Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya
Kenya’s telecom’s regulator has recently asked for the opportunity to take on regulatory functions independently while condemning the government for curbing the watchdog’s ability to manage competition in the sector by recently changing the law and said the move could discourage investments.
Francis Wangusi, director general of the regulator Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), said parliament took away CA’s independence in determining if an operator was dominant last month when it changed sections of the law.
“This is likely to expose CA to various forms of litigation and hinder efforts to further attract investments to the sector thus slowing down anticipated growth”, Wangusi said.
He also added that the changes flew in the face of the global practice, where dominance in telecom industries is usually assessed by the sector regulator independently based on market forecasts and other factors.
The amendments, which have already been signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta, requires CA to involve the country’s competition authority and the Ministry of Information and Communication before making a decision on market dominance.
The chair of the energy and information, communications and technology committee in the National Assembly, Jamleck Kamau said lawmakers wanted to enhance the decision-making on issues of dominance in the sector by bringing in another body with expertise on competition.
“We don’t want a situation where one party wakes up today and says ‘you are dominant”.
Smaller operators in Kenya’s telecom sector claim unfair competition, saying Safaricom, the biggest operator, is too dominant.