New rules not targetting Safaricom, CAK says
20 August 2015, 21:47
Nairobi - Kenya's telecoms regulator said on Thursday that new regulations to
prevent large firms abusing their dominant position in the sector are
not targeted at Safaricom, the country's biggest operator, or any other
Amendments to the sector's competition law, due to come
into effect any time, will give the regulator more powers to declare a
firm to be dominant, a step that could lead to penalties.
However, the Director General of the Communications
Authority of Kenya, Francis Wangusi, said the regulator did not aim to
penalise any company just for being dominant, but only if there was
abuse of its position in the market.
Wangusi said it could be up to 18 months before enough
work had been done to determine if any player was dominant - defined as
having more than a 50 percent share of a market segment.
He denied media reports that the regulations were targeted at Safaricom, which is 40 percent-owned by Britain's Vodafone.
"There are various markets and we would not want to
identify ourselves with anybody who wants to say that we have chosen a
certain player to be able to make rules around it," Wangusi told a news
conference when asked if Safaricom was the target of the new rules.
Safaricom has 67 percent of Kenya's 23 million phone
customers, and leads segments such as voice and phone-based financial
Its rivals, subsidiaries of India's Bharti Airtel and France' Orange, have complained its size gives it unfair advantages.
The regulator is hiring a consultant to do a study of the telecoms, postal and broadcast markets, Wangusi said.
"And that is why it is too early for us to come up to
say 'Safaricom you are dominant', because Safaricom can be dominant in
certain markets, but not dominant in others," he said.
Safaricom said last month that the new rules could
discourage investment by targeting large players; prevent a dominant
operator from freely setting prices of retail services; force it to
share its network infrastructure at prescribed rates and could
potentially lead to the break-up of such a company.
Wangusi said the new regulations would further break
down the telecoms sectors into segments including mobile and fixed
voice, data, text messaging and mobile money transfer services.
"In all these markets, we would not apply the same
rules. If for example you have significant market power in retail
services, you will not have the same rules regulating you like when you
have it in wholesale," he said.
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