Econet Wireless has requested that the Communications Commission of Kenya halt the award of a national wireline and wireless licence to the Reliance Consortium. Reliance has been offered the country’s second national operator (SNO) licence following the cancellation of an award to the Dubai-based Vtel consortium after Vtel failed to pay the necessary licence fees. Econet had been campaigning to halt the Vtel licensing and it has now switched its attention to Reliance following the government’s decision to offer the SNO concession to Reliance, which made the second highest bid in the licence auction last year, reports local newspaper The Nation.
Econet won Kenya’s third GSM cellular licence in December 2003 but has failed to launch a service and has still to be awarded its wireless spectrum after financial difficulties meant it could not pay the required fees. Econet claims it has the right to launch the country’s third national network and the SNO licensing should be postponed until it has had a chance to roll out its own service. The government has so far refused its requests to halt the SNO award process, however.