NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's leading mobile operator, Safaricom, has started offering broadband internet to its customers after the switching on of the first fibre-optic cable, its CEO said on Thursday.
Michael Joseph said some 14 million subscribers have the potential to access fast internet in a region where telecommunications are hampered by lack of infrastructure.
"The cable that has been activated for our 3G and IP traffic is the one in which we are major capacity buyers," he said in a statement.
Known as SEACOM, the undersea cable links east Africa to South Africa, India, Middle East and Europe, and was launched last week by its owners, a Mauritius-based private equity group.
A second cable, The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS), which is fronted by the Kenyan government, is in testing stages and it will act as a backup for Safaricom's customers, Joseph said.
Safaricom, which owns a 22.5 percent stake in TEAMS, has a unified licence and can deliver data, voice and video through multiplatform like fibre, WiMAX and 3G.
It acquired a WiMAX operator last year.