KENYAN TELECOMS SECTOR EXPECTS TO RING UP BILLIONS

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Kenya's telecommunications sector expected to earn 70 billion Kenyan shillings (R5.65 billion) this year but faced challenges from government red tape and delays in truly liberalising the sector, industry analysts said last weekend.

The market may also have difficulty meeting investor and customer expectations as new telecoms operators struggle to get up and running.

Frederick Murunga, the managing director of Africa Online, said consumers, investors and current players needed to work to improve industry conditions.

Murunga cited an example where the dominant Telkom Kenya last week announced a decrease in internet connection rates. On closer scrutiny, it became clear that most of the premium connection rates had risen by as much as 144 percent, while only the smallest bandwidth prices fell.

Government-backed Telkom Kenya is still the only international voice gateway provider. Its formal monopoly ended in June but remains in effect since no one else is yet operating.

Delays that have hindered companies trying to get started are the revoking of licences and challenges in court, he said.

Christopher Wambua, the Communications Commission of Kenya spokesperson. said the projected 70 billion Kenyan shillings in earnings excluded those from internet service providers, data network operators and other niche players.

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