NAIROBI, September 16 – Telkom Kenya is set to become Kenya’s third mobile phone services provider, when it launches on Wednesday.
The State-owned company – which enjoys a monopoly on fixed line telephony – has heavily invested close to six billion shillings in revamping and maintaining its infrastructure since the entry of France Telecom as a partner.
"Telkom Kenya will address all segments of the population but give more emphasis to small and medium enterprises as well as corporate bodies, which have not been covered sufficiently," Chief Executive Officer, Dominique Saint Jean said in a statement.
The launch is set to diminish the near-monopoly currently enjoyed by Safaricom Ltd, East Africa’s most profitable company.
Telkom will also compete with Zain, a unit of the Zain Group, and which recently launched Nairobi as its operations base for Africa. Zain operates mobile phone services in 14 African countries.
A fourth mobile phone company, Econet Wireless has announced it will begin its services in the second half of November.
Kenya\’s mobile market is the largest in East Africa and has experienced exponential growth in recent years with the number of mobile phone subscribers growing from 900, 000 in June 2002 to 11.5 million in May 2008.