Safaricom and Tata Communications Launch East Africa’s First Public TelePresence Suites at the Serena Hotels in Kenya and Uganda

NAIROBI, Kenya, and KAMPALA, Uganda, January 31, 2011

Public TelePresence Facilities Now Available in Nairobi and Kampala, Offering a High-Definition Video Communication Tool for Businesses

NAIROBI, Kenya, and KAMPALA, Uganda, 31 January 2011: Safaricom, the leading provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya and Tata Communications, a leading provider of the new world of communications, today will unveil the first public Cisco TelePresence® suites in Kenya and Uganda. Two public TelePresence rooms are hosted in Serena Hotels’ luxury city hotels in Nairobi and Kampala, both of which are members of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World organization and a third will be at Safaricom’s Michael Joseph Center in Nairobi.

Connectivity and management of the Telepresence rooms will be led by Tata Communications, linking Kenya and Uganda to public and private rooms throughout Tata Communications’ network and partner networks. The network spans 32 locations across five continents. This network reach makes Telepresence a truly global collaboration tool.

The new Safaricom public TelePresence facilities will enable over 200 Safaricom customers in Kenya and Uganda to minimize their travel time and expenses by delivering a live, immersive, face-to-face experience enabled via the network. TelePresence allows users to enjoy real-time communication and to collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners, even if they are in a different city. A TelePresence meeting is as simple as making a phone call. Participants sit down at the conference table in one of the TelePresence rooms and connect to the other participants with a simple answer of a phone call. Individuals automatically appear on the screen, irrespective of where in the world they may be sitting. The set up of the rooms allows for participants to feel as if they are sitting across a table, in a life size, meeting room.

Highlights / Key Facts:

  • This launch marks a new collaboration between Safaricom, Tata Communications and Serena Hotels.
  • Customers will be able to purchase meeting slots in the Safaricom TelePresence rooms, in advance, on an hourly or daily basis through Tata Communications’ interactive, 24×7 online booking system, or at the two Serena City hotels.
  • The rooms are installed with a Cisco TelePresence System 3010, which allows up to six people to connect simultaneously across a maximum of 48 locations. It comprises three 65-inch plasma screens and a specially designed physical table that sits six participants on each side of the virtual table. It also features an additional LCD display for sharing rich media content and other data using simple auto-collaborate functionality as well as integrated cameras, lights and microphones so that speakers use less power.
  • The ‘real life’ meeting experience provided by Cisco TelePresence is delivered through ultra-high-resolution video that reveals subtle facial expressions conveying nonverbal reactions. Spatial audio allows the transmission of every nuance of the conversation and participants to interact as they would in person.
  • The Safaricom public TelePresence solution will help save time and costs as well as boost productivity by reducing or eliminating the need to travel, thereby facilitating a ‘greener’ environment by reducing the carbon footprint. It will also offer increased flexibility to Safaricom customers in East Africa who will be able to conduct business meetings or sensitive negotiations like job interviews; collaborate with remote customers, partners or suppliers; orchestrate training for employees or manage remote employees; conduct focus groups and market research; and facilitate ‘face-to-face’ collaboration between industry or academic colleagues on research projects between locations around the world.
  • The public TelePresence suites in Nairobi and Kampala will be connected to a number of other rooms around the globe through Tata Communications’ Global Meeting Exchange. The Exchange enables business-to-business meetings between any public rooms or customer-owned private rooms on Tata Communications’ services, as well as rooms on the networks of Tata Communications’ Inter-Exchange partners, BT and Telefonica, and the National Lambda Rail network, which links leading U.S. universities. This network reach makes TelePresence a truly global collaboration tool, giving East Africa a whole new way to engage in the world economy.
  • Copy Cat Ltd has partnered with Safaricom and Cisco in to deliver TelePresence solutions for East African customers. Copy Cat has been a Cisco Partner since 1996 and is currently Gold certified. Cisco also recognizes Copy Cat as an Advanced Technology Partner for delivery of TelePresence solutions.

Executive Quotes:

Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom
 “In today’s climate, our customers across East Africa are looking at better ways to conduct business, keep a firm control on costs, and get more productivity. The fast pace of development in the business environment and the rapid growth of companies and associations today have created a necessity to develop new applications that can serve the communication needs of this fast-paced business growth. Safaricom is the only company in East Africa that currently has the fiber infrastructure to offer Cisco TelePresence cost effectively. Our new TelePresence solution provides a compelling business case to save cost and time, as well as being environmentally friendly, at one with our credentials as a green company.”

Peter Quinlan, Vice President, Telepresence Services, Tata Communications
 “Thousands of businesses across the globe are already enjoying the benefits of being able to rent our TelePresence facilities by the hour. This model allows for companies with existing rooms to extend their reach even further. For those without their own corporate rooms, it means they can now connect to almost any location around the globe, as and when they need to, at a competitive hourly rate. Today’s announcement represents a key milestone for Tata Communications in East Africa as well as the launch of a new partnership with Safaricom, Tata Communications and Serena Hotels & Resorts. ”

Kilian Lugwe, general manager, Serena Hotel, Nairobi
 “We are proud to pioneer this unique technology in East Africa. The Serena Hotel Group is synonymous with innovation in the East African hotel industry, and it is crucial that we continue to evolve our meeting offerings to address the needs of businesses and consumers in East Africa. Our collaboration with Safaricom will enable us to do just that.”

Pim Versteeg, vice president, Cisco, Africa Levant Region
“Our goal is to empower customers through technology, and innovative technology solutions, like TelePresence, will help organizations in East Africa to address the abundant market opportunities in Africa and also challenge other global players. Our collaboration with Safaricom and Tata Communications to launch our TelePresence solution in Kenya and Uganda marks another transformational landmark project for Cisco in East Africa. This is one of the many ways Cisco contributes to the ‘going green’ revolution, a global effort to save our environment for future generations. We look forward to working with Safaricom and Tata Communications to deploy TelePresence in many more East African locations.”

Links / URLs:

About Safaricom: About Safaricom: Formed at the turn of the last decade following the liberalization of Kenya’s telecoms sector as a joint venture between global leader Vodafone of the UK and the government of Kenya, Safaricom, which celebrated its 10th Anniversary last year, has firmly established its credentials as a regional leader, spawning a virtual telecoms revolution in Kenya. Growing from its cradle in mobile voice services, Safaricom has grown into a total telecoms company. The firm, which has a subscriber base of over 17 million, offers all telecoms services under one roof: mobile and fixed voice and data services on a variety of platforms: Kenya’s widest and only 3G network; a growing fiber optic cable footprint and its most expansive WIMAX presence. Safaricom also pioneered commercial mobile money transfer globally through M-PESA, the most successful such service anywhere in the world. For more details please go to:





Natalie Chak
Tata Communications
+44 (0)7833 043 779
Neil Thomas
Hill & Knowlton Strategies
+44 207 413 3454

About Tata Communications

Tata Communications Limited (CIN no: L64200MH1986PLC039266) along with its subsidiaries (Tata Communications) is a leading global provider of A New World of Communications™. With a leadership position in emerging markets, Tata Communications leverages its advanced solutions capabilities and domain expertise across its global and pan-India network to deliver managed solutions to multi-national enterprises, service providers and Indian consumers.

The Tata Communications global network includes one of the most advanced and largest submarine cable networks and a Tier-1 IP network with connectivity to over 240 countries and territories across 400 PoPs, as well as nearly 1 million square feet of data centre and collocation space worldwide.

Tata Communications’ depth and breadth of reach in emerging markets includes leadership in Indian enterprise data services and leadership in global international voice. Tata Communications Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.

Forward-looking and cautionary statements

Certain words and statements in this release concerning Tata Communications and its prospects, and other statements, including those relating to Tata Communications’ expected financial position, business strategy, the future development of Tata Communications’ operations, and the general economy in India, are forward-looking statements. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including financial, regulatory and environmental, as well as those relating to industry growth and trend projections, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements of Tata Communications, or industry results, to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements include, among others, failure to increase the volume of traffic on Tata Communications’ network; failure to develop new products and services that meet customer demands and generate acceptable margins; failure to successfully complete commercial testing of new technology and information systems to support new products and services, including voice transmission services; failure to stabilize or reduce the rate of price compression on certain of the company’s communications services; failure to integrate strategic acquisitions and changes in government policies or regulations of India and, in particular, changes relating to the administration of Tata Communications’ industry; and, in general, the economic, business and credit conditions in India. Additional factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, many of which are not in Tata Communications’ control, include, but are not limited to, those risk factors discussed in Tata Communications Limited’s Annual Reports. The Annual Reports of Tata Communications Limited are available at Tata Communications is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements.

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