ECONET Wireless International (EWI) is set to receive its Kenya operating licence in May, five months after it won the tender. The third licence was supposed to be granted in December.
EWI group chief executive officer Strive Masiyiwa confirmed the company would be granted the licence in May.
“The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) won its case against one of the losing bidders who had appealed against the previous ruling that we had won,” Masiyiwa said in an interview this week. “So on Friday (today) the authorities will be gazetting in Kenya that we will be given the licence.”
Initially 15 companies had submitted bids to take up a stake in the third mobile operator. But after screening that saw reduction of the companies to five, Econet emerged the winner.
One of the losing bidders from the 10 firms that had been booted out however appealed against the CCK. The company lost its case last Friday.
In January EWI increased its stake in Kenya’s third mobile operator from 10% to 51%. The company’s main partners in East Africa are Kenya National Federation of Cooperatives, which brings together 10 000 cooperative societies with a membership of 5,7 million.
The company injects about US$100 million of equity into the business, including half of the US$27 million licence fees.
Econet Wireless Kenya won the race in September last year, prompting criticism from two current providers because the price was half what they had paid three years ago.