Safaricom takes CCK to court to seek 3G licence refund

22 Aug 2011

Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has taken telecoms regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to court in an effort to reclaim KES1.4 billion (USD14.9 million) in excess licence fees from the telecoms watchdog. In June 2010 the CCK slashed the cost of a 3G permit by 60% from USD25 million to USD10 million in a bid to stimulate interest, and later the same month Airtel Kenya paid the lower amount for a concession, with Telkom Kenya (Orange) going on to acquire a cut-price concession in November 2010. Following the price cut, Safaricom – which secured the country’s first 3G licence in October 2007 – said it planned to seek a rebate from the CCK. In the legal documents filed by the cellco, Safaricom says that the huge disparity between the licence fees has created unfair competition in the sector, forcing it to operate at significantly higher costs than its rivals. The CCK has 14 days in which to respond to the case, after which time a hearing date will be set.

Kenya, Safaricom