Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SNO woes, KQ hits turbulence & the Aburiria Nation

The announcement that Reliance didn't make the deadline to buy the SNO licence is quite depressing on two fronts, its implications for growth of internet and the outsourcing business and an indictment of the govt's tender process. Even if the choosing the appropriate company to award the tender is tricky, one part of it should have been easy, if you require that all the bidders have to have a Kenyan partner-why not do separate tendering for potential Kenyan partners and then encourage the bidders to pick from the list?
Having travelled with Kenya Airways in the late 1990s and then more recently, last week's announcement of performance woes wasn't much of a surprise. In 1990s, KQ had great staff, great check-in, strawberry and cream, fair competitive price. Fastfwd to more recently, patchy food, nightmare lose of luggage, overbooked check-in from JKIA, some of the highest prices on the London-NBI route. KQ has ridden on that "Pride of Africa" for too long. Richard Branson is coming in not just to compete with BA for the Heathrow route, but with Emirates/Qatar for Asia routes and KQ for the African routes. Come on Titus!
Titus (Tajirika) features prominently in the Aburiria country, the "imaginary" country of Ngugi wa Thiongo's newish and lol Wizard of the Crow. Read it!


Odegle said...

MainaT , how come SA has only one fixed line operator Telkom SA yet the infrastructure is perfect? competition alone is not the panacea. Telkom Kenya has some of the best trained technicians. and if you did not know, they have some of the best and latest technologies but they simply do not market it. this probably is because they do not have any targets. maybe if the firm is privatized we would get better service.

secondly, i think the govt should reduce the license fees for some of these things and instead cash in on the taxes they stand to get. take the mobile firms for instance, we kept them away for so long with high license fees not knowing that there was more to gain in terms of taxes and other multiplier effects like investments by phone companies and indirect employment creation.

MainaT said...

Od, one major difference between us and SA, their Telekom, though majority owned by the govt has been run as a private sector enterprise even before the govt share offload in 1997. That is, politics and corruption have not been allowed to dictate perfomance. Could you say the same of Kenya Telecom even today?

Kenyanomics said...

South African Telkom has since 1994 specialized in maintaining and improving its widespread data lines. It leases the lines to private companies that provide value added services to clients. That specialization (open access to its networks) has minimized the need for a Second National Operator in South Africa.

But Kenyan Telkom is another story; it has become a jack of all trades but a master of none, i.e., trying to compete with everyone from basement Cyber Cafes to high-end players like African Online.

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