Safaricom is once again finding itself in a row with market rival Airtel Kenya following the latter’s statement against the industry’s regulator. The firm responded in a bid to defend itself against claims of abusing its market dominance and suppressing competition in the telecommunications industry.
As reported by Business Daily, Safaricom spoke to the Senate Standing committee on Information and Technology stating that the industry’s competition is healthy. This is while adding that any player has an equal opportunity to build its market share through increased investments and innovation.
This comes days after Airtel told the same committee that the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been reluctant to declare Safaricom a dominant player. This is despite the firm boasting a 64% market share, which is more than enough to trigger such designations in other markets.
Meanwhile, the CA and the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) state that Safaricom’s market share has declined in recent years and that competition remains healthy. This was reiterated by Safaricom in front of the Senate committee bench.
“Safaricom does not have any market power and therefore Safaricom cannot act independently of other players and consumers,” the firm’s chief executive, Peter Ndegwa, said.
“It is our position that there should be no adverse regulatory actions that would stifle the growth of the industry. There is room for great investment in the industry and we look forward to seeing additional investment by other players into the market.”
Airtel argues that declaring its rival a dominant player would be the first step to addressing the seemingly unfair environment in the country’s telecom industry. The firm went ahead to accuse the CA of unevenly distributing the mobile spectrum in favour of Safaricom.
“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 its submission.
So, it is definitely up to the country’s legislators to decide on the next best step having listened to all parties involved in this debacle.