Earlier today, Telkom Kenya hosted a couple of the country’s top media houses in a one-on-one session that also served as a stage for the telco’s business review discussions.
Investments in Telkom’s brand and networks
From the event, it emerged that the carrier is targeting to expand its Fiber to the Building (FTTB) program by injecting an additional Kes 3 billion into the product. Whereas competing products such as Safaricom’s FTTH target homes for high-speed internet, Telkom’s version aims to meet the connectivity needs of businesses.
As we discussed in previous articles that can be read here and here (the former looks into the Telkom brand and the latter sheds more light into its approach to customer service), the mobile operator has reported the activities have since been augmented by up to KES 10 billion for network modernization and making its brand a household name.
A week or less ago, Telkom’s mobile financial service T-Kash was integrated with M-PESA. This development was preceded by interoperability services that have been around for some time now.
Now, users can now transact across the two e-wallets in a non-voucher way (previously, sending money to either wallet generated a voucher, which had to be cashed in a lengthy process). The fees, which are now the same across the services and 76% lower, can be read on accessed here and here.
By the way, we noticed that the cash sent from M-PESA to T-Kash refunds the recipient of the transaction fees incurred by the M-PESA user. We do not know how long this incentive will be here, but we are glad it is here.
Also, the transactions can pull user ID details as seen in Hakikisha, so chances of sending money to a wrong T-Kash account are minimal.
Sadly, Telkom CEO Also Mereuse did not reveal the specifics of cash that has been transacted in T-Kash so far other than the volume of deposits the platform has processed at KES 44.4 million.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this journey will hopefully bring in agent interoperability. If it goes into effect, agents will be able to use their float to serve all mobile money services to allow user deposits and withdrawals for T-Kash, M-PESA and Airtel Money. While this may end up being an excellent idea because agents will definitely maximize their trade, we do not know Safaricom sign up owing to the work it has done in agent distribution because those shops are everywhere.
“Agent interoperability is the next step. This would allow for agents to use their float across all players, resulting in customers being conveniently served by any agent. This would also enable agents to fully maximize their capital investments, as they would be in a position to serve a wider pool of customers,” reads a statement from Telkom.
Lastly, we will know if the service will be baked into the STK menu in two weeks’ time when Telkom will stage another conference.
Telkom has always supported the declaration of dominance for a certain player in the market. According to the carrier, this will help customers get the best value from carriers because having one player cannibalize the market leads to abuse. Mr. Aldo’s initial remarks can be found here, and to reiterate to today’s review:
“The Communications Authority needs to move with speed to correct these market imbalances to mitigate against the collapse of the market and further degeneration into a monopoly. To realize the competitive potential of Kenya’s Telco market space, it is imperative that dominance is declared and proposed measures instituted to guard against the ultimate death of competition in Kenya’s Telco industry,” remarks Mr. Aldo.