Kenyan regulators will release a report this week into whether the country’s three major mobile phone operators have a “dominant” hold of the market.
Although the exact release date of the report has not been confirmed, Kenya’s communications regulator, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), told African Business the report will be out before the end of the week. The long-awaited independent report – which was commissioned in 2015 – will reveal whether Safaricom, the biggest network in Kenya, holds a dominant position because it receives 90% of the sector’s revenues in areas such as voice calls and text messages.
The accusation, which Safaricom denies, were highlighted by smaller mobile operators that have struggled to gain a footing in Kenya’s mobile market. There are around 40m mobile phone subscribers in Kenya with Safaricom – which is co-owned by UK-based Vodafone and the state – accounting for 65% of the market share.
Meanwhile, Airtel, which is Kenya’s second largest mobile operator, had 19% of the market share and Orange Kenya accounted for 11.8%. In related news, Orange is due to sell its Kenyan mobile phone business to London-based Helios Investment Partners.
Telecoms minister Joe Mucheru did not reveal the exact contents of the report but he told Reuters that the government would abide by its recommendations. Mucheru said the three operators had been granted licences to offer high-speed Internet access services, using 4G technology, but it was just Safaricom that had paid for it.
Another seven smaller firms are eventually expected to be licensed to offer the same service, earning the government a total of $75 million in licence fees, he said.