Kenya: CA Gives Company Multibillion-Shilling Licence Without Auction

12 May 2017

Telecoms

The public could lose Sh5.2 billion after the telecommunications regulator "gifted" a local company a multibillion-shilling licence to operate another mobile phone service.

Already, telecommunications companies have written to Mr Francis Wangusi, the Communications Authority (CA) director-general, protesting the decision and questioning why the licence for the 700MHz frequency - given to Jamii Telecoms - was not auctioned as is the practice.

The frequencies, which are held by the CA as a finite national resource, were freed after the digital migration and various companies had been eyeing them to roll out different services.

It is not clear why the CA board, which is chaired by Mr Ngene Gituku, approved the lucrative licence to a tier 2 company, which is required to pay a meagre Sh100,000.

Jamii Telecom, which is widely known for its Faiba brand, is associated with business magnate Joshua Chepkwony, also known as CK Joshua, who is also linked to Kass FM.

The telco has already been given a go-ahead to operate mobile phone services with prefix 0747 on what the authority says is a "trial".

In a letter to Mr Wangusi, Mr Aldo Mareuse, the chief executive officer of Telkom Kenya, says the CA had, at a stakeholders meeting, promised to offer the 700MHz band "through a competitive auction process", which could have earned the taxpayer billions of shillings.

Read the full article on The Nation here.