Revised LTE tender deters Chinese vendors, some local ISPs

22 Nov 2011

A number of telecoms equipment vendors and internet service providers have opted not to pursue their previously-expressed interest in Kenya’s ‘open access’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, Business Daily Africa reports. Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE, and Kenyan broadband providers AccessKenya, Wananchi Group, Swift Global and Jamii Telecom Ltd (JTL) were among the first companies to express an interest in participating in the government’s ambitious 4G project when the initial tender was announced in August. However, all six companies have opted not to re-stake their respective claims following a review of the associated terms and conditions. Dr Bitange Ndemo, information permanent secretary, confirmed: ‘Some of the firms that had initially expressed interest did not re-apply’.

Under revised shareholding rules, issued in October this year, international firms are able to participate without the involvement of a local partner, as long as they register local affiliates in Kenya before 1 February 2012. At that time, Business Daily Africa reported that all international firms must cede a 20% stake to Kenyan shareholders after a three-year period. Participants officially confirmed by Ndemo this week include: domestic mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Essar Telecom Kenya (yu) and Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya); local broadband providers Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and MTN Business Kenya; and global vendors Alcatel-Lucent (France) and Epesi Technologies (US). In addition, Finnish equipment supplier Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), which did not participate in the initial phase of bidding, has now entered the fray. No mention has been made of the plans of initial bidders such as Lollakfi (UK), Ericsson (Sweden), and US firms IBM and Cisco Networks, all of which lodged bids for inclusion in October.