According to a report by AllAfrica, Shivan Bhargava, managing director of Airtel Kenya, has cast doubts over the cellco’s previously announced plans to roll out its 3G network to 85% by the end of the year. Bhargava has suggested that the company may have to scale back its planned investments due to continued delays in reducing mobile termination rates (MTRs) in the country.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in August Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki intervened for the second time in as many years to prevent the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) from lowering the existing MTR; critics accused Kibaki of acting at the behest of mobile market leader Safaricom and state-owned Telkom Kenya (Orange).
Bhargava notes that the company has invested over KES8.5 billion (USD98.9 million) in support of network expansion initiatives during the last two years, but plans for further investments have now been put on. He commented: ‘Any delay is leading us not able to deliver quality and affordable services to our customers. We have made all of our decisions to enter this market and make significant investment on the basis of the conducive investment climate and fully liberalised telecommunication sector that pertained two years ago’. He added that the cellco’s Indian parent company Bharti Airtel has started to question the company’s Kenyan investments.