It has been a while since the proposed merger between Telkom and Airtel Kenya was communicated to the masses. As has been the case with regulations, the development was subject to approval by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA). The process was amplified a few weeks ago by Telkom Kenya CEO Mugo Kibati, who reiterated the two firms were awaiting the Authority’s assessment before granting approval of the merger.
Well, according to a gazette notice published on the 12th of July 2019, the merger has, in principle, will go through in no time, meaning the two carriers will harmonize their operations as a single entity.
Similar to what was communicated earlier, the integrated telecoms, Airtel will be named Airtel-Telkom, while Telkom will be tasked with offering unnamed services to select customers in the local ICT industry.
“The parties have further indicated that upon approval of the proposed merger, Airtel will thereafter be renamed Airtel-Telkom, while Telkom will continue operating in the ICT sector providing certain services to select customers.”
“The Authority intends to grant approval/no objection to the intended merger, subject to the partied fulfilling certain conditions,” reads the gazette notice.
“The Authority wishes to notify the general public that any legal or natural person, or group of individuals, who are desirous of making any representations and/or any objection to the said application, to do so vide a letter addressed to the Director-General of the CA,” adds the notice.
There are a series of functional decisions that have not been expounded and could be deduced from the notice. Airtel has a larger market share than Telkom’s under 5 million active subscribers. It goes without saying that the Indian-owned carrier will have the upper hand in the merger, although shareholding power will play a critical role as to which telco will push for critical decisions. Both have mobile money services, offer voice and data services in a market that is dominated by Safaricom, yet their presence, as it has been echoed by sector reports, is below par, thusly the push for Safaricom to be named a dominant player.
Additional details will be communicated later as the Authority processes the merger.