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Innovate on data services

Mickael Ghossein, CEO, Telkom Orange says that pure data cannot exist, especially with the growth of smartphones in Kenya. "Operators will have to push data services through the increased number of smart devices that are choking the telecommunication market", says Ghossein.

A recent example on how Telkom Orange is driving the use of data through mobile phones is when France Telecom, their mother company signed a partnership agreement with Wikimedia Foundation to grant more than 70 million subscribers in Africa and the Middle East free mobile access to Wikimedia.

The movement was part of Wikimedia's mobile strategy, which aims at reaching billions of people in the world who access the Internet solely on mobile phones, including Kenya.

CIO East Africa's Peter Nalika spoke about "The data ecosystem and the future of Telkom Orange" to Ghossein, who has been an influential leader towards steering the telecom operator's business on being relevant and focused on customer centric initiatives.

"CIOs need to exercise innovative thinking when it comes to offering data services", says Ghossein, he terms data services as one of the biggest business stream among telecom operators and currently it contributes 5 -- 15% Telkom Orange revenue.

According to Ghossein, data has become increasingly critical for various users especially as a touch point in corporate and the education sectors. With over 87 million4G devices equipped with LTE connectivity being shipped this year as per ABI research projects, all over the world means more and more mobile data will be consumed.

As LTE a bridge from the 3G technologies becomes the de facto mobile data standard, consumers can expect more intense competition to lower prices for mobile data across the board. At the moment, Ghossein says that some data plans are pricey since carriers want to recoup some of the capital expenditures they've paid to build out their networks, of which Telkom Orange doesn't since it already had existing infrastructure. But as more and more users sign up for the services, the cost of delivering data will go down and carriers will face pressure to lower rates.

Ghossein stands behind Telkom Orange; he says the future of the operator is bright, he boasts about the organization's network structure (fiber backbone, GSM, PSTN) as a powerful service of connectivity. He talks about the organization's robust employees who manage over 3 million customers on GSM, 250,000 on fixed lines, and service maintenance of systems & 4000 km of laid fiber.

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