Orange Telecom in Kenya is now Telkom after the exit of immediate former majority shareholder, the Orange Group (formerly France Telecom) which sold its 60 percent majority stake in the Kenyan telco to UK Private Equity firm, Helios Investment Partners June last year.

The Kenyan government owns 40 and 35 percent in Telkom and Safaricom respectively. As the oldest telco in Kenya, Telkom saw the birth of the Safaricom brand in 1997 as its fully owned subsidiary before selling 40percent to UK’s Vodafone PLC in 2000.

Telkom’s consumer-facing branding brings with it a new logo, tagline, colour, creative look and feel that will be reflected in all of Telkom’s shops and offices, as well as a redesigned website that provides for a more interactive user experience. The new tagline describes succinctly the direction that Telkom is taking: moving with you.

“Telkom signifies our focus on the future and our efforts to effectively reach out to a wider audience as a relevant, innovative, and forward-thinking brand that is committed to providing alternative choice to the consumer,” says company CEO, Aldo Mareuse.

Telkom Kenya is an iconic brand and has been in the market more than 18 years. Telkom Kenya’s heritage dates back to pre-independence days – the 1940s and 1950s, when its telecommunication network was managed as part of the East African region before the collapse of the regional bloc.

Telkom Kenya was previously a part of the Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC) which was the sole provider of both postal and telecommunication services. In 1999 KPTC was split into the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), the Postal Corporation of Kenya (POSTA) and Telkom Kenya.

Telkom Kenya laid the foundation for the telecommunication industry. The company operates and maintains the infrastructure over which Kenya’s various Internet service providers operate. As of 2004, most internet service was provided via dial-up service. Jambonet, an important Kenyan ISP, is a subsidiary of Telkom Kenya. It also offers mobile GSM voice and high speed internet services under the Orange Kenya brand, in which it is the 3rd in market share.

In 2007, Telkom Kenya-the government-owned fixed-line operator was granted a mobile license by the then Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to provide and operate mobile cellular services. In March 2007, the Kenyan government announced a plan to privatize Telkom Kenya to make the operator more efficient and profitable. In November 2007, France Telecom bought a 51% stake in Telkom Kenya for USD 390 million.

Telkom Kenya launched CDMA2000 1X EV-DO service in July 2007, and at the end of 2007, the service had 200,000 subscribers. In September 2008, Telkom Kenya launched the mobile network (GSM services) under the Orange brand, attracting 30,000 subscribers in the first month.

In 2009 the business was part of the team that realized the landing of the country’s first submarine cable and has shareholding in TEAMS (The East African Marine System) and LION II (Lower Indian Ocean Network II).

In November 2010, CCK granted Orange Telkom Kenya a 3G license. In March 2011, Orange Telkom Kenya was awarded a HSPA+ 3G network rollout.  In September 2011, Orange Telkom Kenya announced the launch of its 21Mbps HSPA+ network, officially launched by former President of Kenya, H.E.Mwai Kibaki.

On November 9, 2015, Helios Investment Partners announced its purchase of France Telecom’s entire stake in Telkom Kenya. Subsequent to the agreement to buy, Helios negotiated with the Kenyan government to own 40 per cent in the new joint venture, with the investment firm retaining 60 per cent. In June 2016, final regulatory approval was received for the deal to proceed. The current shareholding is as depicted in the table below:


    Rank Name of Owner Percentage Ownership
1 Jamhuri Holdings Limited 60.0
2 Government of Kenya 40.0
  Total 100.00

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.