Telkom pushes for level playing field as it takes on new identity

Telkom pushes for level playing field as it takes on new identity
Telkom CEO Aldo Mareuse with Chairman Eddy Njoroge during a past event.

Agility.  Customer responsive. Competitive.

These are just but some of the words network operator Telkom hopes will ring true as it makes a stab at becoming a major player in the country’s telecommunication sector.

The new lease of life coming by way of a corporate overhaul, dropping its rather droopy and lackluster brand Orange Telkom 12 months after it was acquired by UK based private equity firm Helios.

With the backing of its new owners, Telkom is looking to make a splash, making a hurried step positioning itself as a force to reckon with as it aims for a larger slice of the market currently enjoyed by its industry rivals Safaricom and Airtel Kenya.

But even as there’s a fresh buzz around Telkom, the operator is concerned about a lack of policy to boost competition in the sector.

Telkom chairman Eddy Njoroge said appealed to the government to open up the telecommunication sector, ensuring all players had an equal opportunity to succeed.

“The market should not be allowed to operate as it is today as it does not auger well for the sector’s long term growth and it goes against pro investment policies of the government. The bottom line ladies and gentlemen is that the market will not survive in the long term unless a robust policy mechanism is put in place to ensure healthy competition,” Mr Njoroge said.

Speaking during the re launch, Telkom chief executive officer Aldo Mareuse said the company is now ready to become a player to be reckoned with in the sector.

“Telkom signifies our focus on the future and our efforts to effectively reach out to a wider audience as a relevant, innovative, and forward-thinking brand that is committed to providing alternative choice to the consumer,” Mr Mareuse said.

Established as a telecommunications operator in April 1999, Telkom was acquired by France Telecom (now Orange) back in 2007.

Despite the entry of a much larger shareholder, Telkom struggled to make a significant dent in the industry, looking on as other operators grew.

But the entry of Helios appears to have given Telkom a new spring in its step, focusing on improving customer experience, investing in network infrastructure as well as improving its data offering.

Already Telkom has announced plans to launch commercial 4G services even going a step further to offer free Whatsapp services.

The operator will also roll out free calls for its customers within the network.

Telkom has already beefed up its management team creating four new divisions; mobile, fixed, wholesale and real in an effort of re-jigging operations.

Telkom plans to grow its customer base from three million subscribers, growing its market share above 10 percent.

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