Category Archives: ISP Kenya

Telkom nationwide coverage across Kenya

Telkom has got extensive coverage across Kenya. For companies, Telkom Enterprise offers the best options in three different packages of data and voice products in all counties that can be tailor-made to suit any customer’s needs:

  • BVPN (business VPN) provides connectivity for large companies and is available in all the 47 counties of Kenya. BVPN can also be extended to even more remote areas using satellite and is scalable which means a company can add new locations with voice and video. This is ideal for large companies with a presence in different locations that want security and which have sensitive, encrypted data that needs to be transferred nationwide.
  • JamboNet is a dedicated access offering with fast reliable Internet for businesses that range from 1 MBPS to 150 MPBS. An online customer portal enables monitoring and reporting and the service is backed by a strict service level agreement (SLA) that aims at 99.9% uptime.  The quality of JamboNet service does not degrade as more users join on, and it comes with a firewall as a standard. JamboNet is available nationwide and there is also a wireless option to extend the service to areas that don’t have cable already
  • E@zyNet is an unlimited fixed bandwidth solution for SME customers. There are different monthly cost packages starting at an affordable price of Kshs 3,499 (~$35 per month). It is easy to start and reliable, offering high download speeds and flexibility for users.

Telkom, which has data centres and cloud storage also manages the Kenya government’s National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) – a national inland fibre optic cable network. Telkom has also invested in VSAT, satellite communications in remote areas, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network, GSM, and 4G LTE. Other products that are optional include free intra-company calls (within a local user group), wireless landline, fleet management, and County government solutions and other value-added services designed for hospitals and schools.

According to the latest Communications Authority of Kenya quarterly report (December 2016), the number of fixed fibre optic subscriptions grew by 18% during the quarter while that of fixed cable modem subscriptions increased by 2.8%. In a statement, Managing Director of the Enterprise Division at Telkom Kenya, Kris Senanu said “success for a Kenyan enterprise should be seen in the lens of reduced downtime through reliable connectivity; operational efficiency through uninterrupted connectivity; great customer service and clear communication lines with stakeholders and ultimately revenue-generating that leads to business growth.”

Rediscovering Telkom Kenya

Monday’s nationwide outage of telephone, internet data, and mobile money services showed the practical need for people and companies to have viable alternatives for their daily connectivity. One of the oldest companies in this space is Telkom Kenya.

While it has been in the news more for its foray into mobile phone business under the Orange brand, other parts of the company have continued to chug along providing affordable and reliable services to customers, governments, and institutions  all across the country

Telkom Enterprise has three key connectivity products:  JamboNet for large businesses, E@synet Broadband for SME’s, and Flybox for homes and small businesses. Telkom has continued to invest and grow its infrastructure as well as through partnerships in submarine cables to extend broadband connectivity. The Telkom Kenya Entreprise division is now led Kris Senanu, long-associated  with Access Kenya and the history of internet service businesses in Kenya. Telkom manages the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) for the Kenya Government and was recently contracted to roll out free Wi-Fi to over one thousand,  government-funded, incubation hubs in 290 constituencies around the country.

Telkom is 60% owned by Helios, an Africa-focused investment firm, and the Kenya government owns the other 40%. Other investments by Helios in Kenya include Africa Oil, Vivo Energy, and the Wananchi Group. It is also invested in Interswitch which supports financial connectivity services at a dozen Kenya banks and 1,000 ATM’s.

Kutwa Tuesday: death of the cyber café

Once, long ago, I wrote a paper about a business case to put up a cyber café in an airport terminal – for transit passengers to browse there as they waited for the flight to connect. That model is in place today in airports all over the world (not my doing) but its’ time may already have passed with wi-fi zones and wireless laptops whose users don’t need to use cyber cafe facilities anymore.

But even cyber cafes’ that are in town may be under threat.

Until three months ago I’d spend about an hour in a cyber cafe each Saturday and Sunday. I’d go there to my check my-email and then browse quite a bit when I was done.

But all that has stopped as I now check my email and browse for information I need to know instantly – from hotmail, gmail, sports scores, stock prices – using a plain old phone (not bambanet, or blackberry) as the Safaricom EDGE service is available on most of their phones even some of the cheaper ones. I get the information wherever I am and don’t have to visit a cyber cafe unless it’s to print a document or download a PDF report.

Oil slick
The sale of Somken petrol stations to the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK) has been put on hold ever since the previous NOCK MD resigned from the company. Haggles remain over the high price bid for the stations.

BAT smoke-out
BAT Ghana has voluntarily de-listed from the Ghana Stock Exchange.

Does that portend anything for BAT Kenya one of the blue chip stocks on the Nairobi stock exchange and one of the highest paying dividend stocks? Cigarette smokers have had their smoking freedom curtailed in Nairobi and other urban areas (Nairobi city has less than a half dozen outdoor smoking points) making them clandestine smokers who hide on staircases and bathrooms (but at least most bars retain a smoking section). What impact will that have on sales?

BAT Kenya manufactures cigarettes here and exports a significant amount to other regional countries (who have not curtailed smoking) which should cushion it slightly from the new laws.

Stockbroker still frozen
The statutory management of Francis Thuo stockbrokers (by the Nairobi Stock Exchange) has been extended for another six months.

the pyramids that collapsed
Much has changed in the one year since nyramid schemes were highlighted here. Since then they have come under increasing pressure from the government, SACCO’s and most important the banks who frozen account necessary for their operations (and who probably still hold the schemes ‘missing billions’ that investors are crying for).

The latest collapse was Amity and it was preceded by Sasanet investment co-op (suspended operations), Spell investments (suspended operations), Circuit investments (suspended operations), CLIP (suspended operations), DECI (suspended operations), and the Kenya business community savings & credit society (Kenya akiba) (suspended operations)

Kenya news on Youtube
Some people say they are tired of political news, while others can’t get enough of it. But the Nation Media Group has gone ahead and made their new clips available on Youtube

Pesa point wins
Two yard ago Pesapoint was launched and it began a battle with Kenswitch – another network of banks sharing ATM facilities. But today Pesa Point has signed up most mid-size banks and have a network of almost 200 ATM machines – and last month added corporate banking giant Standard Chartered to their network.

Urgent need for Sub Cable

Whether it will be EASSy or TEAMS, the urgent need for East Africa to have a submarine cable will become apparent within a few years.

The 2006 merger of Intelsat and PanAmSat, creating the worlds’ largest satellite provider, will have profound implications for Africa which is estimated to be 80% dependent on satellite communications. Higher costs can be expected from the giant company once existing agreements expire and ISP’s will have no choice but to pass these own to consumers.

The government of Kenya broke away from other African countries (in EASSy) and has committed to the TEAMS project, budgeted at $100 million. It committed to pay $15 million this financial year and has contracted Standard Chartered bank to raise additional funding from ICT operators in the private sector.

Easter weekend

No trades
I realized that I had not been to my stockbroker’s office to trade this year. It would be good to visit to find out the fate of my Stanbic shares. I’m not sure if I got a full allocation or a refund since I have not got any report from the broker. This week would be a good time to visit before the lines begin for the Access Kenya IPO which starts next week.

Access Kenya IPO
Access Kenya announced that their IPO will begin on April 19th. The company hopes to sell 80 million shares at 10 shillings ($0.14) each to raise 800 million shillings ($11.4m). I look forward to the prospectus to be released within the next few days to give a proper picture of the communications market. And we are also awaiting an IPO from Wananchi, Kenya’s largest ISP who unfortunately lost a bid for Africa Online to Telkom of South Africa.

The ISP industry has shown tremendous growth, but the sector faces additional challenges for investors.

  • First like the Scangroup IPO, intangible measures take on greater significance in comparing the company against its peers and its future prospects.
  • Second, an additional regulator comes into play i.e. the Communications Commission of Kenya. The sector has seen some turbulent investments that have not reached fruition including the third mobile operator (Econet in court for three years) and the second national operator (license has been awarded and canceled twice). Also CCK will in future move towards giving unified licenses, which means that companies won’t have to go back to re-apply each time they want to introduce a new service.
  • Third in a unified license world, and once a restructured Telkom has been sorted out, Safaricom and Celtel may be the ISP companies of the future with their EDGE / GPRS offerings. (ISP’s are already complaining about mobile companies not playing fair with interconnection, leading back to the regulator again).

Corporate divorce
Alexander Forbes of SA has withdrawn its name from Alexander Forbes insurance brokers of Kenya citing a lack of majority equity or management control. The Kenyan operation (formerly Hyman Robertson) who already have a new name ready to launch, feel that they have been good custodians of the brand, turning it around from loss-making one to being one of the largest in East Africa.

Fading libraries?
Read in the Sunday Standard that the British Council was closing their library in Mombasa owing to declining memberships.