CCK reduces call termination rates, at last


Kenya’s Communications Commission has earlier in the week lowered call termination rates from KShs 2.21 to KShs 1.44, the second major reduction since originally halving these rates in 2010 from the initial KShs 4.42.

Consumers and in particular phone users in Kenya will now be watching keenly, if this will result in lower call tariffs or if the telecoms companies, already bloodied by an aggressive pricing war, will quietly agree to ‘absorb’ the savings and pocket the difference instead of passing it on to their customers, in full or in part.

An earlier attempt this year resulted in a presidential directive to halt the process, leading to protests from two of Kenya’s licensed mobile operators which saw this as a move to protect both market leader and the former state owned and now partly privatized rivals.

This is good news for sure as the cost of calling can now be reduced. We have a lot of overseas visitors asking on arrival to buy a local sim card to make cheaper calls while in Kenya on safari or at the beach. Using their home operators by roaming is very expensive for them, But really what the main issue today is in Kenya is the cost of surfing the internet. Now that we have a huge capacity by fibre optic cable the operators complain it is not being used, but that is because they are expensive. They should half their tariffs or more and a lot more Kenyans and visitors would subscribe. Even the price of the modems is expensive by the way. Maybe this is the next thing CCK should look into after cutting those rates for calls between operators by a third’ said a regular contributor from Nairobi’s tourism fraternity.

Call termination cost are a major issue across the region as in Uganda too communications companies are lobbying the UCK to bring those crucial rates down to level the playing field vis a vis market leader MTN, which is using the higher than necessary prescribed tariffs between networks to fend off competitors with significantly lower market share. At the same time are mobile operators across the region now increasingly under scrutiny over dropped calls and call quality and it is expected that the regional regulators will roll out a combined campaign next year to fine telecoms companies which do not meet benchmarks or exceed a certain number of direct complaints by subscribers.

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