Econet to bid for third mobile licence

3 Dec 2003

Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK) has said it is in the process of raising KES2.1 billion to purchase the nation’s third national cellular licence from the government. The company, in which the largest shareholder is the Kenya National Federation of Cooperatives, has lined up a series of firms to underwrite the deal, including Econet Wireless International, Rapsel, Corporate Africa and Saccos, and has appointed First Africa Capital Ltd as lead financial advisor.

Kenya’s mobile market is currently shared between Safaricom (40%-owned by Vodafone) and Kencell (40%-owned by Vivendi Universal), which had just over two million subscribers between them at the end of September 2003. Safaricom is the larger of the two, boasting 1.187 million customers at that date, up from 865,000 six months previously.