According to the Daily Nation, the Kenyan government is seeking applications for a financial consultant to help with the long-awaited formation of a public-private partnership to roll out a nationwide ‘open access’ network based Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The duties of the successful consultancy firm will centre on the preparation of a detailed financial evaluation of the public-private partnership model proposed by the government, taking into account the positions of the government, the country’s mobile operators, institutional investors and equipment vendors. The development has reportedly been publicised by the Ministry of Information on its website, with an advertisement reading: ‘In this evaluation, the consultant shall assess the financial pros and cons of the model and, where possible, cite different options for consideration with appropriate benchmarking in line with the proposed LTE network policy’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the open access project, which was first unveiled in November 2010 , has already experienced a number of teething problems, not least a series of prohibitive restrictions relating to local ownership requirements for potential participants (in Autumn 2011) and a dispute regarding the preferred frequency band that the network would use (in March 2012). The former issue threatened to oust both Essar Telecom Kenya (yu) and Airtel Kenya from the initiative, while the latter dispute saw influential player and market leader by subscribers Safaricom threaten to walk away from the project unless its demand to utilise 700MHz spectrum was acquiesced to.
Confirmed participants in the scheme currently include: domestic mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel Kenya, Essar Telecom Kenya and Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya); local broadband providers Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and MTN Business Kenya; and international vendors Alcatel-Lucent (France-US), Epesi Technologies (US) and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN, Finland).