MTN Group is reportedly considering a KES36 billion (USD450 million) bid for Econet Wireless Kenya (EWK), Kenya’s fourth largest wireless operator by subscribers. EWK, currently owned by Econet Wireless International (EWI), provides mobile services to over 100,000 subscribers in Nairobi and Mombasa and has reportedly been looking to finance a wider rollout of services. MTN is expected to buy out EWI’s 70% stake in the cellco, which currently operates under the banner of ‘yu’, giving it immediate access to the buoyant Kenyan market. The Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) reports that mobile subscriptions rose 30.2% in 2008, ending the year with 16.2 million subscribers across the country’s four networks: Safaricom, Orange Kenya, Zain Kenya and EWK. South Africa-based MTN is Africa’s largest wireless group, reporting a total of 90.7 million subscribers at the end of 2008. The company has said that it will continue to seek out acquisition opportunities in 2009.