Kenya: Govt unveils new foreign shareholder rules for LTE network

Telecoms

According to Business Daily Africa, the Kenyan government is set to unveil a new set of shareholder rules that will ensure international firms are allowed to bid for a share of its planned ‘open access’ Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, overruling strong opposition from local operators. Last month, a total of 17 telecoms firms registered their interest in the open access 4G initiative.

Of the companies involved, eight were known to be international equipment vendors, although are all were believed to have partnered with as-yet unnamed local companies in order to secure their participation in the project. Global vendors included: Alcatel-Lucent (France), Huawei and ZTE (both China), Lollakfi (UK), Ericsson (Sweden), and three US firms – IBM, Epesi Technologies and Cisco Networks.

Under revised shareholding rules, international firms will now be able to participate without the involvement of a local partner, as long as they register local affiliates in Kenya before 1 February 2012. However, Business Daily Africa reports that all international firms must cede a 20% stake to Kenyan shareholders after a three-year period.