NAIROBI : The Communications Authority will meet on Monday to decide on Airtel’s licence renewal, the director general Francis Wangusi said yesterday.
The Indian telco is currently operating on a licence bought from Essar Telecom’s yuMobile which closed its Kenya operations.
The licence expires in 2023 while Airtel’s 15-year licence, acquired in 2000 for $55 million (Sh5.8 billion under prevailing rates), expired in February.
Wangusi said that “there are still a few hurdles” in renewing Airtel’s fresh 10-year application for a fee of $27 million (Sh2.85 billion). The process began on January 23, 2013.
“Airtel is in no danger,” he said referring to its operations. “But the process has to be followed.”
The two have reportedly disagreed on the $27 million fee, which is pegged on what yuMobile paid for a licence as a fourth mobile operator.
Safaricom paid the same amount for renewal of its licence in June, last year.
Yesterday, Wangusi did not specify the conditions Airtel is yet to meet, saying he did not wish to dilute what will be discussed by the board.
Quality of service has been a key issue in renewal of licences by the CA, as was the case with Safaricom last year.
Airtel maintained yesterday that it has met all the conditions as set out by the CA on August 11, 2014, which included the synchronization of the renewal of its licence with the buying of Essar’s licence and customers.
Director of corporate affairs at Airtel Dick Omondi said yesterday the company’s position has not changed, referring to a public notice on September 2.
Airtel met all the conditions including payment of the agreed fees to the CA and written confirmation was received on January 27, 2015 in that regard, the notice read in part.
“In February 2015 Airtel and the CA concluded the negotiations of the licence terms and conditions and network roll out obligations.”