Telkom Kenya will forge ahead with plans to scale up to 80 per cent of its userbase to 4G, after its partner, Loon LLC, called it quits last week. Loon was inevitably shut down after failing to create a long-term, sustainable business, Alastair Westgarth, Loon’s CEO said.
Telkom Kenya’s partnership with Alphabet’s Loon enabled the company to beam 4G signals to users in under-served or uncovered remote areas that are hard to reach or could cost more to set up the traditional network infrastructure.
Launched in July 2020, Telkom Kenya, in partnership with Loon, provided high-speed 4G LTE network across underserved areas across underserved regions in Western and Central through balloons.
At the time of launch, Loon helped Telkom Kenya provide stable 4G network to users in Iten, Eldoret, Baringo, Nakuru, Kakamega, Kisumu, Kisii, Bomet, Kericho, and Narok.
But with Loon shutting down as a company, the Kenyan telco has less than two months to seek alternative ways to continue providing 4G internet to its userbase in affected areas.
The fallback plan, according to the company, is to continue the expansion of its ground infrastructure.
“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 per cent to 4G, increase our network footprint across the country and get more Kenyans online,” said Mugo Kibati, Telkom Kenya’s CEO said in a statement (Via BD).
“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,” he said.
Loon will officially cease providing 4G internet to users in regions it currently serves from 2nd March 2021.