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Telkom injects Sh1b into data, voice expansion

Mugo Kibati.
Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Telecommunications company Telkom Kenya says it has pumped Sh1 billion into growing its 3G and 4G network to improve voice and data connection for its customers.

The move will see the telco set up new base transceiver stations for its network as well as improve the quality and capacity of existing sites.

It also comes at a time Telkom has revived talks with Airtel Kenya for a possible merger or buyout, a move that could further bolster the company’s growth in terms of market share.

The firm said the Sh1 billion fund is sourced from its shareholders and other partners.

It will also support the telco’s upcoming pilot of a balloon-powered 4G/LTE network expected to launch by June this year. The floating cell towers will serve areas with little or no coverage, starting with Thika, Nakuru, Nyeri and Nanyuki.

Telkom said it was in the process of finalising the mapping of other areas to benefit from the network expansion.

“It remains our objective to entrench our position as Kenya’s preferred data network, which can only be achieved through the evolution of our network to become a stronger and future fit Telco. The strategic support from our shareholders and other partners is giving impetus to our data network expansion strategy,” said Telkom CEO Mugo Kibati in a press statement on Wednesday.

The company has invested heavily in its data network expansion. Last year, Telkom received $40 million (Sh4.1 billion) loan from the European Investment Bank, which it said it would use in part to continue this expansion.

The firm is making gains in terms of its market share for mobile data subscriptions. In the quarter ending September 2018, the firm commanded 7.7 per cent of market share compared to 7.2 per cent in June 2018. Additionally, the total mobile subscriptions recorded by Telkom Kenya Limited rose from September 2017 by 21.09 per cent to stand at 4,188,517 at the end of September 2018.

According to official data for the quarter ending September 2018, Airtel and Telkom were the biggest gainers in total number of mobile subscriptions per operator rising by 6.9 and 4.8 per cent respectively from the previous quarter.

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