Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Profile of the Telecoms market in Kenya - part 3

Preamble: After nearly a week of blocking broadcasts of Kenya's leading television stations, Kenyan authorities have relented and allowed most of the broadcasters to resume operations. In this series of articles, we profile the vibrant telecommunications market in Kenya.

See part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6\

SECTION 3——Regulatory activities of Communications Authority of Kenya

In mid-August 2015, Kenya’s Business Daily reported that following a dispute which had already gone on for three years Airtel Kenya had gone to the Kenyan High  Court seeking to block another demand from the CA that it should pay $20.025 million spectrum fees before it could renew its operating licence. The dispute arose from the fact that in 2014 Essar’s YuMobile subsidiary in Kenya left the local mobile market and transferred its subscribers and licence to Airtel Kenya for about $6.9 million. According to Airtel, the CAK at that time promised to merge its operating licence with that of yuMobile, with the deal granting Airtel a lease to operate in the country until January 2025. However, subsequently under pressure from the Kenyan Treasury CAK had reneged on that agreement and come back to Airtel to demand KSh2 billion in licence fees.

The Safaricom row

In late September 2017, following accusations by Raila Odinga that Safaricom had deliberately delayed results of the August 8th presidential election, the CAK national communication regulator denied that there had been any such failures of transmission by any of the Kenyan mobile operators.

In late November 2017, DG Francis Wangusi of the CAK announced that following the failure of an earlier agreement between Kenyan operators to establish a common money transfer infrastructure by July 2017 the regulator now planned to make the interoperable wallet system mandatory in December 2017.

In mid-June 2017, Reuters reported that the Kenyan High Court had overturned a legal amendment that would have denied the right of the CA to manage competition in the sector

At the end of November 2017, Kenya’s Standard newspaper reported that Francis Wangusi  the DG of the CAK regulator was questioning the right of Safaricom to make deliveries of goods sold via its Masoko online e-commerce platform on the grounds that the operator’s existing license did not authorise such activities

On December 19th, 2017, Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper reported that the CA had announced that it was soliciting views from the general public on the minimum standards that should be set for internet devices.

As noted elsewhere the CA decided in January 2018 not to breakup Safaricom into separate telecommunications and financial businesses

In mid-January 2018 it was announced that CAK DG Francis Wangusi had been sent on leave for three months with effect from January 12th while an independent audit is being carried out on the Authority’s “structure, promotions and training” following alleged claims of malpractice in those functions.

This surprising and unexplained move has been interpreted by observers in many different ways. On January 23rd 2015 Wangusi was reappointed as CA DG for a second four year term but since then it seems that his relationships with the Kenyan Ministry of Communisations and the Kenyan government have deteriorated for several reasons. One reason may have been the fact that the CA had been unable to extract an additional licence fee of KSh 280 million from Airtel Kenya which was cash the Kenyan Treasury badly needed; secondly it was argued that the CA had awarded a license to Jamii Telecom to use some 700 MHz frequency far too cheaply and at a more questionable level had exercised extremely tight control on his resources refusing to fund some possibly boondoggle trips to symposia for some members of the Ministry.

However, it was announced that following a legal challenge by two students from the University of Nairobi who argued that the action of the CA Board in sending Wanqusi on involuntary leave was unconstitutional Kenya’s Labour Court had ordered a halt to that decision pending a review of the case originally scheduled for January 29th

CAK licences register lists by name
1. International Gateway Operators.=12
2. Submarine Cable Landing Rights Operators=3
3. Network Facilities Providers Tier 1=3
4. Network Facilities Providers Tier 2=23
5. Network Facilities Providers Tier 3=29
6. Application Service Providers=214
7. Content Service Providers=334
8。Dot KE SubDomain Name Registrar Service Providers=62
9. Business Process Outsourcing Services Providers=26
10. Telecommunication Contractors=533
11. Telecommunication Technical Personnel=509
12. Telecommunications Equipment Providers=526
13. Public Communication Access Centres=14

CAK Telecommunications Statistical Report for Q1 2017/18 ended September 30th 2017
The full 32-page report is available to the general public so the following is merely a summary of its main findings



SUMMARY INDICATORS
Q4 2016/17
Q1 2017/18
Change %
Mobile subscriptions (mn).                    
40.259
41.028
1.9
Fixed subscriptions
71,307
71,118.
(0.3)
Mobile penetration
88.7
90.4
1.9
Fixed telephone penetration
0.16
0.16
0
Number of mobile money subs: (mn).  
28.074
28.074
0.4
Number of MM transactions (mn)
480.585
537.242
11.8
Value of MM transactions (KSh bn)
1,218
1,659
36.2
Data internet subscriptions (mn).          
29.624
30.628
4.3
Of which mobile data (mn)
29.419
30.628
4.1
Of which terrestrial wireless
47,231
63.749
35.0
Of which fixed DSL
2,715
2,106
(22.4)
Of which fixed fibre optic
54,700
90,534
65.5
Of which fixed cable modem
99,971
99,564
(0.4)
Of which satellite + other
5,715
6,839
19.7




Available international capacity (Gbit/s)
2,906.87
2,909.512
0.1
Used international bandwidth (Gbit/s)
882.573
887.187
0.5
Internet penetration
100.2
112.7
12.5
Broadband penetration
34.2
38.8
13.5
Number of free-to-air TV channels
66
62
(6.1%)
Number of radio FM stations
178
178
0


to be continued

See also