National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich (centre), his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru (right), Telkom Chairman Eddy Njoroge (left) and Communications Authority of Kenya Director-General Francis Wangusi (second right) when Orange Telkom rebranded to Telkom at a Nairobi hotel yesterday. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]
Consumers are likely to win big after Kenya’s oldest telecommunications firm Telkom Kenya on Tuesday rolled out a revamped network and a new brand identity.
The telco will also ride on a Government directive on mobile money that is likely to spark a price war in the lucrative sector.
The firm, which yesterday rebranded to Telkom, dropping the Orange brand introduced by its former owners – Orange Group, said it had over the past 12 months invested Sh5 billion in an infrastructure upgrade.
The money went into increasing its 3G sites by 50 per cent to 1,600 from the previous 1,100, which will enable more customers access fast data services.
Chief Executive Aldo Mareuse also said the company had rolled out 4G networks in nine towns across the country following issuance of a trial 4G licence by the industry regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
Aside from a new 4G network, the firm also plans to roll out a new mobile money platform in the coming months as it seeks to grow its market share in the growing mobile payment sector. The firm has also taken on a new corporate structure, where it has brought on board talent acquired from leading industry players.
“We now have the right tools for the job,” said Mr Mareuse during the relaunch ceremony at a Nairobi hotel.
The launch of this new brand comes almost 12 months after the exit of former majority shareholder, Orange Group, when its sold its stake in the Kenyan telco to Helios Investments Partners.
Telkom is now 60 per cent owned by Helios Investments Partners, a UK private equity firm, while 40 per cent is owned by the Kenyan Government. Helios acquired 70 per cent of the stake owned by Orange, but ceded 10 per cent to the National Treasury, which was part of the pre-sale agreement.
The comeback efforts by the operator is set to get a much-needed boost from a planned implementation of the mobile money interoperability, where users will be able to send and receive money from other users regardless of their networks. The ICT ministry said the industry would in July start implementing mobile money interoperability in a bid to level the playing field.
This means a mobile money account will operate the same way as a bank account.
“We have sat and agreed with the operators on the priorities that we need to deal with,” said ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru.