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Airtel welcomes ruling in Sh2bn license fee case

In a statement, the mobile service provider stated that the decision not only protects its rights as a business entity but also the trust placed by millions of Kenyan customers on the network/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Airtel Kenya has welcomed the High Court ruling that quashed the Sh2 billion license fee demand by the Communication Authority (CA) made in August 2015.

In a statement, the mobile service provider stated that the decision not only protects its rights as a business entity but also the trust placed by millions of Kenyan customers on the network.

The company pointed out that it further provides a major boost to the industry as a whole and sends the right signals to international investors.

“As a responsible and law-abiding company, Airtel Kenya has always maintained its full faith in the judicial process of the country. With today’s ruling, we feel that our original stand has been acknowledged by the Honourable High Court and that principally, we have acted within the afforded legal boundaries and applicable provisions of the Kenya Information and Communications Act,” it stated.

The judge granted Airtel’s prayers compelling the CA to issue its licenses as per the approved tripartite Yu Mobile sale agreements incorporating Airtel, Essar and Safaricom.

“Airtel Kenya, along with its customers and shareholders welcome the ruling which not only protects our rights as a business entity but also comforts the trust placed by millions of Kenyan customers on our network.”

In July 2015, the regulator slapped Airtel with a fee demand amounting to Sh2.07 billion as a condition for renewing the operator’s license, an exercise scheduled for January 27, 2025.

Airtel faulted the order and stood its ground arguing that it was not going to pay the fee arguing that the decision was made in bad faith and was an abuse of power.

In an affidavit filed in the High Court, Airtel contended that Essar exited the market with the blessings of the regulator.

They wanted the eight-year license term purchased in the Essar deal to be synchronised with the 10-years renewal option provided for in their license including the 2G and 3G frequency spectrum hence extending their existing license to 2024.

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