The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has announced that it will be holding a conference today for the five pre-qualified firms bidding for the country’s third GSM licence. The regulator hopes that the assembly will provide an opportunity for the five companies, namely Econet Wireless, Mobile Systems International (MSI), Cellular International Holdings, Kenya Telecommunications Investments Group (KTIG), One Cellular and Telsar Solutions/Telcel International, to raise questions on the tender. The five were selected out of a total of six companies which initially expressed interest in the tender, and have already purchased tender documents. According to CCK public and media liaison officer Christopher Wambua, bids must be submitted by 11 August 2003. The regulator hopes to raise around KES3.7 billion from the licence; the winner is expected to be operational by October.
Kenya’s cellular market was opened up to competition in 2000 when incumbent cellco Safaricom was faced with its first rival Kencell. The market has witnessed unprecedented growth since. At the end of 2002 there were 1.1 million cellular subscribers in the country, up from 599,000 at the end of 2001 and 17,000 the year before that. Safaricom claimed a 55% market share, while Kencell had 45%.