The Star (Nairobi)

9 August 2014

Kenya Airways to Enter Telecoms Business

KENYA Airways plans to roll out mobile phone services which it says will enhance network connectivity for millions of passengers seeking affordable roaming services.

The airline has signed a agreement with mobile phone service provider Airtel to host it as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator.

As an MVNO, the airline will be able to offer cellular mobile services including customer registration, SIM card issuance, billing and customer care to end users without holding a spectrum licence.

"Through this partnership with Airtel, we are optimistic that our guests will soon be enjoying a service that allows them better calling rates while in Kenya or roaming within the wide Airtel network," said KQ boss Titus Naikuni.

KQ's move into the telecommunications business however is subject to regulatory approvals which it is currently pursuing.

In a statement issued yesterday after the MoU signing, Naikuni said the roll out of a mobile service by the airline is part of its strategy to improve value for its customers while diversifying its revenue streams.

If approved, KQ will be the fourth MVNO after Equity bank's Finserve Africa, Mobile pay which is backed by Tangaza Pesa and Zion Cell Kenya.

"We are now moving towards a strategic direction that affords us an opportunity to meet our guests' needs aboard our aircrafts and also extend the same brand value to their communication needs through an affordable option," Naikuni said.

All the four are partnering with Airtel to host their networks and will each have their own number prefixes.

KQ flies to 65 destinations globally, 38 of which are in Africa where intra-regional calling rates are, in most cases, higher than calling from Africa to Europe, US or India.

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