Mobile service provider Telkom has set aside Sh1 billion to expand and optimize its 4G and 3G network across the country.
This even as plans to buy out the telco by India’s Bharti Airtel are ongoing, at least according to sources close to the two firms.
Telkom CEO, Mugo Kibati, said the strategic support from shareholders and other partners is giving impetus to the data network expansion strategy.
The investment focus will include investments into access, core, transmission and IT components; infrastructure that is crucial to further improve network reliability and accessibility to customers.
“The company aims to consolidate its 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,” said Kibati.
In addition to improving mobile connectivity, Telkom will also invest in its Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) Network, which is set to improve the quality of service offered to enterprise and corporate customers.
The focus will include investments into access, core, transmission and IT components; infrastructure that is crucial to further improving network reliability and accessibility.
Telkom’s network expansion agenda includes a pilot with Loon LLC, a sister company to Google and a subsidiary of Alphabet, to launch an innovative 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya, through the use of high altitude balloons acting as floating cell towers, giving network coverage to un-served and under-served areas, around the Mount Kenya region, including: Thika, Nakuru, Nyeri and Nanyuki. This is expected within the first half of the year, 2019.
“The rapid diffusion of mobile technology and the advent of entry-level smart devices in Kenya, has witnessed the increased demand for broadband. Access to and use of broadband, enhances productivity and efficiency, thereby bolstering socio-economic growth,” added Kibati.
In partnership with the regulator, the Communications Authority (CA), Telcos are putting up base stations to boost network connectivity across the country, expected to bring in about 300,000 Kenyans to the country’s communication grid.
The CA awarded Telkom the construction of 14 GSM sites to cover 28 sub-locations in 9 counties, under the auspices of the Universal Service Fund – USF, that is tasked to finance national projects that have significant impact on the availability and accessibility of ICTs in rural and remote areas.
“Telkom has ensured that these sites are scalable and integrated the use of green solutions in the construction of the same. We are pleased to note that the installation of two of the sites; one in Chepyuk and the other in Korng’otuny, both in Bungoma County, have been of great help towards improving security efforts in the area.”
Data from the Communications Authority for the quarter ending September 30, 2018, shows the country’s mobile subscriptions currently stand at 46.6 million – a growth of 2.4 per cent, when compared to 45.5 million subscriptions recorded as at June 30, 2018, Kenya’s current mobile penetration is above the 100 percent mark; attributable to most users owning more than one SIM card from different service providers.