By Michael Ouma:
Bharti Airtel and Kenya Airways have announced that Airtel Kenya will host Kenya Airways as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).
As part of the move, geared towards deepening mobile penetration and providing innovative value added services, Airtel and Kenya Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deliver an MVNO service for the airline, subject to regulatory approvals.
The MOU between the two companies was signed this morning by the Kenya Airways outgoing CEO Titus Naikuni and the Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria in Nairobi.
Under the agreement, Airtel will provide network infrastructure services to Kenya Airways, with KQ's MVNO licensing enabling it to provide cellular mobile services including customer registration, SIM card issuance, billing and customer care to end users without holding a spectrum license.
Naikuni pointed out that further details on the official launch and related details will be announced at a later stage once the necessary regulatory licensing and related requirements have been completed, a process which has already been initiated with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).
In this venture, Kenya Airways, will rely on its existing customer service and sales infrastructure such as its sales offices and customer contact centre.
In a joint statement issued by the two companies, Airtel clarified that the MVNO services will run on the unused capacity on its network, ensuring that it maintains seamless quality experience to consumers.
Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria said: "We are greatly encouraged by the shared vision with Kenya Airways and the common urgency to find solutions that will enable travelling customers connect to their loved ones and businesses throughout their travel. It is a pioneering step forward in the industry in our quest to make telephony and m-commerce available to all in Africa, thereby improving people's quality of life and helping economic growth."
Naikuni explained that the roll out of a mobile service by the airline is part of a strategic direction geared at enhancing customer value for its guests while diversifying its revenue streams.
The MVNO solution will is expected to specifically appeal to millions of Kenya Airways guests seeking a convenient, available, accessible and affordable roaming service and experience. Last year, Kenya Airways offered to the market a capacity of 14.1 Million Available Seats Per Kilomotre which represented a 1.8% growth from the previous year.
The airline which is currently rolling out a strategy geared at providing seamless connections between Intra Africa points to destinations in the Far East and beyond will through KQ MVNO, further raise its brand positioning as the leading African Airline.
In April this year, industry regulator CAK licensed Zioncell, Tangaza Pesa and Finserve Africa, (a subsidiary of Equity Bank) as MNVOs, allowing them to provide all forms of mobile cellular services to customers using the communications infrastructure of an existing mobile network operator.