Kenya’s Regulator Slaps Safaricom With Kes.449 Million Fine Over Blocked Calls

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Bob Collymore
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Safaricom is facing another uphill battle after the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) imposed a 0.2 percent fine on the company’s gross revenue from the last financial year. The fine, which translates to roughly 449 million shillings, is due to what the regulator calls, “blatant disregard of not only other licensees’ rights but also the Authority’s directives and in contravention of license conditions.”

The row between CA and Safaricom arose after Elige Communications Limited, a VoIP service provider complained to the former that Safaricom was blocking calls to its network. CA, as per a letter obtained by Reuters, tried to resolve the issue but hit a wall after Safaricom failed to follow the regulator’s directions.

In a response letter to CA, Safaricom denied the allegations made against it. The company said that it had complied with all directives the regulator had given and pointed a finger at Elige Communications stating that it had broken its license terms by carrying international traffic instead of local traffic. “It is illegal to allow such international voice traffic to be terminated by a locally licensed operator into another network through the local interconnection link,” read part of the letter.

At the moment, Safaricom has moved to secure a temporary suspension of the fine awaiting a hearing before an industry tribunal over the matter. If found guilty, the 449 Million fine will be highest ever accorded by CA. On top of this, the fine will stain Safaricom’s record on its fight against being labelled as anti-competitive and dominant.

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