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With Essar's exit from Kenya, users' mobile choices will be more limited

Rebecca Wanjiku | Oct. 28, 2014
As Airtel and Safaricom prepare to take over the assets of Essar Telekom Kenya over the next few months, it's becoming clear that users' choice of mobile service providers in the country will be limited to only three operators for the foreseeable future.

Waita agreed with analysts that Kenya can not support more than three players, adding that innovation, value added services and network expansion are key in development of revenue streams beyond voice.

"Based on the market size, the optimum number of players for Kenya is three strong players (excluding MVNO's); some of the other jurisdictions have some factors such as huge population that allow for more players, however the key determinant is the available frequency spectrum for each player," added Waita.

For the regulator, focus has shifted from licensing mobile operators to encouraging infrastructure sharing. This has been done through licensing of MVNOs, which are expected to share infrastructure with existing players.


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