Fifth Mobile phone operator coming to Kenya soon

Telecoms

Kenya is set to have its fifth mobile services provider after a Vietnamese mobile operator announced plans to set up its operations in the country, three months after launching in Mozambique.

Viettel Group, a state-owned mobile network operator headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam, now targets Kenya as its next destination, something expected to stir up competition in the country's mobile industry already occupied by four mobile operators -- including Safaricom, Yu, Airtel and Orange.

Viettel Global’s general director Nguyen Duy Tho was quoted by the Nation Newspaper as saying, “We are the only company which has grown from challenges and difficulties, from the lowest level, and we have reached the top level in fierce competitive markets in a short time (two-years). Those are our advantages in the developing markets.”

Already, Viettel has invested in in six nations — including Cambodia and Laos in Asia, Haiti and Peru in America and Mozambique, where it launched in May. Kenya is set to be its seventh investment location.

The company’s major investments are in the data markets, heavily investing in fibre-optic, after voice lost its tag as the largest revenue generator for operators. It’s total revenue for 2011 stood at nearly 6 billion dollars, according to Mr. Duy Tho.

Less than a year since being licensed, Movitel-Viettel’s sister company in Mozambique-has built 12,600km of fibre-optic cable and 1,800 mobile stations in Mozambique, representing 70 per cent of Mozambique’s total fibre-optic cable network and 50 per cent of the country’s mobile stations.

The company, however, did not disclose when and how it intends to enter the Kenyan market, which presently has an estimated 29.9 million mobile subscribers, according to Communications Commission of Kenya’s (CCK) March 31, 2012 report.