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At CCK, Wangusi’s work is clearly cut out

By - | September 3rd 2012

Last week, Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) long serving acting head Francis Wangusi was confirmed as the director-general of the institution.

Wangusi’s confirmation is a welcome move after having been in an acting capacity for several months in an institution that is so critical and sensitive as the CCK.

With the niceties of the confirmation aside—and same with the reasons why it took the minister concerned such a long time to confirm him and if any pacts were made prior to the confirmation similarly aside, it is time to roll up the sleeves and boldly take up what is before him without fear or favour as the boss.

Wangusi has seen CCK heads come and go.

He has also been at CCK long enough to know the intrigues, the politics and the sideshows that come with the position and the institution that is charged with regulating one of the most advanced telecommunication sectors in Africa.

As he settles into his seat as the director-general here is a list of things that he must address decisively — again without fear or favour.

First in his in-tray is the issue of the politics and the lobbying that has become a common feature on the issue of mobile termination rates (MTR).

Network charges

Mid this month, CCK yet again failed to cut termination rates — the amount of money mobile firms pay each other for calls that terminate in a rival’s network.

CCK was also accused of being slow to approve the decision to lower Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) from the current Sh2.21 per minute to Sh1.60.

Such a move will lower cross network charges and spur economic growth.

Rumour mill has it that the Treasury and Kenya Revenue Authority’s hands were behind the decision not to approve new MTRs.

There is also the version of one of the operators lobbying leading to CCK not approving the MTR deal.

Wangusi must come out strong and put the sideshows to rest and implement what was recommended as the right MTR rates.

Second on his in-box is the pending decision to switch off mobile phone handsets.

In trying to do this, this editorial has time and again argued that it will be wrong to switch off a handset legally bought from within the confines of this country on the basis of being a counterfeit.

If CCK goes ahead with its threat, it will be an admission from the telecommunications market regulator that it is unable to control the entry of counterfeit handsets into the country.

The results of such a decision might be dire.

For one, the number of lawsuits against the concerned agencies including the regulator for failure to ensure that only genuine handsets are available may be in their hundreds.

Secondly, the revenue implications of switching off approximately two million handsets are not an issue to smile about.

National Environment Management Authority NEMA on its part is already warning of the possibility of the country chocking with electronic waste.

Third in the pending matters tray is the question: do the mobile phone companies promise the issue of clarity of service delivery as?

If there is one thing that needs to be dealt with so severely is clarity of networks offering voice service.

Billions in profits

To test the truth of this question one must ask if telecommunication companies deliver on their promise on products, the promotions and the offers they from time to time come up with.

Cases of credit being deducted before even being used or a customer having credit but not being able to access a service are all too familiar on the Kenya scene.

Then there is the issue of call dropping especially across network. Lately there have been talks of sabotage among telecommunication service providers.

If there is something that the new DG must not do is to slap a fine of as low as Sh500, 000 for substandard service provision for Safaricom, Orange and Yu that rake in billions in profits.

Welcome aboard.

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