Etisalat, the UAE telecom operator and industry leader across the Middle East and Africa, has announced that Safaricom Kenya’s largest telecommunications operator will be joining the Fujairah-based SmartHub to advance its multi-services network provision in East Africa.

Safaricom will use the The East Africa Marine System (TEAMS), a 5,000-km fibre-optic undersea cable which linking Kenya’s coastal town of Mombasa with Fujairah in the UAE to connect with Etisalat’s SmartHub facility, which acts as the capacity and content hub in the UAE.

Ali Amiri, Etisalat’s executive VP for carrier & wholesale, said: “The use of the integrated capabilities of the Etisalat SmartHub and TEAMS by Safaricom is a major step forward, and it reiterates the importance of the UAE and Etisalat as the hub for East Africa internet connectivity.

“We believe that the development goals of Africa must be supported by greater internet connectivity and The East African Marine System (TEAMS) cable is a vital component of the SmartHub network, providing high-speed connectivity for East Africa.”

The laying of new undersea cables is currently a top priority for most Sub-Saharan countries, and each year sees new physical infrastructure being added to an increasingly expansive and complex network of connections targeting data-hungry but previously neglected populations.

Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO, added: “The growth of broadband in East Africa is directly related to the recent undersea cable developments, and as Kenya is increasingly the hub for regional telecom services for East Africa, the linking of our two hubs is a strategic move that will benefit consumers and corporate customer alike.”