Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Telkom Kenya's towers shut down by ATC due to non-payment of fees

Article Image
American Towers Corporation (ATC) has disconnected government-owned Telkom Kenya from its tower infrastructure for failing to pay site leasing fees.

The shutdown has led to service disruptions on the telco's network and according to media reports, Telkom Kenya owes ATC 3.5 billion Kenyan shillings (US$24 million).

This is not the first time that Telkom Kenya's towers have been shut down – the company has been going through network disruptions since the end of January this year.

After a public outcry in June 2023, Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati released a statement acknowledging the outages and said the company was engaging with stakeholders to restore the impacted services.

"Telkom and its stakeholders are reviewing the short to long-term strategic imperatives that will improve and guarantee the provision of these services to its esteemed customers," Kibati said at the time.

In 2018, ATC agreed on lease and service terms with Telkom, acquiring 723 towers from the operator in the process but according to ATC, Telkom has since breached the agreement terms, forcing it to cut supply at 896 sites.

"To ensure the financial viability of our business, we sometimes have to make difficult decisions such as disconnection, which we use as a last resort. However, this is conducted always within the law and the conditions stipulated in our contracts and following various unsuccessful attempts to recover monies owed to us," an ATC spokesperson told Telco Titans.

Tower turnoff causes problems

As some of the tower sites are shared, the shutdown has also disrupted other operators' services and ATC has claimed that Telkom has used police officers to block ATC from accessing some Telkom sites.

Currently, the Kenyan government owns 100% of Telkom and has been actively on the hunt for investors to help the telco with its debt.

Telkom Kenya has been going through network disruptions since the end of January 2023.   ( Source: Image by Allexxandar on Freepik).
Telkom Kenya has been going through network disruptions since the end of January 2023.
( Source: Image by Allexxandar on Freepik).

The government already owned 40% of Telkom and acquired the remaining 60% stake owned by British investment firm Helios Investment Partners in April 2022.

That government buyout came after a failed merger between Telkom Kenya and Airtel back in 2020 which would have seen the telcos joining forces to take on dominant operator Safaricom.

After walking away from the deal Telkom Kenya has remained firmly in third place in the Kenyan mobile market, with about 3.4 million mobile customers in the second quarter of 2023, figures from market research company Omdia, a sister company of Connecting Africa, show.

Telkom is far behind market leader Safaricom's almost 45 million subscribers and second place Airtel Kenya's 18 million users but does come out ahead of Jamii Telecommunications, which only had an estimated 404,260 subscribers in the same period.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Image by wirestock on Freepik

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Vodacom Tanzania unveils Digital Accelerator Program winners

Mobile operator Vodacom Tanzania has announced the season three winners of its Digital Accelerator Program.

Story

AI's potential in African agriculture, energy and climate action GSMA

A new GSMA report examines the huge potential for artificial intelligence to support Africa's socio-economic growth in areas including agriculture, energy and climate action.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Leadership Lessons: Networking towards career advancement

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of networking for career growth especially for African women in data analytics.

Story

Leadership Lessons: The importance of mentorship for career growth

By Nollie Maoto

Nollie Maoto, First Rand Group's compliance chief data and analytics officer and Africa Tech Festival Leadership Council member, reflects on the importance of mentorship for career growth for African women in data analytics.

More Guest Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 12-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Follow us on X

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002