Kenyan government wavers on 3G fee

9 Feb 2010

Kenya’s permanent secretary of information Bitange Ndemo has hinted that the government may be considering a reduction in the cost of 3G licences, following sustained pressure from operators. As reported by CommsUpdate on 7 January 2010, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) had rejected calls from Telkom Kenya and Zain to lower the USD25 million fee on the grounds that Safaricom had already paid the full amount for a concession, saying: ‘Please note that the determined 3G licence fee is USD25 million for any operator who seeks that licence, it is applicable equally across the board.’ However, Safaricom’s rivals continued to lobby the government, claiming that the current fee would prove prohibitive to the deployment of 3G services. Ndemo has again raised expectations for a reduction, telling a local radio station: ‘We will do everything possible to ensure that we have created the necessary competitive environment, even if it means that we revise the cost to reasonable levels. If we decide that we are lowering, we would have some mechanisms to ensure that Safaricom does not lose its money.’ Ndemo added that a final decision should be made in the next three weeks.