Telkom pumps Sh11b to deepen 4G despite competition in sector

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
Telco’s chief executive Mugo Kibati.

BROADBAND:  Telkom Kenya will spend $100 million (Sh11.1 billion) to upgrade its entire network to fourth generation (4G/LTE) in a process the telco expects to complete in 2023.

The telco’s chief executive Mugo Kibati said the firm will partner with Ericsson and South Africa-based systems integrator NEC XON in the exercise and expand its 4G/LTE network with an additional 2,000 sites.

“This network expansion will see Telkom’s Network grow to four times its current 4G coverage footprint, reaching the majority of citizens across Kenya,” said Kibati yesterday during the partnership signing forum.

Telcom’s move comes seven months after Safaricom launched 5G commercial trials for consumers and businesses on March 26, 2021 with launch centres in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega.

Fifth generation

Kibati said though the upgrade can be scaled to the fifth generation (5G) network. “We are already looking at piloting 5G but frankly speaking, there is some journey between the need and utility,” he said.

The nationwide rollout, is part of Telkom’s network expansion strategy announced in August last year, when it underwent a strategic reorganisation to address the digital transformation needs.

“We are already working on the upgrade and expansion of our network at the Coast.

The partnership we have signed today will see Telkom and our partners kick off a new network expansion project, guided by our long-term growth strategy,” said Kibati.

He said the company has been reviewing its long-term strategy as it moves into its next phase of transformation, driven by the ICT industry’s local and global transitions, particularly a heightened demand for infrastructure, data and digital financial services.

“Gradually, these investments will contribute significantly to enhancing service provision and customer experience.

Yesterday’s announcement will be the second stab the telco is attempting to rollout 4G services especially in rural Kenya, having first attempted through the botched Internet balloon project with Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., which unfortunately shut down its balloon business. 

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