CEOs of Kenya’s telecommunication companies Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya and director general of Communications Authority (CA) will, Sunday April 10, converge at a press conference to attempt to clear the persisting confusion around (mis)communication on deactivation of SIM cards which would not have been registered afresh by April 15, 2022.
Safaricom’s Peter Ndegwa, Airtel’s Prasantha Das Sarma and Mugo Kibati of Telkom Kenya will meet with CA Director General Ezra Chiloba that has seen harsh criticism by sections of consumers on a ‘failing communications’ by the CA – which has sent out mixed signals on which SIM cards are affected and whether a photo of a subscriber and the national ID are necessary.
Questions have also been asked on the adequacy of the regulations being relied upon by the CA to set the deadline that has seen long queues of panicky subscribers around MNOs customer care shops.
Last Friday, April 8, Ministry of ICT secretary Joe Mucheru appointed a taskforce headed by Daniel Obam to among other issues develop SIM card regulations.
The MNO’s find themselves between a rock and a hard place after the sector regulator imposed the deadline while consumer are raring to go in launching several court cases – with one already up – against the move which is seen by critics as lacking in legality.
Laws and regulations are never applied retroactively.
It will be interesting if the MNOs CEOs will be reading a joint statement and or making their own separate views.
Safaricom has sued CA on the reduction of Mobile Termination Rate, the fees charged between phone calls from one MNO to another. Airtel and Telkom have been enjoined in the case as interested parties.
This week the MNOs came together to launch the interoperability of ‘LipaNaMpesa’ platform where a subscriber from any MNO can use Safaricom’s ‘Buy Goods’ option also known as ’till number’.
The option with direct connection to banks and utilized by many corporates will, however, wait longer for Airtel and Telkom to cash on it.
Safaricom is a dominant player in Kenya’s telcommunications sector but CA is yet to declare it as such. Safaricom has consistently defended itself saying it does not abuse its’ dominance and that such a declaration amounts to punishing success.