Firm performance

CEO of Telkom Kenya talks about company performance, merger and growing market share

NAIROBI, Kenya, August 14-Telkom Kenya, one of the country’s telecommunications service providers, said it was continuing its own journey to improve its products for consumer use.

Capital Business spoke with the company’s CEO, Mugo Kibati, about the various steps the company is taking to ensure its growth.

How has Telkom resisted the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to an increase in the consumption of digital services?

Above all, for us, the most immediate and urgent need was to ensure that our employees and our customers were all safe. We have measures in place that would protect our employees and customers.

Second, in terms of our business, remote work and study was a huge opportunity for the industry. However, for us, it was a bit of an unexpected challenge initially because we had to work on our network across the country because a lot of people moved from their offices to their homes.

We took the opportunity to assess the developments around the pandemic and we did an exercise to reimagine the world in the time of COVID 19.

However, the fact is that across the economy, people have suffered huge losses, including our employees.

Have there been any layoffs at Telkom since the start of the pandemic?

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Our employees and customers were our priority. We worked very hard not to add to the misery we all knew we were going through.

Although we had some challenges, particularly in our business operations, we saw an improvement on the residential side of the business and in the general use of our mobile communications.

It kind of made up for the losses on the business side of the business and so we didn’t have to take such action.

Who is your current customer base and what are you doing to improve your value proposition against your competitors?

We have grown steadily as Telkom, but not as fast as I would like. We have approximately 4 million subscribers on our network.

When it comes to staying ahead of the competition, I have a very different way of thinking.

I think we have our own path as Telkom Kenya, the tech space is changing fast.

The space is huge and if we’re sitting staring at our next door neighbors, someone could hit us in the head from anywhere.

So I’m not too concerned about what our competitor is doing. What we have done is develop a strategy which is a Telkom strategy.

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For example, our own unique strengths: Telkom’s terrestrial fiber network is comparable to no one else’s.

We are the gateway to the East and Central Africa region for international communications thanks to our two landing stations in Mombasa, of which we are going to build a smart hub.

This is why we have defined our own strategy for the growth and transformation of Telkom into a technology company.

We are aware that the ecosystem does not only include our local indigenous competitors. Technology is changing and competitors from all over the world are coming to market and we have to be ready for that.

How confident are you that you will always win as the industry evolves?

Telkom has been around for over 70 years in many, many incarnations and we’ve changed, so I have no qualms about the future.

I think now, with the changes we are making to the way we do business, I am confident that we will be able to meet any challenges that come our way.

I challenged our employees that we will be the ones to find solutions for the rest of the country and the world.

Besides investing in the network, what else is Telkom doing to remain competitive in the industry and to increase its market share?

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As Telkom, we continue to develop our network to ensure that we follow and are able to provide efficient quality services to our customers.

I want to assure our customers that although we are not always perfect, we are making investments to improve our network every other day.

Beyond that, we decided we were going to do a few more things such as ramping up and improving our T-kash mobile money product which we re-launched this year.

We will also launch an app that will make it easier to use T-kash.

The third thing is about the products we plan to launch, including the Madaraka life product that you will hear about as the days go by.

Are you pursuing mergers in the future?

Everything is possible in the future. You never take anything off the table, but as we speak right now, our focus is on the growth of Telkom Kenya and in particular adjusting that journey from a telecommunications company to a technology company.

We are also focused on building a business that has a network that delivers the highest quality voice and data and offers the most innovative products for the market in which we find ourselves.

We are also encouraged by the policy measures we have seen evolving since the Communications Authority of Kenya spoke of ensuring that the consumer has the most affordable services possible.

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