News around Africa - Telecommunication - January 25, 2021

Telkom to Scale 4G Network in Kenya after Partnership with Loon Comes to an End

Telkom Kenya Limited said it is set to scale its 4G network coverage as a means to consolidate on its operation in the East African country. The decision follows the ending of the telco’s ballon-powered internet partnership with Loon, an affiliate of Google.

Business Elites Africa understands that Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google, decided to shut down the Loon problem due to lack of profitability. In reaction to this decision which was taken by Alphabet last week, Telkom’s CEO, Mugo Kibati, released a statement which said:

“Telkom believes in taking bold decisions. It was very exciting, therefore, to partner with like-minded pioneers in the adoption and usage of innovative technologies such as Loon, with the aim of filling in the internet access gaps in areas that were difficult to service.

“We continue with our long-term terrestrial network expansion plan that is informed by our overall company strategy, which will see us scale up to 80 percent to 4G, increase our network footprint across the country and get more Kenyans online.”

https://atomic-temporary-203083154.wpcomstaging.com/2021/01/12/safaricom-suspends-5g-network/

Note that the ballon-powered internet partnership with Loon helped Telkom to provide high-speed internet connectivity to Kenyans living in rural and remote parts of the country. these people live in parts of Kenya that lacked sufficient ground stations to ensure that they are connected to the internet. But with Loon, internet signal was sent across to cell phone users through a network of other floating cell towers. Unfortunately, the company behind the programme said it failed to find a cost effective way to manage it.

“While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business. Developing radical new technology is inherently risky, but that doesn’t make breaking this news any easier. Today, I’m sad to share that Loon will be winding down,” Loon’s CEO, Alastair Westgarth, said in a Medium article that was seen by Business Elites Africa.

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