Telkom Kenya, the country’s third-largest telco, has lost about 800,000 subscribers in the last three months, months after the American Towers Corporation (ATC) switched off its network towers. By December 2023, Telkom’s mobile subscribers had dropped to 1.3 million.

ATC switched off 246 Telkom towers due to unpaid leasing fees in February 2023, worsening a disagreement dating back two years. Telkom Kenya’s debt ballooned to KES 7.1 billion ($51.7 million) by October 2023.  


According to Business Daily, ATC demanded an initial payment of KES 500 million ($3.6 million) and a monthly fee of KES 150 million ($1.09 million) to reactivate the towers but Telkom cited financial constraints preventing it from meeting its debt obligations.

Telkom Kenya owned and managed its towers before ATC acquired 723 towers in 2018. At the time, the telco said the move would “enhance the quality and reliability of our network to benefit our customers.”

As of June 2023, ATC Kenya had 3,643 towers nationwide, including nine distributed antenna system sites.

Kenn Abuya Senior Reporter

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