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MPs to conduct inquiry into cases of pricing of key services in telecommunications sector

By Lee Mwiti | Published Tue, July 10th 2018 at 00:07, Updated July 10th 2018 at 00:12 GMT +3

In summary

  • Committee to recommend measures to address gaps that restrict growth in the sector
  • Focus will be on the legislative and regulatory gaps affecting the sector

Parliament will conduct an inquiry into alleged cases of dominance and pricing of key services in the telecommunications sector.

The Parliamentary Committee on Information Communication and Telecommunication, last week mooted a plan to review the Kenya Information and Communication Act (KICA) 1998. This could see the legislation that underpins the sector amended.  

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"Concerns have been raised on the alleged abuse of dominance in the telecommunications sector," reads a memo by the parliamentary committee in part.

"In light of these concerns, the National Assembly has resolved to conduct an inquiry into the legislative and regulatory gaps affecting that sector.” 

The committee said it would recommend measures to address any gaps found to contribute to anti-competitive behaviour or restrict growth in the sector, including proposed legislation.

This is the second time in the past few years that Parliament has floated the proposal to amend the KICA, 1998. 

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In March last year, former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo sought to table an amendment to the Act to have telecommunication companies separate their business along lines of service provision. 

The amendment was meant to see firms classified and separated alongside business focus such as voice carriers, data and internet service providers and mobile money transfer companies, each with separate company accounts and management structures. 

 “The changes will require telecommunications mobile service provider to split, or separate telecommunications business such as mobile telephone business from other services such as mobile money transfers, transport, healthcare, banking etc,” read the proposed amendments. 

The amendments were, however, struck out after they failed to garner enough support on the floor of the house. 

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Apart from investigating dominance, MPs also promised to look into allocation and use of spectrum and market share of each telecom service provider.

“We will also look at mobile money services and rates, including transaction charges, transfer fees, loans and interest, airtime and data rates, including airtime loans and service fees,” stated the parliamentary committee.

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