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August 21, 2018

Small telcos could close if field not made fair – Telkom

Telkom Kenya limited chief executive officer Aldo Mareuse,chairman Eddy Njoroge and ICT Cs Joe Mucheru after the unveiling of the Telekom mobile T- cash in Nairobi on March 13,2018.Photo/Enos Teche.
Telkom Kenya limited chief executive officer Aldo Mareuse,chairman Eddy Njoroge and ICT Cs Joe Mucheru after the unveiling of the Telekom mobile T- cash in Nairobi on March 13,2018.Photo/Enos Teche.

Telkom Kenya has raised concerns small players in the telco industry will be forced to shut down if recommendations of a competition study are not implemented.

The study by Analysys Mason of the UK conducted from May 2016 was conducted to establish the degree of competition among telecommunications firms with the aim of creating a level playing field.

The report states dominant players should introduce standard call rates for on-net and off-net calls or messaging through their tariffs, promotions or permanent loyalty schemes that can profitably be replicated by efficient competitors.

During the launch of Telkom mobile money platform T-Kash, chairman Eddy Njoroge said implementing the recommendations is the only way to consolidate industry gains, attract investment and spur innovation.

UNPLEASANT

“Unless findings of the competition study are implemented, small players, who have brought competition and the dynamism into the market, will have no choice but close shop as they cannot continue to invest in a business without returns,” he said.

While dominant players find some of the recommendations of the study unpleasant, Njoroge expressed hope the regulator will consider the long-term interest of the industry and implement suggestions without fear or favour.

Communications Authority director general Francis Wangusi said the organisation is waiting for the conclusion of the recommendations that should be out in a month.

With the launch of T-kash, as outlined by Telkom chief executive Aldo Mareuse, the firm will join Airtel and Safaricom in the pilot phase of the cross-network mobile money transfer platform.

The firm has invested Sh1billion in the new platform. This is in addition to the Sh5 billion spent last year in improving the quality of the network and upgrading to the 4G platform.

T-Kash comes into force eight months after Orange money was pulled off the plug in July 2017.

To make a transaction on it, subscribers will use a one-time eight-digit code to withdraw cash from an agent or ATM as well as to buy goods and services.

The code, valid for 10 minutes, is generated upon initiating the withdrawal transaction, which is presented to any agent in exchange for cash, or keyed into the ATM.

Telkom director for mobile financial service Anuj Tanna said the code eliminates the need for an agent number for withdrawal or till number to buy goods and services, simplifying the process.

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