Kenya: Jamii Telecom acquires full 4G licence


Kenyan telecommunications services provider Jamii Telecom Limited, operator of the Faiba brand, now holds a full 4G operating license for local service provision.

In December 2017 the operator - owned by entrepreneur Joshua Chepkowony – paid Kshs-100,000 to secure a one-year experimental license for ultra-fast broadband on the 700MHz spectrum.

The decision was unpopular among local telcos who accused the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) of favouritism, adding that the regulator gave Jamii Telecom an operating licence without a public auction (as is the norm) and waived the requisite Ksh2.5-billion spectrum fee.

When the trial license expired in 2018, Jamii Telecom requested the regulator extend it for another year to enable it to fully establish its operations.

The company has now acquired a full 4G license for Ksh2.5-billion (approximately US$25-million) and payment will be made in installments, according to the CA.

Jamii Telecom Limited paid a deposit of Kshs 250-million (approximately US$2.5 million) for the license which includes an annual sum of Kshs 11-million (US$107,656) for the spectrum frequency.

Confirming the development, CA Director General Francis Wangusi said, "Jamii Telecom has already paid the first instalment and they are no longer on a trial licence."

In December 2017 ITWeb Africa reported that Jamii Telecom officially became Kenya's 5th licensed mobile operator, and the company invested US$25-million into its infrastructure.

Its service includes mobile internet bundles that compete directly with market heavyweights Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya.

"The issue of connectivity has been addressed by fibre and now (with) 4G you can get speed of up to 1Gbit with the Qualcomm chip," said John Kamau, General Manager at Jamii Telecom Limited.