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Parliament turns heat on CA to reduce call tariffs further

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The Communication Authority of Kenya headquarters at Westlands, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

A committee of Parliament has questioned a decision by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to effect a smaller-than-recommended cut on the mobile termination rate (MTR).

MTRs are the charges levied by a mobile service provider on other telcos for terminating calls on its network.

The regulator on November 17, 2023, set the MTR to Sh0.41 and said to apply for two years from March 1, 2024, although the current SMS termination rate of Sh0.05 per message would stay.

Read: Safaricom to lose Sh2bn in call tariff cut

Members of the Communication, Information, and Innovation Committee of the National Assembly questioned why CA settled on an MTR of Sh 0.41 per minute instead of Sh0.06 recommended by a study it commissioned.

The MPs Bernard Kitur (Nandi Hills), Irene Mayaka (Nominated), and Gideon Kimaiyo (Keiyo South), who sit in the Committee now want CA acting Director-General Christopher Wambua summoned to explain how the published rates were arrived at.

“CA should retract the new MTR because it lacks sufficient public participation. Kenyans need to enjoy cheaper calling rates,” said Mr Kitur adding; “Kenya has the best infrastructure compared to Rwanda that has zero fixed and MTRs.”

Mr Kitur noted that CA’s move has all the suspicions of a regulator “acting strangely, in a manner to suggest that he is in bed with one of the players in the industry.”

Read: Call termination rates slash relief for mobile users

“The regulator is busy telling Kenyans that they will enjoy cheaper calling rates from the current Sh0.58. but what they are not telling Kenyans is that they ignored the findings and recommendations of a study they commissioned and funded using taxpayers’ money,” said the Nandi Hills MP.

“So what guided them into arriving at Sh0.41 MTR? We are conscious about the cost of living and will not allow others (CA) to punish Kenyans,” said Mr Kitur.

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