American Tower corporation, which leases key infrastructure to Telkom, alleges breach of contract and bdad faith
Telecommunications company Telkom Kenya has once again found itself in the eye of the storm after the American Tower Company asked it to pay at least Sh650 million so that it can be reconnected to its telecommunication infrastructure.
ATC Kenya chief executive officer Thomas Sonesson says that Telkom owned the company billions of shillings in arrears after it defaulted on some of its previous payments.
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This comes after Telkom Kenya failed to pay about Sh4 billion to ATC Kenya, forcing the telecommunications infrastructure owner and provider to finance Telkom’s operations.
The payments were to be done as part of their Master Lease Agreement for a tower sale and leaseback transaction.
Sonesson, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology, said that ATC Kenya was willing to reconnect Telkom Kenya back to its infrastructure once payments are made.
American Tower Corporation-Kenya chief executive Thomas Sonesson (right).
He argued that his corporation plays a critical role in realising Vision 2030 and that they have already offered Telkom a deal in an attempt to make them operational and, thus, attract investors.
“Telkom Kenya has informed us that they want to be operational to attract investors. So, we have given them a proposal to pay at least Sh650 million plus Sh150 million in the following two months so that we can reconnect them to their infrastructure,” ATC Kenya’s CEO said.
On their part, the committee members unanimously agreed that the issue at hand requires an urgent solution since Telkom hosts critical telecommunication infrastructure that’s of national security in nature and pledged to do all it can to find a solution.
“This is a very serious issue which needs to be handled tactfully. Most importantly, we need to see the contract between ATC Kenya and Telkom Kenya so that we can determine who breached the agreement,” Senator Shakilla Mohamed, a member of the ICT Committee, said.
The committee was also particularly concerned about ATC Kenya’s claim that Telkom Kenya continues to deny them access to lease sites, thus violating lease terms and affecting services like connectivity, mobile money transfers and voice communication.
“We’ll need to summon Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Kindiki Kithure, to share with us why the police aren’t providing ATC Kenya with the necessary protection to access their sites,” Senator Samson Cherargei added.
The Committee resolved to invite Telkom Kenya, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT and Digital Economy, The Competition Authority of Kenya, and the Attorney General to listen to their side of the story and find a lasting solution.