A while back, a debate raged on pitting the Communication Authority of Kenya, the ICT ministry and Safaricom, with regards to regulations seeking to declare Safaricom the dominant player. The regulations sought to give the Communications Authority of Kenya powers to declare any firm with more than 50% of the market a dominant player. The clarion call for the regulation has been championed by Bharti Airtel, which is the second largest player in the Kenyan market. With Safaricom declared the dominant player, the CA will have say in how tariffs and pricing is effected.
The Attorney General’s office waded into the debate by writing to the ICT Cabinet secretary seeking the withdrawal of the regulations from parliament. The AG also advised that the regulations be subjected to discussions by all stakeholders as per a memorandum between the Communications Authority and Competition Authority of Kenya. The debate is now back with Airtel Kenya raising concerns that the regulations contained in the Miscellaneous Amendments bill 2015 that seek to amend the Kenya Information and Communications Act. Airtel is protesting the deletion of Section 84W (4) of Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act which mandates the CA to declare in a Gazette notice, an institution to be a “dominant telecommunications service provider.
Airtel says the deletion takes away the power of the CA to act on complaints by small operators against dominant operators, which may kill competition and lead to a monopoly besides contravening international best practices. Airtel further says it was not consulted in developing the amendments to the Bill despite being a key stakeholder in the Telco business. It also alleges that CA and Ministry of ICT have stated the amendments did not originate from their respective offices. The Company wants the concerned parties to safeguard the ICT sector from any further disarray.