The Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Communication Information and Innovation led by John Kiarie yesterday held a meeting with the CEOs of Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Airtel, and Jamii Telecommunications, to deliberate on the the proposed review of Mobile Termination Rates by the Communication Authority.
First to appear before the legislators was Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa, who made submissions disagreeing with the proposed rates.
According to Safaricom, which is the dorminant telecommunications service provider in the Kenyan market, the Mobile Termination Rates have for years undergone a downward review which poses a challenge to government revenue collection, puts pressure on the cost of doing business, among other negative implications.
“We urge that the aggressive reductions are halted to provide the much-needed time for economic stability to be achieved.This will allow CA time to implement a favourable MTR reflective of the industry realities,” stated the Safaricom boss.
Jointly appearing before the committee, the CEOs of Telkon Kenya; Mugo Kibati and Jamii Telecommunications Ltd Joshua Chepkwony, alongside Airtel Kenya’s Managing Director Ashish Makhotra, expressed support for the proposed review of MRTs.
“What would an MTR variation mean to the consumers, in your view, and what implications would it have on your revenues as players in this industry?” Posed the committee chairperson.
Kibati, the CEO of Telkom Kenya, told MPs that they support the downward review of MTRs, as it will make the market more competative and all operators more sustainable, outlining that services too will be more affordable to Kenyans.
The three Telco Service providers have accused the dorminant player Safaricom for always contesting market research findings with regards to review of MTRs, questioning why the regulator (Communication Authority) is yet to implement recommendations aimed to harmonize the operating environment.
In conclusion, they demanded that MTRs should be restricted to cost, and there should be transparency on the part of the regulator in the review process and in conducting of independent studies preceding the review.
According to Telkom, Airtel, and Jamii, it is only fair that the regulator is allowed to, and does what they should be doing transparently, emphasizing that the process is about the consumer, and not profit margins.