Airtel Kenya pays the telecom regulator $17.5 million for expired licence after a 7 year long dispute   

15 Feb 2022: Finally after 7 years of court disputes, Airtel Kenya and the Communications Authority of Kenya have reached an out-of-court settlement agreement over the expired licence litigation. According to the said agreement, Airtel Kenya is supposed to pay Sh2 billion ($17.5 million) to the regulator for the renewal of its license, which has been expired since 2015.

The payment would be spread out over the next two years."We have had this long-standing dispute with Airtel over the Essar transaction. The dispute has been there for seven years. But I am glad to report that we struck a deal and this is a major achievement for us.

"Taxpayers are guaranteed of receiving about Sh2 billion in the next two years. They came up with a payment plan, which we agreed on. The idea was to have this matter resolved so that they can also start focusing on investing properly in this particular space," said Ezra Chiloba, the Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya.

Here's the backstory on this development

In 2014, Airtel paid Sh752 ($6.976 million) to Essar Telecom Kenya in order to acquire yuMobile. The company claimed that at the time of acquiring the yuMobile assets, the Communications Authority of Kenya had agreed to merge its operating licence with yuMobile. But as soon as the deal finalised, the telecom regulator backed out and instead asked Airtel to pay Sh2 billion ($17.5 million) to renew its operating permit.

Obviously, Kenyan telecom regulator has its own version and they insist that the yuMobile licence can not be automatically transferred upon the acquisition by Airtel.

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