Eaton Towers switches off Telkom Kenya transmitters to resolve debt


Eaton Towers, a tower infrastructure firm last week switched off Telkom Kenya transmitters to resolve debt dispute it has with the telco, ahead of Telkom Kenya merger with Airtel Kenya.

Eaton Towers, on 7th December 2019, switched off TKL’s 49 telecommunications sites impacting 70 base transmitter stations affecting several customers in various parts of the country.

Telkom Kenya has been asked by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to quickly address a commercial dispute with Eaton Towers.

‘‘The condition requires a licensee to seek and obtain written approval from the Authority, issue a reasonable advance notice to persons likely to be affected by the interruption or suspension of service,’’ CA said in the Directive signed by the Acting Director General, Mercy Wanjau.

The authority asked Telkom Kenya and Eaton Towers to follow the established dispute resolution mechanisms set in adherence to the Master Tower Agreement signed between them.

Though the Authority ordered Eaton Towers to restore the services by midnight 13th December 2019 or risk regulatory sanctions, it has directed Telkom Kenya to clear the debt owed to Eaton Towers Kenya fast.

‘‘The Authority remains committed to working collaboratively with service providers in order to seek solutions to consumers, and also ensure that the business of our licensees continues to grow and thrive,’’ the CA Ag. Director General noted in the Directive.

The Authority is scheduled to meet the two parties for a review of the progress on the matter 20th December 2019.

On December 13, 2019, the Competition Authority of Kenya said it was continuing to engage all the regulators as well as other critical stakeholders in the transaction process to facilitate receipt of the requisite approvals and appropriate conditionalities required to progress the actualisation of the transaction.

Telkom and Airtel are set to merge in the new year. With the merge, Eaton Towers will likely not get paid as there will be a new entity altogether. Eaton, just like Safaricom, is right to clear all its commercial disputes with Telkom ahead of the merger.