Adoption of open source software by the telecommunications industry in Kenya
Open source software is software that is freely available and whose source code is available and can be modified by users to meet specific requirements. As the telecommunications industry look to be more innovative and seek to continue to be profitable, there is need to consider open source software to run some of their application requirements. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the adoption of open source software in the telecommunications industry in Kenya, establish the benefits that have been realized through adoption of OSS, determine the challenges faced by the adoption of OSS as well as establish if telecommunication companies plan to begin the use of open source in the future. The study was done in the four telecommunications service providers in Kenya namely Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Orange Telkom and Equitel. The conclusion of the study is that there is significant adoption of open source software by telecommunication companies in Kenya with leading benefits of adoption being cost efficiency, increased software flexibility and avoiding vendor lock-in. The above benefits notwithstanding, there are challenges that are associated with the adoption as well and this include lack of proper software support, switching costs from proprietary software and quality of open source software which cannot be relied upon to run mission critical telecommunication services. However, with the rapidly evolving technology and changing consumer patterns that necessitates technological advancements and innovations, open source therefore offers a solution for the companies in the telecommunications industry to adapt and manage their costs so that they can remain relevant in the competitive environment they now operate in.