Mobile operator Safaricom has gone directly to lenders for a KES8 billion (USD108.1 million) loan, what will be the single largest loan in the history of Kenya’s capital markets. The company has opted for a syndicated loan because of its restrictions on borrowing from the capital markets under the terms of a KES4 billion (USD54.1 million) bond that it floated on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. It will use the money for ongoing network upgrade and expansion.
In a separate story Safaricom has contracted solutions provider Redknee to deploy its USSD (unstructured supplementary service data) ‘Call me’ solution. The USSD service is similar to short message service (SMS) and enables users to send messages to a number asking them to ring them back. Safaricom hopes the launch will reduce ‘flashing’ – when a subscriber establishes a call and hangs up after the first ring. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.