Viettel drops TelkomKenya bid

Saturday, Nov 29, 2014 13:15

Viettel has expanded its presence in Haiti. It has withdrawn its planned purchase of Orange's 70-per cent stake in Telkom Kenya. — VNS File Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub)  — The Viettel Group's withdrawal from its planned purchase of Orange's 70-per cent stake in Telkom Kenya has left the East African country's telecommunications market in a state of disarray.

According to PCWorld, the monthly global computer magazine published by IDG, the Kenyan operation is the only one remaining for Orange in East Africa after the French telecommunications corporation sold its Ugandan operations to Africell last week.

Orange's exit from the East African telecommunications market comes after the Kenyan government's decision to allow the sale of India's yuMobile to Safaricom and Airtel, Orange's big rivals in the region.

PCWorld quoted the Kenyan government as saying Viettel's decision to walk away from the deal with Orange has left an opening for other operators to enter the Kenyan market.

However, the market appears to be in turmoil, as the magazine quoted Edith Mwale, telecommunications analyst at African Centre for ICT Development, as saying the departure of Orange and yuMobile from the Kenyan market within less than a year has painted a negative picture of the market and regulatory environment.

Viettel launched its bid to buy the controlling stake in Telkom Kenya, which is 30-per cent owned by the Kenyan government, a few months ago.

Viettel wanted to consolidate its operations in the East African region as it has already been granted a licence in Tanzania, East Africa's second largest telecommunications market after Kenya.

However, Viettel dropped its bid because the Kenyan government allegedly refused to meet some of its conditions, including the immediate 15-year extension of all of Telkom Kenya's telecommunications licences.

According to PC World, Viettel also asked the Kenyan government for an additional 10 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya to achieve an 80-per cent majority stake.

Viet Nam News yesterday tried to contact Viettel officials, but they were unavailable for comment.

Viettel has expanded its presence in seven countries with 68 million customers, including Cambodia, Laos and Timor, as well as Haiti, Mozambique, Peru and Cameroon.

Total revenues from Viettel's overseas businesses in 2013 reached nearly US$8 billion. The company is now building mobile networks in Burundi and Tanzania. — VNS

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