Kenya’s leading wireless operator by subscriptions, Safaricom, has announced its intention to raise KES12 billion (USD154 million) in phases over the coming year to fund its continual network expansion drive. The first phase will take place over the next three months and is hoped to raise USD64 million. The company has not yet announced a deal but has hinted at a potential corporate bond issue. The money will be used to upgrade Safaricom’s network infrastructure and roll out new services to sustain its dominance in the market.
Safaricom is facing increasing competition from rivals Zain, Telkom and Econet Kenya. The company has reportedly seen its market share drop to 77% in 2008 despite claming to sign up a total of 13.3 million subscribers by the end of December, up from nearly twelve million at end-September and 9.2 million at the beginning of January.