Companies

Telkom bets on data after Airtel deal flops

telkom

Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

brianngugi_img

Summary

  • Telkom Kenya is betting on data to grow its sales after it terminated the deal to merge with Airtel.
  • The operator said Wednesday it will turn to the Internet to power future growth at a time data is seen as one of the fastest growing revenue lines for telecoms companies.
  • The telecommunication firm also plans to revamp its mobile money transfer service T-Kash in the hope of enticing more customers to use its network as it takes on market leader Safaricom and rival Airtel Kenya.

Telkom Kenya is betting on data to grow its sales after it terminated the deal to merge with Airtel.

The operator said Wednesday it will turn to the Internet to power future growth at a time data is seen as one of the fastest growing revenue lines for telecoms companies.

The telecommunication firm also plans to revamp its mobile money transfer service T-Kash in the hope of enticing more customers to use its network as it takes on market leader Safaricom and rival Airtel Kenya.

Telkom accounted for 5.8 percent of Kenyan mobile subscribers in March, behind second-placed Airtel, which had a 26.6 per cent market share and Safaricom, which now controls about two-thirds of the voice market in terms of subscribers.

“We will make use of our extensive fibre network, to drive digital transformation by enabling public and private sector players to become smart entities, by way of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoTs), Cloud, Big Data and Analytics," Telkom chief executive Mugo Kibati announced Wednesday.

“The end game is to build and become the technology partner of choice.”

Telkom Kenya and a unit of Google’s parent Alphabet have started offering the world’s first commercial high-speed internet using balloons to villagers in remote regions of Kenya.

The project aims to provide affordable fourth generation (4G) internet to under-covered or uncovered rural communities.

The firm cited challenges of securing the required regulatory approvals for collapse of the Airtel deal, which was meant to challenge Safaricom’s dominance.

Besides the challenges of securing the required approvals, it also cited opportunities presented by growing demand for internet services on the back of the coronavirus crisis, which has forced many to work and learn from home.

Safaricom is also aiming to rev up its data business to offset sluggish growth in mobile calls, where it has seen a small revenue growth due to saturation.