Kenya gains second 3G licence

Regulator awards 3G spectrum to Bharti Airtel

Tags: 3GBharti AirtelKenyaZain - Kenya
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Kenya gains second 3G licence Bharti became the second biggest mobile operator in Kenya after acquiring Zain Kenya earlier this month. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  June 29, 2010

Zain Kenya, which is now owned by India's Bharti Airtel, is set to deploy a 3G network after gaining additional spectrum from the country's regulator.

Zain Kenya will become the second operator in Kenya to offer 3G services after Safaricom, which was issued a 3G licence in 2007.

While the exact cost of the spectrum was not disclosed, Charles Njoroge, director general of the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), said that the "initial fee" for access to additional broadband spectrum had been reduced to $10 million, from a previous cost of $25 million.

Njoroge added that he was optimistic that the introduction of a second 3G network would help lower the cost of mobile broadband and also lead to the development of new services.

Kenya's telecom sector is viewed as having huge potential, with mobile subscriptions in the country expected to grow by more than 15% between 2010 and 2013 to reach 32 million by the end of 2013, giving a penetration rate of over 72%, according to research firm Bharat Book.

Zain Kenya, which is the country's second biggest mobile operator after Safaricom, also competes with Orange Kenya and Essar Telecom Kenya.

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