No dice for Kenyan operators on mobile charges

03 May 2011 | Guy Matthews


Kenyan network operators Safaricom and Orange Kenya have failed to overturn an order to reduce mobile interconnection charges.

The Kenyan Government has been studying an appeal from the two companies since February, asking for a rethink on a reduction from 2.21 Kenyan shillings (a little under three US cents) per minute to 1.44 shillings by July, further reducing to 1.25 shillings by July 2012. Both companies have argued that any reduction at this time would endanger jobs and harm their ability to invest in new cellular infrastructure.

The country’s regulator, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), has now firmly scotched this appeal with the verdict that the new lower charges must stand.

Indian operator Bharti Airtel’s Kenyan operation has now surpassed two million subscribers after launching aggressively low-priced services last year. The average price of all types of retail telecoms service across east Africa has tumbled since a wealth of additional international wholesale capacity came on line in the form of the EASSy, TEAMS and Seacom submarine cables.