The Kenyan government has selected a consortium headed by Dubai-based group Vtel as the country’s second national operator (SNO). Vtel Holdings has agreed to pay KES12.1 billion (USD169.7 million) for the licence, which will allow it to offer fixed line, wireless and data services. Two other companies entered bids but failed to match the price offered by Vtel; Reliance of India offered KES8 billion (USD111 million), while MTNL offered KES3.8 billion (USD52.1 million). Another ten firms expressed interest in the sale but failed to make it to the final round. John Waweru, director of the telecoms regulator, Communications Commission of Kenya, commented: ‘I expect there will be no delays in this process so that Kenyans can start enjoying the benefits of this competition as early as possible.’ The SNO concession covers cellular telephony, long-distance voice and data, internet backbone, international voice gateway and VSAT services. The SNO is expected to begin operations early next year.