The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan agreement worth US $40 million (Kshs 4 billion) with Telkom Kenya. Telkom Kenya will use the funds to expand its 3G and 4G coverage throughout Kenya.
Telkom, in addition to improving mobile connectivity, will also invest in its Fibre-To-The-Building (FTTB) network, which is set to improve the quality of service offered to enterprise and corporate customers. The focus will include investments into access, core, transmission and IT (Information Technology) components; infrastructure that is crucial to further improving network reliability and accessibility. According to the Telco industry regulator in Kenya, the Communications Authority, high-speed fibre subscriptions doubled during the financial year 2017/2018 to stand at 135,964 from 54,700, posted the previous year.
(TOP: Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati – left – with EIB VP Ambroise Fayolle while signing the loan agreement).
EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle, comments: “In terms of how mobile services are used, we could say that Kenya is ahead of Europe, and both the market and possibilities are growing fast. One attention point is the coverage, which is why we are happy to support Telkom’s growth strategy in expanding its 3G and 4G networks across the country. This loan will also benefit its fixed broadband network; a service which is widely seen as a basic need for businesses to be competitive in a global market.”
Telkom CEO,Mugo Kibati, adds: “Telkom’s focus is to be Kenya’s preferred Data network, which will be done by evolving into a stronger and future-fit Telco. The strategic support from the EIB will give impetus to Telkom’s data network expansion, that has seen Telkom consistently enhance indoor coverage, expand our 4G network, optimise our 3G network, thereby boosting our capacity to handle mobile data traffic, in response to growing customer demand.”
Telkom’s network expansion focus has also seen it partner with Loon LLC, a sister company to Google and a subsidiary of Alphabet, to pilot an innovative 4G/LTE access network service in Kenya, using high altitude balloons, that will act as floating cell towers.
Mugo adds: “All these initiatives are geared towards expanding Telkom’s data network and foot print, to connect the under-served and un-served, in line with our growth strategy. Moreover, this will allow us to bring better quality Data services to more Kenyans.”
Kenya’s Telco industry regulator, the Communications Authority states that about 99 per cent of Internet subscribers access the Internet via mobile phones and other mobile devices. The Data/Internet market expected to continue exhibiting similar trends into 2019.
The EIBis the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The European Investment Bank has supported transformational investment across Africa for more than 50 years and operates in Kenya since 1976, investing more than EUR 1.36 Billion in energy, water and infrastructure projects, as well as credit lines for SMEs. Over the last decade, the EIB has provided more than EUR 20 billion (KSh 2.33 Trillion) for long-term investment across Africa.