The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has confirmed that Telkom Kenya has been awarded the country’s third 3G licence. In a media briefing, CCK director general Charles Njoroge stated: ‘The CCK shall issue Telkom with additional spectrum for the provision of 3G and more advanced services, making it the third company in Kenya to acquire the licence’. Telkom, which completed technical 3G trials earlier this year, is expected to roll out its network in early 2011. Safaricom acquired Kenya’s first 3G licence, paying USD25 million for the concession in October 2007, whilst Airtel was issued with a licence for USD10 million in June 2010. The price of Telkom Kenya’s licence has yet to be confirmed, although it is thought to be USD10 million.
In related news, newly re-branded cellco Airtel Kenya (formerly Zain Kenya) has announced that it will roll out its own hotly anticipated 3G network in the first quarter of 2011, as part of concerted campaign to win new customers. Airtel Kenya managing director Rene Meza announced: ‘We have finalised planning for 3G and we expect to have the services rolled at the end of the first quarter, which will change mobile telephony in the country’. Jayant Khosla, CEO of Airtel Africa added: ‘Our immediate goal is to grow the customer base which we intend to achieve by retaining the low tariff charges, focusing on potential customers at the bottom of the pyramid and providing more additional services to the existing services’. In a presentation in Nairobi, Khosla said that Airtel Africa plans to double its subscriber base to 100 million within two years, and return to profitability.