CA opens door for Airtel-Telkom merger approval

Communications Authority of Kenya (CIA) Headquarters in Nairobi County on Thursday in 2015. [File, Standard]

The approval of the proposed merger of Airtel and Telkom Kenya could happen by the end of next month.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) said on Friday it would within 30 days approve the merger of the two telcos, giving rise to a new operator that will be known as Airtel-Telkom.

The regulator has given individuals and firms or other parties that might be against the merger of the two entities a month to present their objections.

“The authority intends to grant approval or no objection to the intended merger, subject to the parties fulfilling certain conditions,” said CA in a Kenya Gazette notice. “The said representation and or objection must be filed on or before the expiry of thirty (30) days from the date of this notice and a copy of the same be forwarded to the Mobile Network Operators.”

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The merge plans will further consolidate the industry after the exit of YuMobile (Owned by Essar Telecom) after a joint acquisition by Safaricom and Airtel in 2014.

Airtel and Telkom Kenya in February announced plans to merge in a move that has been the subject of heated public debate and whether the combined businesses will be able to challenge Safaricom that controls more than 80 per cent of certain segments of the industry.

The new outfit will bring together certain aspects of each business, specifically the mobile, enterprise and carrier service businesses. It will not, however, benefit from some of the assets of its predecessors, including telecommunication masts. Airtel and Telkom have over the recent past sold off many of their assets, leaving them with just the bare minimum.

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In a statement following the announcement that they would merge, Telkom said its prime real estate portfolio and specific government services would not form part of the combined entity.

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