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Telkom slows down investment in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – Telkom Kenya says it is analysing its investments in the country as Telecom operators begin experiencing the pinch of harsh economic environment.

The third operator by customer numbers says a number of its past investments had failed to deliver returns forcing the rethink of how it does business.

Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein cites an investment such as the €3 million for number portability as one of those that had failed to deliver returns for the business.

“Today we are looking carefully at the investments we are making. Earlier in the year we invested in Number Portability but the customer experience was not good and its use has even dropped in the market,” Ghossein said.

Telkom Kenya has also had to halt plans to launch a PAY-TV service as part of its Triple Play strategy.

Ghoessein said an investment on the platform would cost the operator up to $5 million (Sh540.2 million at the current exchange rates) but it would have to wait.

“Today I think it is not the right time. The major concern is lack of content providers on our network. At the time being, we don’t think it’s an area we would wish to go into,” he said.

Ghossein says that given the continued weakening of the shilling against major currencies, the operator will have to cut its investments by a third and focus more on introducing innovative solutions with high impact on its revenues. One such front has been data, where Telkom Kenya has been investing heavily in introducing solutions such as e-health.

He was speaking during the launch of an innovative service that will boost the government’s efforts to rid the local market of counterfeit drugs.

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mPedigree will allow patients and medical service providers to confirm whether drugs are genuine by typing in a serial number on the medicine packet and sending it to a four-digit code that will generate a prompt response to show whether the drugs are genuine or not, at no cost.

Ghossein said the launch of mPedigree in Kenya, is part of an ongoing strategic move that will see Orange launch a number of e-solutions that are designed to respond to market needs and offer greater convenience to customers.

“At Orange, we are driven by the need for consistent innovation and as such we consistently review the dynamic needs of the market with a view of coming up with solutions to existing and anticipated challenges. We are therefore happy to be the first to launch this service that is suited to the medical sector,” he said.

Statistics by the National Quality Control Laboratories as well as those of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board indicate that 30 percent of the drugs in Kenya are counterfeit

“With the most advanced telecommunications infrastructure that features the highest speeds in data, we will continue to seek strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships with local and global solution providers, to offer maximum value to our customers,” Ghossein said.

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