Mickael Ghossein

By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya

Integrated telecommunications company Orange has intensified its data market penetration efforts with launch of its new 3G wi-fi modem.

The move takes battle for Kenya’s mobile data market a notch higher as other operators have also been unveiling offer after offer to woo customers.

The high speed data product dubbed Domino is a plug and play device targeting data users on the move and provides shared internet to up to 5 users.

The Domino will retail at Ksh 9,999 and comes with a 2GB data bundle for prepaid customers.

According to company CEO, Mickael Ghossein, the new modem, running on Orange’s 3G network, will be able to support up to five users within a transmitting radius of 20 metres.

“This is a sector that contributes close to 20% of the country’s GDP. Orange is therefore obliged to play its role to support this important sector with the provision of varied data connectivity options, dependent on the nature of their business and processes,” he said.

According to the latest industry statistics released by industry regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya for the third January-March 2012 quarter, the total number of broadband subscriptions increased tremendously to 651,738 up from 131,829 posted the previous quarter, with the growth being attributed to increased subscriptions of GSM, 3G.

Telkom Kenya’s current subscriber base stands at approximately 2.5 million customers.

“The company’s focus is now on data services and as our innovation and research continues to increasingly address customer-oriented needs, we will continue to give better data services like the Domino,” said Ghossein, adding that the innovative product and service offering from Orange was anchored on the firm’s heavy investment on broadband infrastructure.

Orange customers will be able to purchase already existing prepaid and post paid data bundles or the unlimited data offerings to top up this device that comes with a longer battery life, very much in positive contrast to similar tethered devices in the market. 

Orange customers will also be able to earn Ziada (Swahili for extra) points from using this modem that comes with parental control features.

“Our customers will be able to redeem points earned for free calls, SMSs as well as devices,” said Ghossein on the Orange Ziada loyalty programme that was revamped in the first quarter of this year, to cater for individual and distinct communication needs and patterns of Orange customers. 

Telkom Kenya also recently doubled its modem capacity with the introduction of a 42 mega bits per second (mbps).

In late June this year, Airtel slashed price of its modem by over half to grab more Internet users from rivals.

Airtel is now retailing its 21 megabytes per second Mbs modem at USD23 down from USD53, while the 7.2Mbs modems is retailing at USD12, a 50% drop.

Currently, Airtel is placed third in the mobile data sector, after Safaricom and YuMobile, with a 10% market share as of December 2011.

Safaricom, whose mobile data market share as of December 2011 stood at 77.1%, has a 7.2Mbs modem going for USD23.

Its 21Mbs modem, on the other hand, costs Ksh9, 999 (USD118) and comes bundled with 20 gigabytes of data.

Fourth-placed Telkom Kenya is selling its 3G+ 3.1Mbs modem retailing for USD47 while its 21Mbs device is going for USD23.

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