Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kenya Could Reduce 3G Licence Cost

Kenya's government has hinted that it might lower the cost of 3G licenses, as has been called for by the mobile networks. Currently, only Safaricom holds a 3G license after paying Sh1.9 billion (US$25 million) in 2007.

Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo told Capital FM, "We will do everything possible to ensure that we have created the necessary competitive environment, even if it means that we revise the cost to reasonable levels,". He added that the decision should be made in the next three weeks.

The remaining operators have argued in the past that this fee is too high and campaigned for a reduction - which was opposed by Safaricom unless it receives a refund of the difference.

"If we decide that we are lowering, we would have some mechanisms to ensure that [Safaricom does not lose its money]," he assured.

Of the remaining operators, only Zain has currently applied for a license, and is planning a network launch in the first half of this year. Based on figures from the Mobile World analysts, Safaricom had 13.8 million subscribers at the end of June, compared to 2.4 million for Zain.

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