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Govt: Airtel is operating in Kenya illegally, 6yr court case drags on

By Collins Osanya
Friday, April 30th, 2021
Airtel Kenya
In summary
    • In March 2020 Airtel Kenya’s loss stood at Sh5.61 billion as Safaricom recorded a net profit of Sh74.6 billion.

Airtel Kenya risks parting with Sh2.15 billion for renewal of its operation license which expired in February 2015, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru announced. 

The telco is also required to pay the said amount so that its exempted from selling 30 per cent of its stake to local companies as required by law. 

However, CS Mucheru said Airtel Kenya ought to first renew its practice license before the government exempts the telco from the local ownership rule.

According to a report by Business Daily, Airtel Kenya is intertwined in a court impasse with the Communications Authority of Kenya over renewal of it’s alleged expired license. 

“If they are operating without a licence, how do we even grant them an exemption? We are still in court with them. I cannot give permission if they have not paid the licence fee,” Mucheru told Business Daily in a Friday, April 30 publication. 

“If they are operating without a licence, how do we even grant them an exemption? We are still in court with them. I cannot give permission if they have not paid the licence fee,” CS Mucheru explained. 

The ongoing stalemate between CAK and Airtel Kenya has been ongoing for six years as the telco struggled to uproot itself from the losses it has been making since its 1999 entry in the Kenyan market.  

According to Airtel Kenya, after it purchased Yu Mobile spectrum and frequencies, the CA changed its earlier position and demanded an additional Sh2.15 billion as a condition for renewing its operating permits.

In response to CA, Airtel told the court that had it known the regulator would demand a different spectrum fees of Sh2.15 billion, it would have abandoned the You Mobile deal instead. 

In March 2020 Airtel Kenya’s loss stood at Sh5.61 billion as Safaricom recorded a net profit of Sh74.6 billion. 

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