One of Africa’s leading telecoms conglomerates, Airtel Africa, has denied reports that it plans to halt operations in Kenya. The news was first reported in a tech news platform Techweez after Prasanta Das Sarmato, CEO of Airtel Kenya, assessed the viability of the company after The National ICT Policy 2019 was signed.
“Equity Participation, a clause in the policy states that only companies with at least 30% substantive Kenyan ownership, either corporate or individual will be licensed to provide ICT services.”
Airtel however, has said that it would not be leaving the Kenyan market – “we remain committed to delivering quality and value for money products and services to all our customers whilst ensuring effective, uninterrupted communication is achieved across the entire country.”
Airtel goes on to say that it would continue to significantly invest in the enhancement of its network and distribution across Kenya.
“We are now rolling out approx 600 new sites to expand our network using the ultra fast 4G technology across the country. In addition, across key cities, we have upgraded our network to be 5G ready. This significant expansion and upgrade will improve coverage as well as customer experience in both urban and rural areas.”
Airtel Kenya has made a number of improvements to its network in order to meet the regulatory minimum threshold on quality of calls across the country. Airtel Managing Director, Prasanta Das Sarma said that 270 sites were upgraded from 2G and 3G sites to 4G while more than 400 sites were added in upcountry towns and highways.
“In total, the upgrade covered 20 counties. Some more sites will be added by the end of April when the work will be done,” says Sarma. “We are vindicated when we see more customers using us. With this kind of expansion, we will be able to satisfy CA criteria (on voice quality).”
Airtel Africa – and Telkom – came under fire earlier this year when the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) placed the telco’s under scrutiny after allegedly violating the quality of services across their networks.