Telekom expecting fixed line competition by mid-2004

27 Oct 2003

Telekom Kenya, the country’s state-run monopoly operator, is preparing to face competition in the country’s wireline market after the government gave the all-clear to issue a new fixed line telephony licence. Communications Minister John Michuki told the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to begin the process of issuing a new concession, telling Reuters that he ‘expect(s) the CCK will move fast and make this happen before the end of June next year’. The launch of a second operator has met with near unanimous approval from industry analysts. Telekom Kenya was due to have been privatised in April 2000 and has become the focus of increasing pressure from international lenders urging the government to hasten the country’s economic liberalisation. The telco has around 300,000 customers in a country of more than 32 million people and is oft criticised for poor call quality and unreliable services, which have combined to drive more than 1.8 million Kenyans to the country’s two cellular operators. A third cellco, Zimbabwe’s Econet, is expected to launch by the end of the year.