Mucheru proposes interoperability of M-Pesa to tackle dominance


ICT secretary Joe Mucheru. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

The government is pushing for interoperability of M-Pesa with other mobile money services rather than splitting of Safaricom in a bid to increase competition in the telecommunications sector.

ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru says proposals that M-Pesa should be separated from Safaricom would not on its own raise competition in the sector.

Rather, the minister said, the government prefers measures such as enforced interoperability, infrastructure sharing and price adjustments to level the playing field in the telecommunications sector.

“We have many, many methods of ensuring that there is fair competition without having to split companies,” said the minister during the Nairobi Innovation Week held at the University of Nairobi.

Mr Mucheru was responding to proposals made in a draft report on competitiveness in Kenya’s telecommunications industry.

The Analysys Mason report was ordered by the Communications Authority of Kenya amid concerns from smaller operators that Safaricom’s dominance in the market is stifling competition.

Safaricom’s competitors Airtel and Telkom Kenya have been making losses. Unable to survive in a tough telecommunication environment, Essar in 2014 exited the Kenyan market.

Last week Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo added his voice to the debate, proposing legislative changes that would force telecom companies to operate their mobile money businesses separately from other telecommunication services.

READ: Midiwo sets stage for law to break up Safaricom