Airtel Blames Communications Authority For Safaricom’s Dominance in the Kenyan Market


Airtel Kenya has been looking to increase its stake in Kenya’s telecoms industry but has definitely found it hard bearing in mind the authority that its rival has. However, the telco feels that the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) has allegedly been ignoring the market dominance by Safaricom, as reported by Business Daily.

In a petition submitted to Parliament, the telco accused the industry’s regulator of unfairly allocating the mobile spectrum in favour of Safaricom. This is alongside reducing the fees that mobile phone operators charge each other for interconnecting calls.

“There has been no dispute as to the status of Safaricom as regards its dominance status and significant market power. However, there has been reluctance in declaring Safaricom dominant in the retail mobile market and the retail mobile money market,” Airtel said in a memorandum to the ICT committee of the Senate.

According to data from the CA, Safaricom held a 64% share of the local market, more than double Airtel’s 27% share, during the year ended June.

Airtel adds that the CA should first declare Safaricom dominant as it holds more than 50% of the market share. This is in accordance with the Competition Act.

“Declaring Safaricom dominant is the first step to ensuring market competitiveness which we believe has been the sticking point and key barrier in taking any steps to rectify any market anomalies in Kenya,” Airtel said in its submissions to the Senate.

“A notion has been perpetuated that declaring Safaricom a dominant player is punishing success, which in our view is blatantly myopic.”

The telco states that its efforts have felt futile despite investing heavily in the network to improve customer experience. The petition to Parliament shows that it has been allocated 50MHz of the spectrum. On the other hand, Safaricom has 82MHz while Telkom Kenya has 37.5 MHz.

So, there definitely is some bitter feeling between the rivals as one feels that it’s been treated unfairly. It’s only a matter of time before the country’s lawmakers make a decision on the policies that govern the telecoms industry.

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