Global firms line up for share of mobile market [Nation (Kenya)]
(Nation (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) International telecommunication companies are increasing appetite for the Kenyan market, lured by the high mobile penetration rate recorded in the country over the past few years.
In an interview with the Nation, Communications Commission of Kenya director general Francis Wangusi said at least three international mobile companies had applied for operation licences since he took office in August last year.
"We have declined to issue licences to at least three multinationals seeking to launch operations in the local market in the past six months. We feel the industry is sufficed with the current number of operators," Mr Wangusi said.
Opening up the industry to new players, Mr Wangusi noted, may disorient the current operators' strategic plans towards achieving profitability in the highly competitive sector.
Piece of the pie
"While we appreciate the fact that many investors, both local and international, will definitely want to have a piece of the pie, it would be unfair to the young operators, some of which are yet to break even," Mr Wangusi said.
He, however, declined to disclose the identity of the three applicants, saying the details were confidential.
In June year, Viettel Group, a Vietnamese mobile operator, planned to launch operations in Kenya but the CCK said the industry was not ready for a fifth operator.
The Vietnamese state-owned mobile network operator, headquartered in Hanoi, had earmarked Kenya in the fight for a share of the booming mobile business in Africa.
The latest CCK statistics show that the country's mobile penetration reached 77.2 per cent in the three months to September 2012, up from 75.4 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.
With four operators, the Kenyan mobile industry is already highly competitive, with only Safaricom making profits.
Airtel and Telkom Orange are yet to make a profit from their local operations while yuMobile expects to break even next year.
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