Telkom Kenya’s strategic investment continues to impress and with a focus on the expansion of infrastructure and network growth, it is becoming a strong and future-fit challenger in the market and certainly Kenya’s preferred Data network.
However, amid interoperability, as you may be aware, Kenya’s Telco market still suffers an imbalance. This is something that the relevant regulatory bodies and other stakeholders need to urgently address, if effective competition is to be realized, for the consumer’s benefit.
It had been long established that if interoperability becomes fully implemented, it would be a game changer in the industry. That much was true, and Telkom Kenya, apart from other tremendous strides it has made, is leveling the playing field in the market and introducing amazing services.
Telkom in March 2018, launched the Mobile money service T-Kash and it has since recorded 44.4 million shillings in deposits onto the platform. This is expected to get better with Interoperability.
However, for the full benefits of interoperability to be realized, it is critical that the ecosystem is all-inclusive; which would allow for merchant and agent interoperability. The move will further extend the market and enhance the customer experience giving them access to multiple platforms.
The first commendable step in financial inclusion is the implementation of wallet-to-wallet Interoperability. However, P2P is not enough to boost financial inclusion and this needs the backing of agent and merchant interoperability. On a global perspective, infrastructure sharing reduces duplicity and encourages convergence resulting in a more customer-centric service offering.
The next step Telkom Kenya is keen on firmly establishing is the agent interoperability. This would allow for agents to use their float across all networks, resulting in customers being conveniently served by any agent.
Consequently, the move will also enable agents to fully maximize their capital investments, as they would be able to serve a wider pool of customers.
T-Kash is still growing and the building blocks are gradually being laid, which means a healthier growth as 2019 beckons.
Far from Interoperability, Telkom has also made tremendous network investments geared towards the offering of better services. It has invested almost 9 billion shillings for its network modernization program, re-positioning mobile and enterprise businesses, in addition to the rollout of T-Kash.
Telkom has optimized and densified the network, ensuring that it is available across the country while enhancing indoor coverage, the expansion of 4G network across the country, the optimization of the 3G network; to boost capacity in handling mobile data traffic, in response to growing customer demand.
The company has rolled out 300 4G sites in Nairobi, and are working towards increasing the presence across the country, it has over 7,300Km of fiber in Kenya, and has invested 1 billion shillings to revamp its brand and distribution.
Telkom Kenya is all set to change the internet traffic in the country. By redefining the Data Market, it has triggered even cheaper data options for Kenyan consumers by the competition. It is no wonder that the customer base hit 4.1 million in July 2018.
Nevertheless, Telkom’s Enterprise Business continues to provide faster and reliable connectivity. It has invested 3 billion shillings into its Fibre to the Building project, and it has so far connected 610 buildings.
Meanwhile, the future is solid but few things need to be addressed. Although interoperability recently commenced, in a market with the highest market concentration in the world and one player controlling majority of the value, it is hard to fully say that the market is liberalized.
The market is skewed and some sectors find it hard have consistent sustainability. The regulatory body should foster sustainable competition and enable all telcos to deliver more choice, lower prices, and further innovation.
In short, the Communications Authority needs to ensure that a competitive market has several operators competing to satisfy the wants and needs of a significant number of consumers. There shouldn’t be a single operator that dictates how the market operates or one that ring-fences the consumers. This is how the rest of the world’s Telco markets are regulated and are now thriving.