Telkom customers experience service outages as 723 masts shut down
The country’s third largest telco operator, Telkom
Kenya, has been marred by interruptions and customer complaints after claims
that it failed to pay American Tower Corporation (ATC) Ksh.200 million in
rental fees for 723 masts.
Ironically, Telkom Kenya initially owned the
same masts and sold them to ATC in order to reduce cost of operations by leasing
ATC is said to have switched off half the
masts leased to Telkom; this tower blackout has now caused interruptions within
the Telkom network.
However, according to Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo
Kibati, the company is actively engaging all stakeholders to restore the
impacted services as soon as possible.
He said that Telkom and its stakeholders are
also reviewing the short to long term strategic imperatives that will improve
and guarantee the provision of these services to its esteemed customers.
However, industry experts say that the government
needs to ensure that Telkom does not go under since some critical government infrastructure
is managed by the telco.
Industry expert Amit Vithlani opines: “The
government needs to ensure the survival of Telkom because they run critical
infrastructure such as the fibre optics. Also, looking at the fact that it was
a government entity, it could be running another installations in defence.”
Further, Amit says that there could be deep-rooted,
systemic problems at Telkom that the government needs to address before
investing money into it.
“Looking at the fact that they sold the
network towers and some of the land that they owned to revamp its network and
that has not happened, this needs to be addressed before more money is put in,”
This comes as the government is scouting for
a strategic investor to bail out Telkom Kenya following the acquisition of the
telco last year to reduce the risk of spying of critical government
The government is looking for Ksh.7.2 billion
from national coffers to clear the telco’s debt.
The financial status of Telkom Kenya is still
in the red even after the government bought back 60 per cent stake from Helios
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