Airtel to Continue Operations in Kenya

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Airtel has confirmed that they’re not halting their Kenyan operations. Here’s a statement from Airtel Kenya CEO Prasanta Das Sarma:

“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.”

“We continue to significantly invest in the enhancement of our 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.”

“Our investment in offering quality customer service and positively impacting our communities remains at the core of our business strategy.”

Early this week, it was reported that Gopal Vittal, head of Bharti Airtel, Airtel Kenya’s parent company has asked Raghunath Mandava, his right-hand man in Africa and Prasanta Das Sarmato, Airtel Kenya chief executive officer to assess the viability of his Kenyan subsidiary thanks to the recently signed The National ICT Policy 2019.

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.

We had reported that this new policy was going to counterintuitive as it will make it harder for startups to set up shop by increasing regulatory requirements. In fact, what this regulation does is tie the hands of foreign investors without addressing any of the challenges that make it hard for locally owned startups to thrive.

We’ll update this story with more information..