Telkom Kenya Faces Challenges and Government Intervention

Telkom Kenya’s full government acquisition raises concerns as financial difficulties and network outages impact services.

Telkom Kenya, the telecommunications company that was fully acquired by the government, has recently been in the spotlight. The government purchased a 60% stake in Telkom Kenya from Helios Investment Partners, a UK-based private equity fund, making it a fully state-owned entity. However, controversy arose as it was revealed that the acquisition took place without parliamentary approval. This came at a time when Telkom Kenya was already facing financial difficulties, with a significant debt of Ksh.9.4 billion owed to the Communication Authority of Kenya.

The CEO of the Communication Authority, Ezra Chiloba, even threatened to revoke Telkom Kenya’s license if the debt was not settled. Chiloba also warned that service providers like American Tower, which leases towers to Telkom Kenya, might withdraw their services as well.

To address these challenges and protect national security, the government is considering providing a bailout for Telkom Kenya. The government is also actively seeking a strategic investor to reduce the risk of compromising critical government information.

Telkom Kenya plays a vital role in providing communication services to key government entities, including the Office of the President, State House, government data centers, Ministry of Interior, General Service Unit, Department of Defense’s restricted communications networks, and other crucial state functions.

Recently, Telkom Kenya experienced a widespread network outage, impacting thousands of users. While the specific reasons behind the outage were not disclosed, reports indicated that it was due to tower shutdowns. American Towers Corporation (ATC) allegedly turned off half of its masts across the country due to a pending bill of Ksh 200 million. This led to difficulties for subscribers in the affected regions to make calls, browse the internet, and conduct financial transactions.

Telkom Kenya’s CEO, Mugo Kibati, acknowledged the challenges faced and emphasized the company’s commitment to improving and ensuring reliable services for their valued customers.

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