According to the CEO of Telkom Kenya, which is 60 percent owned by London-based Helios Investment with the rest held by the Kenyan government, 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 East African nation.
Telkom Kenya is the smallest of the country’s operators, behind Safaricom and Airtel Kenyan unit, and has been focusing on data to gain market share. If successful, the capacity would be added to that provided by its three other undersea cables, using its extensive fibre network in the country.
Speaking at a news conference, Aldo Mareuse, Telkom CEO said: “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.”
The network says it has the cheapest data plan in the market, offering 2 GB for Ksh 99, and this aggressive pricing policy led to Safaricom, part owned by the UK’s Vodafone which has nearly 70 per cent market share, to cut its internet connection prices last month.
Figures from July showthe network had around 9 per cent of the market at 4.1 million users, and according to Mareuse, Telkom are “now putting in place an aggressive market engagement campaign, to strengthen (their) push towards 5 million customers and beyond.”
He called on the regulator to ensure agents of Telkom’s mobile money service T-Kash could work with those of Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform on cash transfers and other transactions, to boost competition in the sector.
Last week, both mobile money wallets were interlinked which now allows customers of either service to send money to each other seamlessly, but Mareuse said the agent and merchant integration networks were critical.
The integration of the two agent networks, along with those of Airtel’s financial service, is one of the recommendations contained in a draft study on competition, which Safaricom has objected to.