Kenya: CA forces Kenyan mobile operators to share money transfer infrastructure

Kenya: CA forces Kenyan mobile operators to share money transfer infrastructure

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) will force mobile phone operators to share money transfer infrastructure from December, the Standard reported. CA Director-General Francis Wangusi said they had agreed to get the interoperable wallet up and running by July 2017 but negotiations had since stalled, and the CA will be forced to step in.

In 2015, the CA commissioned UK research firm Analysys Mason to do a study on competition in the Kenyan ICT sector after reports that Safaricom had become dominant in voice and mobile money. Wangusi said the industry regulator will begin implementing recommendations of the report on dominance starting next month. This is expected to usher in a new era of operations in East Africa’s largest technology market. The CA was not an active party to the discussions, but rather, its role was to see that the agreement they came up with was within the provisions of the law.

Wangusi said the regulator had exhausted all stakeholder consultations and was ready to make the report public and begin implementing the far-reaching recommendations. The preliminary findings of the Analysys Mason draft report said Safaricom was dominant in both voice and mobile money, holding more than 80 percent of the market share in both market segments.

The report further said the operator was also dominant in terms of network infrastructure, owning the bulk of mobile phone towers in marginal and low populated areas.  However, Safaricom has insisted in the past that it has never abused its dominance in those market segments. Analysys Mason recommended an interoperable mobile money platform be established to allow sharing by other mobile money transfer service providers and consumers.