Telkom Kenya has already launched trials of its 3G service in Nairobi, despite of its discontentment regarding the $25 million license fee imposed by Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), according to the Kenyan publication Daily Nation.
Mickael Ghossein, CEO of Telkom Kenya, said that industry players are engaged with CCK to reduce the enormous license fee charged for 3G deployment. “Having already invested a substantial amount in this project, we would be happy to get a positive consideration from CCK to reduce the figure which may ultimately be a barrier to deepening communication services,” he said. It is estimated that 3G mobile broadband users will reach two billion worldwide in the following five years.
The current fee is regarded as too expensive for emerging telecom companies that already have to deal with the necessary infrastructure. The 3G technology will enable Kenyan mobile operators to provide advanced services and high-speed data for end-users.
Telkom Kenya will test firstly the city center, joining Zain Kenya in ambitious plans to roll out extensive 3G capabilities by mid next year. However, both operators argue that the current license fee is prohibitive and can only offer low returns on the investment, inhibiting 3G availability to a broader scale.
Up to date, Safaricom obtained a licence in 2007 for selected urban centres, covering around 1,65 milion 3G customers, and says that other operators should pay full price for the 3G license, as they agreed. Other operator, Essar Telkom, known as Yu brand in Kenya, is currently in discussions for 3G license acquiring.