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HomeSMART BUSINESSTelkom Orange adopts a new name after change in ownership

Telkom Orange adopts a new name after change in ownership

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Orange, Kenya’s third mobile operator, has changed its brand name to – you guessed it – Telkom.

The company, which has been struggling for market share in the mobile market was first Telkom Kenya and adopted the Orange name after being bought by Orange Telecom of France. Telkom Kenya was then a wholly state-owned landline operator.

The latest rebrand to just Telkom comes after after Private Equity Group Helios Partners bought the majority stake from France Telecom, the owners of Orange.

Helios made a name when it bought a 25% stake into then grassroots lender Equity Bank for Sh11billion in 2007, a stake it later sold for over Ksh44billion exiting completely by August 2015.

In June 2016 it bought out the entire Orange stake in Telkom Kenya through its wholly owned subsidiary Jamhuri Holdings. The deal eventually saw it settle for 60% of the firm with the Government of Kenya retaining a 40% stake.

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Helios is said to be putting the right team in place and to fine-tune the company’s strategy. The telco has a good network that has been underutilised and indications are that investments in a 4G have been made.

Telkom Kenya has invested about Ksh5.17 billion) in expanding network coverage across the country and is seeking to grow its market share under the guidance of Helios, which now controls 60 per cent stake.

Helios is credited with Equity Bank’s growth trajectory following acquisition of 24.99 per cent stake in 2008 until its exit in August 2015.

Telkom’s chief technical and information officer John Barorot said the company is currently in the final stages of boosting its network efficiency to catch up with Safaricom and Airtel.

“We are currently putting up an additional of 500 sites, which will increase our network capacity to 1, 100 sites,” said Barorot in an interview with the Star. “So far, 350 sites are complete and we expect to finalise this project in the next three months.”

Safaricom has the largest number of sites at more than 3,000, while Airtel Kenya – the country’s distant second largest telco by market share – has about 1,500 sites.

READ: Safaricom unveils upgraded 4G+ network

Telkom has expanded data reach from 25 per cent to 55 per cent for second generation and third generation network, Bororot said, adding this is meant to give better network penetration into buildings and homes. Nairobi has 133 out of 500 Telkom’s sites.

The company says it plans to introduce a bouquet of innovative products before the end of the year, in addition to investing heavily in data. According to Barorot, the first phase of the 4G roll out is nearly 90 per cent complete and present in seven towns. The towns are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret and Meru. The expansion strategy is based on network traffic and market demand, he said.


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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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