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Safaricom to pay Sh2.4bn for licence renewal

PHONE-BLURREDNAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 27 – The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) says Safaricom will now have to pay Sh2.4 billion ($27million) to have its operating licence renewed by June 30, 2014 and extended for 10 years.

The leading telecom operator’s 1999 license would depend on the operator paying the renewal fee upfront and meeting the set minimum quality of service standards by June 2014.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, CCK Director General Francis Wangusi said the commission decided to make the announcement way earlier, to give Safaricom an ample time to the required conditions.

“Having considered all the possible methodologies for determining the applicable renewal fee for Safaricom’s licence and in light of the prevailing circumstances, CCK has set the applicable fee for the renewal of the licence at $27 million,” Wangusi stated.

If Safaricom does not meet all the standards the license and its resources will be auctioned to the highest bidder.

“Safaricom as a company is willing to provide services to Kenyans and therefore I do not see them not wanting to meet the required conditions we have set,” he said. “In any case, if Safaricom was not interested in doing business in Kenya, it would have already written to us a long time ago,” Wangusi told journalist at the CCK offices in Nairobi.

Noting the firm’s significant contribution to the economy, developing innovative products and services and meeting most of its licence obligations, the CCK boss insisted that the mobile operator needs to up its game in regard to meeting the set quality of service standards.

“We have had issues with Safaricom on this for the last three years plus another one firm. We would want Kenyans to get good service because as a commission we have invested in our resources to ensure that all the firms provide the best,” Wangusi said.

Some of the quality of service required by CCK to all mobile communication providers include, customers experiencing value for their money, ease of use of the service or product, professionalism of the service provider in the provision of the services and flexibility in terms of consumers being able to switch from one operator to another.

Others include how reliable the communication service provider is in providing service whenever it’s needed and security and how secure conversations are and data sent and received.

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The three other mobile operators would pay the same amount for renewal of their licenses for a further term of 10 year to ensure parity and a level playing ground for all service providers in the sector.

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