Kenya: Safaricom Calls For Level Playing Field In Airtel-Telkom Merger
Kenya's telco Safaricom has vehemently denied claims that it is out to interrupt the impending merger of Telkom Kenya and Airtel.
In a letter sent to the media, the telecoms operator said that it supports any activity that is to enhance Kenya's telecommunication sector, citing their significant involvement in the Essar exit.
The CEO of Safaricom, Michael Joseph, said that Safaricom believes in competition that is based on investment, innovation, service to the customers and focuses on brand building. He added that industry players are free to organise themselves and engage as they please to achieve their objectives.
However, Joseph did say that he has some concerns that the industry regulator needs to take into consideration to ensure a level playing field.
His first concern is the massive debt owed by the two operators incurred for the provision of many services including interconnection, fibre services and co-location. Joseph expressed that Safaricom calls for those payment obligations to be settled in full before the merger goes into effect.
Joseph's second issue is that the merger of the two companies would give the entity provision for a customer base of 17.3 million, while Safaricom has provision for a customer base of 31.8 million.
Telkom Kenya's CEO, Mugo Kibati commented in response to Safaricom's letter to the press saying that it is unfortunate that Safaricom would want to continue to have an imbalance in the country's telecoms sector, adding that the merger would offer more options to subscribers as the two companies restructure their business.