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Altech East Africa Takeover: Strive Masiyiwa’s Liquid Telecom Extends its Fibre Footprint to East Africa

31 January, 2013
ICT Africa Writer
January 31, 2013

It has been recently reported that Strive Masiyiwa’s Liquid Telecommunication Company has taken over Altech’s asserts in East Africa. The takeover of the Altech’s asserts, including Kenya Data Networks (KDN), did not come as a surprise to us.

When Altech took over KDN they instituted sweeping changes that may have contributed to their troubles. They immediately replaced most Kenya senior level managers with South Africans and changed the business model from selling dark fibre to selling capacity. These actions triggered mass exodus of disgruntled engineers from KDN to other companies and led to the loss of their biggest customer, Safaricom. Loss of main revenue from Safaricom may have triggered difficulties in KDN paying their bills to Soliton Telmec (their network rollout vendor) and leading to a protracted court battle.

We wish Liquid Telecommunications well in their new venture as they expand they fibre foot print from South Africa to Zimbabwe to Zambia to the DRC and now to Kenya and other parts of Africa. But we caution that Liquid should learn from the mistakes of their predecessors – take time to understand the climate and all KDN challenges and potential strength before rushing to make sweeping changes.


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