Tribunal allows Jamii Telecom to join call rates dispute

A communication firm worker fixes a roll of fiber wires underground in Kisumu town on May 22, 2018 [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Mobile service provider Jamii Telecom Ltd (JTL) has joined the dispute over proposals by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to slash mobile termination rates.

The Multimedia Appeals Tribunal yesterday granted the application by JTL to be enjoined in the suit that will determine if the industry regulator will proceed with plans to cut the mobile termination rates (MTR) by 87 per cent for cross-network voice calls.

Leading mobile service provider Safaricom appealed the rates that were supposed to come into effect on January 1, arguing that the regulator flouted its own process.

The telco further said the regulator did not provide it with the information, materials and evidence used in determining the new rates and accused CA of false comparisons with other markets.

“Safaricom is keen to have the authority commission a full network cost study,” said the firm.

“This will provide an objective and accurate assessment of the market and will make proposals based on the real state of the industry for the revision of MTRs and fixed termination rates.”

JTL is the latest party to be enjoined in the suit after the Consumers Federation of Kenya was allowed to give submissions alongside Telkom Kenya and Airtel.

The telcos have supported the latest review by the CA as a step towards levelling the playing field, which the two firms have long faulted as being in favour of market leader Safaricom.

“Globally, big and dominant players or incumbents in mobile telephony markets have had a pricing advantage due to the imbalance of connecting traffic between themselves and other network operators,” said Telkom Kenya in a statement following CA’s directive.