Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Communications, Information, and Innovation Committee of the National Assembly are pushing the Commission Authority of Kenya (CAK) to make further cuts in the mobile calling rates.
- This follows an earlier proposal by the Authority to lower the mobile termination rate (MTR) to KSh 0.41 per minute from the current KSh 0.58, with effect from March 1st, 2024, a move that has elicited strong opposition from the legislators.
- MPs want the CAK to implement the findings of its own study which recommended that the MTR be lowered to KSh 0.06 per minute from the current levels.
- The regulator has capped the MTRs and Fixed Termination Rates(FTRs) at KSh 0.41 per minute with effect from 1st March 2024. The current SMS termination rate of KSh 0.05 per SMS remains unchanged.
MTRs and FTRs are the costs that operators charge each other to allow customers to communicate across networks. Currently, all the telecommunications service providers have been implementing an MTR and FTR of KSh 0.58 per minute.
The new MTRs and FTRs apply to only local voice traffic, which means calls originating and terminating within Kenya.
While CAK said the proposed new tariffs are informed by the prevailing economic environment, ICT market dynamics, and the need to strike a balance between the promotion of investments and the protection of consumers, MPs insist that the Authority ignored a study it had undertaken.
The MPs now want CA acting Director-General Christopher Wambua summoned to explain how the published rates were arrived at, citing a lack of public participation in the new tariffs.
A substantial drop in MTRs and FTRs is expected to result in consumers enjoying access to a variety of affordable services across networks while operators will have more price flexibility in developing more affordable products.