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Airtel Kenya settles out-of-court for expired licence

Airtel Kenya has entered into an out-of-court deal with the telecoms regulator, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), in a settlement that will see the operator pay Sh2 billion ($17.5 million) for its expired licence, bringing to an end a seven-year legal fight.

According to Business Daily, the telecom company will pay the regulator in instalments over the next two years to renew its licence which had expired in 2015.

The regulator stated that that Airtel Kenya needs to renew its licence before entering talks with the government on the waiver of the local ownership rule, a stance that threatened to escalate the licensing row.

India’s Bharti Airtel fully owns Airtel Kenya, the second-largest mobile phone operator, which has long struggled to compete with the dominant Safaricom.

“We have had this long-standing dispute with Airtel over the Essar transaction. The dispute has been there for seven years. But I am glad to report that we struck a deal and this is a major achievement for us. Taxpayers are guaranteed of receiving about Sh2 billion in the next two years. They came up with a payment plan, which we agreed on. The idea was to have this matter resolved so that they can also start focusing on investing properly in this particular space,” said Ezra Chiloba, the Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

CT Bureau

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