Telkom Kenya plans triple-play offer

October 27, 2011
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Telkom Kenya CEO Mikael Ghossein/ File
NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 27 – Telkom Kenya plans to launch a triple-play offering in the second half of 2012 as a means of introducing value added services into the market.

Triple play means the provider will offer Internet, television and telephony services to customers entering a realm currently enjoyed by the Wananchi Group through Zuku.

Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein told Capital Business the firm had been given the go-ahead by its parent company France Telecom to ready its infrastructure to launch the service from June next year.

The offering will ride on the operator’s 4,000 kilometre fibre optic infrastructure. Telkom Kenya is currently connected to three undersea cables, Eassy, Teams and Seacom, and is expected to have additional capacity with the anticipated landing of the Lion II cable next year.

“We are really considering this venture. Our Lion II cable lands in Mombasa next year and we will have no problem connecting this to Mauritius where France Telecom runs a similar service,” Ghossein said.

The service will run on Internet Protocol television (IPTV) a system through which television services are delivered using the Internet Protocol Suite over a packet-switched network, instead of being delivered through traditional terrestrial and satellite signal.

Ghossein said that the company will not have to make any extra investment in launching the service, but instead leverage on the economies of scale provided by France Telecom’s investment in the Indian Ocean region to launch it in Kenya.

“The only thing we would have to do is to pay for the content and share the revenues of this with France Telecom. Today the biggest concern would be how to sell and pitch this to our customers but we believe the market is ready for it,” he said.

Telkom Kenya has the added advantage of running the largest copper infrastructure in the country which it could also use to connect to homes.

With margins in voice revenues for mobile operators thinning out, Telkom Kenya has been restructuring its operations to respond to the market environment.

Ghossein said operational costs in running its base stations had been on a rise driven by high fuel prices and a volatile exchange rate market. Such a scenario has already seen market leader Safaricom hike its calling rates by one shilling.

Ghossein said Telkom Kenya would not raise its domestic calling rates but would adjust its international calling rates from November.

“Times are tough for our customers as it is so why add to their problems. We will however adjust our international calling rates and announce the new charges from November,” he said.

Ghossein said one aspect the company will be looking into is developing new revenue streams that make it attractive to its customers buy delivering integrated services for both commercial and residential use.

“We came into the market late but we have been making inroads. One is fibre to buildings, which will grow our corporate business segment,” he said.

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