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Safaricom demands level playing field in Airtel-Telkom merger

Kenya , 05 Sep 2019

Safaricom demands level playing field in Airtel-Telkom merger

Kenya's telco Safaricom has denied claims that they are out to frustrate the impending merger of Telkom Kenya and Airtel.

In a strongly worded letter sent to press, the company said that it supports any activity that enhances the telecommunication sector, citing their involvement in the Essar exit.

"Safaricom believes in competition based on innovation, investment, focus on brand building and service to the customer. Industry players are free to engage and organise themselves as they please, subject to regulatory approvals, to achieve their objectives," said Safaricom chief executive officer Michael Joseph.

However the telco did say it has some concerns that the regulator needs to take into consideration if there is going to be a level playing field.

"The first is the debt owed by the two operators, amounting to KES 1,297,448,468.88, incurred for the provision of various services including interconnection, co-location and fibre services. This debt is due and payable, based on the agreement to provide services entered into with the two entities as distinct operators. Our expectation is that the payment obligations should be settled in full before the transfer of business is effected," it continued.

It also said that the merger of the two companies will give the entity a total of 77.5 MHz for a customer base of 17.3 million, while Safaricom has 57.5 MHz for a customer base of 31.8 million.

Prior to this latest development, Telkom Kenya's chief executive officer Mugo Kibati squared off with Safaricom over a letter the telco had written to authorities over the impending merger.

Mugo told reporters that it was unfortunate that Safaricom would wish to continue to have an imbalance in the telecommunication sector adding that the merger would offer more choice to customers as the two companies endeavor to restructure their business.

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