Telkom Kenya -> Orange Kenya-> Telkom Kenya: A glance at first Kenyan monopoly in the telco industry

Orange has recently bid the Kenyan market goodbye after a stake acquisition of 60% by Helios Investment Partners. That marked Telkom’s comeback, a move that is projected to come in handy with the company’s infrastructure, mirrored on its performance. According to Aldo Mareuse, Telkom Kenya’s CEO, the company had not matched these two, and they are confident of the transformation throughout the organization.  The company had adopted new hires, new company structure, innovated customer-based serviced as well as a robust network expansion.

On July 6th of this year, the official announcement was made that Orange Kenya had rebranded to Telkom Kenya. Well, the name was a rekindled memory as was the face of what was Kenya’s ‘big name’ in the communication sector before a fresh new wave of mobile technology swept in. The company was (and still is) the sole provider of landline phone services in Kenya, which is exploited by many internet service providers. The company,  In 2007 sold 51% of its shares to Orange S.A, then France Télécom for US$390 million.

In November 2012, the company saw a change in its shareholding structure based on a decision by the Kenyan government. The company had accumulated a debt burden, and thus, its shareholder loans were converted into equity to facilitate the aforementioned. The government retained a shareholding of 40%, a drop from 49%. France Telecom’s stake then increased to 70% after the government failed to fully fund its 2012 portion (Interesting, right?). In 2015, Orange sold its entire stake to Helios Investment Partners. The group owns 60% of the stake and the Kenyan Government 40%.

Kenya becomes the second country among those which France Telecom has had to bid goodbye in the East African region. In November 2014, the company announced its exit from Uganda after selling its stake to Africell. The company is, however visible in various African countries such as DRC, Egypt, Mali, Cameroon, Botswana, Guinea-Bissau, Tunisia, among others.

The rebrand has made the company make a stunning comeback. Among the outstanding deliverables is 4G connectivity. The network, according to Telkom, is on launching in regions such as Nakuru, Embu, Kakamega, Nyeri, Mombasa, Meru, Eldoret and Nairobi. The company revealed that it had investments amounting to 5 billion on this infrastructure.

Currently, Telkom Kenya does not have a money transfer service, although that is expected to change in less than a month’s time.  The service is under innovation to bring about a “new and truly exciting as well as improved platform,” which is aiming to capture the youth.

I’m anxious for the battle between the telcos. The more the competition, the better it gets for us. Guys, where’s Airtel?


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