Kenyan politicians opened a formal investigation into a number of issues related to competition and fees charged by telecommunication providers covering both mobile money and traditional wireless services, Daily Nation reported.
The review is being conducted by the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information and Innovation and is the latest attempt by authorities to address concerns raised by politicians and companies about a lack of competition in the sectors.
In a statement seen by the newspaper, the committee said the objective of the review was to identify “legislative and regulatory gaps” and recommend measures to address anti-competitive behaviour.
Among specific points to be assessed are: mobile money rates; loan interest rates; and cash transfer fees. Although its primary focus is the financial services side of operators’ businesses, it will also investigate issues in the traditional telecoms sector including wholesale access and pricing.
Perceived lack of competition in Kenya’s mobile communications and money markets has been a divisive issue for some time with the country’s Communication Authority (CA) commissioning UK consultancy Analysys Mason to produce a report on the sector in 2016.
The results caused intense debate. Eventually, a recommendation which would have seen the dominant player in both segments – Safaricom – forced to split its business in two was controversially dropped by the CA ahead of final publication of the document.
CA figures showed Safaricom held a 68 per cent share of the country’s 41 million mobile subscriptions and 78 per cent of Kenya’s mobile money accounts at end-2017.