ICT Infrastructure Sharing Framework for Developing Countries: Case of Mobile Operators in Kenya

Citation:
Malungu CB, Moturi CA. "ICT Infrastructure Sharing Framework for Developing Countries: Case of Mobile Operators in Kenya." International Journal of Applied Information Systems, . 2015;9(4):17-24.

Abstract:

The lack of infrastructure in Africa especially south of the Sahara is widely recognized as one of the continent’s greatest impediments to sustainable development )[(1)]. Even with this challenge, ICT operators in Kenya prefer to invest in own infrastructure despite the availability of underutilized ICT resources from other operators and players. This has led to wastage of scarce resources, high cost of services, poor quality services, environmental degradation and low investment in rural areas among others. The research sought to propose an adoption framework for ICT infrastructure sharing for mobile operators in Kenya after establishing the levels, drivers and challenges of infrastructure sharing. Data was collected from ICT staff of the four mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel, Essar and Telkom Kenya Orange across the country using a questionnaire. To supplement and increase reliability, data was also collected from other ICT stakeholders such CAK, ICTA, submarine operators, ICT vendors, KBC and non ICT related firms Equity, Barclays and Kenya Power Company. The research found out that the level of ICT infrastructure sharing among mobile operators was low at 20.4%. The five key drivers were identified as new market entrants, cost optimization, environmental conservation, operators focus on core business and network deployment to underserved and un served areas. The five main challenges were lack of regulatory framework, high capital, complexity of the sharing process, high charges by infrastructure owners and operators unwillingness to share. The TOE framework can be adopted for ICT infrastructure sharing with organizational factors having a greater influence than technology and external factors. Operator controlled infrastructure rollout had worked previously but due to changes in local and global market, there was need to change the way ICT resources were utilized. To achieve quick wins, operators had to partner with competitors by leasing and undertaking joint ventures. Infrastructure sharing was beneficial hence strategies to promote the same by use of incentives license fee and tax concessions, having a legal framework, government investment in backbone infrastructure and attracting independent firms will ensure competitiveness and a knowledge economy status

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