The Kenyan government has short-listed seven firms as potential candidates to run the country’s second national operator (SNO). One unnamed firm from the eight bidders that pre-qualified last month has been dropped from the list, according to local paper The Standard. The seven companies vying to control the new telco are: France Telecom, Telkom South Africa, Bharti and MTNL of India, Sweden’s Swedtel, VTEL of Palestine, and UAE-based Etisalat. A winner is expected to be announced by December. Joseph Njagi, the chairman of Kenya’s telecoms regulator CCK, expressed disappointment that the SNO licensing has dragged on so long, after first being attempted in 2003: ‘We do appreciate that the country has lost enormously due to the delay of entry of a competitor to Telkom Kenya’.