Telkom has raised $40 million in debt from the European Investment Bank to grow its 3G and 4G coverage throughout Kenya, improve mobile connectivity, Fibre-To-The-Building (FTTB) network and improve the quality of service offered to enterprise and corporate customers.
Telkom, which is the third largest telco in Kenya after Safaricom and Airtel, will invest heavily into access, core, transmission and IT components among others.
According to EIB Vice President Mr. Ambroise Fayolle: “In terms of how mobile services are used, we could say that Kenya is ahead of Europe, and both the market and possibilities are growing fast. One attention point is the coverage, which is why we are happy to support Telkom’s growth strategy in expanding its 3G and 4G networks across the country. This loan will also benefit its fixed broadband network; a service which is widely seen as a basic need for businesses to be competitive in a global market.”
The strategic support from the EIB will give impetus to Telkom’s data network expansion, that has seen Telkom consistently enhance indoor coverage, expand its 4G network, optimise its 3G network, thereby boosting its capacity to handle mobile data traffic, in response to its growing customer demand. In April Telkom unveiled 200 new 4G sites within Nairobi and environs, in a bid to cater for the growing demand on data.
Recently, Telkom partnered with Google’s Loon LLC, to pilot an innovative 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya, using high altitude balloons, that will act as floating cell towers. These initiatives are geared towards expanding Telkom’s data network and foot print, to connect the under-served and un-served and bring better quality Data services to more Kenyans.
Telkom recently appointed Mr. Mugo Kibati, as CEO. Mr. Kibati is the immediate former Group CEO of Sanlam Kenya PLC and has held other senior leadership positions in both the public as well as the private sector, including being the founding Director General of Kenya’s Vision 2030 Secretariat and serving as Group Managing Director and CEO at East African Cables PLC.
“Today’s Telco is not just about availing mobile service but being a platform that enables digitisation given the implosion of interconnectivity between people and devices,” said Kibati. “The extension of the KSh 4.1B financing could not have come at a better time. Having joined the business recently and when our country is at the tipping point of further growth, the financing will bolster our strategy which is; continued expansion and growth of our data network.”
Established as a telecommunications operator in April 1999, Telkom is 60 per cent owned by Helios Investment Partners, with the remaining stake held by Kenyans through the Government of Kenya.