Safaricom renews licence, abandons ‘open access’ LTE project

8 Nov 2013

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has officially agreed to renew Safaricom’s operational licence for the next ten years for a fee of KES2.36 billion (USD27.1 million). Despite the carrier’s comfortable dominance of the Kenyan mobile sector, questions were raised over its patchy quality of service (QoS); the watchdog said that Safaricom has failed to meet the minimum threshold for the last three years.

In other news, plans by the government to roll out a national ‘open access’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) network has suffered a major setback after Safaricom announced that it was pulling out of the joint venture. Business Daily Africa reports that the mobile giant has expressed concerns that the state is dragging its heels in drawing up a shareholder agreement, and needs to act quickly in order to meet the growing demand for tablets and smartphones.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, participants in the LTE scheme include: domestic mobile operators Safaricom, Airtel, Essar Telekom Kenya (yu) and Telkom Kenya; local broadband providers Liquid Telecom Kenya (formerly Kenya Data Networks (KDN) and MTN Business Kenya; and international vendors Alcatel-Lucent (France-US), Epesi Technologies (US) and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN, Finland). The short-list was revealed in August 2012, but little in the way of concrete progress has subsequently been reported.