Kenya’s Telekom negotiates two submarine cable landing deals

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Telkom CEO, Aldo Mareuse, revealed Telkom Kenya is in talks with two unnamed parties over partnerships to allow it to sell high speed internet capacity from two undersea data cables that are about to land in the country. The company, which already distributes capacity from three other undersea cables, is the smallest in Kenya behind Safaricom and Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan unit and has been focusing on data to gain market share.

At a news conference, Mareuse confirmed Telkom Kenya’s extensive fibre network in the country by noting that “the combination of affordable data options, strong network coverage across the country…catering to a data hungry market, has enabled us to become the preferred data network”.

Telkom Kenya claims to have the cheapest data in the market, offering 2 gigabytes for 99 shillings. Safaricom, the dominant operator with nearly 70 percent of the market, responded to Telkom’s strategy by cutting its internet connection prices.

London-based Helios Investment which owns 60 percent of Telkom Kenya with the rest held by the government, had 4.1 million users, about 9 percent of the market as of July 2018. Mareuse who revealed the company’s efforts to win customers said “we are now putting in place an aggressive market engagement campaign, to strengthen our push towards 5 million customers and beyond”.

According to Mareuse, there is need to boost competition in the sector by making regulators ensure agents of Telkom’s mobile money service T-Kash work with those of Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform on cash transfers and other transactions.

Although the two mobile money wallets have been interlinked, allowing customers of each service to send money to each other, Mareuse said the agent and merchant integration networks were critical.

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