Kenya: Regulator Demands Safaricom Share Its Communications Infrastructure With Rivals
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) is in pursuit of laws that will coerce carriers to share infrastructure. At the centre of discussion at its meeting with the Senate Standing Committee on ICT is Safaricom, the largest telecommunications provider in Kenya. According to CAK, infrastructure sharing has the potential to fill existing gaps relating to competition but also would offer consumers more options and value for money.
As reported by media sources, Safaricom ranks billions in profits every year. This means that the mobile operator, unlike Airtel and Telkom Kenya, has the financial capacity to invest in its network. Included in the reports, it has been stated that Safaricom devotes more than KES 30 billion (over US$ 280 million) to its systems every year.
Due to its healthy revenue, the organisation has been able to launch Kenya’s first 5G network, which is currently live in some parts of Nairobi and Kisumu, with a massive rollout expected later. It has more than 39 million mobile subscribers, whereas Airtel and Telkom have 16.6 million and 3.8 million, respectively.
The same reading can be applied in the mobile money space, whereby Safaricom held the highest market share of 99% (September 2020). Its fixed data division has more than 243k subscriptions on its Home Fibre product. In comparison, Telkom Kenya has a measly 4.6k sign-ups. Airtel and Telkom Kenya have cited that their inability to compete fairly with Safaricom is due to Safaricom’s dominant practices.