Safaricom’s rival operators hit out at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for failing to deal with the market leader’s dominance, after it removed controversial recommendations to split the company from a competition report.

According to Business Daily, CA weakened proposals to impose full mobile money interoperability on Safaricom and scrapped references to force a split of mobile money service m-Pesa from its wireless business.

The local unit of Airtel and Telkom Kenya criticised the regulator for watering down proposals in the document, which is expected to be released to the public later this month.

CA said the changes were made following extensive consultation with stakeholders.

The study into the communications sector in the country, drafted by UK research house Analysys Mason, said Safaricom’s share was “unusually high” for a three player market.

In the latest CA statistics, covering three months to the end of September, Safaricom held a market share of 72 per cent in wireless connections and 81 per cent of the mobile money market.

Split plans
The first version of the study, leaked to media in February 2017, reportedly recommended plans to open-up the mobile money market by either introducing full interoperability or by forcing a Safaricom split.

The division plan gained support by national assembly member Jakoyo Midiwo later that month.

Following the leak, ministers came out in support of Safaricom, and in March the CA reiterated it did not plan to force the company to divide in two. There have since been moves towards interoperability of mobile money services in the country, with talks ongoing between providers and CA to push the policy forward.