the penetration rate in Kenya at 90%. An average of 1.4 million new mobile subscriptions on average every quarter. With a population of 44 million, we can expect close to 100% rates by 2020 or earlier. That’s quite the spectacle Kenya, Bravo!
Smartphones, smartphones for everybody
Kenya’s mobile phone market is a vibrant cornucopia of options, with smartphone offerings being as low as $30. The low-cost smartphone has now penetrated a market that was previously dominated by feature phones. This shift in offerings has propelled smartphone ownership to 44% of all mobile users. At the beginning of 2015, this number was at 27%. The access to smartphones have opened avenues that were previously closed to majority Kenyans. Which leads me to my next point..
Karibuni to the World Wide Web
37.7 million, that’s the number of internet users in Kenya according to the latest Communications Authority’s statistics. Daily, new users are making their way online. A contributing factor to this is the aforementioned economical smartphones which have provided Kenyans with a platform to access the internet. Moreover, internet subscriptions have gone up by 35%, this is 26.8 million users, which is a huge jump from the previous year which recorded 19 million subscriptions.
Which Band? Broadband
Currently touching 11 million subscriptions, a 37% jump from 7.9 million subscriptions recorded in the previous quarter according to the Communications Authority of Kenya. The jump in subscriptions can be attributed to several facets including; In-expensive smartphones, increment in broadband coverage across Kenya and more pocket friendly mobile data rates. According to BMI research, a quarter of Kenyans are now connected on 3G connections or better. With the Kenyan government doubling down on ICT implementation across the country and launching platforms like e – citizen, the number of internet subscriptions is bound to grow tremendously over the next couple of years.
WhatsApp? Actually SMS is King
You would expect SMS to take a knee before instant messaging platforms like WeChat, WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, but you will be surprised at the results. Total number of SMS’s sent according to the Communications Authority was recorded at 11.6 Billion, that’s a 78% jump from 6.5 billion which was recorded as of the last quarter. SMS bundles introduced by leading mobile network operators can be attributed to the stupendous growth.
According to an article published on biztechafrica.com, the forecast for Kenya’s ICT landscape is extremely favourable. With strong support from the government, the ICT industry in Kenya may grow 20% by the end of 2020.
Information sourced from Quarterly Sector Statistics report, CCK, 2016.
Frontier Optical Network
Frontier Optical Network, is a TIER 2 Network Service Provider, Application Service Provider (ASP) and Content Service Provider (CSP). The company was founded in 2009 in Nairobi with a vision to be East Africa’s largest and most versatile fibre optic networks for consumer and companies. Their mission is to be the provider of choice for high value, high quality, fibre optic broadband solutions.
With a network that is continually expanding. They have successfully rolled out 500KM of metro fibre in the greater metropolitan city of Nairobi and Thika county including a further 150KM in Mombasa. FON have also established two data centers at the Royal Offices in Westlands and Soliton Park at North Airport Road, Nairobi. Currently, an they are constructing an additional data center and disaster recovery site in Mombasa.
This month, we had a chat with Jama Mohammed, Managing Director at FON.
- Tell us a little about Frontier Optical Network (FON): We are privately held limited-liability company registered in Kenya and have offices in Nairobi and Mombasa. We are licensed to provide local, national and international backbone connectivity in Kenya.
- Tell us about the current state of dark fibre and local loop in Kenya: Not all service providers are able to offer dark fibre as a product. The few providers that do it price it very differently, some charging per kilometre on spur basis while others charge on ring base with minimum kilometres sold. The financial sector has been the biggest consumer of this product so far due to the need of replication. Also, it has been made mandatory by the Central Bank of Kenya for back up sites to be live at all times. Local loops are available in the country, this also depends on the capacity needs, example: 1MB, 2MB, 5MB, 10MB etc, most providers do not sell anything less than 1MB.
- What are your growth expectations for the region? We expect to expand our metro network to every county in Kenya.
- Tell us a little bit about your fibre network: Our fibre network connects commercial property to provide tailored service to multimedia providers, banks, ISPs, insurance firms, data centers, hospitals, residential estates and other bandwidth users accompanied with Service Level Agreements.
- What kind of solutions do you offer and to which organizations ? We offer solutions to: National Bank of Kenya, Co-operative Bank, KCB, Chase Bank, Imperial Bank, Safaricom, Wanaichi Group, Emerging Markets Communication, The Bandwidth and Cloud System, KENET etc. The kind of solutions we offer:
- Dark fibre solution
- IP/MPLS WAN layer 2 & 3
- Wholesale international bandwidth/IP transit (all the way to London telephone house and global switch)
- Data center colocation and hosting facilities (Mombasa data center)
- Mobile black haul
Working with the mentioned corporate groups signifies our ability to deliver high value and quality fibre network, robust and efficient telecommunication infrastructure and professional manpower with the ability to tailor solutions that fit every changing needs in the dynamic business environment.
- What are the current major blockers you face when it comes to the growth of your services? Vandalism is a major challenge although the government is working hard on curbing it. Other factors include: government contractors who cut off the cables, example: water and sewage, power companies and road contractors.
- How will Kenya data growth evolve over the coming years? The growth is upwards since there is a need for content and more capacity is required.
- Why is carrier neutral data center important for your strategy? A carrier neutral data center is very important to us since all players locally and internationally will be attracted to the facility, this will allow more content to be exchanged and as we all know – ‘content is king’.
- How will FON benefit from being a carrier at icolo’s data center? We will be able to connect content players and service providers to anywhere in the world. Our open access policy makes it more ideal for everyone to use our network.
Meet Our Team
Alice is icolo’s employee number 2 and has been working as an Accountant for the past 10 months. She started her career as an Accountant at Faulu bank. She joined icolo in April 2016 after working for KAAB Investments. She is a certified chartered accountant and manages all financial and accounting tasks at icolo.
Alice loves cooking and dancing. When she is not working, she spends her weekend volunteering at the children’s home.