Tigo Mobile may be gearing up to buy Airtel Kenya. Rumours have surfaced strongly that Airtel Kenya is making changes ahead of the expected buyout of the struggling carrier.
Today, Friday 15, January, Airtel Kenya is said to have sacked 50 staff including all the sales territory managers.
This is despite Communications Authority's boss Francis Wangusi indicating to Nairobitech late last year that Airtel was staying put.
"They are investing here," he said in November.
But contractors, suppliers and partners are said to be repositioning themselves as it becomes imminent that the carrier could be exiting.
Some service providers like IBM have been shedding staff almost on a weekly basis as they seek to cut back costs associated with the Airtel account.
Telecommunications equipment providers are also said to be revising strategy.
It is thought the alleged sale may have been delayed by pending issues between Airtel and the regulator as the carrier sought to extract concessions on frequencies and sharing of 4G spectrum.
If it goes through, the sale to Tigo would leave Airtel in an awkward situation as its headquarters for Africa are also in Nairobi, at the Oval building in Westlands.
Tigo is growing rapidly in the African markets it operates in and is present in Tanzania, Rwanda, Chad, Ghana, Congo DRC and Senegal.
The current MD of Airtel Kenya Adel Youseffi was previously heading the Tigo Ghana operation.
Tigo is a brand name of Millicom International, an outfit that was started in Raleigh, North Carolina in the US and went on to have stunning successes after successes.
For instance, when it was offered a mobile license in partnership with Racal Communications in Britain, it launched its Voice And Data Phone (Vodafone) which is the global behemoth we know today.
It then created China Telecom in that country and that is now the world's largest mobile operator.
It later started another rival network to Vodafone in the UK which it called Orange. This was bought out by Vodafone itself and later sold to France Telecom and is the global behemoth we know today as Orange.