Kenyan operator Safaricom received the green light to complete its $80 million purchase of various assets from Essar Telecommunications Kenya.

The deal, described as “the largest of its kind in the telecoms sector in Kenya”, has been approved by the country’s communications, competition and capital markets authorities.

The deal sees Safaricom taking on Essar’s passive network infrastructure and spectrum, and will see 150 staff transferred.

Under the previously-announced terms of the deal, Essar’s subscribers (it uses the Yu brand for its services) are being acquired by Airtel Africa.

Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, said in a statement: “I am confident that our customers in both urban and rural areas will benefit from the anticipated improvement of the quality of service on both voice and data services as we switch on more of our acquired capacity.”

According to GSMA Intelligence figures, the deal will see Airtel (5.5 million connections) strengthening its second-place position with the acquisition of Essar’s 2.4 million connections, but it will still lag Safaricom (22.3 million).

Also active in the market is Orange, with 2.8 million connections.