Kenya telecom regulator: $25 millon 3G fee stands


Kenya's telecoms regulator said on Wednesday that a $25 million fee would continue to apply to all firms acquiring a 3G licence in the east African country. Telkom Kenya's Orange mobile phone service, which is controlled by France Telecom, said last year that it was lobbying the Kenyan authorities to try to reduce the fee.

"Please note that the determined 3G license fee is $25 million for any operator who seeks that license," the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) said in an email to Reuters. "It is applicable equally across the board."

Telkom Kenya, operating under the Orange brand, began testing a 3G network in the capital Nairobi last month. Third-generation services allow web access at broadband speeds that enable faster file downloads and email services.

Last September, the company said it saw its mobile users rising to 2 million by the end of 2009, up from 1.38 million users at the time. Leading Kenyan mobile phone firm Safaricom acquired a 3G licence in 2007 after paying $25 million. It has said any review of the fee should apply across the board.

"When the 3G licence was advertised by the CCK, Safaricom was the only one that stepped up to the plate," Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph told Reuters in December. "If the licence fee is to be reduced, and I don't have any objection to that fee being reduced ... we should have the same treatment."