Telkom Kenya, a state owned telecom monopoly, announced that it plans to add between 50 000 and 100 000 mobile users by the end of 2011. This forms part of the company’s efforts to boost its data service business.
The announcement comes as Telkom Kenya inked a deal with China’s second largest telecom equipment manufacture ZTE, to develop a 3G network for the country at a cost of $47 million. The new network is expected to be ready sometime in the third quarter this year.
The company says it has 150 000 data customers who attach USB modems to their computers to access the Internet. “We expect to do 50, 000 to 100, 000 more between the launch date and the end of the year,” Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein.
Data is seen as a major growth area in the telecoms sector, prompting companies to invest heavily to offset the impact of falling voice revenues on the back of a price war.
The Regulator Communications Commission of Kenya should reduce the frequency fees it charges operators to help them lower their costs, said Ghossein, adding that the fees accounted for 30% of the costs.
Telkom Kenya has 2.5 million mobile subscribers and is ranked third largest on the African continent. The company has been losing money since France Telecom bought into it at the end of 2007.