Econet’s mobile licence suspended pending investigation

30 Nov 2004

Kenya’s Information and Communication Minister Raphael Tuju has announced that the mobile licence awarded on 10 November to Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK) has been suspended due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the shareholding structure of the Kenyan cellco. The concession was allocated in September 2003 to a consortium comprising South African-based group Econet Wireless International (EWI) and three local firms, including the Kenya National Federation of Co-operatives (KNFC). The licence was not officially awarded until 10 November 2004 due to the apparent failure of one of the local companies in the alliance to raise its share of the USD27 million licence fee. EWI paid part of the outstanding amount earlier this month, and duly received the operating licence from the Communications Commission of Kenya. However, last week the KNFC launched legal proceedings to block EWK from operating, claiming it owned 82% of the cellco. EWI meanwhile claims it owns 70% of EWK after it increased its shareholding from 10% when the KNFC failed to pay its share of the licence fee.

Kenya, Essar Telecom Kenya (yu)