The mobile service carrier space in Kenya has for long proven to be a tough nut to break for Orange. So much so that it forced one of its major shareholders (the French Orange) to pack up and leave, selling its 70% stake at the telecom to Helios; the other 30% is owned by the Kenyan Government parastatal Telkom Kenya.
The duo (Telkom Kenya and Helios) are on a new growth strategy, one that would hopefully propel the telecom from the tail end of telecoms lineups to the front. Currently, the market leader is Safaricom, followed from afar by Airtel Kenya, and Orange comes in a much distant third.
Orange as the company is still known, plans to undergo rebranding and bring in major overhauls to show the new change of guard. Although Telkom Kenya being the founder of the telecom company in Kenya, before partnering with French Orange leading to the rebranding to Orange telecom company, it has failed miserably to capture nor retain its market share.
Ironically, Telkom Kenya was the pioneer telecom service in the country; back in the era of landline services. The company was also the first mobile service carrier in the country when consumers were shifting from landline to cell phones. It had the biggest market share at the onset of mobile services in Kenya.
However, Telkom Kenya lost the mobile service space to Safaricom, which came in with a lot of goodies and enticements for the users. Even Airtel Kenya (Kencell as it was originally known) easily surpassed Telkom Kenya to become the second leading mobile service carrier in Kenya.
The company is set to drop the Orange Kenya brand, and the two major shareholders (Helios and Telkom Kenya) will announce a new name sometime this year. According to the Aldo Mareuse, the new Orange Kenya CEO, the telecom is determined to drop the patronizing title, ‘the sleeping giant.’
Other than just rebranding, the telecom is set to launch 4G LTE network in Kenya within “a few months,” according to the CEO. The launch of the 4G network will come alongside new products and strategies geared toward taking them to the top of the telecom space.
The CEO, Aldo, also mentioned that they will soon announce a first-in-the-market product, where customers will get mobile financial service.